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.)
This episode of PoemTalk features a discussion of two poems from Maggie O’Sullivan’s bookIn the House of the Shaman, which was published in 1993 by Reality Street. The first piece, “To our Own Day,” was grouped with other poems under the heading “Kinship with Animals.” The second poem discussed is “Hill Figures” from the section titled “Prisms & Hearers.” For this conversation, PoemTalk’s producer and host Al Filreis convened Julia Bloch, Charles Bernstein, and (visiting from Berkeley) Eric Falci. O’Sullivan’s extensive PennSound page includes a recording made — no doubt by Charles Bernstein himself — of a reading given in Buffalo on October 27, 1993; the two poems were chosen for that performance.
Al Filreis brought together Abdulhamit Arvas, Dagmawi Woubshet, and Carlos Decena to talk about one of John Ashbery’s very early poems. “Some Trees,” preceded only by “The Painter” among verse written when Ashbery was an undergraduate at Harvard that the poet chose to keep and publish later, was written during the evening of November 16, 1948. Ashbery was just twnety-one years old. PennSound’s Ashbery page includes several recordings of him reciting this poem.