Monday, May 26, 2014

May 25, 2014 Remembering Colleen Lookingbill

On Sunday we gathered an unprecedented number of poets at Lightrail Studios to celebrate an unparalleled poet and spirit, Colleen Lookingbill, who unfortunately left us on March 30th. Besides the Poet as Radio hosts, Tiff Dressen, Susanne Dyckman, Todd Melicker, Joseph Noble, Steven Seidenberg, Candy Shue along with Colleen's husband Jordon Zorker took part in a memorial show, which included a reading of Colleen's work and a discussion of her life. We heard work from both her books Incognita (Sink Press, 1992) and a forgetting of (Lyric & Press, 2011), as well as some other pieces published in literary journals.
After the break, the group shared anecdotes from Colleen's life and artistic endeavors. Jordon told us that she was influenced by the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and she liked the term 'experimental poetry.' Colleen was also a visual artist and she created visual poetry that was included in a forgetting of. Colleen was an incredibly open and giving person. Tiff introduced Colleen's relationship to Buddhism and Jordon expanded on this, discussing her interest in different spiritual traditions. Joseph told us about his experience of book shopping with Colleen, where she gravitated towards obscure texts. One of her last projects was an anthology of women poets she compiled with Elizabeth Robinson, As If It Fell From the Sun (Ether Dome, 2012).
Thank you to all the poets who took part in this show.
And thank you Colleen for your poetry, your presence and the beautiful mark you left on this writing community. You are surely missed.
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 18, 2014 Todd Melicker Live!!!

This Sunday we were happy to welcome Todd Melicker back to Lightrail Studios to talk about his first full length book, and winner of the Black Box Poetry Prize, Rendezvous (Rescue Press, 2013). This book, which is comprised mostly of work that had originally appeared in the chapbook form, is broken up into four types of sections, 'day collects,' 'nautilus,' 'rendezvous,' and 'king & queen.' Each section works with a different form, often inviting the reader to a multiplicity of readings. These poems grapple with dichotomies and pairs – the sun and the moon, the king and the queen. At the same time, there is a blurring of boundaries, where the 'I' is not always sure how and where the merger with the other takes place. Todd talked about struggling with his intuition when discovering the direction of his work and giving himself permission to trust that the poem is assembling itself as it should. Todd shared that he tends to compose his poetry for the page and that he re-encounters his work when considering how to read aloud.  He revealed the 'conversations' that found their way into the content of the work. We talked about the 'letting go' involved when we acknowledge that the reader acts as collaborator in the poem's construction. Towards the end of the interview, we compared the chapbook format to the full-length book format.
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Monday, May 5, 2014

May 4, 2014- Frances Richard live!

On May 4th, Frances Richard came to Lightrail Studios to talk about her book Anarch. (Futurepoem, 2012). We start the interview with a discussion of how Paradise Lost was the inspiration for the title and her poetry. In reference to a past interview, we talked about Frances stating 'language is a thinking tool;' the functionality of words is investigated in the work. She is looking at the paradox of thought and action. Nicholas introduced the term 'eco-poetics' to our talk; the book grapples with landscape and the interaction of organic systems and human intervention. Jay found a quote by Frances where she differentiates the difference between the written word and the performative word. After the break, we spoke about poetry's potential communication. With this in mind, Frances creates language within her poems that best reveals her meaning. After reading a section from the poem 'Anarch,' Frances talked about being a 'poet as radio,' as well as her use of quotes. We ended our talk covering 'lyric conceptualism.'

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There is a co-project by Futurepoem called The Anarch Film Project which invites filmmakers to create films in responses to Anarch. You can find this at

Frances will be taking part in a symposium in honor of Alice Notley called 'Alette in Oakland' at The Public School in Oakland on October 24th and 25th.