PoemTalk

Teach us love (PoemTalk #171)

Eugene Ostashevsky, 'Language' and 'The Anatomy of Monotony'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis convened Matvei Yankelevich, Ahmad Almallah, and Kevin Platt at the Kelly Writers House to talk about two poems by Eugene Ostashevsky: “The Anatomy of Monotony” [audio] and “Language” [audio]. They were included in The Unraveller Seasons (2000). The recordings of the two poems we use in this episode come from a 2005 reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, available at Ostashevsky’s PennSound page

Better to lose and win (PoemTalk #170)

Diane di Prima, 'Revolutionary Letters'

From left: Kristen Gallagher, Lee Ann Brown, Laynie Browne

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis and three interlocutors — Kristen Gallagher, Lee Ann Brown, and Laynie Browne — met up at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia to talk about Diane di Prima’s collection (and ongoing project) of quasi-epistolary poems, Revolutionary Letters. The group discussed three poems: #16 (“We are eating up the planet”), #19 (“If what you want is jobs”), and #27 (“How much can we afford to lose before we win”). Di Prima began writing the letters in 1968, and they were first gathered and published by City Lights in 1971. A red-covered fiftieth anniversary edition was issued by City Lights in 2021. Our recordings of di Prima performing these three poems come from various sources and are available at the di Prima PennSound page: for #16 we hear a a recording made in 1969, while for #19 we have undated tape (possibly 1982), and for #27 we hear a performance given at Naropa in 1978.

Far in toward the far end (PoemTalk #169)

George Quasha, 'self fast' and 'that music razors through' (preverbs)

George Quasha at the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation, December 2021 (photo by Al Filreis).

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Al Filreis convened Charles Bernstein, Anthony Elms, and Laynie Browne to talk about two poems by George Quasha. These were selected from Quasha’s most recent collection of his “preverbs.” The book, published by Spuyten Duyvil in 2020, titled Not Even Rabbits Go Down This Hole, consists of eight gatherings of preverbs; our two poems, coming from the final section — which bears the name of the book — are “self fast” (numbered 12; TEXT) and “that music razors through” (numbered 13; TEXT). The recordings we use in this episode can be found on PennSound’s extensive Quasha author page.

Hot and cold (PoemTalk #168)

Jayne Cortez, 'She Got He Got'

Jayne Cortez

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Amber Rose Johnson, Daniel Bergmann, and Yolanda Wisher joined Al Filreis to discuss a poem/performance piece by Jayne Cortez, “She Got He Got.” This poem was apparently the final number — or possibly the encore — concluding a set presented under the title “A Dialogue Between Voice and Drums,” before a live audience at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, New York, on October 23, 2010. Fortunately a recording was made; the audio can be heard at the start of our podcast, as usual, and the video is also made available here below. Jayne Cortez is of course the voice, while Denardo Coleman (her and Ornette Coleman’s son, and a member of the Ornette Coleman Quartet) is on drums.

Must it ring true (PoemTalk #167)

Myung Mi Kim, 'And Sing We'

From left: erica kaufman, Jack Giesking, Jonathan Dick. Photo credit: Al Filreis.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Jack Giesking, Jonathan Dick, and erica kaufman joined Al Filreis in the Arts Café of the Kelly Writers House for a discussion of the first poem — doubtless it is intended as a proem — in Myung Mi Kim’s Under Flag (published by Kelsey Street Press in 1991). The poem is “And Sing We,” and the audio recording we use was made by Ross Craig in Berkeley in 2007 and is available, of course, at the poet’s PennSound page.