Hack my name (PoemTalk #194)

Veronica Forrest-Thomson, “S/Z” & “Lemon and Rosemary”

The PoemTalk team once again went on the road — or, anyway, over the sea — and spent a glorious week in Scotland, talking and filming new discussions of poems with many colleagues. On one of those days we gathered with friends at the Fruitmarket Arts Center in Edinburgh. Poet Iain Morrison, one of the PoemTalkers in this episode and a member of the Fruitmarket staff, helped us coordinate and host this event. The other colloquists are Laynie Browne, Lee Ann Brown, and Anthony Capildeo.

In this special episode we discuss two poems by the late Veronica Forrest-Thomson. The poems, “S/Z” and “Lemon and Rosemary,” can be found in Collected Poems and Translations (1990). We want to acknowledge the efforts of Laynie Browne who chose the poems and curated this episode. The audio you’ll hear toward the beginning is from a recording made at the important Cambridge Poetry Festival of April 1975; we note that Forrest-Thomson’s performance there preceded her death by just a few weeks. If you follow the reading of “Lemon and Rosemary” along with the final published text you’ll notice that there are significant differences between that and the version she read at the festival. For permission to play recordings of these poems, from the collection of the British Library Sound Archive, we want to thank Dr. Gareth Farmer and the poet’s Estate.

Chris Martin and Zach Carduner filmed and sound-recorded this special episode. Later Zach edited the audio podcast and also the video we present here (linked to YouTube and also available in a copy we’ve added to our media server.)

Next time on PoemTalk we’ll be back at the Writers House in Philadelphia and we’ll be talking with Richard Deming, James Berger, and our own Sophia DuRose about two poems by Ron Padgett, “The Austrian Maiden” and “Joe Brainard’s Painting Bingo.”