Voice Capture

Reading with Barrett Watten and Daniel Tiffany

Barrett Watten plans to read “Plan B”, a poem written in the aftermath of our national catastrophe, as a kind of “knowledge base” for the symbolic rubble of the election and the state of political crisis it produced. The keyword ‚Gleichschaltung, drawn from the German experience in March 1933, is used as a call not to “normalize” the result of the election—an imperative that continues for many. Both terms appear at regular intervals through the poem. Also evoked is the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald—a 1975 maritime disaster on the Great Lakes (and ballad by Gordon Lightfoot) that is iconic for residents of Michigan, for whom it represents the destruction of the state as well as the wreck itself. The poem is translated into German by Munich performance poet Franziska Ruprecht, and will be presented in multi-media format, along with other works.

Daniel Tiffany will be reading from a book-length poem composed in syllabics and, more specifically, in a five-line stanza called the “cinquain,“ invented around the turn of the last century by the prosodist and poet, Adelaide Crapsey. The poem (just over 300 stanzas) writes through, very loosely, the framework of The Book of Margery Kempe—the earliest known prose autobiography in English—about an illiterate, fourteenth-century female mystic.


© Alan Bernheimer
Barrett Watten is a language-centered poet and critic. His collection „Frame„: 1971–1990 appeared from Sun & Moon in 1997; „Bad History, from Atelos in 1998; and „Progress/Under Erasure“ from Green Integer in 2004. He edited „This“, one of the central publications of Language writing, and co-edited „Poetics Journal“ with Lyn Hejinian. He also collaborated on „Leningrad: American Writers in the Soviet Union“ (1991) and „The Grand Piano: An Experiment in Collective Autobiography“ (2006–10), and „Diasporic Avant-Gardes: Experimental Poetics and Cultural Displacement“ (Palgrave, 2009); Wesleyan University Press published a combined print/digital „Guide to Poetics Journal“ and „Poetics Journal Digital Archive“ in 2013-15. His critical writing includes „The Constructivist Moment: From Material Text to Cultural Poetics (2003; René Wellek Prize, 2004) and „Questions of Poetics: Language Writing and Consequences“ (2016). He teaches at Wayne State University, Detroit, and posts at barrettwatten.net.
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Daniel Tiffany’s most recent poetry collection (with BLUNT RESEARCH GROUP), „The Work-Shy, appeared in the Wesleyan Poetry Series in 2016. Five previous collections were published by presses including Action Books, Parlor Press, Noemi, Tin Fish, and Omnidawn. His poems have been published in the „Paris Review“, „Poetry“, „Tin House“, „Lana Turner“, „Fence“, „jubilat, and many other journals. He is also the author of five volumes of literary criticism (from Harvard, Chicago, California, and Johns Hopkins) and has published translations from French, Greek, and Italian. He is a recipient of the Chicago Review Poetry Prize and the Berlin Prize. He lives in Los Angeles.