Monday, February 17, 2014

February 16, 2014- Steven Seidenberg Live!

Yesterday we welcomed Steven Seidenberg to Lightrail Studios to discuss his brilliant new book Itch (RAW ArT PRESS 2014). Steven's book of both philosophy and narrative questions how one grasps the experience of being in the now, in the body; how language might endeavor to grasp being without the perhaps inevitable gap between words and experience. The 'I' ponders this dilemma from a place of experiencing the itch. Itch is comprised of lyrical vignettes in paragraph form, which inspired some of us to read out loud or while walking. Steven talked about his work in relevance to other philosophical traditions; how the attempt to work out a solution can then create a new philosophical question. The 'I' is continually grappling with his own 'failure' to capture what is being sought. At the same time, the itch provides an experience that is embodied and which does not require the mediator of language. Like other philosophical works, Itch employs words in very specific ways that manifest particular meanings within the context of the larger work. Since the book uses an itch as its launching point, the position and the role of the body is inherent throughout; while there is thought, there is no thought without the senses.
Keep your eye out for Steven's forthcoming chapbook, Null Set (Spooky Actions Books), from which he read in the last few minutes of the interview.
Click here to listen

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 9, 2014: Benjamin Hollander

We met with Benjamin Hollander a few weeks ago to discuss his new book, In the House Un-American (Clockroot Books, 2013). What ensued was extraordinary discussion about what it means to be both American and Un-American, and how both of those seemingly black-and-white terms are in constant flux and contestation. Ben treated us to several readings from his book, including a re-enactment of Bertolt Brecht's testimony in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee. Among other topics, we discussed the paradoxes one encounters in a "melting pot" society, and the use of compassionate, non-snarky irony. We ended the conversation with a focus of the extraordinary last chapter of his book which envisions the heart of Islam as American. Click here to listen.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 2, 2014: Cassandra Troyan's poetry and round table discussion

We were thrilled to accept an audio submission from Casandra Troyan, Chicago poet, who recorded two pieces from her new book  BLACKEN ME BLACKEN ME, GROWLED (Tiny Hardcore Press, 2014). (Thanks Cassandra!!!). After playing her work, we had a short discussion about what we heard there, the details of physicality and relationship she depicts so sharply. Through hearing Cassandra's wonderful and affective presentation of her work, we considered how poetry tends to get read and performed. What are the differences of reading styles between different poets and poets of different regions? What affects those differences? How does setting affect reading?
Hey awesome writers, please keep sending submissions!!!!
Later in the show, we discussed our talk with Ben Hollander, whom we met with a few weeks ago and whose interview will be aired on the 9th. Ben talked about his new book In the House Un-American (Clockroot Books, 2013). This mixed genre book investigates what it means to be American and shows us our own contradictions and complexities. By looking closely, being American is made strange. Poetry also works to make language strange; it liberates us from our language habits and unhinges us. Ben's book has been described as a 'trickster book' because it incorporates fiction and documentary styles while also being poetic, personal and political; in this way it both surprises the reader and brings the reader along as it investigates the question of this culture we think we live in. Listen on Sunday to hear Ben's interview!!!
Click Here to Listen