Category: August 2012 Issue

Danielle Pafunda with Andy Fitch

Danielle Pafunda

Over the summer, Andy Fitch has interviewed 60 poets about their latest books. Ugly Duckling Presse will publish these collected interviews in 2013. This interview focuses on Pafunda’s book Manhater (Dusie Press, 2012). Recorded May 3, 2012. Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: Could we start with a brief comparison to your preceding book? I never know how to say, Iatrogenic?

Danielle Pafunda: Iatrogenic.

AF: OK. Sections of Manhater seem to invert gender dynamics that played out there. Iatrogenic’s female-identified characters weren’t passive, but manipulated certainly, altered, as the title implies, by exposure to others. Mommy V of Manhater, by contrast, is a stealth stalker with her own harem of “gakking,” sperm-donating drones and victims. Did she emerge full-formed in her gush-sucking badness out of desires and concerns left over from previous projects? Does her predatorial prowess demonstrate you wanting to push Gurlesque tendencies in new directions?

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Ammiel Alcalay and Ana Bozičević with Leonard Schwartz

image of Ammiel Alcalay, Diane di Prima, and Ana Bozicevic
Ammiel Alcalay, Diane di Prima, and Ana Bozičević

In honor of Litmus Press’ forthcoming collection of Leonard Schwartz interviews with female poets, we will offer an ongoing series of transcribed talks from Schwartz’s “Cross-Cultural Poetics” archives. This month we focus on poets’ innovative publishing projects.

Interview with Ammiel Alcalay and Ana Bozičević from CCP Episode #240: Around Town. November 10, 2011. Transcribed by Kelly Bergeron.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guests on the phone from New York, I’m very happy to say, are Ammiel Alcalay and Ana Bozičević. The two of them are editing a series of chapbooks and books coming out of City University of New York. The series is called Lost & Found, and it’s devoted to The New American Poetry: 1945-1960, as in Donald Allen’s anthology. I’ll ask them both to say a little bit more about that concept. Let me say first: Ammiel Alcalay is a poet, author of numerous works including neither wit nor gold published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and the forthcoming A Little History. He’s a return guest to the program, having spoken about his major work of cultural criticism, After Jews and Arabs, in the past. Ana Bozičević is a graduate student at CUNY and a poet, author of Stars of the Night Commute, Tarpaulin Sky Press, and the editor of The Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D., Diane di Prima’s work, that’s part of the Lost & Found CUNY poetics series. Welcome Ammiel and Ana. Great to have you both on the phone, to have recently met you, Ana, in New York, and Ammiel, to continue our conversation forthwith. Can you say a little bit about this project of bringing out these documents and texts largely associated with the New American Poetry from the 1950’s forward: the Black Mountain School, the New York School, the Beats, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Berkley Renaissance, all those major movements in American, avant-garde poetry that this series is devoted to the elucidation of?

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Ammiel Alcalay and Ana Bozičević with Leonard Schwartz

image of Ammiel Alcalay, Diane di Prima, and Ana Bozicevic
Ammiel Alcalay, Diane di Prima, and Ana Bozičević

In honor of Litmus Press’ forthcoming collection of Leonard Schwartz interviews with female poets, we will offer an ongoing series of transcribed talks from Schwartz’s “Cross-Cultural Poetics” archives. This month we focus on poets’ innovative publishing projects.

Interview with Ammiel Alcalay and Ana Bozičević from CCP Episode #240: Around Town. November 10, 2011. Transcribed by Kelly Bergeron.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guests on the phone from New York, I’m very happy to say, are Ammiel Alcalay and Ana Bozičević. The two of them are editing a series of chapbooks and books coming out of City University of New York. The series is called Lost & Found, and it’s devoted to The New American Poetry: 1945-1960, as in Donald Allen’s anthology. I’ll ask them both to say a little bit more about that concept. Let me say first: Ammiel Alcalay is a poet, author of numerous works including neither wit nor gold published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and the forthcoming A Little History. He’s a return guest to the program, having spoken about his major work of cultural criticism, After Jews and Arabs, in the past. Ana Bozičević is a graduate student at CUNY and a poet, author of Stars of the Night Commute, Tarpaulin Sky Press, and the editor of The Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D., Diane di Prima’s work, that’s part of the Lost & Found CUNY poetics series. Welcome Ammiel and Ana. Great to have you both on the phone, to have recently met you, Ana, in New York, and Ammiel, to continue our conversation forthwith. Can you say a little bit about this project of bringing out these documents and texts largely associated with the New American Poetry from the 1950’s forward: the Black Mountain School, the New York School, the Beats, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Berkley Renaissance, all those major movements in American, avant-garde poetry that this series is devoted to the elucidation of?

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Teresa Carmody with Leonard Schwartz

Teresa Carmody

In honor of Litmus Press’ forthcoming collection of Leonard Schwartz interviews with female poets, we will offer an ongoing series of transcribed talks from Schwartz’s “Cross-Cultural Poetics” archives. This month we focus on poets’ innovative publishing projects.

Interview with Teresa Carmody, from CCP Episode # 196: Place. June 14, 2009. Transcribed by Kelly Bergeron.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guest on the phone, from Los Angeles, is Teresa Carmody. She’s a writer and the publisher and editor of Les Figues Press, based in Los Angeles, publishing very interesting work, largely in prose, largely experimental or innovative prose, I would say. But what is really interesting to find out is what Teresa Carmody would say. Welcome Teresa Carmody.

Teresa Carmody: Thank you.

LS: Great to have you on the phone, on the line from L.A. Can you say a little bit about the publishing vision for Les Figues Press?

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Marta López Luaces with Leonard Schwartz

image of Marta López Luaces
Marta López Luaces

In honor of Litmus Press’ forthcoming collection of Leonard Schwartz interviews with female poets, we will offer an ongoing series of transcribed talks from Schwartz’s “Cross-Cultural Poetics” archives. This month we focus on poets’ innovative publishing projects.

Interview with Marta López Luaces, from CCP Episode #63: This Language. 2005. Transcribed by Judith Filc.

Leonard Schwartz: On the phone today from New York, I’m very happy to say, is the Spanish poet Marta López Luaces. She’s the author of the book of poetry Distancias y destierro, as well as Las lenguas del viajero and Los Arquitectos de lo imaginario, among many other works published in Spanish and is the co-editor of Galerna, a Spanish-language literary journal published in the U.S. She teaches Spanish and Latin American literature. Welcome, Marta López Luaces.

Marta López Luaces: Hi, thank you, Leonard, for inviting me.

LS: It’s great to have you on the line from New York to talk about your journal, Galerna, and the kinds of things you’re doing in it, because it’s quite distinctively a Spanish-language literary journal published in New York.

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Michelle-Land: A Conversation with Michelle Ellsworth by Alex Stein

photograph of Michelle Ellsworth
Michelle Ellsworth

This is the first in a series of Alex Stein interviews with visual and performing artists.

Her friends sometimes refer to Michelle Ellsworth as an “artstronaut,” which even I, with my kneejerk antipathy toward anything cutesy-clever, kind of like, because the term is not only cutesy-clever, it is also entirely accurate. Michelle Ellsworth is an artstronaut. She did the training, donned the gear and launched herself into deep space.

In 2010, for a period of several months, Michelle and her family lived in the Boulder, Colorado apartment next door to mine. When I discovered that she had moved in, I called a friend and tried to explain my excitement. “It’s like if you were a Christian and Jesus moved in next door,” was the phrase I finally offered. “So, you’re a Christian?” asked my friend, in some confusion.

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Kathleen Graber with Cynthia Arrieu-King

Photo of Kathleen Graber
Kathleen Graber

In her interview program The Last Word, Cynthia Arrieu-King interviews amateur and professional poets and writers in the South Jersey and tri-state area. Her subject for this interview is poet Kathleen Graber.

[mp3j track=”Kathleen Graber@http://theconversant.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/graber-complete-podcast-version.mp3″ caption=”with Cynthia Arrieu-King”]

 
To read more about Kathleen Graber, click here.

Don Mee Choi with H.L. Hix

Don Mee Choi

This interview by H.L. Hix is one of a series, many of which will be collected in Alter Nation: America in Recent Poetry, Recent Poetry in America, from Ugly Duckling Presse (fall 2012). Hix loves the interview form as a way of thinking together (itself a condition of democracy, justice, philosophy, and other ideals and practices he values), and as one element in a community poetics. The subject of this interview with Don Mee Choi is her translation of Kim Hyesoon’s Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (Action Books, 2008).

H. L. Hix: The speaker in “Face” speculates that “Maybe I am the hostage of an absent being” (70). I suspect it’s always misleading to seize on one moment in a poem and seek in it some “message” about the whole poem or collection, but is there some meaningful sense in which one might take this as a characterization of the state all the poems resist, a figure for the “blackened space” your introduction identifies as the space in which all Koreans, but especially Korean women, live?  Given the neocolonial relationship you note, in what ways would you expect American readers to find in the poems similarities with their own experience, and in what ways would you expect them to find contrasts to their own experience?

Don Mee Choi: I think it might be best for me to begin by saying something about Kim Hyesoon’s hell. Continue reading

Sina Queyras with H.L. Hix

Sina Queyras

This interview by H.L. Hix is one of a series, many of which will be collected in Alter Nation: America in Recent Poetry, Recent Poetry in Americafrom Ugly Duckling Presse (fall 2012). Hix loves the interview form as a way of thinking together (itself a condition of democracy, justice, philosophy, and other ideals and practices he values), and as one element in a community poetics. The subject of this interview is Sina Queyras’s Teethmarks (Nightwood Editions, 2004).

H. L. Hix: At least in the book’s second section, the centrality of Cindy Sherman (especially combined with the Berger references) suggests something I suspect is also true of the other sections also, namely that women’s experience—as contrasted to men’s experience and distinct from what human experience may be shared across gender—is a focal concern. I take it as among the various implications of Sherman’s work that one such gender-specific aspect of experience is im-personation—our ways of creating/receiving our identities and inhabiting them. Am I right to hear the same implication in this sequence of poems?

Sina Queyras: Yes, identities are of concern to me, not only gendered identities, but identities, and perhaps more so the awareness or extent to which we are conscious of the activity of creating identities. Continue reading

Susan M. Schultz with H.L. Hix

Susan M. Schultz

This interview by H.L. Hix is one of a series, many of which will be collected in Alter Nation: America in Recent Poetry, Recent Poetry in America, from Ugly Duckling Presse (fall 2012). Hix loves the interview form as a way of thinking together (itself a condition of democracy, justice, philosophy, and other ideals and practices he values), and as one element in a community poetics. The subject of this interview is Susan M. Schultz’s Dementia Blog (Singing Horse Press, 2008). 

H. L. Hix: In the “Fore and After Word” to Dementia Blog, you explicitly relate dementia and politics. This is a book that was first a blog: would you also add new media to that set of correspondences (as, say, Neil Postman would), or does the work’s originating as a blog indicate that you would not take new media as corresponding to dementia and the political memory loss you address in the book?

Susan M. Schultz: It depends on what you do with the medium. In general, I agree with Postman and Todd Gitlin that television and computers (email, cell phones, and so on) shorten our attention spans.  This is dangerous for a poet who needs time away, space and time not to be bombarded with information, voices, demands. Continue reading

Stephen Motika with Andy Fitch

Stephen Motika

Over the summer, Andy Fitch has interviewed 60 poets about their latest books. Ugly Duckling Presse will publish these collected interviews in 2013. This interview focuses on Motika’s book Western Practice (Alice James Books, 2012) and was recorded on July 2, 2012. Transcribed by Maia Spotts. 

Andy Fitch: If we could start just with the title. Can we say your title alludes to the retrospective, regionally-placed subject constructed by this book, to the conspicuous positioning of a self-conscious literary debut, and to the erotic undertones that triangulate the growth of a particular place and particular person or personhood, however loosely you want this “I” attached to you? Does that briefest synopsis work?

Stephen Motika: I think that’s all in play. The title came not from California but actually when I crossed the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. The valley’s bottom runs about 8,000 feet above sea level, along the Sangre de Christos into New Mexico. It abuts Taos, adjacent to the Rio Grande Valley. I was in this region thinking about art-making. Continue reading

Christopher Schmidt with Andy Fitch

Christopher Schmidt (left) reads with help from Stephen Paul Miller

Over the summer, Andy Fitch has interviewed 60 poets about their latest books. Ugly Duckling Presse will publish these collected interviews in 2013. This interview focuses on Schmidt’s chapbook Thermae (EOAGH, 2012) and was recorded on May 1, 2012. Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: Could we start with waste, the focus of your current scholarly project and a subject that first appears in Thermae’s Baudelarian epigraph? Is Thermae an outlet—that’s a pun in some ways—for your critical study? Did one emerge from the ruins of the other? Does one evolve out of the other? Do they both take on this role?

Christopher Schmidt: They are related. One emerges from the cloaca of the other. [Laughs.] Writing Thermae, which came after starting the critical text, helped explain to me why I’d landed on this topic of waste, what my transference to it was. Continue reading

Stephen Motika and Christopher Schmidt in Conversation

Stephen Motika and Christopher Schmidt

Over the next year, Andy Fitch will be asking participants from his Ugly Duckling Presse interview project to pair up and interview each other. By placing parallel interviews alongside his own, Fitch hopes to demonstrate that no one talk is definitive, that there are an infinitude of possible trajectories for such a discussion to take.

In this two-part audio conversation, Stephen Motika and Christopher Schmidt discuss their work, including Motika’s recent Western Practice, published by Alice James Books (2012), and Schmidt’s chapbook Thermae, published by EOAGH (2012).

[mp3j track=”Part-1@http://theconversant.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Schmidt_Interviews_Motika.mp3″ caption=”Schmidt interviews Motika about Western Practice”]

[mp3j track=”Part-2@http://theconversant.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Schmidt_and_Motika_in_Conversation.mp3″ caption=”Schmidt and Motika discuss their work”]

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