By Jack Chelgren | Associate Editor
By Jack Chelgren | Associate Editor | In two quite distinct idioms, Szybist and Wrigley delivered poems threaded with tradition yet attuned to the contemporary.
By Elizabeth Cooperman and Matthew Kelsey On July 10, 2014, Patricia Lockwood read at Seattle’s Elliot Bay Book Company from her most recent book of poems, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals. The room–a book-lined basement annex with a small raised stage and podium–was full. Over the next few months, editors Elizabeth Cooperman and Matthew Kelsey exchanged a series of emails, sharing their thoughts about the event. This conversation results from that exchange. 1: Meme-Numbed MK: First impressions first: that reading was absolutely feral. The energy that Lockwood exuded seemed barely containable by the typical reading format. This was apparent from the get-go, when the woman introducing Tricia struggled to stay composed or even objective. She was effusive, probably to a fault. But between that anterior energy and the tone of Lockwood’s poems (and that voice!—those are hard poems to read aloud, I think, and she did herself a service), it’s hard to believe we were all seated, quiet and well-mannered, in the basement of Elliott Bay Bookstore, no? I know we’ll have to discuss how Lockwood became …
By Jack Chelgren | Special Projects Intern When Tree Swenson, the executive director of Hugo House, introduced Kay Ryan for a lecture on rhyme last week, she noted the delightful sense of “hidden treasure” lurking in Ryan’s work. That treasure, Swenson said, was rhyme: glowing little ingots of resonance between words. It’s an apt observation. Take these lines from “All Your Horses,” published recently in Poetry: Say when rain cannot make you more wet or a certain thought can’t deepen and yet you think it again: you have lost count. A larger amount is no longer a larger amount.
Two takes on Carson & Friends’ performance Tuesday, May 13 at Town Hall by Jack Chelgren & Cali Kopzcick. Two takes because how many eyeballs did you wish you had that night? The Maximalist: Anne Carson at Seattle Arts & Lectures by Jack Chelgren, Special Projects Intern During the Q&A after Anne Carson’s performance at Seattle Arts & Lectures last week, someone in the crowd asked Carson if she’d ever considered translating the New Testament. Carson cooed wistfully, thought for a moment, then replied, “No—the New Testament’s too minimalist for me.” A warm chuckle rose from the crowd, filling the dim, vaulted ceiling of Town Hall. But for all the ironical self-parody of her answer, it’s conceivable that Carson wasn’t really joking. She is an artist and intellectual whose work consistently shatters our rote expectations of poetry, smashing divisions of ancient and modern, lyric and academic, fictional and historical, personal and mythical with the zeal of Hektor chopping down the Achaian ranks in Homer’s Iliad.
by Jack Chelgren and Cali Kopczick, Contributing Writers
Last Wednesday night, a small crowd settled onto the red velvet couches of the Rendezvous for Allergic to Cats, a feminist reading series combining poetry and activism. This installment featured poets Elaina Ellis and Jade Sylvan (both with books out from Write Bloody Publishing), and a presentation by Ane Mathieson and Easton Branam, local advocates for prostitutes and prostitution survivors.
by Rich Smith, Contributing Writer For all the general debauchery, hedonism, hooliganism, missed drinks, missed sleep, frowns above triple digit bar tabs, poetrybomb readings, skipped panels, hangovers, retroactive hangovers, I still managed to read, hear, and talk about a whole lot of exciting contemporary poetry and prose. Here’s a roundup of the best moments from the best AWP I’ve ever been to. Best Quote About Seattle: I’m torn between “You mean there’s more than one pie place?” and “That’s the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen—no, that one is!”
by Sarah Shotwell, Contributing Writer On Sunday afternoon at SeaTac Airport, I stood in line to board a rickety little plane half-full of writers bound for Los Angeles. It was all too easy to spot them: they had purple-stamped canvas bags slung over their shoulders. They were slowly thumbing expired editions of Tin House and trying to cram conference materials into over-stuffed carry-ons. They were silent and pallid and greasy. Earbuds were stuck in their ears. They shared the countenance of a bunch of introverts, well over capacity. The 2014 Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, hosted by the University of Washington Creative Writing Program, drew more than 10,000 outsiders to Seattle last weekend. Since 1972, AWP has pulled its unwieldy community of writers, publishers, teachers and readers together under one roof for a long weekend of paneling, browsing, networking, reading, and partying. The conference also is the host to the largest book fair in North America, where MFA programs attempt to draw applicants, and where publishers and foundations come to hawk subscriptions, promote …
People chuckled, but it wasn’t affectation: Hicok seems like the kind of man who has trouble keeping either his mind or his body in one place for very long.
By Rich Smith Poetry Northwest Contributing Writer The talk was held in a conference room on the second floor of the Communications Building on the UW Campus. Weird room! (Good light, though. Lots of lamps.) Weird time! 6:00PM on a Friday, a fact that was not lost on Mr. Burt. However, he drew a good crowd—maybe 30 people, nearly all with notebooks on their laps. Burt speaks clearly, loudly, and with authority. He was a casual dresser, though, in a striped long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans, clear-framed glasses, Chuck Taylor’s with colorful laces, and sporting silver nail polish on modestly trimmed nails. I thought the fingernail polish was a nod to the theme of the talk, and I was admiring his commitment to the bit, but when I asked him about the polish later on in the evening he said he just liked to wear it. In short, I was ashamed. Especially three days later, after reading his beautiful essay about the newly released anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Anyway, the …