Category: Cross Cultural Poetics with Leonard Schwartz

Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Nada Gordon

Nada Gordon
Nada Gordon

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

This month from the Cross-Cultural Poetics archive, I’ve chosen an interview with poet Nada Gordon that originally aired in the fall of 2004. Gordon briefly discusses the eleven years that she lived in Tokyo, as well as the influence and subsequent reaction against the Haiku aesthetic in her work. She reads from the sonically rich and sprawling Are Not Our Lowing Heifers Sleeker Than Night-Swollen Mushrooms? (Spuyten Duyvil) and talks about the importance of cadence in this book, the desire to “beat out a pulse,” as well as to work against any set “rules of composition.” —Angela Buck

 


Nada Gordon was born in Oakland in 1964 and has lived in Bolinas, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Brooklyn. Her seven books of poetry includeVile LiltScented RushesFolly, and V. Imp. A founding member of the Flarf Collective, she has performed widely in the USA and abroad. Her poems have been translated into Japanese, Icelandic, Hebrew, and Burmese. She teaches English as a Foreign Language at Pratt Institute.

Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Paul Vangelisti

Paul Vangelisti
Paul Vangelisti

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

For May, I’ve chosen an interview with poet and translator Paul Vangelisti. Vangelisti reflects on his long career in radio, as Cultural Affairs Director between 1974 and 1982 for KPFK, the flagship station for Pacifica, in Los Angeles, where he produced “Los Angeles Theater of the Ear.” “Conversation,” he says, “is something that radio does much better than anything else.” In addition, Vangelisti reads from his selected poems, Embarrassment of Survival, discusses his translations from the Italian (including the work of Adriano Spatola) and examines the historic distinction in American poetry between open and closed forms. “All poetry,” Vangelisti notes, “is closed, and all poetry is open.”  —Angela Buck

 


Paul Vangelisti is the author of some twenty books of poetry, as well as being a noted translator from Italian. In addition to his new book Wholly Falsetto with People Dancing, (an older man’s not-so-divine comedy), his most recent book of poems, Two, appeared in 2011. In 2006, Vangelisti and Lucia Re’s translation of Amelia Rosselli’s War Variations won both the Premio Flaiano in Italy and the PEN-USA Award for Translation. In 2010, his translation of Adriano Spatola’s The Position of Things: Collected Poems, 1961-1992 won the Academy of American Poets Raizzis/de Palchi Book Prize for Translation. From 1971-1982 he was co-editor, with John McBride, of the literary magazine Invisible City and, from 1993-2002, edited Ribot, the annual report of the College of Neglected Science. Currently, with Luigi Ballerini, he is editing a six-volume anthology of U.S. poetry from 1960 to the present, Nuova poesia americana, for Mondadori in Milan. Vangelisti is Founding Chair of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles.

Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Cecilia Vicuña

Cecila Vicuña
Cecila Vicuña

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

For April, I’ve chosen an interview with poet, artist and performer, Cecilia Vicuña, who reads from her Water Poems and explains their relationship to the Quechan concept of Huaca, what she describes as “something that is sacred, not of this dimension in which we are.” She also reflects on her early connection to water as a child growing up at the foot of the mountains in Chile, and the extraordinary music and complexity of the Quechua and Mapuche languages—languages that she weaves into her poems, alongside English and Spanish. Vicuña discusses the correspondence between the movement of water and the movement of the mind (as well as the “fluidity of languages in the street”) as a major inspiration for her poems.—Angela Buck

 


Cecilia Vicuña’s recent books are Spit Temple: Selected Performances of Cecilia VicuñaChanccani Quipu and Sabor a MíShe co-edited The Oxford Book of Latin American PoetrySpit Temple was runner-up for the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Her film Kon Kon can be found here.

Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Rodrigo Toscano

Rodrigo Toscano
Rodrigo Toscano

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

For February, I’ve chosen an episode that originally aired in 2004 and features poet, labor activist and founder of The Collapsible Poetics Theater, Rodrigo Toscano. Toscano reads from his fourth book, To Leveling Swerve, as well as two other poems, “Twelve Riddles in Spirit, Crook in Hand” and “Memories of Somewhere to Somewhere Else.” He and Schwartz discuss the intermixture of discourses in Toscano’s work, and the privileging of materiality over the spiritual dimensions of a word. Toscano, who grew up speaking both Spanish and English, talks about “code switching” as more of a survival mechanism than sheer poetic technique, and reads from his dynamic and quick-witted multi-vocal works—poems that bring to the fore the materiality and relational nature of language. As he put it, “I try to invite people through the course of a half-an-hour of reading not to be afraid of letting go of meaning.”

 


Rodrigo Toscano’s newest book of poetry is Deck of Deeds. His previous collection, Collapsible Poetics Theaterwas a 2007 National Poetry Series Selection. He was the recipient of a 2005 New York State Fellowship in Poetry. His plays have been performed at the Disney Redcat Theater and the Ontological-Hysteric Poet’s Theater Festival. His poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Catalan. Toscano works for the Labor Institute, in conjunction with the United Steelworkers and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science. He works out of a laptop, tethered to a Droid, residing in airports, occupying poetics in midflight.

Love as Such: Michael Hardt with Leonard Schwartz

photo of Michael Hardt
Michael Hardt

This is the second of three interviews Leonard Schwartz conducted with Michael Hardt. You can read the first interview, “Empire,” here; the third interview will be published in the December issue.

Cross Cultural Poetics Episode #134: Love as Such. March 18, 2007. This interview was transcribed by Holly Melgard and was also published in Interval(le)s II.2-III.1 (Fall 2008/Winter 2009).

LS: You’ve said that you’re interested currently in love as a political concept. I wondered if you could say a little bit about that, especially since in Multitude (your last book), it does come up. I was speaking with the political theorist Steve Niva who pointed out that it is very clearly there in your piece—in the beginning of the book about the golem. And then, toward the end of Multitude, a passage which reads as follows:

People today seem unable to understand love as a political concept, but a concept of love is just what we need to grasp the constituent power of the multitude. The modern concept of love is almost exclusively limited to the bourgeois couple and the claustrophobic confines of the nuclear family. Love has become a strictly private affair. We need a more generous and more unrestrained conception of love.

Could you comment on that passage and on the direction your thinking has gone since then?

MH: In part it starts with a recognition that in certain political actions, in certain political demonstrations—the really good ones—you do have a feeling of something really like love. And so, it’s partly a way of trying to theorize that recognition of this feeling of…let’s call it a “collective transformation” that one experiences in certain kinds of political action. And therefore, to think about love, love which I do understand to be precisely a transformative power, something in which we come out different. And to try to think of it as a political concept. There are ways in which love has functioned as a political concept, more than it does today. Continue reading

Empire: Michael Hardt with Leonard Schwartz

image of Michael Hardt
Michael Hardt

This is the first of three interviews Leonard Schwartz conducted with Michael Hardt. The second and third interviews will be published in the November and December issues.

From CCP Episode #112: Empire. September 21, 2006. This interview was transcribed by Holly Melgard and originally published in Rain Taxi Review of Books.

Leonard Schwartz: Your books Empire and Multitude have provided a rich humus for all kinds of other projects that have been created in their wake. Can you say a bit about the nature of your collaboration with the Italian philosopher Antonio Negri? The whole notion of a theoretical work of philosophy that is written by two people is intriguing.

Michael Hardt: I love the collaborative process. It is really quite liberating and obviously productive too. Continue reading

The New Black: Evie Shockley with Leonard Schwartz

Evie Shockley
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. 

Interview with Evie Shockley, from CCP Episode #233: The New Black. April 7, 2011. Transcribed by Kelly Bergeron. Schwartz’s previous interview with Shockley can be read here.

Leonard Schwartz: Welcome to Cross Cultural Poetics. Poets and writers from all over the world talk about their art and their language. I’m Leonard Schwartz. Today’s guest on the phone from Jersey City, I’m very happy to say, is Evie Shockley. She’s a poet and return guest to Cross Cultural Poetics. She’s an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University and the author of a half-red sea, The Gorgon Goddess and the forthcoming study Renegade Poetics. Her most recent book is the new black. It’s published by Wesleyan University Press. About the book Claudia Rankine writes:

Evie Shockley’s the new black is our contemporary passage through a mosaic of historical and literary constructions. This stunning collection remembers all that has moved through the black body to bring us into the 21st century; and not since Jean Toomer’s Cane has the black female body in particular been portrayed with such compassion and love. This formally inventive work makes signifyin’ its casting call, as Shockley becomes the master “composer of genealogies.”

Welcome, Evie Shockley.

Evie Shockley: Hi. Thanks! Continue reading

Cross Species Poetics: Anne Waldman with Leonard Schwartz

Anne Waldman

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.

Interview with Anne Waldman. Episode #213: Beneath the Surface, March 4, 2010. Transcribed by Samantha Siciliano.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guest, I’m very happy to say, is Anne Waldman. She’s the author of over 40 books of poetry, as well the founder, artistic director and chair, and faculty member of Naropa University’s celebrated Summer Writing Program. Her work has been translated into numerous languages. She’s active on the New York scene in multiple media including, currently, theatre. Her most recent book, Manatee/Humanity is published by Penguin. Welcome, Anne Waldman.

Anne Waldman: Thank you so much, Leonard. Continue reading

Mercedes Roffé with Leonard Schwartz

photo of Mercedes Roffé
Mercedes Roffé. Photograph by Estela Fares.

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.

Interview with Mercedes Roffé. From CCP Episode #2: Cosmopolitan. 

Leonard Schwartz: Welcome to Cross-Cultural Poetics. Poets from all over the world discuss their work and their language. This is your host, Leonard Schwartz. Today’s guest is the Argentinean poet Mercedes Roffé, who we’re catching up in New York City, where she makes her second home. Mercedes is the author of many, many works of poetry in Spanish. Welcome Mercedes.

Mercedes Roffé: Thank you, Leonard. How are you?

LS: Mercedes, I’d like to ask you about your own work, but I’d also like to speak to you about Argentina, and poetry in Argentina. Thanks to your intervention, or thanks to your introductions, Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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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Camille Dungy with Leonard Schwartz

Poet Camille Dungy. Photo © Ray Black.

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

From CCP episode #221: Ecopoetics. October 19, 2010. Transcribed by Kelly Bergeron.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guest on the phone from the Bay area, I’m very happy to say, is Camille Dungy. She’s professor in the creative writing department at San Francisco State University, and is the author of What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. She’s helped to edit a number of poetry anthologies and most recently, she’s edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry published by the University of Georgia Press. Welcome Camille Dungy.

Camille Dungy: Thank you.

LS: Great to have you on the line and to have your anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, in hand. Can you say a little bit about this project and its ambitions?

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Waiting on the Mayflower: Evie Shockley with Leonard Schwartz

Poet Evie Shockley

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 interview with Evie Shockley, from CCP Episode #77: Four Across, was originally conducted in 2005. Transcription by Kelly Bergeron.

Leonard Schwartz: Today’s guest on the phone from North Carolina is Evie Shockley. She’s the author of The Gordon Goddess, and a new manuscript, a half-red sea, poems, which have been published in numerous literary periodicals. She’s got a new job teaching at Rutgers University and will be moving to New Brunswick soon. Welcome, Evie Shockley.

Evie Shockley: Hi!

LS: Hi. Great to have you on the line. I’ve really been enjoying the poems in a half-red sea. You begin the book with two epigraphs: one from a letter from Phillis Wheatley, and the second a poem from Lucille Clifton. Can you say a little bit about the influence or the relationship of these two figures to your poems?

Continue reading