Tuesday, October 30, 2012

AWP interests

Post-Genre Lit: Form in the 21st Century. (Lacy M. Johnson, Nick Flynn, Claudia Rankine, Kazim Ali, Stephen Elliott) An increasing body of literature not only blurs the boundaries between creative and critical, prose and verse, observation and invention, but also transcends and transgresses our most basic convictions about genre. Post-genre lit can alter our conversations about perception, experience, and reality; or it can kindle deep-seated animosities about the rules and limits of form. These divergent writers will discuss how they read, teach, write and publish work that defies classification.


Feminism Meets Neo-Benshi: Movietelling Talks Back. (Sarah Rosenthal, Tracie Morris, Bhanu Kapil, Paolo Javier, Jennifer Firestone) Neo-benshi, also called movietelling, meets contemporary feminism in this panel where poets co-opt popular film and subvert its plots and purposes for their own. The panelists have rewritten film scripts to critique and respond to current social issues. Panelists will perform these short pieces, which explore Neo-benshi’s potential for feminist dialogue and collaboration as well as its capacity to talk back, as it were, to society at large.


Options of the I: The Post-Memoir Memoir. (Sven Birkerts, Lia Purpura, Brian Christian, Nin Andrews, Alex Lemon) AGNI marks its 40th birthday with an exploration of personal writing in the age of the complexified I. Panelists Lia Purpura, Brian Christian, Nin Andrews, and Alex  Lemon (with moderator Sven Birkerts) will consider issues of obliquity, fragmentation, collage and counterpoint, truth-telling, personae, tonal ventriloquism, and other approaches that conduce to projecting new configurations of the contemplative and narrative self.


Bending Genre. (Margot Singer, Nicole Walker, Robin Hemley, Dave Madden, Ander Monson) The hot debate over ethics in creative nonfiction has sidelined important questions of literary form. Hybrid, innovative, and unconventional, nonfiction is arguably the most exciting area on the literary scene today. But how does nonfiction actually work? How does it recombine and transform elements of other genres? What techniques distinguish nonfiction from other kinds of prose? Contributors to a groundbreaking new anthology of critical essays share their perspectives and ideas.


Wesleyan Poetry Series Reading. (Stephanie Elliott, Rae Armantrout, Kazim Ali, Annie Finch, Jena Osman) Readings from the newest titles in the Wesleyan Poetry series. Rae Armantrout’s Just Saying continues her standard of inventive, tightly written verse. Spells: New and Collected Poems represents Annie Finch’s technical mastery and her illuminating response to the world. Kazim Ali’s carefully crafted Icarus is an ethereal meditation on the human spirit. Jena Osman’s Public Figures employs a hybrid form of poetry, prose, and found text to explore memory and remembrance in  American culture.


The Arcadia Project: Writing the Postmodern Pastoral. (Joshua Corey, Brenda Iijima, Dan Beachy-Quick, Jennifer Moxley, Jonathan Skinner) The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral is a groundbreaking new anthology from Ahsahta Press of contemporary poems that interrogate, refurbish, and upend the American pastoral tradition of Emerson and Thoreau. Four poets represented in the book discuss their work and explore the relevance of the ancient genre of idealized nature poetry to a world increasingly dominated by the discourse of disaster and environmental crisis.


A Monster for Your Bridegroom: Jewish Mysticism in Contemporary Poetry. (Sheri Allen, Peter Cole, Willis Barnstone, Joy Ladin, Jacqueline Osherow) A complex Jewish mystical tradition threaded with erotic elements has been a generous source of material appropriated by poets such as Allen Ginsberg amid the sexual and social revolutions of the 20th century. But in a current cultural milieu which often associates religion with repressive violence and antagonism toward sexual exploration, how do poets make use of this erotic mysticism to speak to contemporary experience?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Topeka-Based Poetry Events

November 28, 2012
Karen Barron, Israel Wasserstein, and Dennis Etzel Jr.
Washburn University
Mabee Library

December 7, 2012
This reading features experimental and hybrid forms by writers from around Topeka: Cal Phoenix, John McClenny, M, Elise Barnett, Eddie Foree, Dorian Hadley, Tori Willmon, and Tess Wilson.
Blue Planet Cafe

A visit to Grolier Poetry Book Store

One of the three all-poetry bookstores in the USA, Grolier is the last I need to visit. I've been to Open Books in Seattle, to Innisfree in Boulder, and, now, trips on the subway during AWP will be a highlight.


Yes, I love bookstores!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Docupoems by African American Poets

I'm amazed how facebook allows discussions like these. Thanks, Joe, for putting this out there.


Joseph Harrington

OK - so I'm teaching a course on "Documentary Poetry" next semester - a seminar for senior honors students. I want to teach docupoems by African American poets. I'm thinking about Cecil Giscombe, but am worried he might fry them. I could do Don't Let Me Be Lonely. Other ideas?

Mark Wallace Too obvious, of course, and not recent: Langston Hughes, "Montage of a Dream Deferred," and Melvin Tolson, Harlem Gallery.

Joseph Harrington You're right, Mark - I think I'm going to include at least one of those.

Dennis EtzelJr Don't Let Me Be Lonely! Love that one. How about the latest Kevin Young one around the Amistad?

Joseph Harrington O right - have you read it, Dennis?

Dennis EtzelJr No, I haven't. I remember how different it looks. Less like his stanzas, more like documents, letters.

Catherine Daly though it would be a shame to do young's Amistad without Barbara Chase-Ribaud...

Dennis EtzelJr Nice!

Ben Friedlander If you are including Rukeyser, might be good to add Robert Hayden's "Middle Passage," which drew on her Amistad research. There's also Gwendolyn Brooks's "verse journalism," her poem "In Montgomery," first published in a special issue of Ebony on the state of the South. I suspect you could fit Jay Wright in too, if you like his work, as an instance of Dogon research.

Jena Osman don't know if you can include Caribbean: Trench Town Rock by Kamau Brathwaite

Jena Osman and for Tolson you might want to try his Libretto for the Republic of Liberia

Catherine Daly Cesaire

Jena Osman again, not American (as in U.S.), but certainly addressing issues of race: Nourbese Philip's Zong

Michele Battiste Camille Dungy's Suck on the Marrow

Michele Battiste Tyehimba Jess's Leadbelly

Ben Friedlander Thinking too that the documentary status of African American poetry has been at issue from Wheatley on, which ought to be addressed. And in that light would propose God's Trombones as exemplary: it's documentary in method while making a case for the sermon's own status as document.

Rosa Alcala Yes, Jena Osman, Trench Town Rock, although its Caribbean. And Natasha Trethewey. I even want to put Mullen's S*PeRM**K*T in there.

Rosa Alcala it's

Rosa Alcala I think Ben's right, and to consider Hughes' work as documentary is to delve into matters of" "authenticity" vs. artistic expression/representation.

Rosa Alcala I want to take your class, Joe!

Joseph Harrington These are great ideas, folks! Thank you! Ben, hadn't known re: the Rukeyser/Hayden connection - definitely doing Book of the Dead, maybe Mediterraneo. But Jay Wright? His stuff fries *me* (tho I like the sound of it quite a bit). And excellent point Re: Af-Am poetry (lit.) being taken *as* documentary. Jena - yeah, those are on my short-list. But I also have an eye on this NEH seminar we're having this summer re: teaching African-American poetry (per se). Michele - thanks for mentioning Suck on the Marrow as a docupoem - that was one I was thinking of. More voice-based than most stuff I'm doing, but that's precisely what's at issue, in that book. Rosa - why S*perM*k*t as docupo? B/c of the lyrics, ads, etc?

Joseph Harrington My cup runneth over! I'm running to get another cup! Keep 'em comin!

Rosa Alcala I know it's a stretch, but I'm thinking of the ways it documents this commercial space. Of course, it's not investigative in the usual sense, in its direct or collaged use of sources. But, I wouldn't consider Hughes' Montage investigative or documentary.

Lee Chapman What do you mean Giscombe might fry them? He's an excellent docupoem proponent. Would frying them be a good thing or a bad thing?

Sarah Fox Zong is amazing, I second that, and have taught parts of it with great success.

Susan Schweik I've taught Cecil's "Indianapolis, Indiana" to nonmajors even. With a lot of framing about the Tribe of Ishmael. Very fun. Even did it again.

Joseph Harrington Thanks, Sue!! I was looking for some encouragement. I'm thinking honors students here = regular students at Berkeley, in terms of prep. Do you have any resources re: Tribe of Ishmael that you'd recommend?

Susan Schweik I've got something unpublished written on it I can send you!

Joseph Harrington Thanks!!

Don Byrd Paul Metcalf

Goro Takano Wish I could take your course, Joe.

Dale Martin Smith Lorenzo Thomas--Dancing on Main Street--Chances Are Few, etc

Dale Martin Smith Also M. Nourbese Philips' ZONG

Aldon Lynn Nielsen http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/11/nyregion/amiri-baraka-newark-poet-looks-back-on-a-bloody-week-in-1967.html?_r=0

Aldon Lynn Nielsen I hadn't jumped in yet because I wasn't clear from the comments how people were defining "documentary" -- but if Montage of a Dream Deferred qualifies, then certainly Baraka's WISE does. And check out that piece in today's NY TIMES.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis There's something about the few prose poems by Fenton Johnson that might help out here.

Joseph Harrington I'm not sure I've ever read them, Rachel - book?