The whole world smiles (PoemTalk #184)

John Giorno, 'Everyone is a complete disappointment'

From left: Brooke O’Harra, Michelle Taransky, Chris Funkhouser.


Al Filreis brought together Michelle Taransky, Brooke O’Harra, and Christopher Funkhouser to talk about a piece created, performed, and recorded by John Giorno, titled “Everyone is a complete disappointment.” It was included on the album John Giorno and Anne Waldman: A Kulchur Selection, released in 1977 from the Giorno Poetry Systems label. Among the album’s cuts are two Giorno pieces and four by Anne Waldman (famously among the latter: “Fast Speaking Woman” and “White Eyes”). “Everyone Is a Complete Disappointment” was recorded on May 1, 1977, at ZBS Media.

Sarah Riggs

Sounding Translation episode 2

Photo of Sarah Riggs by Omar Berrada.

In this interview conducted by Teresa Villa-Ignacio, the poet, translator, filmmaker, and activist Sarah Riggs recalls how, upon moving to Paris in the early 2000s, she began translating French poets including Isabelle Garron, Marie Borel, Etel Adnan, Stéphane Bouquet, and Ryoko Sekiguchi. Riggs also discusses how this translation work impacted her own poetry, including the books Waterwork (Chax, 2007) and Autobiography of Envelopes (Burning Deck, 2012), and describes opportunities for poetic translation exchanges she has facilitated through the organizations Double Change and Tamaas. The interview was recorded on June 8, 2013, in Paris.

Present plans succeed (PoemTalk #183)

Dodie Bellamy, 'Vomit Journal'

From left: Henry Steinberg, Chantine Akiyama Poh, Murat Nemet-Nejat.


Murat Nemet-Nejat, Henry Steinberg, and Chantine Akiyama Poh joined Al Filreis in our Wexler Studio to discuss a published excerpt of dated sections or entries from Dodie Bellamy’s Vomit Journal. The text as published can be consulted here. In part because of time constraints, we listened to and discussed most although not all of these sections. Our recording came directly from Dodie — who graciously agreed to record a reading for us (it is now linked in our Bellamy PennSound page).

Kathleen Fraser

Sounding Translation episode 1

Image of Kathleen Fraser courtesy of Poets House.


In this interview, recorded on October 14, 2013, in San Francisco, Kathleen Fraser describes to Teresa Villa-Ignacio her interest in and advocacy for the translation of women poets in her legendary 1980s and early 1990s newsletter, HOW(ever), as well as some of her own translations from the Italian.

Woot of the century (PoemTalk #182)

Douglas Kearney, 'Welter' and 'Static' from 'SHO'

From left: Divya Victor, Whitney Trettien, Dagmawi Woubshet.


Al Filreis and Divya Victor cocurated this episode of PoemTalk, and it was recorded on a day when Divya Victor was back at the Kelly Writers House for several events, including a marvelous reading from her new work and discussion with Julia Bloch. Earlier, we had entered the Wexler Studio and convened Whitney Trettien and Dagmawi Woubshet to talk about two poems in Douglas Kearney’s book titled SHO, which was published by Wave Books in 2021. The two poems we discussed were “Welter” and “Static.”