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.
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.
Edwin Torres, Huda Fakhreddine, and Jena Osman joined Al Filreis in the Arts Café at the Kelly Writers House to talk about a performance piece by Cecilia Vicuña. The piece was a segment in a ninety-minute presentation titled “An Illustrated Conversation” that took place in the same room at the Writers House in February of 2017. One of the parts of the performance goes under the title “Colliding and not colliding at the same time.” The segment begins as the audience, having been encouraged to ask questions about an art video that had just been screened, went momentarily silent. No questions were being asked, so Vicuña began improvisationally to fill the room with words and sounds, exploring a convergence or collision of topics: the then-recent election of Donald Trump, the “millionaires’ coup” in Brazil, the “mystery of what is happening at this moment in the earth,” the collective thought of the people in the room, and the room itself.
Al Filreis convened Pattie McCarthy, Kate Colby, and Lily Applebaum to talk about a poem by Stephen Collis that appeared in his book, A History of the Theories of Rain, published by Talonbooks in Vancouver in 2021. The poem is titled “Yes I Do Want to Punch” — and perhaps should be called “Yes I Do Want to Punch / fascists in the face,” proceeding to its key first line. Our recording of Collis performing the poem comes from a video he made just for PoemTalk, and it is available on his PennSound page.
Knar Gavin, Anna Vitale, and Sophia DuRose joined Al Filreis in the Arts Café of the Kelly Writers House to discuss a three-page section of Leslie Scalapino’s “‘Can’t’ is ‘Night’” — the passage having been chosen by the poet for It’s Go in Horizontal: Selected Poems, 1974–2006. Our recording of the poem comes from a May 17, 2007, episode of Charles Bernstein’s series Close Listening. It requires close listening indeed, and a somewhat distinct encounter of seeing the poem as text. Scalapino does have a remarkable talent for sounding out words she has put in quotation marks (can you hear them here?). Crucially, she sounds out linebreaks too: listen for the break between “character” and “night” in “separation of character and / night.” After all, “night exists at day — but is not the same night so / night is not-existing.”