Month: March 2015

“Make Poetry An Angry Rifle”: On NO INFINITE, Boston’s New Zine of Poetry & Radical Politics

Produced in hand-numbered limited editions, containing original black-and-white artwork, printed on simple white paper and staple bound, No Infinite self-consciously situates itself within the zine tradition defined, in look and feel, by Punk, the 1970s pamphlet which lent its name to that emerging musical/social scene. This is an aesthetic and practical choice, no doubt—but it’s also an ideological one. The first issue’s manifesto reads, “No Infinite is born out of the lost illusions of the 21st century, the failure of infinite growth on a finite planet and numbed to near death by indolent economists and out of touch politicos.” To a certain extent, No Infinite attempts to distill in poetry the anarchic, alienated philosophy generated by Punk all those decades ago. But the zine aesthetic is also misleading. Compared with the enormous array of thick, softcover, nationally-distributed journals—which themselves vary widely in artistic and editorial quality—a zine’s modest production naturally gives the impression of an amateur project. And many of them are. However, No Infinite belongs on the top shelf, beside the Balvenie 12 yr. and …

March 12, 6:00pm: BE AGAIN: A Conversation & Film Screening with Fanny Howe

Join us for the first incarnation of the WPR Creative Fellowship, featuring films made by Fanny Howe in collaboration with Sheila Gallagher, John Gianvito, and Maceo Senna, and including voiceovers by Robert Creeley and Patrick Bedford. The event will integrate informal conversation with the screening of the following films: “Brigid of Murroe”; “What Nobody Saw”; and “Be Again.” Introduction by Keith Jones. The event will take place at the Barker Center. For more information, visit the WPR Calendar of Events. The WPR Creative Fellowships are made possible by a generous donation by the Anagnostopoulos Family and a gift made in honor of Teresa and Dr. Michael Anagnostopoulos. The featured photograph shows Fanny Howe and Sheila Gallagher during one of their collaborative sessions, working on one of the films in progress at Houghton Library.

Photograph by Paul Petricone

“A Formal Rack/-et”: On Stephen Jonas’ Exercises for Ear

First published by Ferry Press in 1968, long out of print, Stephen Jonas’ Exercises for Ear was rescued in 1994 when Talisman House republished the complete book in Stephen Jonas, Selected Poems. Over the years I’ve wanted to extend the discussion of Exercises for Ear that I began in my introduction to that Selected, to look more closely at particulars, not-so particulars, local, not-so local, and to jump into the mix anywhere I choose—amidst characters and dramas of a tawdry, highbrow late 50s through mid-60s milieu—to listen to songs of Boston gone. To begin, these are not poems in a traditional sense. Gerrit Lansing has called them etudes. They are bits and pieces—some complete units, others trail off—snippets of conversations, tongue-in-cheek shouts, persona poems, rants, quick snapshots of Boston above and below ground. If anything, they are a marvelous whole, yet individually they’re more like riffs a sax player is rehearsing on the Esplanade with his case open for coins. No two alike. Melodies of hustlers, junkies, lovers, hipsters and not so hip—sneaky peeks, steamy manhole …