Month: April 2015

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.

ON THE CIRCUIT: Peter Howarth on the Rise of the Modernist Circuit (April 14, 6:00pm)

The Woodberry Poetry Room is pleased to feature an excerpt from Peter Howarth’s upcoming talk, which will take place on Tuesday, April 14th at 6:00pm. Howarth has spent this past year at the Woodberry Poetry Room and at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, researching the rise of the Modernist poetry circuit. Tomorrow’s event will include archival recordings by W.H. Auden, Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, and Dylan Thomas. W.H. Auden’s poem “On the Circuit” features the classic description of the bleary, bad-tempered poet on a reading tour, hating it and hating himself for doing it. It begins with defensive scorn: the other passengers going their “lewd pelagian” way are trying to earn their way to the good life, while our poet is apparently the “airborne instrument” of pure grace. But his sense of predestination turns out to mean being trapped in the schedule imposed by his implacable agency. The comparison of himself to St. Paul, sent alike “to Gentiles and to Jews,” is more self-irony.  Auden, we gather by the end, is a travelling evangelist for poetry with a …

Introducing “Be Again: A Screening of Three Short Films by Fanny Howe”

We are here tonight to see and discuss how and in what astonishing ways Fanny’s turn to film extends, illuminates, and crystallizes her poetics, her politics, her attentions and beliefs, and the wondrous philosophical lucidity of her thought.

While tonight is an occasion to see three of Fanny’s films—new iterations of each, incidentally—I do want to emphasize that to think her filmic practice requires us not to consider it as a departure from her essays, her novels, or her poetry, but rather as further evidence of how fully her genius lie in making genres overlap and misbehave. If we imagine genre as a territory, she is the trespass figure at its margins.

Prufrockian Grooves: On Recording the Love Song of T. Stearns Eliot

“Prufrock” has always caused a little bit of trouble, and the Harvard Vocarium’s recording of the poem—one of the earliest in existence—is no exception. When you hear the recording (currently accompanying the centennial exhibit, “Ragged Claws: T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock at 100” at Houghton Library and at this evening’s event with Sir Christopher Ricks), you might be hard pressed to discern the procedural involutions and Transatlantic shuffling necessary to bring it into being. In many ways the trajectory of the recording recapitulated the evolution of the poem itself, which Eliot began to write at Harvard in 1909 and completed in England. In 1947, after delivering his Morris Gray lecture in May of that year (only his second trip to the United States after his long absence during the war), Eliot agreed to record a range of poems for the Harvard Vocarium record label, including “Journey of the Magi,” “Difficulties of a Statesman,” “Fragment of an Agon,” and “Prufrock.” Harvard Vocarium recording of T.S. Eliot reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1948), produced and distributed …

Announcing the Recipients of the 2015-2016 WPR Creative Fellowship & Grants

The Woodberry Poetry Room is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2015-2016 WPR Creative Fellowship is Eileen Myles for her proposed project, “About Boston.” Myles will receive a stipend of $4,000 (generously funded by the Dr. Michael and Teresa Anagnostopoulos Fund and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts) and plans to be present on campus throughout the month of April 2016. Due to the impressive range and number of applications, two additional projects were selected to receive WPR Creative Grants of $1,500, also funded by the Anagnostopoulos family. The 2015-2016 grant recipients are: Dan Beachy-Quick of Fort Collins, Colorado (for his project, “A Quiet Book”) and Chris Mustazza of Philadelphia (for his project, “The Birth of the Poetry Audio Archive: The Vocarium Recordings and The Speech Lab Recordings”). In conjunction with her proposed essay project, “About Boston,” Myles will consider “Boston as a site of poetry (poetry as ‘poetry’ and the poetry of everyday speech).” As a native Bostonian, Myles is particularly interested in exploring the Boston accent, in which Myles herself writes her poetry. During her …