Small Press Traffic is pleased to present the 2nd of our Predecessors Talks:
Elizabeth Arnold on Rhyme & Politics in Oppen, Niedecker, & Loy
Friday, November 10, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Elizabeth Arnold writes: “In a talk I gave on rhyme in free verse, the focus
was, naturally, on the music of the language, the lyricism of the poems I
chose. And yet, several people in the audience were surprised to find that, in
addition to being compelling aurally, so many of the poems were political.
Included among them were some poems by George Oppen. Oppen’s adherence in
particular to what Wallace Stevens of all people insists upon: the necessary
interaction of reality and imagination. Social realism did not allow for the
unanticipatable emergence of ideas and feelings in a poem; as a committed
Marxist, Oppen chose not to write for twenty-five years rather than compromise
his art. Lyric power was crucial to him, the ear being necessary to the
success of poems carrying, out of the deepest recesses of a man who lived what
he believed, lyric poems with political subject matter. I may also look at
poems by Lorine Niedecker and Mina Loy in this light.”
Elizabeth Arnold is the author of two books of poems, Civilization (Flood
Editions, 2006) and The Reef (University of Chicago Press, 1999). The
recipient of a Bunting fellowship and a Whiting award, she edited Mina Loy’s
Insel for Black Sparrow Press and teaches in the MFA programs at the
University of Maryland and Warren Wilson College. She lives outside
SPT's Predecessors Talks series exists to map and illuminate continuities of
influence and impetus among writers of a range of eras and milieux.
Unless otherwise noted, events are $5-10, sliding scale, free to current SPT
members and CCA faculty, staff, and students.
Unless otherwise noted, our events are presented in Timken Lecture Hall,
California College of the Arts 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco (just off the
intersection of 16th & Wisconsin)