Friday, May 29, 2015

Jeff Hilson, Richard Makin and Jennifer K Dick at Tears in the Fence Festival 2014 on What is Experimental Writing in the 21st Century?

New video now up on Youtube of the Oct 2014 "On Tradition and Experiment" round table talk I lead with Jeff Hilson and Richard Makin from the Tears in the Fence Poetry Festival organized by David Caddy and the magazine Tears in the Fence.
We ask questions like what is our "reponsibility" to tradition, in particular, in the case of Jeff Hilson's topic, to the tradition of forms like the sonnet? What is the relationship between alchemy and experimental procedures as authors and readers? On a more general note, so what is the new? What is tradition or experiment? How did we get to now? What are the limits of language? How are young people writing today inheriting from traditions and what techniques and perspectives are they bringing to the table? Why can we see awkwardness in writing as compelling? Underlying this are the unasked questions, the hinted at query about what space exists today for transformation, opacity, transparency, inspiration, intention, creation, or hybritdity in the new writing and writers of today? Are we, like alchemists, "journeymen of the soul"? Or something far less grandiose?

Jeff Hilson brings in issues on the sonnet and  perspectives on whether explorations of the sonnet can change, sharing some his own techniques as explored in his book In The Assarts (Veer Books, UK, 2010 ).

Richard Makin shares a talk on alchemy that in many ways might stand as a kind of metaphor on transformation. Makin speaks of this hybrid of art and science, of conversion, of transformation, from the dull to the luminous.  Makin also opens up a space for reflection on indeterminateness in reading (and perception), thus the space for reception in the making of art via this talk. For more on Makin's own work, check out his dense poetic novels Dwelling (Reality Street, 2011) or Mourning (Equus Press, 2015--read an excerpt at )

Jennifer K Dick looks back over the convoluted literary trends of tradition and experiment in the American cannon, the interweavings, the redefinitions, the limits of the obsession with the new and yet the sense that perhaps a new is still just about to arrive once more. Her reflections are based on a series of articles published in Tears in the Fence over the past 5 years.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this talk and our topics! Enjoy! --Jen