Monday, April 14, 2008

Friedlander & Koeneke in Orono, 4/3/08

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.


phaneronoemikon said...

there's a touch of Tuckerman
in Pegasus descending: a treasury of 'bad poetry' whatever that is?

William Morris it says in this book
has written the longest American poem in history?

phaneronoemikon said...

maybe onot

rodney k said...

Hi Lanny,

O.K., that did it--Tuckerman's on deck for tomorrow.

Love the new avatar: gnomish satori.

phaneronoemikon said...

check it out. this is pretty interesting:

this painting has tuckerman and halleck and they are labelled.

these American eccentrismo poets
are the bomb I think. It's kind of Ersatz but I really like this Jake Falstaff guy. He seems to love beer and the grotesque! Uh oh..

a kindred spirit for me
having the words

voodoo and

all in the same poem!
plus he seems to like cheese.