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.
PoemTalk went on the road, along with PoemTalk’s editor Zach Carduner, our tech guru pal Chris Martin (Zach on video, Chris on audio), and our colleague Laynie Browne. We wandered up some PA/NJ/NY highways into the mid-Hudson Valley, landing at Annandale-on-Hudson, the home of Bard College, where we decamped with all our gear and were joined by Joan Retallack, erica kaufman, and Laynie.
Al Filreis brought together Bethany Swann, Henry Steinberg, and Caroline Bergvall (who was then completing her residence as a Kelly Writers House Fellow) to talk about four poems Caroline and Al had selected from Sawako Nakayasu’s book Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From (published in 2020 by Wave Books). The four poems: “Girl A’s Peanuts and Girl D’s Mouthful,” “Gun,” “Girl in a Field of Flowers,” and “Ten Girls in a Bag of Potato Chips.” This last poem — “Ten Girls” — is also presented in the book in a French translation by Geneve Chao and a Japanese translation by Miwako Ozawa. Our recordings were made by Sawako Nakayasu just for PoemTalk, for which we are grateful, and we are also pleased to have recordings of French and Japanese translations by Chao and Ozawa.