New writing through the Anthropocene

PennSound podcast #63: Allison Cobb and Brian Teare with Julia Bloch, Knar Gavin, and Aylin Malcolm

Book covers for Brian Teare's Doomstead Days and Allison Cobb's Green-Wood.


Allison Cobb and Brian Teare joined Julia Bloch, Knar Gavin, and Aylin Malcolm in the Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House 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 relationship between poetic duration and historiography to the role of affect in poetry that seeks to reckon with the ever-intensifying ecodisasters of our time.

Allison Cobb visited the Writers House to celebrate her book Green-Wood, originally published by Factory School in 2010 and rereleased in 2018 in a new edition by Nightboat Books with a foreword by Brian Teare. Cobb’s work combines historical and scientific research, essay, and poetry to address issues of landscape, politics, and ecology. Cobb has been a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and for the National Poetry Series; she has been a Playa Resident Artist and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, among other honors.

Brian Teare visited the Writers House to celebrate his most recent book, Doomstead Days, published in 2019 by Nightboat Books. Gillian Conoley says that Doomstead Days that “thinks itself toward new ground in our hurt world. How Teare manages to tell the complicated history of our complicity with such generosity, compassion and love is a mystery.” Doomstead Days also includes a twenty-one-page sequence titled “Headlands Quadrats,” dedicated in memoriam to Joanne Kyger and published as a limited edition chapbook by MC Hyland’s DoubleCross Press in 2018. Teare’s honors include a Lambda Literary Award and fellowships from the NEA, the Pew Foundation, the American Antiquarian Society, and the MacDowell Colony. 

Knar Gavin is a doctoral candidate in English at Penn who holds graduate degrees from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Syracuse University and whose research pertains to environmental theory, media ecologies and experimentalism in literature, new media, and film. Gavin is the author of the chapbook Vela (Operating System) and recent poetry in Storm Cellar, Denver Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Aylin Malcolm is a PhD student in English at Penn studying exchanges between poetry and scientific writing in late medieval Europe. A Montreal native, they hold a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from McGill, where they studied arctic marine mammals.

Later that evening, after our studio conversation, Cobb and Teare gave a reading at the Kelly Writers House; you can find audio and video of that event at this link. — Julia Bloch