W E R: CHRISTIAN HAWKEY, PIOTR SOMMER, MATVEI YANKELEVICH
Когда: S a t u r d a y 21 N o v e m b e r 8pm
GDZIE: S c h o e n B o o k s
MATVEI YANKELEVICH played Daniil Kharms in the most popular Celan Salon to date. Now he’s back so we can celebrate his Boris by the Sea, the newest book from Octopus Books (home of our own Heather Christle. In the interim, his long poem, The Present Work, is still available from Palm Press and his Kharms translation, Today I Wrote Nothing, is in paperback, joining Oberiu: An Anthology of Russian of Absurdism.
His translation of Mayakovsky’s “A Cloud in Pants” is included in Night Wraps the Sky: Writing By and About Mayakovsky (FSG, 2008). Octopus Magazine hosts his Field Notes on Russian-American poets, and he edited Aufgabe 8, on Russian poetry and poetics, just out from Litmus Press.
A founding editor of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he designs books, co-edits 6×6 and edits the Eastern European Poets Series, he teaches at Hunter College and Columbia University School of the Arts. Let Celan Salon suggest sampling recent poems at, por ejemplo, Action Yes and in, par excellence, Damn the Caesars, selah.
PIOTR SOMMER is “the great poet of ‘everyday loneliness, contrary to yourself perhaps.’ Like Frank O’Hara, whom he has translated into Polish, he is on the lookout for what he calls ‘improper names’—the very ones that allow us to construe the unkempt and taciturn world that surrounds us.” So John Ashbery. When Sommer’s O’Hara appeared in 1987, “it led to a small poetical war between the young experimental group of poets influenced by O’Hara, known as “The Barbarians”, and their opponents “The Neo-Classicists”, who defended more traditional Polish poetry.”
Tomaz Salamun, another poet Sommer has translated–and Ashbery, Berryman, Cage, Koch, and Reznikoff are still others–sums in up: “It might come as a shock to you, but the real father of Polish poetry written in the last 20 years is Piotr Sommer. Look at his clarity, his gentle light as immediately after rain, his landscapes and touches, his fascinating human scale—and find out why.”
Sommer, who lives outside Warsaw, where he edits the seminal literary journal, Literatura na Swiecie, is a Franke Fellow at Yale for Fall 2009. In addition to ten volumes of poetry in Polish, there are two in English, with translations by Ashbery and Michael Kasper among others. The latest, Continued (Wesleyan, 2005), will be available at the reading.
CHRISTIAN HAWKEY, star of When You Think Of It, is the author of three books of poetry: The Book of Funnels (Verse Press, 2004), Citizen Of (Wave Books, 2007) and Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010).
Information leading to the capture of Hawkey’s chapbook, Hour, Hour (Delirium Press, 2006), or collection, Reisen in Ziegengeschwindigkeit (kookbooks, 2008), will be rewarded with a copy of the first Minutes of the Robert Walser Society of Western Massachusetts, the second Sienese Shredder, or the third Agriculture Reader, where excerpts from “Ulf” and “Sonnets in the Mouth of an Elizabethan Wolf” will and have appeared, retro-respectively.
The most recent Chicago Review features a portfolio of contemporary poets from Berlin, edited by Hawkey, who has translated Daniel Falb, Sabine Scho, Steffen Popp, and Uljana Wolf, with whom he has also translated the greatest living writer writer-in-German.