PoemTalk 70: on Laura Mullen's "Bride of the New Dawn"

Posted 9/3/2013 (link)

Today we released the latest episode of the PoemTalk Podcast series — the seventieth show overall — which addresses Laura Mullen's poem "Bride of the New Dawn" from her 2012 collection, Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Bride. For this program, host Al Filreis was joined by Michelle Taransky, Steve McLaughlin and Amy Paeth.

Filreis begins his write-up of the episode on the PoemTalk blog with some contexts for the work: "The poems — including ours, to be sure — strip bare the idea of the wedding as auratic life-moment. This concept — and the book's subtitle, its allusion to Marshall McLuhan's 1950s take on industrial folklore, the connection between Mullen's performance and Yoko Ono's Cut Piece, and much else — suggests a relationship between this poet's twenty-first-century project and Marcel Duchamp's modernist 'bachelor machine,' The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915—1923). The wedding industrial complex has wrought its lasting post-effect on the home front. The poems in a sense are PTSD sufferers. Is the wedding traumatic? As you read Mullen's prose poems you become caught in the fog-of-war confusion of lexicons, never quite able to discern, one line to the next, whether the figurative registers come from wedding planning or military strategy (or natural disasters)." You can read the rest of his introduction on Jacket2.

PoemTalk is a co-production of PennSound, the Kelly Writers House, Jacket2 and the Poetry Foundation. If you're interested in more information on the series or want to hear our archives of previous episodes, please visit the PoemTalk blog, and don't forget that you can subscribe to the series through the iTunes music store.

Maureen Owen: Two Newly-Segmented Segue Sets Maureen Owen: Two Newly-Segmented Segue Sets

Posted 9/5/2013 (link)

We've recently segmented a pair of vintage Segue readings by Maureen Owen, recorded at the series' original home, the Ear Inn.

The earlier of these was recorded on December 9, 1978 during Segue's first season of recordings — the series was launched in September with an event featuring John Ashbery and Michael Lally (you can see some early Segue fliers here) — and also featured a set by Peter Seaton. Owen's twenty-minute set included thirteen poems, including "Soaring," "The Airplane Story," "Postscript to the Rest of My Life," "The Bed of Tulips and the Electric Firefly," and "These are Cottonwoods."

Jumping forward six years, our second newly-segmented reading took place on March, 11th 1984 and also featured a set by Charles Bernstein. Here, Owen read for a half-hour, including "What Comes In the Mail Will Have Its Affect on the Heart," "We Can't Find The Traitor But Of Course He's Staying Right Here in London at the Windsor Hotel," "Stone Letter in a Pot" and selections from AE: Amelia Earhart.

You'll find both of these readings on PennSound's Maureen Owen author page, along with a wide variety of recordings from the late 70s to the present. To start exploring, click the title above.

Lyn Hejinian: 'In the American Tree' (1979) Now Segmented

Posted 9/9/2013 (link)

We continue to highlight vintage recordings from the PennSound archives that have recently been broken down into individual tracks. Today, it's Lyn Hejinian's December 7, 1979 appearance on In the American Tree, a poetry-centric radio program that aired on Berkeley's KPFA-FM during the late 70s and early 80s. Hejinian had co-hosted the program with Kit Robinson during the 1978 season; the duo was succeeded as host by Alan Bernheimer from 1979-1980.

Hejinian starts off the program with "four very new works" — "Slack Key," "Untitled" ("Eye brown study no stars"), "Punctual 1," and "Natural Room" — and then talks about the last two of these with Bernheimer. She continues this pattern of reading one or several pieces, then discusses their origins, techniques, and themes. Over the course of the half-hour program she reads a total of ten poems, which, in addition to the aforementioned titles, includes "Number Present," "Easy Go," "Low Row the Colors," "Untitled" ("Windows is screens"), "Not That Car," and "Severed Page."

Frank Sherlock and Carlos Soto-Roman: For 9/11/13: "No Formal Space for Intimacy"

Posted 9/10/2013 (link)

Listen Here

Forty years ago today, a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet waged war on the democratically elected government of Chile. It was the South American September 11th. That day began a period of cruel repression, characterized by extreme violence and human rights abuses. Thousands of people were tortured, murdered and disappeared. The Chilean people commemorate this day with remembrance, mourning and renewed commitment. We observe this date in solidarity from within the borders of the Empire where the coup began. Our collaborative composition examines the damage beyond the event itself, crossing continents and spanning years. You may hear resonances of folk singer Victor Jara, fundraiser/activist Ronni Moffitt, poet Pablo Neruda and CIA agent Michael Townley. Of course, there are also the voices inside the house.

The house is the site of an artist salon hosted by novelist Mariana Callejas, as recounted in Roberto Bolano's novel By Night in Chile. One of the few gathering places for artists after the coup, many artists attended- though almost no one would admit that they were there. Callejas was a gracious and lavish host, providing food and fine wine while her CIA husband tortured dissidents in the basement. We were drawn to the true and fictionalized accounts of the house because, as artists creating in the United States- we are in the house. Beyond historical commemoration, we needed to interrogate what it means to share our poems in the American salon while electrodes are attached to the genitals of our colleagues & comrades in basements around the world. We eat and drink the wine of our hosts. What is our level of complicity? Will we admit we were here? Will we have an explanation? What will our qualifications be?

Elizabeth Robinson: Newly Segmented 1993 Segue Set

Posted 9/13/2013 (link)

We're sending dry thoughts to all of our poet friends currently dealing with heavy rains and flooding in Colorado, including Elizabeth Robinson, whose newly-segmented 1993 Segue Series reading is currently being showcased in the PennSound sidebar box on Jacket2's front page.

Recorded October 9, 1993 at Segue's original home base, the Ear Inn, Robinson's half-hour set contains a total of sixteen poems, including "How My Father Arranged My Bed," "Easter Woman," "The Continental Divide," "Site Legend," Sopoglasis," and "The Wise Brothers."

You'll find this recording on PennSound's Elizabeth Robinson author page, along with numerous additional recordings covering a span of twenty years, including three appearances on Cross Cultural Poetics, and individual readings from the New Coast Festival, Tucson's POG series, A Voice Box, the Kelsey Street Press reading series, and Whenever We Feel Like It at our own Kelly Writers House.

Basil Bunting: 1981 Interview Segmented

Posted 9/16/2013 (link)

Fans of legendary British poet Basil Bunting will be very glad to check out our newly-segmented interview between Bunting and Peter Bell, recorded September 3, 1981 in Northumberland.

Running just over an hour, the interview has been broken up into fifteen thematic segments of between two and eight minutes, which cover a wide variety of topics, including "Quaker beliefs and atheism," "music and poetry," "Wordsworth and the Romantic poets," "sailing and navigation's relevance to poetry," the "Cubist influence on design and balance," and Bunting's 20th century contemporaries.

PennSound's Basil Bunting author page is home to a diverse array of materials related to the poet's life and work, including selections from Briggflatts and the Odes, Bunting's readings of poetry by Thomas Wyatt, Ezra Pound, Edmund Spenser, Walt Whitman, and Louis Zukofsky, and several interviews made around the same time as the one we're highlighting today.

Relive the 2009 MLA Offsite Reading One Poet at a Time

Posted 9/18/2013 (link)

Philadelphia's had the honor of hosting the MLA's Annual Convention quite frequently in recent years, and given the city's thriving poetry community it's always resulted in a great MLA Offsite Reading. The last year the conference graced our city was in 2009 and that year's Offsite, co-organized by our own Julia Bloch and Michelle Taransky, was particularly wonderful. Now thanks to the efforts of Anna Zalokostas, we're able to present individually-segmented sets for all fifty-three participants, an impressive roster that included (in order) Matthew Landis, Rodrigo Toscano, Carlos Soto Román, Kim Gek Lin Short, Jacob Russell, Angel Hogan, Ish Klein, Gregory Laynor, Nava EtShalom, Ryan Eckes, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, David Larsen, Norma Cole, Rod Smith, Frank Sherlock, CA Conrad, Aldon Nielsen, Bob Perelman, Suzanne Heyd, Emily Abendroth, Laura Moriarty, Evie Shockley, Pattie McCarthy, Ron Silliman, Thomas Devaney, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Tyrone Williams, Jenn McCreary, Carla Harryman, Kate Lilley, Steve Dolph, Chris McCreary, Jennifer Scappettone, Lisa Howe, Bill Howe, Charles Cantalupo, Julie Phillips Brown, Norman Finkelstein, Mel Nichols, Aaron Kunin, Jamie Townsend, Michael S. Hennessey, Chris Carrier, Eric Selland, Barrett Watten, James Shea, Sandra Lim, Mecca Sullivan, Danny Snelson, Michelle Taransky, Herman Beavers, Adrian Khactu and Julia Bloch.

To start listening, click on the title above, and don't forget to check out all of the other recordings on our MLA Offsite series page.

Into the Field: Erin Moure with Chus Pato

Posted 9/20/2013 (link)

This week saw the release of the latest program in Steve McLaughlin's podcast series, Into the Field, which showcases Erin Mouré's work as both a poet and a translator.

The program starts with Mouré reading a healthy selection of poems from her then-latest volume, O Resplandor. Towards the end, she's joined by poet Chus Pato, who reads her work in her native Galician, while Mouré reads her translations. In his introduction, McLaughlin points out that "Erin's mother was born in the Galicia region of northwest Spain, and as an adult Erin began visiting Galicia regularly. She picked up the Galician language, and has since written poetry in Galician and translated the work of Galician poets," in addition to translating "works from French, Spanish, and Portuguese into English."

In Memoriam: Carolyn Cassady (1923-2013)

Posted 9/23/2013 (link)

News broke this weekend that Carolyn Cassady had passed away at a hospital near her home in Bracknell, England. She was ninety years old.

It's far too easy to define Cassady through her long and tumultuous marriage to Neal Cassady, or her affair with Jack Kerouac (or, for that matter, his depictions of her as Camille and Evelyn in novels including On the Road, Desolation Angels, and Big Sur), and certainly many have. Like her Beat-era peers including Joyce Johnson and Hettie Jones, Cassady shared her own perspectives on those fabled times — first in Heartbeat: My Life with Jack and Neal (1982), and later in Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg (1996) — revealing both the heartaches and betrayals inherent to living within a misogynistic counterculture, but also the unique freedoms available there that mainstream American lifestyles couldn't offer. In addition to her writing, Cassady was also an award-winning visual artist and spent many years working in theater doing set and costume design.

To commemorate Cassady's life, we offer our listeners a 2006 video of Cassady at San Francisco's Beat Museum that comes to us through the Cloud House Poetry Archives. Over the course of its forty-six minutes, she gives a small talk honoring Neurotica publisher Jay Landesman, reads poetry from her friends, and takes part in a brief Q&A session. Also in attendance were Cassady's three children Cathleen, Jami and John Allen Cassady, along with Al Hinkle and several other friends of the family from their Beat Generation years.

Ish Klein: New Author Page

Posted 9/27/2013 (link)

Our newest author page is for the multi-talented poet and filmmaker, Ish Klein. There, you'll find recordings spanning nearly a decade.

The oldest of these is Klein's brief set from The Philly Sound: New Poetry Weekend, an event held in August 2003 at our own Kelly Writers House. We also have brief sets from Episode #71 of Live at the Writers House (2008) and the 2009 MLA Offsite Reading held at the Rotunda in West Philly.

These are joined by longer sets including Klein's set from the 2011 AWP Offsite Reading in Washington, D.C. and a February 2012 appearance as part of the Segue Series at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Basil's Arc: A Celebration of the Paintings and Poetics of Basil King, 2012

Posted 9/30/2013 (link)

One of the most recent additions to our site is audio and video of a tribute event to Brooklyn-based poet and painter Basil King, which took place a little over a year ago.

"Basil's Arc: A Celebration of the Paintings and Poetics of Basil King" was held at New York City's Anthology Film Archives on September 22, 2012 and was organized by Kim Lyons and King's friends. The thirty-three minute set includes Mitch Highfill, Joe Elliot, Hettie Jones, Martha King, and Michael Mann reading from King's 2011 memoir, Learning to Draw/A History.

PennSound's Basil King author page is home to three other recordings dating from 2009 to the present, including two drawing heavily from Learning to Draw — one at the St. Mark's Poetry Project in 2012, the other as part of the Prose Pros series in 2010 — along with an earlier reading from that series highlighting King's book Warp Spasm.