Lyn Hejinian

February 21–22, 2004


Lyn Hejinian

Lyn Hejinian is a poet, essayist, and translator; she was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives in Berkeley. Published collections of her writing include Writing is An Aid to Memory, My Life, Oxota: A Short Russian Novel, Leningrad (written in collaboration with Michael Davidson, Ron Silliman, and Barrett Watten), The Cell, The Cold of Poetry, and A Border Comedy; the University of California Press published a collection of her essays entitled The Language of Inquiry. She has travelled and lectured extensively in Russia as well as Europe, and Description and Xenia, two volumes of her translations from the work of the contemporary Russian poet Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, have been published by Sun and Moon Press. From 1976 to 1984, Hejinian was the editor of Tuumba Press and from 1981 to 1999 she was the co-editor (with Barrett Watten) of Poetics Journal. She is also the co-director (with Travis Ortiz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets; Atelos was nominated as one of the best independent literary presses by the Firecracker Awards in 2001. Other collaborative projects include a work entitled The Eye of Enduring undertaken with the painter Diane Andrews Hall and exhibited in 1996, a composition entitled Quê Trân with music by John Zorn and text by Hejinian, a mixed media book entitled The Traveler and the Hill and the Hill created with the painter Emilie Clark (Granary Press, 1998), and the experimental film Letters Not About Love, directed by Jacki Ochs, for which Hejinian and Arkadii Dragomoshchenko wrote the script. In the fall of 2000, she was elected the sixty-sixth Fellow of the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

PennSound audio recordings

  1. Introduction from My Life in the Ninties (11:04)
  2. "This is a hazard of happiness" from The Book of a Thousand Eyes(6:59)
  3. "Once a poignant catalyst..." (0:30)
  4. "The sea as it receives..." (1:10)
  5. "The D baby and her brother..." (1:25)
  6. "I could instruct the children..." (0:22)
  7. "There in your hand..." (1:23)
  8. "I ran to pack..." (0:17)
  9. "The fallen grass in winter..." (1:20)
  10. "Here in a sudden of this to Caesar..." (0:41)
  11. "Once there was a village..." (1:12)
  12. "A woman is expressing sympathy..." (1:04)
  13. "I have this to say..." (0:14)
  14. "Lyn?"(0:05)
  15. "When we want something..." (1:31)
  16. "Constant change figures..." (0:45)
  17. "Walking around, posing..." (2:07)
  18. "My mother keeps her folded bicycle..." (1:55)
  19. "Optically riveted..." (0:33)
  20. "The wife of the merchant George..." (1:27)
  21. "I have lived aboard a ship..." from The Unfollowed(0:43)
  22. "Every minute proves..." (1:01)
  23. "All that the girl thought irrelevant.." (1:25)
  24. "To begin with, I am faced..." (1:29)

Segmented Discussion

  1. introduction (5:37): MP3
  2. on Carl Rakosi (1:55): MP3
  3. on "The Fatalist" (15:31): MP3
  4. on barbarism (4:18): MP3
  5. the western desire to describe (4:11): MP3
  6. "My Life" and compositional practice (2:09): MP3
  7. younger poets and politics (3:21): MP3
  8. poetry and ordinary language (4:08): MP3
  9. terminology in contemporary literary history (4:05): MP3
  10. social aspect of the language movement (1:47): MP3
  11. truncated words (2:44): MP3
  12. poetic practice and technology: engaging texts (3:51): MP3
  13. the anthology process (4:36): MP3
  14. wordplay vs. syntax in "Scheherazade" (4:08): MP3
  15. theory and poetry: shared spaces (4:04): MP3
  16. on Charles William Beebe (6:51): MP3
  17. on Russian influences (4:08): MP3
  18. reading from "the Fatalist" (2:09): MP3

complete reading: (1:20:22): MP3