Al Filreis and Divya Victor cocurated this episode of PoemTalk, and it was recorded on a day when Divya Victor was back at the Kelly Writers House for several events, including a marvelous reading from her new work and discussion with Julia Bloch. Earlier, we had entered the Wexler Studio and convened Whitney Trettien and Dagmawi Woubshet to talk about two poems in Douglas Kearney’s book titled SHO, which was published by Wave Books in 2021. The two poems we discussed were “Welter” and “Static.”
Al Filreis convened Bethany Swann, Jonathan Dick, and Kate Colby to talk about a poem by Hoa Nguyen titled “Long Light.” The poem has been collected in Red Juice: Poems, 1998–2008 (150), published by Wave Books. Our recording of the poem comes from Hoa’s PennSound author page. The recording we used is from a reading presented as part of the St. Bonaveture Visiting Poets Series, on March 22, 2016.
PoemTalk went on the road again, this time to Chicago, where Al Filreis convened Lisa Fishman, Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué, and Laynie Browne at the Poetry Foundation. Before a lively live audience, the four discussed seven short poems selected from Lisa Fishman’s recent book Mad World, Mad Kings, Mad Composition (Wave Books, 2020). They are: “Many People have heard” (51); “Others could tell the difference” (65); “Have sent a point” and “Who will confess that …” (73); “Taking a sick day to remember Mr. Fishman” (149); “A line through a forest” (150); and “Steering-wheel-in-the-field” (163).
Al Filreis gathered together Jerome Rothenberg, Charles Bernstein, and Pierre Joris to talk about two poems by Armand Schwerner. The first was written near the end of Schwerner’s life, for his major series titled The Tablets. The poem discussed here is “Tablet XXV” [TEXT; AUDIO] and, along with all the other sections, it can be found in the complete edition published by the National Poetry Foundation in 1999. The second poem is an earlier one, “‘daddy, can you staple these two stars together to make an airplane?’” [TEXT; AUDIO] originally published in Seaweed and available on page 50 of Selected Shorter Poems (Junction Press, 1999).
For this PoemTalk episode about Matvei Yankelevich’s book of poems (or book-length poem), Dead Winter (Fonograf, 2022), Al Filreis convened Kevin Platt, Huda Fakhreddine, and Ahmad Almallah to discuss four poems/sections from the work: “Winter comes calling” (7), “Winter have I lost your thread?” (12), “In a disjunctive age, disconsolate, without connection” (21), and “Winter and one more mine is the other guilt” (27). Our recording of these poems was made by Matvei just for PoemTalk and is available now at his PennSound page. (That PennSound author page, by the way, already includes a video recording of a conversation with Matvei himself about Dead Winter — joined by Kevin, Ahmad, and Al as well as a dozen or so of Ahmad’s students.)