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            RALPH WESSMAN

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INTERVIEWS & CONVERSATION


'Los Angeles Review of Books', Phillip Lopate's new anthology, 'The Golden Age of the American Essay: 1945–1970' — USA, 18th September 2021.

Phillip Lopate: 'Mailer was not only a brilliant essayist, with an acute sensitivity to the way individuals were impacted by historical crises, he was also able to make himself into a vivid character in his essays. He did it with humor, self-mockery, and a playful awareness of how he would be judged an egomaniac anyway by those who didn’t get the joke. Baldwin, too, had an innate ability to dramatize his “Jimmy” character with complexity, rue, and honesty....'


'Los Angeles Review of Books', The Social Solitude of Adrienne Rich: A Conversation With Ed Pavlić — Los Angeles, 6th September 2021.

Ed Pavlić: 'I was trying to take the idea, partly from Wordsworth, of the lyric as an inward-looking device, a space apart from the things in the world that constrain us, believing there is a freedom there. But for Rich, that place of being alone itself becomes a constraint.'


A conversation with Neha Kale. — Liminal, Australia, September 2021.

Neha Kale: 'I think there are so many people in Australia doing incredible and important work when it comes to lifting up voices that have been silenced, or otherwise written out of culture and history. But I remain very wary about the ways in which the rhetoric around diversity is framed as a “trend” or instrumentalised by institutions—too often I think it is self-serving, that it is less interested in a redistribution of power than it is in preserving moral capital or maintaining an illusion of progressiveness and making people feel like they are "good".'


Salar Abdoh speaks with Mohammad Hossein JafarianGuernica, USA, September 2021.

Salar Abdoh is an Iranian novelist, journalist, and essayist who has known Jafarian for the last decade. Earlier this year, in the spring, Abdoh visited Jafarian in Mashhad, in northeast Iran and close to Afghanistan. 'If you’re planning to cross the border, don’t go any later than the early summer,' Jafarian said. 'An Afghan army taking orders from Ashraf Ghani won’t even make it to the American withdrawal.'


Philip Neilsen in conversation with Rosanna LicariStylusLit, Australia, September 2021.

Philip Neilsen: 'A challenge that I think is common, is the need to overcome the negative voice in your head saying ‘why do you keep writing when you never completely capture what you wanted to, and when you are rubbish compared with Auden or Plath anyway?’ Fortunately, poetry writing is addictive – it gives us an endorphin rush.'


Liminal, Soo-Min Shim and Zhi discussing community, radical mediocrity and visibility — Canberra, 16 August 2021.

(conversation) — 'The issue of being named and defined by my identity detracts from the work that I want to be doing. Recently I met some activists in Canberra and I have found that the people who do the most work are the people who are the most invisible. They don’t care about being perceived. They don’t care about recognition. They just want to get the work done and move on. They look after the people around them. I want to be like that. I don’t want to buy into celebrity.'


Joy Elizabeth in conversation with Cameron Hindrum — Launceston, May 2021.

Joy Elizabeth: 'Some of the poets in this room would be among my very favourite poets. But Dorothy Porter would be my out-and-out favourite.'


Interview with Danusha Laméris — The Adirondack Review, USA. April 2021.

Danusha Laméris: 'I had a dog that was so good at catching a Frisbee that, while she was at it, she could do a flip in the air, then land right on her feet. When my friend’s older dog—his name was Roy— saw this, he just watched her and cried, moving his jaw as if he were catching the Frisbee, when really he was just standing on the porch. That gesture sums up an entire state of being so well that I have it bookmarked in my mind. When I am feeling like I just can’t catch the Frisbee, I remember to think of myself, first and foremost, as a reader. I love to read, and I love to read poetry. To do this every day. And the reading is usually the gateway to writing, and the writing feels so good once I’m in the groove. It shows me so much about the world and everyone in it, including myself. That’s the real magic. What happens on the page.'


Tom Grimes, Porter House Review A conversation with Spencer Reece — Texas, 7th April 2021.

Spencer Reece: 'Herbert sounded so clear to me, so modern for the 17th Century, I still can’t get over how relevant he sounds, reading him is like drinking clear mountain water. Merrill was the first famous poet I met and that was thrilling. I liked too his wide embrace of forms. And of course, he was gay, I knew that, even though I think we still weren’t saying it so offhandedly like now, and I needed to hear and see that sound to figure out how to survive. Dickinson is a genius, and her leaps of mind are incredible. And the fact she did it all alone is astonishing. Her compression and timing are intoxicating. Hopkins? Well, he just made up his own language and sound and he was also a priest. He was so isolated. Also, when I read him, I realized the gratitude I had for being a gay man and a priest now. He suffered so.'


superstition, “Writing to the Exclusion of All Else,” an interview with Adam Mansbach — Arizona, April 2021.

Adam Mansbach: 'With The End of the Jews, I didn't set out to write a book about Judaism as much as a book about my generation and my grandparents' generation, but the deeper I dug the more I realized how defining and inescapable it was for my grandparents to be Jewish, despite not being religious. I started thinking more about Jewish artistic practices and legacies, especially of that generation – Kazin, Malamud, Bellow, Roth. And about the relationships between Black and Jewish folks in America, which are really the two communities in which I've spent the most time. I started thinking about art and the margins, art and discomfort, and art and feeling alienated. Because one thing Judaism has is large margins. It's the “Hotel California” of religions; you can check out but you can never leave, because it's not just about faith, it's a snarl of history and creed and ethnic identity, and all of that means that there's a lot of space to be alienated and create art out of that distance and the perspective it allows.'



INTERVIEWS & CONVERSATION (AUDIO)


ABC Radio Hobart, Susan Austin: How you can use writing as a tool for enriching your mental health — Hobart, 11th October 2021.

Ryk Goddard: 'You were also talking about people with addiction issues, or addiction challenges, which is a different space in many ways. How have you found people change their behaviour through engaging with writing?'
Susan Austin: 'I think writing can bring a lot of clarity to situations.... Addiction relates back to mental health issues and challenges that people have going on in their lives, they tend to lean on their substance as a way of coping. It's about giving them alternative coping strategies, and creative writing can be a really brilliant one of those, that's for sure!'
Ryk Goddard: 'And it's only dangerous to your health once you decide to do it professionally ... '
Susan Austin: (laughing) 'Exactly! You get addicted to writing, and it's not the best source of income and social connectedness ...'
Ryk Goddard: 'Just editing to the level that you need to do it professionally to take it to the next level takes ninety percent of the fun away, which is why so few people are really professional writers. I don't have the rigour for that. For you with your own poetry, how have you seen that evolve over the years?'
Susan Austin: 'I've always really just enjoyed writing and I wouldn't have kept going if it wasn't for the different writing events and a really supportive community of poets, encouraging me along at different points throughout the process.... '


Compulsive Reader, Beth Spencer discusses climate fiction with James Bradley — NSW, 1st October 2021

Penguin Books describes James Bradley's 2015 novel Clade as 'A provocative, urgent novel about time, family and how a changing planet might change our lives'. In 2020, Bradley and Beth Spencer created a podcast with Compulsive Reader which twelve months on, has been publicly aired for a second time. A quarter of an hour into the conversation, discussion turns to concern about climate change and its effect on the individual.

James Bradley: 'Things have moved very, very fast, certainly much faster than I thought was going to happen. And I guess the novel worked for me in the sense that what I was engaged in was the intellectual exercise of trying to work through what it was going to be like because I think one of these things is, it's actually incredibly difficult to imagine what the world is going to be like. There's that sense that (if) you look around yourself and if what you do is make a realistic appraisal of what the science says, most of what's around us is going to be utterly transformed in a decade or two, and that's incredibly difficult to imagine. One thing I was trying to do with the book was give myself a framework for imagining that, and I guess in that sense it's succeeded. I actually find in an odd way writing about this stuff and thinking about it all the time — which I do quite a lot — is not good for your mental health. I mean, you end up in a situation where you're wandering around and you feel like this kind of lunatic, looking at the world and thinking "This is all doomed!" all the time. It's quite a difficult thing to deal with, some of the time. Not all of the time; like I say, I'm pretty good at compartmentalising, but certainly there are moments when I find it very, very difficult and where it all crashes down and certainly I have to be quite careful about how I talk about it around people....'
'(Because) it's kind of a socially very awkward conversation. In an odd kind of way I think it's one of the things fiction does, that you can do as a writer ... introduce those things into the conversation and force people to grapple with them. The reasons people don't grapple with them is that a lot of the time it's just too difficult.'
Beth Spencer: 'It is indeed. When you're a writer and you're obsessed with a topic, you've got to be careful not to bore people around you with this thing that's totally taking you over. But this is a topic that you want people to obsess about, and you want other people to know about.... '


Acast, US author Zakiya Dalila Harris — 24th September 2021.

US writer Zakiya Dalila Harris discusses her debut novel, The Other Black Girl a story about the tension between two Black women tied together within the New York publishing industry. Specifically, she writes about the expectations of Black support for each other, support perhaps assumed but which doesn't necessarily eventuate. Certain truisms within the Black community such as the support of a nod of acknowledgement on the street to show a sense of community of kinship is sometimes lacking, Harris suggests, 'because there's the reality that sometimes we have to compete against one another, because there's this idea that there can only be one of us.'
[Zakikya Dalila Harris has a website presence at Zakikya Dalila Harris. The book's been reviewed by Regina Porter in The Guardian. NPR also feature a podcast with Zakikya Dalila Harris here].


Nathan Curnow with Anna M, 3WBC ... a conversation — Melbourne, September 2021.

Nathan Curnow: 'Perhaps you realise you're a poet when you know how dangerous it is to introduce yourself as one. You don't do it any more. That's probably the time that you know that you're a poet — you have that wisdom.'


Pedder Unplugged, discussing Lake Pedder with Hilary Bennell — Tasmania, September 2021.

Hilary Bennell: 'David Bellamy also came out for the launch from England. I met him at the airport, and he was quite excited to meet Bob Brown at the Retro and then I took him in a helicopter over the south-west. 'When can we get you to the vineyard in Italy Hilary?' David was quite a character — very loud — it all got out of control with excitement, there was a global network of scientists that was calling for humanity to change their ways.'


Compulsive Reader talks, Beth Spencer in conversation with Kit Kelen — Newcastle, August 2021.

Kit Kelen: 'On the point about "nation", and the cosmopolitan and the local, my interest is really in the local and the global, and I think "nation" and "nationalism" is a huge and terrible distraction....
'When I look at Australian poetry it kind of annoys me that so much of it — because of the way funding works, because of the way publishing works, because of where university's are at etc etc — so much of poetry should be conducted on a national basis seems to me ... well, it's appalling. And that's why I'm so interested in translation, getting myself translated into other languages but also in translating and publishing other poets, particularly in a bilingual format. Because I think poetry really is a cosmopolitan thing, but it should be something connected with where you are, with where everyone is.'


Radio New Zealand, Poet - and farmer - Janet Newman — New Zealand, 01 August 2021.


Radio New Zealand, Serie Barford's poetry expresses strong feelings — New Zealand, July 2021.


The Women's Prize Podcast Shortlist 2021: The Authors — UK, 24th June 2021.

Yomi Adegoke: 'Your book has introduced many readers to the concept of colorism, many who would not have necessarily been aware of it before, and has contributed to a global discourse around racism and inequality. Was this your ambition when you started writing?'
Brit Bennett: 'I certainly never imagined that the book would be framed in the way that you've just framed it. I knew that when I first started writing this book [The Vanishing Half] I was interested in the idea of colorism and these hierarchies of communities that are already marginalised, and how you move between and among those hierarchies.'


City of Books, Nora Barnacle - Joyce's Muse — Dublin, 28th April 2021.

At the age of 20, three months after meeting James Joyce, Nora Barnacle left everything she knew behind to share the adventure of a lifetime with him.



INTERVIEWS & CONVERSATION (VIDEO)


Tamar Valley Writers Festival, Cameron Hindrum in conversation with Annie Warburton and Lyndon Riggal — Launceston, 7th October 2021.

Cameron Hindrum: 'I've long been fascinated in Tasmania by this constant, constant tension between the environment and development, or commercial interests — and as we speak, of course, in fact yesterday on the West Coast there was a protest, a meeting held by Bob Brown and so on about the Tarkine, the proposal to build a new tailings dam in the Tarkine area....
'What does this mean in terms of where we live and what we're doing here and what Tasmania says to us, do you think? It's a very big question, I know....'
Annie Warburton: 'I'm not sure. We do see an intense level of engagement between Tasmanian writers — look at Richard Flanagan — and environmental politics, don't we! I wouldn't go so far as to say it was almost de rigeur for a Tasmanian writer to have a position on green politics but it does seem to be — the land, the natural world — very much a preoccupation.'
Lyndon Riggal: 'I think, exploring ... there are almost no podcast guests we've spoken to that are not exploring the natural landscape as part of their work in at least some capacity. Thinking about writers like Robbie Arnott, thinking about writers like Erin Hortle ... but at the same time I think that part of the tension, writing about the environment, is that we have a complex relationship with the environment; a relationship of respect, a relationship of beauty but also a relationship of fear, a relationship sometimes of use and exploitation....'


WestWords, Poets' Corner with Robyn Rowland — Sydney, 30th September 2021.

Poets' Corner is WestWords' monthly encounter with celebrated Australian poets, curated by David Ades. Each month a poet is invited to read and talk about their poetry on a theme of the poet's choice. Robyn Rowland, an Irish-Australian citizen, has been living between Ireland and Victoria for over 30 years, and working in Turkey since 2009. Since December 2019 she has been back living in NSW, caring for her father who is now 101. The theme Robyn chose to explore is entitled 'Saying yes, travelling with poetry where the curious mind leads'.

Robyn Rowland: 'I think I wanted to recall, and keep with me for a while, the wonderful energy involved in moving in the world — which we can't do at the moment — and the sense of curiosity that pulls me to difference. That wasn't always true in my life. And also the sense of awe that comes with that....'
David Ades: 'There are. I wondered whether it was an injunction to "seize the day"!'
Robyn Rowland: 'Look, it is partly. A poem I'll read later on called '"Spontaneous" was originally called "Yes". And I think the "yes" is about grabbing life when you can and not being afraid....'


Rattle's editor Tim Green with Bechy Tuch of Lit Mag News — USA, September 2021.

Tim Green:: 'I try to be encouraging. And that's the thing that's heartbreaking about sending a bunch of rejection letters at once, I get a lot of them (people) that say, "I keep submitting to everybody and no-one ever publishes me, I'm never writing again!" And that's just heartbreaking to me. I have to do everything en masse — because you can't write a personal email to that many people — so I try to find this balance between people who know what the game is and the people who're just starting out that I don't want to discourage.... "


Sheffield Centre for Poetry and Poetics, A Reading with Lisa Robertson — Sheffield, 15th July 2021.

Josh Langley gets to know, Emma Young on writing The Last Bookshop — Australia, 21st April 2021.

Josh Langley:: 'The actual shop where this photo [of the book cover] was taken was in Fremantle — on High Street — wasn't it? What's the name of the bookshop again, I can't remember....'
Emma Young: 'It was Bill Campbell's Second Hand Books.'
Josh Langley: 'Whose idea was it to use that on the cover?'
Emma Young: 'It was Fremantle Press! They looked far and wide and they searched a lot of stock imagery for the perfect bookshop and eventually they just went and asked. It was so lovely — that the book is really strong in its theme of "shop local" and "support local business" — it's just lovely that a book then published in Fremantle found that the perfect image for the cover was so close to home!'



POETRY ONLINE


Kit Kelen, Poem: Ataraxia — NSW, 19th October 2021

Kit Kelen's 'Ataraxia', placed third in the 2021 Newcastle Poetry Prize awards [Winner: Lachlan Brown, 'Running Westward', 2nd Prize: Gayelene Carbis, 'Still Life with Babette's Jug #2']


Giramondo Publishing, Just inclement's lawn chairs Toby Fitch — Albury, 22 September 2021.

Toby Fitch: '... there were a lot of things to write against. I guess I started putting poems in there that were changing in my work ... there were a lot more realist poems, a lot more politically overt, urgent kind of poems. Increasingly autobiographical. My last book Where Only the Sky Had Hung Before did a lot of that, it's not like everything I write isn't autobiographical on some level — but...'
Justin Clemens: 'Much more specifically so? And more realist too would you say?'
Fitch: 'Yep more realist, yep. There's also the naming of politicians, and people in my life, and a bit less abstraction. There's a broader range of sources as well that I'm drawing from in the poems — from various books, news articles, social media, it's all in the churning pot. What else can I say about that? There's a lot to be outraged about!'


2021 Red Room Poetry Fellowship shortlisted poets Tricia Dearborn, Benjamin Dodds, Anne Elvey, Toby Fitch, Jill Jones, Em König, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Sara M. Saleh, Brenda Saunders and the 2021 Fellow Ellen van Neerven — August 2021.


Writing Western Sydney: The Readings, David Brooks reads from ANIMAL DREAMS — Sydney, 27th August 2021.


Red Room Poetry. Poetry Month AUS NZ Showcase featuring Hinemoana Baker, Nina Mingya Powles, Omar Sakr, Sarah Holland-Batt, David Eggleton, Jackson Niewland, PiO, Laurie May, Mohamed Hassan, Tusiata Avia, Laura Jean McKay, Steven Oliver, Eveleun Araleun and Anahera Gildea, hosted by Anne-Marie Te Whiu and David Stavanger. — August 2021.


University College Dublin, Michael D. Higgins: 'The Betrayal' — Dublin, 02 July 2021

President of Ireland/ Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D. Higgins reads his poem 'The Betrayal'


Globus Books, SF, Alla Gorbunova: It's the End of the World, My Love — San Francisco, 2nd July 2021.

A poet, prose writer, translator, and critic, Alla Gorbunova has published five books of poetry and received the Andrei Bely Prize for her collection 'Пока догорает азбука.' Her first collection of short prose, 'Вещи и ущи', was published in 2017 by the Saint Petersburg publishing house Limbus Press. Her poems have been translated into English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Serbian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Latvian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Greek, and Chinese. Her prose has been translated into English, Italian, Bulgarian, Polish, Serbian, Slovak, and Romanian.


Globus Books, SF, Maria Stepanova: In Memory of Memory — San Francisco, 10th June 2021.

Maria Stepanova discusses her last book "In Memory of Memory" (New Directions, 2021), translated into English by Sasha Dugdale. "In Memory of Memory" received a prestigious Russian award, Bolshaya Kniga, in 2018 and was short-listed for the International Booker Prize 2021.


Maynooth University, A poetry reading and discussion with poet Seán Hewitt — Ireland, 6th May 2021.

Catherine Gander: '... (thinking) about the aesthetics of attention that we were skirting around, it has obviously been said before or remarked upon before, the reverence of your book — and the attention your poems pay, especially to the details of the natural world. It's really exquisite, and it does make me think of a line from Simone Weil that is often in my head, which is "Attention, taken to its highest degree is the same thing as prayer. It presupposes faith and love". And so we could read Tongues of Fire as a kind of prayer book in this way. And the title is the name of the rust fungus, right, that grows on the juniper tree, but of course it's also a kind of holy or holy-reaching speech, the "tongues of fire" feature in the Bible to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through the human. And that got me thinking about what prayers are, how they're kind of given and received, how they're often offerings of thanks but also quite often desperate messages of hope. And I see this in your poems. When I started reading them again I was kind of underlining all those words that carried a lot of weight — literally: the word "weight" is scattered about in at least the first poems, quite a lot — but counter-balanced by these beautiful images of levity and lightness so you've got this kind of movement between grief and ecstacy. I was wondering if you could say just a bit to us about how these ideas of prayer and reverence might resonate with you when you think about, or write, poetry....'
Seán Hewitt: 'Yeah, I love that quote. I think it's true, attention is a really useful way of starting a poem, it's always the place I start to describe something as well as I can in detail and see what emerges from that physical thing. I think also the process of writing a poem for me is akin to something that we might call prayer. I suppose I think of prayer as a human instinct that was then given a name later by religion, it's probably something that we tend to do anywhere, it's the petition to something outside ourselves for meaning or help with understanding. And I think a poem — or least how I see a poem — might be a series of questions unanswered. Or it might be a reaching for the best question, or the best framing of a question, that gets towards what you don't know. And it's not that you ever necessarily find or get to the answer, but you might get further and further towards it through questioning. And so I think in that way it is a kind of a prayerful process. I couldn't write one in a busy room of people, so it kind of requires you to have that sort of attentive space in your thinking. That probably comes through in the tenor of the poem that you write — or the poem that I write, anway — (which) tends to be meditative....'


Poetry Ireland — Beautiful Speech: A Tribute to Eavan Boland, with contributors including Paula Meehan, Tobias Wolff, Paul McCarrick, Maria Hummel, Roisin Kelly, Bruce Snider, Dr Jody Allen Randolph, Sarah Casey and Niamh O'Donnell. — April 2021.


The Poetry Project, Hala Alyan & Naomi Shihab Nye, with Simon Shaheen — USA, 14th April 2021.

Hala Alyan, a clinical psychologist, is the author of four poetry collections and two novels. Her most recent book is 'The Arsonists’ City.' A recent poem, Half-Life in Exile appeared in The New Yorker, 20th September. 2021. Naomi Shihab Nye has written poetry, fiction for children, song recordings, poetry translations and a book of essays, Never in a Hurry (1996).


Globus Books, SF, Valzhyna Mort: A Poetry Reading — San Francisco, 31 March 2021.

'Valzhyna Mort: 'English language is the language of colonial law. English language is the language of ledgers, that turned humans into numbers. English language is the language that is convenient to justify violence, has all the means for the justification of violence. And so I think there is this whole new tradition of poets — I'm thinking also of Don Mee Choi for example, who received the National Book Awards for her poetry book this year — so there are all these poets who are bilingual in different ways and who are writing in English in order to not allow English to do what it wants to do and what it does so well — which is to conceal rather than reveal the history in which it has been used.'


Fulbright New Zealand, Good Works Alumni series — New Zealand, 21st March 2021.

Celebrating International Poetry Day in New Zealand in 2021, Therese Lloyd introduces five writers — Tusiata Avia, David Eggleton, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Karlo Mila and Cilla McQueen. 'Poetry in Aotearoa is enjoying a fantastic renaissance currently,' Lloyd suggests, 'arguably — I think — the most dynamic, most diverse and most brilliant it has been for quite some time, and this in no small way is down to the output and the influence of the five readers we've got together with us tonight.'


Button Poetry, Rudy Francisco — 'Drowning Fish' — USA, 20th March 2021.


Martin Langford: Introduction to 'Eardrum, Poetry and Prose about Music' — Australia, 27th December 2020.

Covid 19 delayed the launch of Martin Langford's 2019 poetry collection Eardrum, with these recordings perhaps in lieu of a launch. Eardrum has been reviewed by Rose Lucas for Plumwood Mountain, and by Martin Duwell in Australian Poetry Review. Further poems from Eardrum featured online are Jack, The Symphonists, Mahler in Midsummer, The Stone Song, The Country Where Nobody Sings, The Uses of Music and Minims.



PODCASTS


The LitPoetry Podcast, James Laidler in conversation with Judith Beveridge — Australia, 15th october 2021.

Judith Beveridge: '... I've always had a descriptive element in my work, I like to describe or engage with what I see, so the images have always been a very important tool, something that I've relied on quite extensively particularly in the early work. As I've progressed over the years I think I've learnt to concentrate or value sonic properties of English and concentrate a lot on the musicality of what I'm doing. I also find that it's a way of generating content also, because I'm very impressed with what Wallace Stevens said, when he said "When you're writing a poem, it's a good idea to get the intellect off the poem almost successfully", and he said one of the best ways of doing this is concentrating on the sounds of the poem. So I began to do that, and it's now become quite a regular practice. It gets my intellect and my critical mind off what I'm doing so that I'm not actually worried about what I'm saying or what I'm writing about. I never have been one of those poets who works from ideas, I work from very small things, maybe it's just a word, or a rhythm, or an image.... "


Nature Festival, 'Writers and the Living World': Dominic Guerrera and Jill Jones discuss the role of the written word in navigating the current ecological moment we find ourselves in — Adelaide, 25th September 2021.

[Question]: '(Could you speak) a bit more about hope, and the role of hope in writing and the balance of the bleak reality that we're in, and the role of art and writing in terms of instilling hope?'
Dominic Guerrera: 'I don't like hope! I really think that we're in a position — globally, on this continent, and locally — where we need to be in action. And it needs to be immediate action! There's an urgency to a lot of things — social justice, environmental justice — I think that hope can chew up time, and I don't think we have that.'


Academy of American Poets, Blaney Lecture — 'Let's Stay Together: Notes About black poetry and community — USA, 11 Feb 2021.

Adrian Matejka: 'Because revisionism aside, Black poetry stayed in the wilderness in the 20th and early 21st century. We look back and talk about the Harlem Renaissance as the major movement and it was for Black people. The work being done earned that distinction even as it was a curiosity for readers outside of our community. We look at the Black Arts Movement and Callaloo literary journal in the early years and they were significant and vital for Black artists and writers even as the institutions and agencies with the money remained nonplussed.' [Transcript available online here.


BLOGS


Penned in the Margins, Tim Cresswell: 'The eco-poetry that shaped me' — London, 15th October 2021.

Tim Cresswell: 'Poetry has always asked us to reflect on our relationships with the world beyond the human. One of poetry’s strengths is its insistence on the power of noticing – of paying attention. It also asks us to make connections between things that might not be immediately connected. That is, after all, what a metaphor is. This becomes particularly powerful when we connect across scales from the smallest thing to the biggest things. From individual snowdrops blooming in December (not just the wrong month but the wrong year) to what the writer Timothy Morton calls ‘hyperobjects’ – objects which are so large we cannot see the ends of them – objects which expand out in chaotic networks that threaten to challenge the possibility of human life on earth. Climate change.'

'One of poetry’s strengths is its insistence on the power of noticing – of paying attention'


rob mclennan's blog, Douglas Barbour (March 21, 1940-September 25, 2021) — Canada, 28 September 2021.


Kristin Berkey-Abbott, A Lectionary for Our Current Time — Florida, 15 September 2021.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott: 'Most of us grew up hearing the story of Adam and Eve, where Eve was presented in a variety of ways, none of them good. Eve was stupid or ditzy or conniving. Eve was the one responsible for bringing sin into the world; Eve was responsible for the fall of all of humankind, and therefore all women must be punished, century after century.
But what if we told the story differently? What if we saw Adam as the passive one, the one who just did what he was told, while Eve was the one who took an active role in managing the Garden, talking to the animals, considering their arguments. Let's take it one step further. What would happen if.... '


B’FHIÚ AN BRAON FOLA, Poetry Controversy, “Free Speech” Debates, and the Power of Poetry — Indiana, 14 September 2021.

Mike Begnal: 'The recent controversy in the poetry world, centered around Barren Magazine firing an unpaid editor (Danielle Rose), is interesting and thought-provoking in a number of ways. To briefly recap, Rose.... '


Elizabeth Adams' blog, 'the cassandra pages', The Truth in Ordinary things — Montreal, 31 August 2021.

Beth Adams: 'In his Nobel address, Seamus Heaney spoke about the issue that's been obsessing me lately: how, as artists, do we continue to do our work when the world seems to be so filled with sorrow, violence, and despair? What is our responsibility toward expressing that? How do the quotidian and personal intersect with the larger issues that we face, and with the suffering of people far away?'


POEMSHAPE, A Writer's Life: My take on Hybrid publishing — Vermont, 02 June 2021

Patrick Gillespie: 'I liked the look and sound of the publisher, but I’m also very wary of publishers that blur the line between traditional and vanity presses. I know from past experience that I just don’t have the interest or inclination to be my own publicist. It’s not that I’m unwilling to promote my book, but I don’t want the book to succeed or fail according to my own ability to publicize or market. That’s a real job, like being a good writer, and I know my limits. Does the author want to be marketing the book he’s written or writing the next book?'


Peter Grant, 'Nature Scribe', 'Central Plateau Variations: Part 3 — Tasmania, 16 April 2021.

Peter Grant: 'For the Palawa, European invasion stopped all that, whether though disease, forced eviction, or deliberate killings. Others would now eye off this high country for their own purposes, and they did so quickly. In the 1830s, when G. A. Robinson (the so-called protector of Aboriginals), travelled through the Central Plateau to round up any remaining Aboriginals, he noted that “wild cattle was seen grazing … and several young calves appeared among them.”'


Pete Hay, Remembering Barry Lopez — Hobart, 29th December 2020.

Pete Hay: 'On Christmas Day one of the global luminaries of literature, Barry Lopez, died. His Arctic Dreams is surely one of the most extraordinary literary achievements of the twentieth century, and for many years excerpts from this remarkable book were on the syllabi of the units I taught at UTAS, along with his equally remarkable short fictional pieces. ‘Drought’, published in River Notes in 1979, remains one of my handful of standout pieces of writing, both for the grace with which Barry wrote, and what it has to say.'


SONG


Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, YEИDRY — Miami, 8th October, 2021.

jóvilágvan, Featuring Bokor Réka — Esztergom, Hungary, 13th September 2021.

Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, Laurie Anderson — New York City, 20th May 2021.

Exquisite eighteen minute Tiny Desk performance from Laurie Anderson and friends.

The Barbican, Paul Weller with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and guests Boy George, Celeste and James Morrison — London, 15th May 2021.

Đen, Trốn Tìm — Vietnam, 13th May 2021.