Good report on the UMaine reading from campus news hound Benjamin Costanzi here, and some pictures of the trip on Ben F.'s vast Flickr here. (Speaking of Ben's Flickr, check out the intimate slice of poetry history that is Friedlander's friend set in the Eighties.)
Knowing Ben's recent work, and having peeked into his roots via The Missing Occasion of Saying Yes, I was surprised to discover his remarkable gift for conventional meter, rhyme and traditional verse forms apparent in the translations he read from the German and Italian. I don't know why: Simulcast plays with some antiqued styles, and Ben's immersion in 19th-century poetic culture should have prepared me for an ear bent to yesteryear's registers. One of the highlights of the trip was perusing Ben's collection of dimmed American luminaries with triple-barreled names: Fitz-Green Halleck, Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, Maria Gowen Brooks, Joseph Rodman Drake. I was especially struck by the work Ben showed me of "The Croakers," a group of satirical New York wits from the 1820s who flarfed up political speeches and other sober texts of the day into rhyme. So often we're looking for an avant-garde to attach our "out there" writing to, like good colonials chasing Continental models; I wonder if these forgotten coteries and literary clubs that peppered the Eastern seaboard are an equally helpful frame for the Now.
Great pleasure too to meet Carla Billitteri, Steve Evans, and Jennifer Moxley. I learned that Sicily's an entrepot; Vertov's as worthy as Eisenstein; and Bresson knew his way around a Grail. Thanks to them, and to the great UMaine crew who came out to the Soderberg cube in force.
4 hours ago