I came upon Matt Longabucco’s book of 2021 mostly by accident and could not stop reading its critical/personal prose poem sections. I had seen the film to which it is a thoughtful historical response but that was years ago. M/W: an essay on Jean Eustache’s La Maman et la Putain is a compelling — focused but also diffuse — response to the film, a great example of how in the field of contemporary poetics writers can contribute works of “close reading” (“close watching”?) that proceed from hybrid convergences of prose poetry, criticism, theory, contemporary politics, and personal reflection. Hilton Als, an admirer of the book (and that makes perfect sense), is right to describe this unusual work as containing “beautiful intensities.”
Aldon Nielsen made a recording of a talk I gave at the 1940s conference at Orono, University of Maine, in June 2004. I think the talk was well received. At least that's my memory and the sound of audience response, here and there, to be discerned in this recording seems to confirm it. I was trying out, more or less for the first time, my idea that in the late 1940s antimodernism converged with anticommunism as a means by which to remake the reputation of the 1930s for the postwar period.
Concurrent with writing Graphology Poems by hand and in type (typewriter and computer fonts), I have “concretized” poems by photographing them “in situ” — i.e. as printed or written out pages set in trees, against flowers, or as scratchings in dirt, as sticks arranged on a firebreak, or photographed by a third party while holding sheets of poems as “protest placards” — and as textual interjections, overlays, and “culture jamming” of preexisting images/texts. I have also, more prevalently, maybe, made “drawings” and “paintings”… in other words, writing as illustration.
I am pleased to present a selection of Graphology drawing poems by John Kinsella. You can view the selection HERE and HERE. Below is a commentary provided by John. — A.F.
During a recent one-hour interview/conversation with Hilton Als conducted by me, I had occasion to ask Hilton about a reference to Gertrude Stein in one of his essays. Here is a four-minute excerpt from the video recording of the discussion. In another essay, collected in White Girls, Hilton does a close reading, here and there, of Wallace Stevens’s poem about the muse, “So-and-So Reclining on Her Couch.” I asked him about Stevens, too, and that excerpt is presented below as well. The discussion was a program hosted by the Kelly Writers House for the annual Kelly Writers House Fellows program. Hilton Als was the second of the three spring 2021 Fellows to engage with the Writers House community, and many others, in three sessions. This was the third of those events.
When writing my books, Modernism from Right to Left and Counter-Revolution of the Word: the Conservative Attack on Modern Poetry, 1945–60, I spent a great deal of time studying poets who in the 1930s had joined CPUSA and/or were attracted to the communist movement. And who, I should add, were shunned and even explicitly red-baited in the 1950s.