Eric Baus and Dorothea Lasky with Cynthia King


In her interview program The Last Word, Cynthia Arrieu-King interviews amateur and professional poets and writers most often in the South Jersey and tri-state area. This program features poets Eric Baus and Dorothea Lasky.

Baus and Lasky, with King

Miguel Gutierrez with Nature Theater of Oklahoma

Miguel Gutierrez
Miguel Gutierrez

Nature Theater of Oklahoma meets with choreographer, dancer and performance artist Miguel Gutierrez, who braves athsma and kittens, to explore with us the nature of stunt, risk, and personal necessity in the work.

[Flash 9 is required to listen to audio.]

To download this podcast or subscribe to OK Radio podcasts on iTunes, click here.

A Conversation with Yahia Lababidi by Alex Stein

Yahia Lababidi
Yahia Lababidi

In celebration of the publication of The Artist as Mystic: Conversations with Yahia Lababidi (Onesuch Press), The Conversant here presents the first transcribed talk between Alex Stein and Lababidi—initially published in Agni.

Yahia believes the condition of the artist is exalted.

“Even if the artist lives in disregard?” I ask.

“Yes,” Yahia insists.

“Even if he is scorned and impoverished?” I ask.

“Still, yes,” says Yahia.

“What does that mean, then—exalted?” I ask.

“It means,” says Yahia, “called to service.”

“Oh,” I say, a sinking feeling coming over me, “you mean that soldiery of light, that brigade, born to march into the Valley of the Shadow?”

“Yes,” replies Yahia, “precisely!”

Yahia: There is a moment in the life of Rimbaud when he comes to realize that he is a poet, but that it is not his fault. He writes: “It is wrong to say, ‘I think.’ One has to say, ‘I am thought.’ I is another. Too bad for the wood that finds itself a violin.” For me, that tells all. I haven’t studied the lives of the mystics as closely as I have the lives of the artists but I do see the correspondences. The life of the artist may not be apparently monastic or holy, but there is the same sense of sacrifice, of vocation, of having been entrusted with something greater and dearer than one’s own happiness. Imagine! To hold something more dear than one’s own happiness. That cannot be a voluntary thing. We want, as much as we can, to be happy. Isn’t this true? Yet, there are these strange, luminous creatures who recognize that there is something to which they must submit, in order to be fully realized. It is the wood finding itself a violin.

Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov with Philip Metres

Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov
Dmitri Alexandrovich Prigov

This interview series, “Conversations after the Fall: Interviews with Contemporary Russian Poets,” began as part of my Thomas J. Watson Fellowship year (1992-1993). The interview with Russian poet, Dimitri Alexandrovich Prigov (1940-2007), took place in October of 1996. 

Philip Metres: Why did you begin writing poems and making art?

Dimitri Alexandrovich Prigov: Well, I’m a sculptor by trade. At first I made sculpture, and I began poems…well, the fact of the matter is that as contemporary art drew closer to conceptualism, it seemed that a great part of the artistic sphere became verbalized—began using a lot of verbal language. So I happened to be on the border between literature and visual arts. It was interesting to me how these ideas conceptually related. What did literature mean to me? Russian literature—in terms of its social status, its role in culture, and the feelings of the poet—was similar to the poetry of the 19th century.

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa and Eric Selland


The interview below, proposed by Jane upon the publication of Eric’s Still Lifes, took place via email in 2012.

Jane Joritz-Nakagawa: Congratulations on the publication of Still Lifes this year, in which you list numerous source materials for your book of poems, so perhaps we could start with your thoughts about “appropriation” in poetry?

Eric Selland: Indeed, my work has been largely text-generated, but in Still Lifes I began with the premise that I would do something different and start with the things themselves. There are some lines from Oppen which have always stayed with me—“There are things / We live among ‘and to see them / Is to know ourselves’.”

The Production of Subjectivity: Conversations with Michael Hardt

Over the past several months, The Conversant has published a series of three interviews conducted by Leonard Schwartz with Michael Hardt. This month, we’re pleased to present all three interviews in the chapbook, The Production of Subjectivity: Conversations with Michael Hardt.

Hover your cursor over the embedded chapbook and press “expand” to view the chapbook full size. It may take several seconds for the chapbook to load.

You can also find the interviews in our October 2012November 2012 and January 2012 issues.

For readers who want to keep a digital copy of this chapbook or who are reading on iPads, feel free to download this PDF.

Leonard Schwartz’s bio appears on our Contributor’s Page.