As part of the Witter Bynner Fellowship Reading with L S Asekoff, poet Philip Levine talks candidly about the changes to his hometown of Detroit, Michigan
(Caution: "Un-scrubbed audio") (Approx 3 1/2 minutes)
Poet L S Asekoff, co-recipient of the Library of Congress’s 15th annual Witter Bynner Fellowship in poetry, reads from his work followed by a conversation and Q & A with former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine (who selected Asekoff for the fellowship) moderated by Robert Casper, Head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. Introduction by Poets House's Stephen Motika (Full Audio, Approx 1 hour, 5 mins)
So Long, Reality: Writing the Fantastical with Idra Novey
In this workshop, we will move beyond straight-up reality in our poems and see what surprising turns and new meanings reveal themselves when we incorporate surreal elements and occurrences into our work. How do poets write their way into the fantastical? And what role does humor play in getting there? For inspiration, we’ll read excerpts from Alice Notley’s Descent of Alette, poems from Cesar Vallejo, Julio Cortazar, James Wright, Cathy Park Hong, Tomaz Salamun, Hiromi Ito, and many others.
Our most beloved, accomplished poets, like Dickinson, understand that play is paramount in writing. In this workshop, we'll invigorate our writing through disciplined play. Constraints and chance operations such as Tzara's Hat and Burroughs's cut-ups will multiply our means of invention. Lynda Barry's What it Is will anchor our process in meditative play, engaging memory and imagery especially, and help us bound over our usual antagonists—difficult passages, blank pages and the inner critical voice.
Summoning the techniques of poets, singers, rappers, artists, and other gatekeepers of pop culture, we will respond to exercises designed to excavate our own bad bitch poetics, and determine what that may mean personally and aesthetically for each of us. We will work on drafting forms, from manifesto to bop to ekphrasis, to generate poems, and build a dossier that reflects the poet's definition of bad bitch poetics.
In this poetry workshop, we will explore both the agonizing invasions of conquering influences and the ecstasies of our intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical influences, and how both they inform our work and those of other artists. We will practice working with and against our predilections and habits, design exercises outside of our comfort zones, and give ourselves permission to obsess and worry poems down the rabbit holes of compulsion and assumption.
This class asks the simple question: what is the sonnet today? After centuries of relative stability, the sonnet in English has undergone a lot of changes since Modernism. It has registered almost every formal experiment from the advent of free verse onward: projective verse, collage, homophonic translation, n+7, appropriation, erasure, etc. It has likewise registered almost every philosophical and political development in the last century, from deconstruction to feminism.