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 through 232; these appear on pages 89 to 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.
William Corbett visited the Kelly Writers House in October 2017 for a retrospective reading and conversation with Stan Mir in honor of the poet Michael Gizzi. During his visit, Corbett and I had a conversation in the Wexler Studio about the work of New York School poet James Schuyler, whose Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler Corbett edited (Turtle Point Press, 2009). In our conversation, we discussed Schuyler’s early poems, his methods of perception, his fondness for children, his attention to New York and its qualities of light from his apartment window, and Corbett’s long career of teaching Schuyler’s poetry to undergraduate students.
Al Filreis was joined by Ellen Berman, Anthony Rostain, and Ahmad Almallah to talk about Anne Sexton’s poem “The Ambition Bird” (1972). Berman and Rostain are practicing psychiatrists, and Almallah is a poet whose first book, Bitter English, is being published by University of Chicago Press. A film of Sexton reading the poem — available on YouTube — is the basis of the audio we extracted.
Allison Cobb and Brian Teare joined Julia Bloch, Knar Gavin, and Aylin Malcolm in the Wexler Studio on April 2, 2019, following their lunchtime discussion with scholars and poets from Penn’s Poetry and Poetics and Anthropocene and Animal Studies reading groups. Our discussion ranged from human embeddedness in the nonhuman world to the role of affect in poetry that seeks to reckon with ever intensifying ecodisasters.
The Nevada-based poet Jared Stanley visited Philadelphia and the Kelly Writers House in April 2017 during a book tour for the release of Ears, which Sam Lohmann in The Volta, has called “a manifesto of interdependence and susceptibility, a theory of the senses, and a deliberate sequence of jokes about lyric address.”