|Robert Kelly, Peter Cocelbergh|
Robert Kelly began discussing Joris’ talking style, or “parlando” as Kelly put it. He made the point that “the nomad is at home everywhere, the exile at home nowhere.” He spoke, as had Cockelbergh, about Joris’ generosity, then read a poem he wrote for him, “A Stream of Luxembourg.”
Don Byrd spoke about being instrumental in hiring Joris, & about their friendship over the subsequent years, then read a piece mixing the personal, the poetic & the scholarly, “Pierre & I Sipping Bourbon in Albany Talking About the End of the World.” Byrd has also retired from teaching &, interestingly, is in the process of moving to Brooklyn.
|Belle Gironda, Donald Faulker|
I found it interesting that the younger academics both presented scholarly exegeses on the conceptual aspects of Joris’ work, while “the Elders” talked more pointedly to the personal & poetic.
After a pleasant break filled with greetings, hugs, kisses & lemon infused water, Tomás Urayoán Noel, another professor with one foot in the street community of poets, sat down with Pierre Joris to talk about his life & work. The conversation began about being a nomad, & about the diaspora of poetic voices, about Joris discovering Howl, Naked Lunch, & On the Road in Europe then choosing to write in “American” (over German or French) & come to the USA. Robert Duncan’s concept of “the multi-verse” (as opposed to the the “universe”) was central, with Joris stating “Language itself is a translation” of our experiences into words, & “A poem is all the translating it can give rise to.”
|Tomas Urayoan Noel, Pierre Joris|
Regarding performance/readings, Joris’ told a story of reading his poetry for the first time in Shakespeare & Co., the famed bookstore in Paris, & being put down by the Beat poet Ted Joans, then being defended by James Baldwin.
Joris explained that while he often collaborates with others, notably with Nicole Peyrafitte, in the performances of his poetry, but doesn’t work with others when writing, he writes his poems alone. He observed that the new poetic technique of the 20th Century is the collage. The conversation continued about his translations of Celan, his own poetry (particularly the daily practice documented in “Canto Diurno”), & his views on teaching poetry, for which I refer you to the last lines of the article that appeared in the Albany Times-Union.
|Pierre Joris, Nicole Peyrafitte|
|Pierre Joris, Chris Funkhouser, 1993|
As a finale he read a piece composed last year for the BP oil spill, a ship-wreck (or “rig-wreck”) poem for choir, a bit of eco-poetry.
All day in one room with nomadic poetry that took us far from Albany, & back again. I look forward to more in the future, more poems, words, images, performance from both Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte.
You can find more photos from this celebration on my Flickr! site.