I want to say a few simple things about reading, and hope that my illustrations will justify the time taken, even if the purpose to which they are put is dull. Is this an apology? I mean it to be a model of reading. For reading too is a way of taking time, one in which the ostensible aim — meaning — is often of less interest than the compensatory pleasures offered up along the way.
This dynamic — between the expectation of meaning and the sensual enjoyment of what makes meaning possible — is one manifestation of a difference we often feel between reading analytically and reading for pleasure, a difference that often collapses when we start to look closely at its constituent parts. There is, for instance, a pleasure to be had in analysis, and, likewise, there are analyses to be made in the midst of pleasure. Who can say where the emphasis should fall when push comes to shove in the mind, when confronted with lines like these by Robert Creeley:
The men in my life were three in number, a father, uncle, grand-
father — and with that father an interchangeable other — the Man — whom
to score with, scream at. The wind rises in a fucking, endless volume.
Today we’re pleased to announce the launch of PennSound Radio, a 24-hour stream of readings and conversations from the PennSound poetry archive. Our daily schedule includes rebroadcasts of such series as Live at the Writers House, Charles Bernstein's Close Listening, and Leonard Schwartz's Cross-Cultural Poetics, as well as a curated selection of our favorite performances. You can play PennSound Radio through iTunes on your computer, or by installing the free TuneIn app on your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android device. Listen at work! At home! At the gym! While rebuilding a transmission! And while you're at it, follow us on Twitter (@PennSoundRadio) to keep up with all of our new programs and special features.
We at Jacket2 happily take note of this news report — among others, of course — announcing the selection of Fred Wah as “parliamentary poet laureate” of Canada. The photograph here was taken by Lawrence Schwartzwald.
Saskatchewan writer Fred Wah named parliamentary poet laureate Winnipeg Free Press, December 21, 2011
OTTAWA - Saskatchewan-born writer Fred Wah has been appointed as the new parliamentary poet laureate.
Wah is the fifth poet to hold the office.
He replaces Pierre DesRuisseaux, whose two-year term expired earlier this year.
The post was created in 2001, with a mandate to write poetry, especially for use in Parliament on important occasions, to sponsor poetry readings and advise the parliamentary library.
The poet is appointed by the Speaker of the Commons and Senate on the recommendation of a selection committee which included, among others, the commissioner of official languages and the head of the Canada Council.
Wah is a well-known poet who won a Governor General's Award in 1986 and is on the faculty of the Banff Centre for the Arts.
Note: This article by Martha King was based on a presentation she gave at a panel on Paul Blackburn, at the Poetry Project in New York, in 1991 [?]. Other panelists included Armand Schwerner, Edith Jarolim, Robert Creeley, and David Abel. (The references are to Edie Jarolim’s edition of Blackburn’s Collected Poems.)
When I told Basil [King] I’d been asked to talk on Paul at this panel he asked me what I wanted to say — we were walking down the street in our Brooklyn neighborhood — my answer popped out: ‘that strange hollow voiced singer of the city.’ On the theory that first thought might just be best, I’ll start there.
So why was my first thought “hollow.” It means empty in the middle. Like the woodwinds. Their sound comes from that. It’s a very old thing to think of a poet as a reed. Missing at the core. And therefore what is taken in will be released reverberating, as song.
But Blackburn’s been savagely critiqued for this quality. By people who have freely crossed the lines between reading the text and psychoanalyzing the writer. I mean even to the unbelievably grotesque suggestion — by Clayton Eshleman in his essay “The Gull Wall” — that Paul wouldn’t have died of cancer if he’d been able to overcome his negative feelings about women.