Thursday, July 17, 2008

You Need This Kind of Unhappy: Filreis, Lowenthal, and Couch on Paterson

New Jersey as an Impossible Object
brings me to University of Pennsylvania again, which makes sense since we can probably map Williams’ cosmos as a quadrilateral connecting Paterson/Rutherford, New York, Paris, and Penn (he went to medical school and met Ezra Pound at the university, and his impact is still felt there today). In fact, this interview took place at Penn’s Kelly Writers House, where they consider Williams their patron saint. His poem “Quality of Heaven” is etched in its pavestones, and as Kelly Writers House director and Kelly Professor of English, Al Filreis says, “Williams is what underwrites so much of what we do. He is absolutely central. He’s accessible, in small pieces (not Paterson). He is liked for his crazy geniality and he is very much hip to the language-centered people who inhabit the space. He does it for everyone.” I talked with Al—a native of New Jersey, who did his undergraduate thesis on Paterson (to the dismay of his advisors); as well, joining the conversation are Kelly Writers House director and poet Jessica Lowenthal, and poet, teacher and translator Randall Couch. They are all regularly involved with Poem Talk, a new podcast series which is probably what will force me to break down and get a new iPod. For the life of me, I can’t sit in front of the computer and listen to anything longer than a few minutes, so, if you are like me, I would suggest too these long clips more for loading and listening on your mobile media playback device of choice. As always, pieces of these relatively raw conversations will be worked back into the mix at a later date.
Teaching Paterson: (11 min. 20 sec.)
Paterson, Keep Your Pecker Up!: (3 min. 8 sec.)
Ginsberg and Nardi: (13 min. 51 sec.)
Sam Patch and General Privation: (6 min. 25 sec.)
The Discovery of the Triadic Line: (10 min. 5 sec.)
Approaches to Knowledge: (2 min. 11 sec.)
Paterson and the World: (3 min. 24 sec.)

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