Category: Audio Chronicles

Confessions: A Conversation About I Love Dick with Christy Davids and Sebastian Castillo

In this podcast, Christy Davids and Sebastian Castillo piece together a conversation they have been having in regular fragments about Chris Kraus’ 1997 novel, I Love Dick. The always-sensationalized treatment the text has received in the nearly twenty years since its release reveals the myopic ways the novel is widely read. And then there is the matter of Kevin Bacon. Discussions of what happens when form meets desire, the book’s reception, and the confessional mode culminate with talk about Jill Soloway’s recent adaptation of the book for Amazon.


Christy Davids is a poet who often listens to the Beach Boys in a way that can only be described as aspirational. She recently completed her MFA at Temple University where she also teaches. Christy is an assistant editor at The Conversant, co-curates the Philadelphia-based reading series Charmed Instruments, and collects recordings at poetry//SOUNDS. Some of her work can be found in VOLT, Open House, Boog City, and Bedfellows amongst others.

Sebastian Castillo was born in Caracas, Venezuela, grew up in New York, and currently lives in Philadelphia, PA, where he teaches writing. His latest work can be found at Electric Literature and shabby doll house. He’s editing 49 novels.

Bay Area Poet? Michael Nicoloff (Episode 5)


Michael Nicoloff is the author of the chapbooks “Punks”, Mixed Grill (Monologue Version), and I Hope You Die, as well as the CD “Punkses” (After Ketjak). With Alli Warren, he wrote Bruised Dick and Eunoia. Formerly a curator of the (New) Reading Series at 21 Grand and Artifact, he presently serves on the board of Small Press Traffic and is an organizer with the Bay Area Public School.

Bay Area Poet: Manifest Reading Series (Brittany Billmeyer-Finn, Cheena Marie Lo, and Kate Robinson)


Brittany Billmeyer-Finn is a poet and playwright living in Oakland, CA. She is the author of the full length title, the meshes from Black Radish Books. During her 2015 residency at SAFEhouse Arts in SF she directed her first play, the meshes an iteration in 2 acts. Her work has been published locally in Where Eagles Dare, Elderly, in the anthology; It is Night in San Francisco but It’s Sunny in Oakland, 580 Split, Hold: A Journal & her chapbook geraniums is published by Mondo Bummer. She has a forthcoming chapbook, Slabs coming out with the Tract Series from Timeless Infinite Light. More of her work can be found online at The Poetic Labor Project & Dusie #15.

Born in Manapla, Philippines, Cheena Marie Lo is a genderqueer poet based in Oakland, CA. They coordinate a youth art program at California College of the Arts, and co-edit the literary journal HOLD. A Series of Un/Natural/Disasters is just out from Commune Editions.

Kate Robinson is a writer and book artist living in Oakland, CA.

Bay Area Poet? Episode Two (Alana Siegel and Zoe Tuck)

In this episode of Bay Area Poet?, Alana Siegel and Zoe Tuck join Kate Robinson and Caleb Beckwith to discuss their separate histories as Bay Area Poets, the question of regional aesthetics, and the legacy of Occupy in the poetry community. 


Alana Siegel is the author of Archipelago, Station Hill Press, 2013. Other chapbooks include Semata, words from Ra Ra Junction, and Territory Retina. Poetry reviews have been featured in Open House, Open Space, and the Journal of Poetics Research. She is also a director, presently working on a production of Antigone, and most recently directed Anne’s White Glove, written by Alice Notley, and performed within the Alette in Oakland Symposium, 2014.

After the publication of her tract Terror Matrix (2014) by Timeless, Infinite Light, Zoe Tuck joined the press’s editorial staff. She also works for Small Press Distribution and is an editor of Hold: a journal, whose second issue is currently open for submissions (holdajournal.com). She is also a tarot reader, so if you are in need of guidance, drop her a line.

Pop & Poetics: Episode One (Lisa Robertson, Grimes, and the Art of Phantom-ing)

In the first installation of Pop & Poetics, Christy Davids and Crossley Simmons delight in the unexpected intersectionality of Lisa Robertson’s writing and Claire Boucher’s (also known as Grimes) music, specifically examining the affect of genre conventions and the choice to ghost-out of genre altogether.


Christy Davids is a poet who often listens to the Beach Boys and thinks about great big trees. She recently completed her MFA at Temple University where she also teaches. Christy is an assistant editor at The Conversant, curates the Philadelphia-based reading series Charmed Instruments, and collects recordings at poetry//SOUNDS. Her chapbook Alphabet, Ontology was a finalist In Ahsahta’s 2015 chapbook contest; she has been published in VOLT, Open House, and A Few Lines magazine among others.

Crossley Simmons has a M.F.A. in Poetry from Temple University, and squats over 300 pounds. Her essay “be//headed” was awarded the Joseph Beam Prize for an essay or literary work “whose subject matter would be of interest and importance to sexual minorities.” Crossley is the last name of her Great Grandmother, Baba, who turned 97 this year in Memphis.

Bay Area Poet? Episode One (Kate Robinson and Caleb Beckwith)

Bay Area Poet? asks what it means to be a Bay Area Poet. In the first episode of this series, Kate Robinson and Caleb Beckwith introduce the topic with the help of questions from an unnamed Bay Area Poet.


Caleb Beckwith is a Senior Editor at The Conversant

Kate Robinson is a poet and book artist living in Oakland

Text/Image with Christy Davids and Crossley Simmons

Audio Chronicles is a series of audio-only features that endeavors to keep The Conversant conversational. Part interview, part project, part talk, part inquiry. Audio Chronicles is a place to listen and talk outside the control + f model of online reading. In this installment, Philadelphia based poets Christy Davids and Crossley Simmons chat about the intersection of text and image, the possibility of poems as art objects, the page itself an image. 


Christy Davids is a poet who often listens to the Beach Boys and thinks about great big trees. She recently completed her MFA at Temple University where she also teaches. Christy is an assistant editor at The Conversant, curates the Philadelphia-based reading series Charmed Instruments, and collects recordings at poetry//SOUNDS. Her chapbook Alphabet, Ontology was a finalist In Ahsahta’s 2015 chapbook contest; she has been published in VOLT, Open House, and A Few Lines magazine among others.

Crossley Simmons has a M.F.A. in Poetry from Temple University, and squats over 300 pounds. Her essay “be//headed” was awarded the Joseph Beam Prize for an essay or literary work “whose subject matter would be of interest and importance to sexual minorities.” Crossley is the last name of her Great Grandmother, Baba, who turned 97 this year in Memphis.
Continue reading

Audio Chronicles: Poetry Horror with Housten Donham and Sally McCallum

Audio Chronicles is a series of audio-only features that endeavors to keep The Conversant conversational. Part interview, part project, part talk, part inquiry. Audio Chronicles is a place to listen and talk outside the control + f model of online reading. In this installment, Housten Donham and Sally McCallum of The Volta Blog discuss genre, horror, poetry, and multiple permutations thereof.

We like horror movies, but neither of us had read much horror fiction, so last summer we planned a horror fiction reading series for ourselves. This led us to discover some horror poetry, which is a thing we didn’t even really know existed. In this conversation, we try (and more or less fail) to define horror as a genre and think about why genre classifications (as in horror, fantasy, sf) aren’t applied more to poetry more often. We revive the largely forgotten work of HP Lovecraft’s young contemporary Clark Ashton Smith, and talk about contemporary cult horror writer Thomas Ligotti and the French novelist and critic Michel Houellebecq. Then we spend some time nudging around the internet and the current print poetry scene to find out what horror poetry is today. —Sally McCallum


Links to the poetry websites referred to in the episode:

Deep Underground Poetry

Dark Gothic Poems

The Goth-O-Matic™ Poetry Generator


Housten Donham and Sally McCallum co-edit The Volta Blog