Gil Ott: The form of our uncertainty

Gil Ott at the Kelly Writers House in 2001

Gil Ott died in 2004 and is sorely missed in Philly poetry scenes, and (to be specific about one of many such sites where we miss Gil) at the Writers House where Gil was fairly regularly a member of audiences for PhillyTalks, poetry readings, book celebrations for poetry-world colleagues (especially Philly poets). Kristen Gallagher edited a book of commentary and critical response to Gil's work (published by Chax Press) and in the fall of '01 we hosted a Gil Ott celebration, co-organized by then-director of KWH Kerry Sherin and also Kristen Gallagher.

For about a year PennSound's Gil Ott page featured the whole recording of the 1.5-hour event and also segmented single mp3s of each reader. But later we released the 17th PennSound podcast - a 23-minute excerpt of the whole event, expertly edited by Steve McLaughlin. Here's a link to the PennSound podcast page. (More: When Gil interviewed Jackson Mac Low.)

From Kristen Gallagher's introduction to The Form of Our Uncertainty: "Evidence of Gil Ott's proficiencies have been left in spray paint and street-corner soliloquies, as well as in his work of editing and publishing the poetry and prose of writers practicing diverse tactics and politics. One thing has concerned him consistently: 'the struggle to articulate.'  His acceptance of uncertainty and his history of stirring things up in status-quo-ville are the defining qualities of Gil Ott's poetics. One thing Gil says he has often reacted against is the assumption that 'people seek out order'  Perhaps much of Gil's work gets its distinctive edge from his ability to hold tensions and attune to complex, often contradictory senses. In all of Gil's work one can find a certain pleasure he refers to as 'the satisfaction of articulation' – a presence of hearing and saying, of finding relation through more relation." The book is available from Chax.