Friday, December 20, 2013

Ammiel Alcalay and the Limits of Translation (Flyperlinked)

Ammiel Alcalay and the Limits of Translation

Loggernaut reading series -- spring 2005

(Hyperlinked by Steve Fly)

Loggernaut Reading Series: What are your intuitions regarding this continent and its writers? Whose work have you found yourself gravitating or re-gravitating toward?

Ammiel Alcalay: Well, the experience of playing badminton with the 6 ft. 7 in. Charles Olson in the back yard as a 5 year old is kind of indelible. I was lucky enough to grow up having all those small press books and little magazines around the house-Black Mountain Review, Evergreen, Big Table, Yugen, (Yugen), etc. - and when I started exploring, these are the things that I encountered. So Kerouac, Burroughs, Olson, Creeley, Robert Duncan, Douglas Woolf, Denise Levertov, Diane di Prima, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka - these were all familiar names. When I started writing poetry as a teenager, I sent it to Vincent Ferrini and had a great correspondence that has lasted until now, as Vincent recently turned 92! Vincent, of course, is the person to whom the Maximus Poems are addressed and, although he sometimes gets a bad rap by people who haven't read deeply in Olson because of the one famous poem in which Olson takes him to task for certain things, the fact is that Vincent is that rare poet who spans the pre-cold war political poets of the 30s and all the post-1945 trends, from the Beats to Black Mountain, San Francisco Renaissance, New York School, and all the other inadequate labels that only get us to a section of the shelf without really letting us see the extent of the whole library."


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