Kristin Prevallet, Simone White, and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge joined Al Filreis to talk about Barbara Guest’s poem “The Blue Stairs,” title poem of the book published in 1968. It can be found on pages 61–63 of the Collected Poems, edited by Hadley Guest and published by Wesleyan in 2008, fifty years later. PennSound’s Barbara Guest page is, we think, a thing of beauty, featuring more than a dozen readings across decades, each reading-length recording organized into poem-by-poem segments. The Guest author page includes three different performances of “The Blue Stairs,” the first given at the Library of Congress in June of 1969; the second a studio recording made in 1984; the third in 1996.
Argentine poet Dani Zelko was joined in the Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House by Jennifer Ponce de León to discuss North Border: forced migrations(Gato Negro, 2019), the latest installment of Zelko’s Reunión project. Zelko and Ponce de León’s conversation explores the Reunión writing procedure as a “reciprocal work,” the book as a political object, migrant and feminist agencies, and artistic production as means to form community.
This episode of PoemTalk was cocurated by Mark Nowak and Al Filreis. In it we discuss with Meg Pendoley and Husnaa Hashim six short poems following the tanka form. The tankas were composed by three poets, two tankas each by Christine Yvette Lewis, Lorraine Garnett, and Davidson Garrett. The poets are members of the Worker Writers School, which meets regularly in New York City. The recordings we hear in the episode were made by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Zardon Richardson at a meeting of the workshop on February 2, 2019. With our program notes, we make available the films of these poets performing their poems.
Wendy Trevino joined hosts Levi Bentley and Ted Rees for this PennSound podcast, the first in a series of intimate conversations in Housework’s transition from reading series to recording series. Conversation topics included Barack Obama’s appearance in Best Experimental Writing 2016, post-arrest listmaking, “unequal collateral,” and further associations drawn from Trevino’s 2018 collection Cruel Fiction.
Al Filreis gathered with Adrienne Raphel, Jennifer Firestone, and Julia Bloch to talk about Maggie Nelson’s Bluets. This book of 240 numbered prose-poem propositions was published by Wave Books in 2009. The group focuses on eleven sections, those numbered 222–232; these appear on pages 89–93 in the Wave edition. Maggie Nelson’s PennSound page includes several recordings of readings in which she performs this work. The recording we play at the start of this episode is from a reading she gave at Boise State University in Idaho on April 26, 2013.