PoemTalk

Damned fruitflies (PoemTalk #156)

Steve Dalachinsky, 'with shelter gone'

Photo credit: Robert Yarra

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Al Filreis, with help from Zach Carduner in our virtual Kelly Writers House control room, convened Bonny Finberg, Julien Poirier, and Jake Marmer to talk about a poem by Steve Dalachinsky. The poem is titled “with shelter gone,” and our recording of Dalachinsky performing it is clipped from a video documenting a reading that took place at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City in 2008. The reading was hosted by Jake Marmer.

Passion shields its servants (PoemTalk #155)

Lorenzo Thomas, 'Souvenir of the Manassah Ball'

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Al Filreis convened Erica Hunt, Bob Perelman, and Tonya Foster to a virtual version of the Wexler Studio of the Kelly Writers House — for a conversation about a poem by Lorenzo Thomas. The poem, “Souvenir of the Manassah Ball,” was written in 1990 or 1991, and now appears on page 310 of the magnificent Collected Poems of Lorenzo Thomas, edited by Aldon Nielsen and Laura Vrana (Wesleyan, 2019). The performance of the poem we used as our audio recording for this episode was presented at a reading on November 13, 1991, at Buffalo.

Promise to go on (PoemTalk #154)

Elizabeth Willis, 'The Similitude of This Great Flower'

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For this 154th episode of the PoemTalk series, Al Filreis remotely convened Simone White, Kate Colby, and Angela Carr to talk about a prose poem by Elizabeth Willis, “The Similitude of This Great Flower.” The poem was first published in the Cordite Poetry Review in January of 2008. Our recording of the poem comes from a Close Listening session hosted by Charles Bernstein on March 17, 2008.

Rousing earth to excel (PoemTalk #153)

Daphne Marlatt, 'Arriving'

From left: Daphne Marlatt, Fred Wah, Meredith Quartermain

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In January 2020, Al Filreis and the PoemTalk team traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, where at the home of friends Richard Cook and Lucy Oh Cook they met up with Meredith Quartermain, Fred Wah, and Daphne Marlatt to talk about Daphne’s poem “Arriving.” The discussion was witnessed by a lively live audience and was filmed. The unabridged video is available here below and also on YouTube.

Word for word (PoemTalk #152)

Wallace Stevens, 'The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain'

From left: Aldon Nielsen, Kate Colby, Mónica de la Torre, Tyrone Williams

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In Seattle, Washington, Al Filreis convened Kate Colby, Tyrone Wiilliams, Mónica de la Torre, and Aldon Nielsen to talk about a late poem of Wallace Stevens, “The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain.” The group collaborates on an enumeration of possibilities for understanding the poet’s current ruminative state as a retrospective view of his previous poems and old ideas about poetry. Past perfect and conditional language — had needed, would be right, would discover, could lie — make us doubt that there is or ever was such a thing as a “there” in “There it was.”