Interviews - October 2011

We listen with our throats and we speak with our ears

An interview with Leevi Lehto

Editorial note: This interview is part of a feature curated by a.rawlings, “Sound, Poetry”; it began with a request for material on sound poetry as it is currently being practiced in northern Europe. “Sound, Poetry,” however, accomplishes much more than reportage. Poets from Iceland, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom converse with a broad array of Canadian interlocutors; some have even created new work together specifically for this feature. Here, a.rawlings explains the project: 

A term like “sound poetry” may no longer adequately contextualize or clarify what it is intended to represent. It seems a useful moment in the history of this term to reflect on what it means, conjures, describes, encapsulates, and wishes to hold within its reach. It seems personally useful to reflect on the relationship between gender and sound poetry. It feels politically responsible to consider this term in relation to geography.

The poem that marks things

Stephen Ratcliffe with Linda Russo

Stephen Ratcliffe in his Bolinas living room, July 28, 2010. Photo by Linda Russo.

Note: on Monday, July 28, 2010, I met up with Stephen Ratcliffe in his home in Bolinas, California, at the suggestion of Joanne Kyger. I’d been in Bolinas for almost two weeks, exploring in my own writing the landscape and the particularities of that place as do both of these poets, who have lived in this coastal community for over forty years. Ocean waves crashing and the ridge beyond, variations of fog — such particles of landscape perception comprise Temporality (Eclipse Editions, 2011), the third installment (of 1,000 pages) in a trilogy (including Portraits & Repetition and Remarks on Color / Sound) that Ratcliffe was then working on, and which he concluded on January 4, 2011.

Sound of waves in channel

Stephen Ratcliffe with Jonathan Skinner

Photo by Jonathan Skinner.

NoteThis lengthy conversation between Jonathan Skinner and Stephen Ratcliffe took place in Bolinas, California, on March 22, 2011. Photographs throughout are by Jonathan Skinner.

On duration

Stephen Ratcliffe in conversation with Jeffrey Schrader

Bolinas ridge, clockwise from upper left: April 27, 2011; May 16, 2011; January 2, 2011; June 11, 2011 (view from kitchen door). Photos by Stephen Ratcliffe.

This email ‘interview’ took place between July 14, 2008 and October 25,
2009.  Jeffrey Schrader would send me a couple of ‘questions’ and, when
I had time, I’d write a ‘reply’ – not exactly a ‘conversation’ (as he’d
first proposed), because neither of us had time for something like that
it seemed (he was over there in Oakland, I was here in Bolinas, no real
way to sit down and simply talk), and so my thoughts (replies to Jeff’s
questions) are ‘composed’, written down in the time it took me to write