Wordplay: A new show with Rick Chess
A good show with UNCA's Rick Chess this past Sunday. We got a bit into his investigations into the Kabbalah, and he read for the first time some of the poems that had come out of that work, remarkable compressed pieces of real intensity, as well as poems written in more expansive modes. Claire Burson's lovely CD Silver and Ash provided our musical interludes. It's still on the station archive, accessible from the Wordplay Program page.
Rick also invited me to talk a bit about the class I'll be doing (hopefully) this summer for the Great Smokies Writing Program offered by UNCA. The class will work with procedures as part of the arsenal of tricks poets have available to them, and my real hope is that we'll use those procedures - some developed by Black Mountain poet Jonathan Williams, others by the members of the French Oulipo workshop - to get to the heart beyond the head. Lee Ann Brown tells a good story about a discussion she had with Bernadette Mayer, one of the foremost American originators of poetic procedures, who was at the time working with text cut out of articles from the New York Times. "You know," Mayer said, "I may be working with cutout text, but I'm still writing about my mother." Whatever strategies we use, we'll be using them likewise to write about things that matter deeply to us, even if we do have some fun with language along the way.
If you're interested in exploring this territory - and I think you'll find it a fascinating trip, wherever you're coming from - please check out the Great Smokies site for more information, applications, and the like.