Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 18, 2013 Elizabeth Robinson Live!

Today we welcomed Elizabeth Robinson into the studio. We primarily discussed her book Counterpart (Ahsahta Press, 2012). The conversation began with a consideration of 'the uncanny' in writing and the investigation of the double, the doppelganger. Robinson's poems grapple with what happens when we meet our counterpart, how we interact with, criticize, investigate the copy of ourselves. How does the poet act as 'other'? The book contains quotes by other writers who similarly interrogated the 'other;' these quotes act as part of this conversation. Like Robinson's other work, Counterpart contains the religious and spiritual, including a 'study' of Hell. In the second half of the interview we discussed the uncanny in writing from the point of view of the writer and the reader. Elizabeth shared with us perhaps the best analogy of poetry ever, as compared to the Invisible Man. A large section of the book, 'The Golem,' was inspired by the novel of the same name by Gustav Meyrink. Towards the end of our time together, Elizabeth was kind enough to share poems from her newer books, Blue Heron and On Ghosts. We talked about how her work, and her form, have transformed over time.
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Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 4, 2013 Susan Gevirtz live!

Today we interviewed Susan Gevirtz live in the studio, discussing two of her books. First, we engaged with her book of poetic essays, Coming Events (Collected Writings) (Nightboat Books, 2013).  This book is divided into three sections and includes work spanning 21 years. Since she is so present in Susan's essays, we had an introduction to Dorothy Richardson, who was the first to write in stream of consciousness. Susan is interested in ethnography as a writing practice and through this lens, was able to analyze Richard's work as a illustration of what it was like to be a turn-of-the-century woman in London. Throughout this half of the interview we tackled 'feminist poetics.'
After the top of the hour we moved into discussing her book of poetry, Aerodrome Orion & Starry Messenger (Kelsey Street Press 2010). The physical book is quite large, giving space to the text which is often spread out on the page. The work deals with the skies and air travel, including the language of air traffic controllers. There is also a healthy helping of mythology which demonstrated an understanding of how planets and stars work. In modern day, different countries own different parts of the sky and this influences the way we negotiate being in the air. We were lucky enough to hear a number of pieces from both Susan's books.
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July 21, 2013 Hugh and Mary Behm-Steinberg live!

We had the great pleasure to welcome Hugh and Mary Behm-Steinberg in the studio to discuss their beautiful book The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press 2013). The book is very formally interesting; the poetry was provided by Hugh and the illustrations by Mary. The poems occupy the odd numbered pages and the pictures the even numbered pages. The illustrations (which were created based on a poem that is not in the book) comprise a flip book; these visuals create a narrative of a serpent that becomes a tree with a knot and a child running up a staircase. There are also lovers and a winged woman. The visuals are dreamlike and gorgeous and need to be seen. The poems deal with spirituality and love. They are arranged in a way that slows the reader down; they are centered on the page and the lines are spaced so that they are not read with the breath. The content deals with both the fantastic and surreal and the mundane. Hugh discussed his 'mosiac I' and how different sources and registers find way into the poetic content. There is a mystical tradition that informs this work, mapping experience through language. There is also a political element as some of the pieces were written during our war with Iraq. Throughout our talk we witnessed Mary and Hugh's loving relationship made manifest on the page.
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