All posts filed under: MEGAPHONE: News & Events

featuring Poetry Room news and announcements

HEAR YE: Announcing the 2017-2018 WPR Creative Fellowship & Grants

I begin to go hear. –Charles Olson The Woodberry Poetry Room is pleased to announce that Kate Colby (of Providence, Rhode Island) is the recipient of the 2017-2018 WPR Creative Fellowship ($3,500) for her project “Mist on the Mirror: Writing in Olson’s Breath.” The annual WPR Creative Fellowship invites poets, writers, multimedia artists, and scholars of contemporary poetry to propose creative projects that would benefit from the resources available at the Poetry Room and to generate new work that further actualizes the WPR’s collections and contributes to the culture at large. Previous recipients of the fellowship have included Eileen Myles, Fanny Howe and (most recently) Erín Moure. Due to the unprecedented number of applicants and remarkable quality of the proposals, the committee will also be awarding two WPR Creative Grants ($1,000). The 2017-2018 grantees are Lillian-Yvonne Bertram (of Lowell, Massachusetts) and Christine Finn (of London, England). Finn’s grant is jointly funded by the Heaney Suite at Adams House. Past recipients of the WPR Creative Grant have included Dan Beachy-Quick and Lindsay Turner. The WPR Creative Fellowships and Grants are …

WPR CREATIVE FELLOWSHIP & GRANT: Announcing the 2016-2017 Recipients

As we prepare to welcome this year’s WPR Creative Fellow Eileen Myles (who will be present on campus throughout the month of April), the Woodberry Poetry Room is pleased to announce that the recipient of next year’s WPR Creative Fellowship is Erín Moure for her proposed project,“RESONANCE: A Modernism.” Moure will receive a stipend of $4,000 (generously funded by the Dr. Michael and Teresa Anagnostopoulos Fund) and plans to be in residence in April 2017. During her fellowship, Moure will travel from Montreal to sit in the Woodberry Poetry Room and engage in a journey of listening in situ to the recorded voices of four American women modernist poets, seeking an auditory trace that will lead her into a new piece of writing, her own trilingual take — for her ear is attuned to French and Galician as well as English — on the grain of the American modernist voice in poetry and on what it provokes today. Moure says: “I would start by placing the cavity of my ribs, my ears, and the cells of my own cerebrum in the …

A CONCERT OF WORLDS: On Ed Roberson & Joseph Donahue

It is a profound honor to introduce Ed Roberson and Joe Donahue, two poets who have enormously enabled my own writing and thinking, influencing me in ways I am still trying happily to discover. They are poets for me, and I trust for many here this evening, whose work is of such an astonishing, acute clarity and force that reading them is to learn how to inhabit the world, our world, more wholly; it is to learn, as Donahue’s most recent collection suggests, how to have our “ear turned to the earth / hearing the roots, / the rocks, the layers / of sediment, the residue / of oceans and heat / torn off from a star” (Dark Church, 151).

THE PACKARD COLLECTION: New Initiative to Chronicle & Preserve the Works of a Harvard Recording Pioneer

You could say he was the Alan Lomax of poetry recordings. As the founder of the Harvard Vocarium (1933-1955), one of the first poetry record labels in the world, Frederick C. Packard, Jr., was responsible not only for making the earliest extant poetry recordings of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Muriel Rukeyser, Randall Jarrell, and Marianne Moore, but also for capturing (in some cases for the first time) the works of a dynamic range of poets and performers composing in Gaelic, Yiddish, Afrikaans, and Haitian Creole. As an associate professor at Harvard’s Speech Clinic (one who helped generations of students and faculty with speech impediments) and the university’s first professor of public speaking, he had both a physiological and metaphysical relationship to the voice. He was convinced that the spoken word was to be the instrument of the age and that (if radio broadcasts in Europe were any indicator) the United States needed to educate its next generation of public speakers as a counterpoint to the hypnotic effects of fascist broadcasts and rallies. He considered poetry to be essential in …

“I Have You By the Ears”: Liner Notes for a John Wieners Exhibit

John Wieners and I spent much time hanging out in his apartment at 44 Joy Street in Beacon Hill. It was a ramshackle, railroad apartment with bamboo patio furniture and exotic crazy collages on the walls. There was a modest shelf of books and piles of papers and folders stacked in a shifting order throughout his three rooms. I spent a great many hours thumbing through his fantastic array of personal items, handwritten poems and marketing literature, as well as postcards and letters from his friends and family. John would cut and paste these images and articles inside copies of his own books. His texts would become scrapbooks of decoupage collages composed of everything around him. Although they would appear, at first glance, to be random assemblages of junk mail and articles cut from newspapers and magazines, one would gradually see a pattern of transposing and pasting his dreams over the reality of his printed work. So, over the years, I assembled this collection of books and magazines, mostly given to me by John himself. John actively …

Giving a New Meaning to the Phrase “Open House”

This week, on the very same day that hundreds of incoming students descended upon Lamont for the Freshman Open House, five members of the Harvard/Radcliffe Class of 1955 ventured to the Poetry Room (after meeting with President Drew Faust) to formally donate a chapbook of poems they’d created to the WPR collection. What might have been a brief meet-and-greet evolved into a deeply compelling and memorable hour of sharing and mutual learning. For one of the chapbook contributors, Jean Hardy Little (Radcliffe, ’55), the day marked the first time she had ever entered Lamont Library, which women were largely prohibited from entering until 1967. Harvard Medical School senior lecturer Robert Blacklow (AB ’55, MD ’59), a fellow contributor to the chapbook, recounted how male undergraduates would prop the Lamont door open with a chair and bring female students the books they needed. The women would  “straddle the threshold, with one foot in the library, and one foot out,” and read the texts that they could not otherwise get a hold of. As Little and Blacklow shared their experiences and joined …

The Making of CITIZEN: Claudia Rankine (Monday, April 27, 6:00pm)

We are immensely honored to welcome poet and scholar Claudia Rankine (author of Citizen: An American Lyric, the recipient of this year’s National Book Critics Circle Award) to Houghton Library next week. Rankine will read from Citizen and document the process involved in selecting, “doctoring,” and integrating the artworks throughout the collection. The event will be introduced by Jorie Graham.

Reading Moten in the Cherry Orchard at Noon

Reading “Blackness and Nothingness” by Fred Moten, as per Jackie Wang’s recommendation, in advance of the dizzying prospect of seeing them both this week in a cultural space with a strict perimeter. Well, not that strict if I have been invited. Readers, I am going to be reading at Harvard on Wednesday night. Where is Boston? How do you get from the airport to the float tank? Where is Harvard, exactly? What is the sky? Is there a bus? To prepare for this reading, I am reading Fred and Jackie en tabac. In the orchard. Beneath cherry trees threaded with bright pink wool. The week before I emigrated I saw The Cherry Orchard in Cheltenham with Dranz. Chekhov’s play begins before dawn on a May morning. So that cherry orchards always hold the quality for me of imminent, radical change. What can I do? What can I do to meet and be met in that other rough way? In the pink electricity beneath the trees, documented as string.