PoemTalk

Hack my name (PoemTalk #194)

Veronica Forrest-Thomson, "S/Z" & "Lemon and Rosemary"

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The PoemTalk team once again went on the road — or, anyway, over the sea — and spent a glorious week in Scotland, talking and filming new discussions of poems with many colleagues. On one of those days we gathered with friends at the Fruitmarket Arts Center in Edinburgh. Poet Iain Morrison, one of the PoemTalkers in this episode and a member of the Fruitmarket staff, helped us coordinate and host this event. The other colloquists are Laynie Browne, Lee Ann Brown, and Anthony Capildeo.

The colors of death (PoemTalk #193)

Ariana Reines, "To the Reader"

From left: Pattie McCarthy, Eric Shoemaker, Michelle Taransky

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Al Filreis brought together Michelle Taransky, Pattie McCarthy, and Robert Eric Shoemaker, who had traveled from Chicago to join us — to talk about a poem by Ariana Reines, “To the Reader.” The poem was included in Reines’s A Sand Book (Tin House, 2019). Eric and Al co-curated the selection, in part because of Eric's work with magical poetics. Our recording of Reines performing this poem dates from 2020 and was hosted by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The audio we hear toward the beginning of the episode is extracted from a video that is available on YouTube and Vimeo, produced by Christian Lund, with sound editing by Tomás Guiñazú. Click HERE to read a text of the poem (scanned from A Sand Book).

Of shredded love (PoemTalk #192)

"For Billie Holiday" & "Sorrow Is the Only Faithful One" by Owen Dodson

from left: Herman Beavers, Tracie Morris, Amber Rose Johnson

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Al Filreis convened Herman Beavers, Tracie Morris, and Amber Rose Johnson to talk about two poems by Owen Dodson: “Sorrow Is the Only Faithful One” and an elegaic sonnet “For Billie Holiday—Finally, Lady, You are Gone From Us.” Our recordings of these poems come from the Library of Congress, where on December 13, 1960, Dodson entered the Recording Laboratory there to perform a selection of his verse. Our poems are the fifth and thirteenth Dodson read, respectively, during that recording session.

Fracas in the hinterlands (PoemTalk #191)

Kenward Elmslie, "Core Bonus" & "One Night Stand"

From left: Henry Steinberg, Simone White & Wayne Koestenbaum

Wayne Koestenbaum, Simone White, and Henry Steinberg joined Al Filreis to talk about a poem and a song lyric by Kenward Elmslie. The poem is “Core Bonus” and the song is “One Night Stand.” As of the recording we had not located published/in-print version of “Core Bonus” but Elsmlie's PennSound page includes a record of it. “One Night Stand” was included in Routine Disruptions: Selected Poems and Lyrics (Coffee House Press, 1998). “Core Bonus” was performed during a Segue eries reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York on April 7, 2007. “One Night Stand” was sung by Elmslie at the Kelly Writers House on November 12, 2003, for an event titled “Snippets: A Gathering of Songs, Visual Collaborations, and Poems.”

Watches don't shoot (PoemTalk #190)

Aldon Nielsen, 'Tray'

Al Filreis, Tyrone Williams, William J. Harris, and Aldon Nielsen
Al Filreis, Tyrone Williams, William J. Harris, and Aldon Nielsen

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Aldon Nielsen, William J. Harris, Tyrone Williams, hosted by Al Filreis, convened in the Arts Café of the Kelly Writers House, before a live audience, to discuss Aldon’s poem “Tray.” There are 29 sections in the poem; the group discussed the first 6. In the book titled Tray, published by Make Now Press in 2017, the title poem takes up the first 37 pages; the sections we discussed run to page 14. Usually, of course, we play an audio recording of the poem from we’re about to discuss as archived in PennSound, but on this day, because we had the honor of Aldon’s presence we asked him to perform those sections.