Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 15 & 16: Roy Fisher Symposium

Friday, April 15 @ 7pm
Readings by August Kleinzahler, Maureen McLane, & Tom Pickard
at The (New) Corpse Space
1511 N. Milwaukee Ave

Saturday, April 16 @ 1:30pm
Roy Fisher Symposium - Talks & a Film
at Morningstar
22 W. Washington, 7th Floor

Chicago Poetry Project is pleased to announce a short symposium on the work of British poet Roy Fisher. The event will feature short talks by August Kleinzahler, Maureen McLane, and Tom Pickard and will include a screening of Pickard's film about Fisher, "Birmingham Is What I Think With." The Friday evening prior to the symposium, the presenters will give a group reading of their own and Fisher's poetry.

Born in 1930, Roy Fisher is a British poet of remarkable range. Stripped of ornament, skeptical in temperament, his poems find music in sharp angles, hesitations, and silences. They often move through post-industrial landscapes of Birmingham and the English Midlands, registering crepuscular half-tones, "the dog odour / of water," and "malted-milk brickwork." Beyond such literal subjects, Fisher captures the intermingling of fancy and perception, the play of light and shadow in the mind itself. As August Kleinzahler has suggested, "The eye darts about in Fisher's poetry. It abhors the object at rest, framing of any kind. It's like a camera, jerking and swiveling on an unstable tripod. Early and late, the poetry is about the eye in motion. The shifts may be subtle or vertiginously abrupt. It's best not to get too comfortable as you progress through a poem because you're not going to be where you think you are for long." His restless and exploratory poetry has long been admired in the United Kingdom, and by a select few readers in the United States. His Selected Poems, edited by Kleinzahler and designed to introduce his work to an American audience, has just been published by Flood Editions.

The symposium is free and open to the public but *REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR THIS EVENT*. Simply send an e-mail to john.tipton64@gmail.com with your first and last name so we can put you on the access list, and bring photo ID to the event. This is a building security requirement.

August Kleinzahler was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1949, and raised in Fort Lee, New Jersey. For six years, he commuted everyday, from New Jersey to New York, to attend the Horace Mann School in the Bronx. After high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin as an East Asian Studies major. He dropped out of Wisconsin, and finished his studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia where he majored in English and studied with Basil Bunting, whom he considered a great hero. Kleinzahler is the author of ten books of poetry, including: The Strange Hours Travelers Keep (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), winner of the International Griffin Poetry Prize; Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club : Poems: 1975-1990 (2000); Green Sees Things in Waves (1999); and Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow (1995). He is also the author of one prose book, the meditative memoir Cutty, One Rock: Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004). His honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lila Acheson-Reader’s Digest Award for Poetry, an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and the post of poet laureate in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Maureen N. McLane was educated at Harvard, Oxford, and the University of Chicago, from which she received her PhD in 1997. She is the author of Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (Cambridge UP, 2008) and Romanticism and the Human Sciences (CUP, 2000, 2006). She also co-edited The Cambridge Companion to British Romantic Poetry (2008). Her research and teaching focus on British literature and culture, 1750-30, and more broadly on the intersection of poetry, "literature," and modernity: special areas of interest include romanticism, modernism, balladry (British and American), mediality, 20th- and 21st-century poetries in English, the human sciences, historiography, and the case of Scotland. A poet and critic, she is the author of Same Life: poems (FSG, 2008) and World Enough: poems (FSG, forthcoming June 2010). A contributing editor at Boston Review, her articles on poetry, fiction, teaching, and sexuality have appeared widely, in (e.g.) The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Review, The Washington Post, American Poet, and on the Poetry Foundation website. In 2003 she won the National Book Critics Circle's Balakian Award for Excellence in Book Reviewing; she served on the Board of Directors of the NBCC, 2007-2010. Before coming to NYU, she taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, MIT, and the East Harlem Poetry Project. She thinks print is not dead, nor poetry, nor the human--though regarding what the latter two might be, she remains agnostic.

Tom Pickard’s first book of poems, High on The Walls, was published in 1968 by Fulcrum Press and his latest, Ballad of Jamie Allan, by Flood Editions in 2008. It was a finalist in the National Book Critics Circle awards. In 1970 City Lights published Guttersnipe and in 2011 Pressed Wafer published More Pricks Than Prizes, both part memoirs. He also documented northern working-class culture/history in books, on radio and in TV documentaries. He has worked with musicians, including John Harle for whom her wrote the libretto, Ballad of Jamie Allan, and more recently the words for Harle’s City Solstice—a piece for saxophone and the Kings College Cambridge Choir. Currently collaborating with the singer songwriter, Ben Murray, on his interpretation of Ballad of Jamie Allan with song, field recordings, and poems from the book. Pickard has been banned from the North Sea, the Newcastle Festival, and HM Prisons, amongst other places. He now lives in the North Pennine Hills near the Border with Scotland and makes recordings of winds on Fiends Fell while walking and watching cloud shadows on distant hills.

Chicago Poetry Project