Up Next – Poets Allison Cobb & Brenda Coultas

The final event of the spring 2007 New Writing Series will feature the poets Allison Cobb and Brenda Coultas. The reading will take place at 4:30pm on Thursday, 26 April, in the Soderberg Auditorium.

Allison Cobb was born and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and her first book, Born 2 (Chax, 2004), explores the meaning of that vexed site as a ground for her own imaginative labors. Her work is formally inventive, attentive to history, and moving in its transformations of source text. She has an MFA from George Mason University and is one of the editors of POM2. Currently living in New York, Cobb is now at work on a long poem entitled “Green-Wood: A Meditation on the Meaning of America,” organized around the history and present-day ecology of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, founded in 1838 in one of the last wild areas of the city.

Lisa Jarnot calls Brenda Coultas “the supreme weaver of tender weird tales for a melancholy democracy. Her rural-urban-lyric-documentary of the human condition is more than astute and more than compelling—think of her as the new breed of great American poet.” And Rain Taxi says of Coultas’s recent book, A Handmade Museum (Coffee House Press, 2003): “[Her] poems sometimes seem to function as an extension of the observational activities by which neighborhoods regulate themselves; in her descriptions of encounters with people on the street and objects found in dumpsters, she preserves the naturally elegant social organization of the Bowery in its original chaos….” Coultas’s previous works include A Summer Newsreel (2nd Story Books, 1999). She lives and works in New York City.

Allison Cobb’s Born 2Brenda Coultas’s A Handmade Museum

Event Report – Rosanna Warren

An audience of twenty people braved drenching rains and high winds to attend a special evening event in the New Writing Series on Monday, 16 April. Poet Rosanna Warren drew from her recent Norton volume, Departure, in the first part of her set, then shifted to uncollected works such as “Man in Stream,” three poems from the sequence “Mistral,” two from the “Anne Verveine” sequence, and a poem about the experience of schizophrenia, “Fear,” in the latter part of the set. Her reading was followed by an informative question and answer session in which the poet discussed Fernando Pessoa‘s work, her own experiment in heteronymity with the “Anne Verveine” poems, the strong reaction of a New Yorker reader to her poem “Nightshade,” the political underpinnings of the Virgilian pastoral, and contemporary American lyric poetry.

Warren’s visit to UMaine was sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, at whose year-end initiation ceremony Warren had spoken earlier on the same day about the relationship of the visual arts to poetic practice.

Archival record. A digital videotape recording was made of the event. In addition to the dv masters, vhs and dvd duplicates will be available shortly. An 8-bit mp3 recording of the reading was also made. Contact Steve Evans for more information about acquiring copies.

Up Next – Poet Rosanna Warren

The poet Rosanna Warren will read from her work at 8PM on Monday, 16 April, in the Soderberg Center auditorium in Jenness Hall. An interview with Warren is available online here. Her poem “For Trakl” is here. Another poem, “Noon,” is here. Warren’s visit to UMaine is sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Poet Rosanna WarrenDeparture by Rosanna Warren

Event Report – Jonah Winter and L.E. Leone

Approximately fifty-five people attended a mixed-genre reading by poet and children’s book author Jonah Winter and fiction writer and regular SF Bay Guardian columnist L.E. Leone on Thursday afternoon, 12 April 2007.

Winter opened his set with “The House of Poetry,” then read several sestinas from his collection Maine, a new chapbook called Book Reports, a parodic sestina called “Estuaries Bequeathed,” and a sequence of poems based on lesbian pulp novels.

Leone began her set with the short story “The House and the Homeowner.” She then performed a country song (possibly called “Place Holder”), read “The Kitchen Sink,” and closed with the story “Hope.”

Masters candidate Ryan Weibush introduced Jonah Winter on behalf of the English Graduate Students Association. Assistant Professor David Kress introduced L.E. (Dani) Leone on behalf of the New Writing Series. A lively and long question and answer session followed the reading.

Archival record. A digital videotape recording was made of the event. In addition to the dv masters, vhs and dvd duplicates will be available shortly. An 8-bit mp3 recording of the reading was also made. Contact Steve Evans for more information about acquiring copies.

Jonah Winter

L.E. Leone sings

Up Next – L.E. Leone (Fiction) & Jonah Winter (Poetry)

On Thursday, 12 April, the New Writing Series will be teaming up with EGSA, the English Graduate Student Association at the University of Maine, to welcome fiction writer L.E. Leone and poet Jonah Winter for an afternoon reading (4:30pm) at the Soderberg Center auditorium. Back in the day, Winter and Leone were in the band Ed’s Redeeming Qualities together. This will be their first time reading together at UMaine.

L.E. Leone is the author of The Meaning of Lunch (Mammoth, 2000), a collection of short stories, and of Eat This, San Francisco: A Narrated Road Map to Dives, Joints, All-Night Cafes, Noodle Houses, Buffets, and Other Cheap Places to Eat in the Bay Area (Sasquatch Books, 1999). Leone writes the Cheap Eats column for the SF Bay Guardian. Read an interview with Leone here. More about Leone via Mercury House.

Jonah Winter is the author of Maine and Amnesia. He also has two chapbooks out with Octopus Books, The Continuing Misadventures of Andrew, The Headless Talking Bear and Book Reports. He has poems forthcoming in The Paris Review and has also appeared in Field, Chicago Review, Macsweeney’s Internet Tendencies, and many other venues. Check out a sample of his work at Mipoesias and Octopus. Winter’s visit is sponsored by the English Graduate Student Association of the Universityof MaineL.E. Leone (middle)Jonah Winter

Photo credit for Jonah Winter (shown on right), Sheana Director. See original photo on Flickr here.

Event Report – Robert Kelly

Poet Robert Kelly read to a capacity audience of ninety-five people on Wednesday evening, 4 April 2007, in the charmless auditorium of Murrary Hall on the University of Maine campus. Despite the developing snowstorm outside, and the acoustical challenges presented by the room, Kelly connected powerfully with the audience during his wide-ranging and highly-musical forty-minute set.

A full event report, along with a detailed set list, can be consulted here.

Earlier in the day, Kelly visited Honors 180: A Cultural Odyssey, to discuss his work with students. Here he is shown reading from his book Threads.
Poet Robert Kelly visits with students in the UMaine Honors College

Kelly also read an excerpt from “Samphire,” his 2006 contribution to the Backwoods Broadsides Pamphlet Series.
Poet Robert Kelly Reads from his Backwoods Broadsides pamphlet

After his evening reading, Kelly fielded questions from the audience.
Robert Kelly fielding questions after his reading in the UMaine New Writing Series

Archival record – A digital videotape recording was made of the event (sound quality very good; image quality poor due to lighting). In addition to the dv masters, vhs and dvd duplicates will be available shortly. An 8-bit mp3 recording of the reading was also made. Contact Steve Evans for more information about acquiring copies.

The Luster of Listening

“I suppose poetry is / Listening Out Loud,” writes Robert Kelly in a statement he prepared for a conference on contemporary poetry several years ago. You can hear Kelly read his statement here; to follow along, check out the text here. The whole of Kelly’s Manhattan performance in November 2005 can be heard online here.

Kelly reads in the New Writing Series tomorrow night, Wednesday, 4 April, at 8PM. The reading in 102 Murray Hall is free and open to everyone.