Yale Working Group in Contemporary Poetry

Adelaide Russo on Michel Deguy

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on May 31, 2009

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On Friday, May 1, 2009, the WGCP met with Adelaide Russo to discuss a segment of her book-in-progress on the French philosopher and poet, Michel Deguy. The chapter under consideration is provisionally entitled “La poésie limitrophe: Michel Deguy’s Gisants” which, as the title says, develops a consideration of the trope (linguistic figure) as limit or boundary in, among other texts, Deguy’s prize winning collection, Gisants (1985) which is available in Wilson Baldridge’s English translation by Wesleyan University Press (2005)–some of these poems were circulated prior to the session, in French and in English (texts available here). The essay/chapter in question may eventually take part in Adelaide’s next book, a much-needed, English language monograph on the works of Deguy, the working title of which, is Michel Deguy’s Perspicacity.

A complete detailed account of this meeting is available: WGCP Minutes, Russo/Deguy

Image: Michel Deguy and Adelaide Russo


Steve Evans

Posted in WGCP Communications by wgcp on May 19, 2009

Steve Evans, an important voice in the work being done on contemporary poetics, joined the Working Group in Contemporary Poetry on April 24 at the Beinecke Library to discuss his seminal work on phonotextuality.  Evans’s opening insistence is that recordings of poets reading their poems are treated as somehow illustrating the poem, and are not considered as texts in and of themselves.  Given the proliferation of recordings, Evans suggests that the time of seeing these recordings as somehow adjunct is past and that considering them as texts opens  a valuable field of inquiry in ways that combine developments in performance studies, sociology, and literary studies. The proliferation of recordings means that what were transient, ephemeral events–readings–are now captured in time, but that their very presence suggests that the recordings offer something that people are interested in.  The interest alone serves as a point of entry for thinking about what cultural function the recordings serve.

A complete and detailed account of this meeting is available: WGCP Meeting Minutes, Steve Evans Visit

Related links:  Lipstick of Noise at Third Factory; PennSound

Image: Steve Evans, photographed by Ben Friedlander

Forrest Gander

Posted in Uncategorized by wgcp on May 16, 2009

On Friday, Feb 20, the poet/translator/novelist Forrest Gander joined our group to discuss his work, particularly his most recent collection of poems, Eye against Eye, and his collection of poetics essays, Faithful Existence.

We began with a conversation about how Gander sees his upbringing in the South (he grew up in Virginia) as influencing how work. He is often contextualized in terms of the South and the fact that in Eye against Eye he collaborates with Sally Mann, the eminent photographer whose landscape photographs of the Virginian landscape in quintessential ways, only underlines his connection to that region. Rather than feeling a cultural connection to a Southern tradition, Gander sees the physical geography of that place begin an enduring influence. He suggested that different landscapes facilitate different rhythms of perception. The overgrown landscape of Virginia, particularly in its representations by Sally Mann, means that in rural areas people walk a great deal and in walking through such terrain, one develops a slowed, staggered relationship to the physical environment.

A complete and detailed account of this meeting is available: WGCP Meeting Minutes, Forrest Gander.

Jacques Roubaud

Posted in Uncategorized by wgcp on May 16, 2009

On Friday, March 27 the Yale Working Group in Contemporary Poetry met to discuss select work by the French poet Jacques Roubaud. The following Monday afternoon, March 30, the group met in the Beinecke Library for a two hour, free ranging conversation with Mr. Roubaud himself. That session was immediately followed by a public poetry reading and book signing at the Yale Bookstore.

Focusing largely on the recent La Presse publication, Exchanges on Light (2009; translated by Eleni Sikelianos), our Friday afternoon discussion opened with questions about the ‘Frenchness’ of Roubaud’s book (originally published in France in 1990 (after Quelque chose noir (1986) and before La Pluralité des mondes de Lewis (1991)). Our Monday afternoon session consisted of a sequence of excursions into Roubaud’s various worlds, all of them described, in his own words, by Roubaud who, afterward, pondered over how well the complexity of these realms can be communicated in what he feels is his waning command of the English language.

A detailed account of both discussions can be found online: WGCP Minutes, Jacques Roubaud.

Photo: Olivier Roller: http://olivier.roller.free.fr

About the WGCP

Posted in Announcements, Sponsors by wgcp on May 7, 2009

The Whitney Humanities Center / Beinecke Library Working Group in Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (WGCP).

Interested members of the Yale University community are invited to join the Whitney Humanities Center / Beinecke Library Working Group in Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (WGCP). The Group meets every other Friday at 3:00pm in room 116 at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University (the corner of Church and Wall) to discuss problems and issues of contemporary poetry within international alternative and / or avant-garde traditions of lyric poetry.

The WGCP regularly invites visiting scholars and poets to join the group discussion; guests have included Susan Howe, Jacques Jouet, John Yau, and Charles Bernstein. WGCP discussions take the work of modernist masters in the European and American traditions and a variety of more recent poetries and poetic theories from around the world as their primary subject. The group’s conversations consistently assess the shifting relationship between poetry and other forms of discourse (including criticism, philosophy, politics, mathematics, medicine, history, and art history), as well as the way poetry engages innovative thinking in other arts (cinema, music, painting, architecture). Consequently, the concerns that animate our biweekly discussions vary greatly (see an archive of our minutes at: WGCP Minutes Archive).

The WGCP readings have recenlty included E Pound/Fenellosa, C. Olson, L. Niedecker, G. Stein, U. Dydo, E. Hocquard, M. Deguy, A. Schwerner, A. Lauterbach, J-M Gleize and F.T. Marinetti. Guests included Michael Deguy, Emmanuel Hocquard, Cole Swensen, Jean-Marie Gleize, Ulla Dydo, Paolo Valesio and Ann Lauterbach. To receive announcements about the WGCP’s meetings and events via e-mail, subscribe to the group’s list-serv at WGCP List-serv.