[Wgcp-whc] Retallack's Memnoir--next session 12-5

richard.deming at yale.edu richard.deming at yale.edu
Wed Nov 19 11:22:06 EST 2008

Dear All--

A report on Ron Silliman's recent visit is forthcoming.  In the meantime, I
wanted to send word that the last shipment of Joan Retallack's book of poems,
Memnoir, has arrived.  I have placed these copies on the shelf in Rm 116 of the
WHC.  The majority of the copies arrived in an earlier shipment and those were
distributed at our laat session.  If yo didn't get a copy then but would like
one, hurry over to the WHC. If those are snatched up before anyone who is
interested gets there, please email me directly and we can arrange to have
photocopies made.  There is a link to Retallack reading from this work that
investigates the fraught boundary space between memoir and anti-memoir here:

The focus of our next session, which will be December 5 from 3-5, will be
Memnoir as well as Retallack's book of essays, Poethical Wager (copies of which
were distributed at the beginning of the semester). In the book of essays, we
should foucs on the first three--"Essay as Wager"; "The Poethical Wager"; and
"Wager as Essay"--as well as "The experimental Feminine." Retallack, who is
also a Stein scholar, believes that essays on poetics should enact the
processes they describe, and so the essays are quite challenging in themselves.
 A useful review by Gerald Bruns (himself no slouch) is available here:

I would also recommend Retallack's essay "What Is Experimental Poetry and Why Do
We Need It?"  http://jacketmagazine.com/32/p-retallack.shtml

This essay speaks in part to the ways that the term "experimental" as been an
unstable signifier in our discussions almost since the WGCP's inception.

And since I'm at it, let me recommend the relevant review of Poetry and
Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary
(edited by Joan Retallack and Juliana Spahr)--a review written by one of the
seminar's newest members, Piotr Gwiazda

For those who would like it, I'll paste below Retallack's official bio but here
author page (with links to essays, reviews,readings, and poems) can be accessed
at: http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/retallack/

here will find a link to Retallack's talk on Stein, Cage, and
Wittgenstein--three of her most important interests.

Of course, our sessions are always open, do please do feel free to pass word
about these upcoming sessions--especially retallack's visit--to anyone who
might be interested.

Richard Deming, Seminar Co-Coordinator

"The Working Group in Contemporary Poetry and Poetics meets every other Friday
at 3.00 PM in room 116 at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University to
discuss problems and issues of contemporary poetry within international
alternative and /or avant-garde traditions of lyric poetry. All are welcome to

Joan Retallack is the author of six books of poetry including Memnoir, How To Do
Things With Words, Afterrimages, and Errata 5uite which won the Columbia Book
Award chosen by Robert Creeley. Currently at work on a poetic project, ?The
Reinvention of Truth,? Retallack is the author of Musicage: John Cage in
Conversation with Joan Retallack, Wesleyan University Press, recipient of the
America Award in Belles-Lettres. Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the
Contemporary (Palgrave MacMillan, co-edited with Juliana Spahr)came out last
year. The Poethical Wager was published in 2004 by the University of California
Press which is also bringing out her Gertrude Stein: Selections. A collection of
Retallack?s procedural poems will come out from Roof Books in 2008. She has
received a Lannan Poetry Grant and is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Professor of Humanities at Bard College.

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