Tagged: Ugly Duckling Presse

Thomas Fink with Jill Magi

Image from Jill Magi's Slot
Image from Jill Magi's Slot

Thomas Fink is a frequent contributor to The Conversant. The subject of this interview is Jill Magi’s SLOT (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011). You can read part I of this interview here. 

Thomas Fink: Please tell me about your development of a relation between some of the photos in SLOT—especially those of the expressive hands—and the poetic text.

Jill Magi: You ask about the photographs. I recently wrote an essay on poetry and photography for Poetry Northwest. Here is a snippet:

As I worked on SLOT, I intuited that page after page of text only was not ideal, even if that text contained the visual via description and self-reflexive language on the act of looking. SLOT is about resisting landscaped memory in the post-disaster experience. Looking, including looking away and not picturing, is key in this work that asserts the importance of the personal gesture (incorporated memory) amid official versions of an experience (inscribed memory). The photos in SLOT attempt a turn away from received images of the World Trade Center disaster while refusing erasure.

I note the presence of my hands in the photos: untangling string and uncovering veiled museum brochures. I think of the common Estonian greeting my father taught me: “how does your hand go?” where “how are you doing?” is indicated by how well you are making, working.

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Eric Baus with Andrea Rexilius

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 interview, Eric Baus and Andrea Rexilius discuss their latest books.

      1. Baus and Rexilius - Listen to the conversation

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Andrea Rexilius with Andy Fitch

photo of Andrea Rexilius
Andrea Rexilius

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 Rexilius’ book, Half of What They Carried Flew Away (Letter Machine Editions). Recorded May 6h. Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: I’ve got a couple design questions. The first came as soon as I glanced at your manuscript’s title fading into gray. By the time I’d reached its end, it reminded me of digitized verbal art by someone like Jenny Holzer. Does this idea of kinetic text cued for the fleeting event, rather than the fixed, final object appeal to you?

Andrea Rexilius: I do think about text in a kinetic way, as communication based in tactile experience. I actually didn’t design this book, but did make up the title, which suggests processes of erasure while keeping in place some sense of fixed, forward movement. This text’s accumulation provides an active experience, an unstable act of pinning down language. Continue reading

Jed Rasula with H.L. Hix

Jed Rasula photo
Jed Rasula
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 Jed Rasula’s The American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects, 1940-1990 (National Council of Teachers of English, 1996).

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 Jed Rasula’s The American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects, 1940-1990 (National Council of Teachers of English, 1996).

H. L. Hix: One important aspect of your book, insofar as I have grasped its project, is to record the shrinking of the dominant lyric mode in America for the past 50+ years from pursuit of “representational accountability” adequate to “mass reality” (407).  Can the outlines of representational accountability be made out now, or is such accountability the sort of thing that we will recognize when it happens?  In other words, is there a prescription for such accountability, of the sort that the critic can describe it to the poet, or is such accountability something that critics will note when a poet achieves, or some poets achieve, it?

Jed Rasula: My book was an unintended swan song for a then rapidly vanishing era of print literacy, documenting the way power struggles and reputations were stage managed in the venues specific to that cultural formation. In the fifteen years since I wrote it everything has changed, probably more dramatically than I’d have thought likely at the time. Continue reading

Catherine Taylor with Andy Fitch

Catherine Taylor

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 Taylor’s book, Apart (Ugly Duckling Presse). Recorded May 6th. Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: In case the term seems fraught or unfamiliar to some readers, can you give a working definition of “reportage”? Your definition of reportage sounds more exciting than most. How does reportage relate to, or differ from, description, witness, testimony? Do you feel broadly invested in this mode of discourse? Did this particular project call it forth?

Catherine Taylor: For me, reportage first signifies some connection to histories of journalism. It suggests that the author has made a concerted effort to conduct research in a number of different modes, which might involve observation, archival investigations, interviews. This puts the investigator on equal terms with the writer—even if the end product, the finished piece, looks radically different from what you often find in a magazine or newspaper. Even if the writing seems experimental, it makes certain assumptions about documenting experience or facts or data. Of course the final written piece might manipulate those findings in a variety of ways, not necessarily fictionalizing facts, but using language that traditional journalistic forms reject. Continue reading

Amanda Nadelberg with Andy Fitch

Amanda Nadelberg

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 Nadelberg’s book Bright Brave Phenomena (Coffee House Press). Recorded June 8. Transcribed by Maia Spotts.

Andy Fitch: Could we first discuss the book-length structure? Certain poems seem to have sequels scattered throughout. “Me and the Bad Ass” gets followed, significantly later, by “Me and the Bad Ass, Part II,” and III. Travel/dream narratives get interspersed amid shorter lyrics. Thematics of circulation continue to circulate. Does that help to stitch together the overall structure? Can you delineate its guiding principles?

Amanda Nadelberg: When I started writing poems that eventually became the beginnings of this book, it seemed important to have no structure. My first book had been a project with very clear rules. I actually wrote a second manuscript between the first book and this one, based on yet another project. After that, a friend said, do the thing you’re not comfortable doing and don’t write a project. For a long time I interpreted that wonderful advice as don’t write anything cohesive. Continue reading