Sunday, June 24, 2018

Poetry Reading at the SLA Conference

I gave a poetry reading at the Sport Literature Association Conference this past week, on 6/20/18, in Lawrence, Kansas.  My presentation was titled “Baseball Poems / Baseball Images” — some previously published, some newer.  My reading of the poems was accompanied by a series of images, sometimes meant to illustrate aspects of the texts, but sometimes in conversation with them.  It went over well, I think, going on the response I got.

I was also glad to see that many of the papers presented took an overt political stance, including one that foregrounded Eduardo Galeano on soccer and politics.  Further papers analyzed racial discrimination, gender bias, and/or intersections of capitalism in sports, among other topics.  While one could easily have imagined the frequent indulgence in nostalgia, this was really not the case here, and the insights generated proved fruitful.  What is the point of literary criticism if it does not actually engage with the real-life problems of the world?  Then it is merely, as they say, “art for art’s sake” (though perhaps there’s occasional merit in that too?).  And especially in the arena of sports, which has always been a political arena, to stand on the sidelines and not to choose sides would be to my mind to abnegate our responsibility as thinkers and artists.  This was my first time at this conference, and I was encouraged by it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Five Homage Poems at Penumbra

I have five poems published at Penumbra, the official, refereed, scholarly journal of Union Institute & University’s Ph.D. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies. The journal, as it describes itself, is published at regular intervals and dedicated to challenging traditional academic and creative disciplinary boundaries in the context of social change.

My poems are in homage to Archie Shepp, Bill Evans, Peggy Pond Church, Leroy Carr, and Richard Realf (three musicians, two poets).

Read them online here:

Monday, June 04, 2018

Spectra Article in Twentieth-Century Literature

My article “‘bullets for hands’: Witter Bynner, Arthur Davison Ficke, and the Spectra Poems of World War I” is now published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Twentieth-Century Literature, vol. 64, no. 2 (June 2018), pp. 223-46.  Below is the abstract, and the first page is above.

The Spectra hoax, which saw poets Witter Bynner (as Emanuel Morgan) and Arthur Davison Ficke (as Anne Knish) publish the anthology Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments (1916), produced a quite striking body of poetry. Despite its parodic origins, Spectra included some of the most resonant responses to World War I. Recent criticism of Spectrism understandably tends to emphasize the hoax aspects of this fascinating episode in modernist history, focusing on the performance of identity, for example. Yet, Bynner himself stated his genuine affirmation of the anthology’s work beyond the satiric circumstances of its creation, and the experience of their self-created, alternative avant-garde ended up having longer-term effects on both his and Ficke’s careers. This essay argues that engaging with Spectra beyond its hoax limits allows us to explore its wider aesthetic and sociopolitical relevance to the period, shedding further light on contemporary perceptions of Imagism and Vorticism, particularly in the context of the poetry of the Great War.