UB Literary Series Events for October Include an Indie Lit Luau, Discussion of "Aural Embodiment" and a Balkan Poetry Festival

Language poets Bob Perelman and Myung Mi Kim, outrageous Ben Marcus and more

Release Date: September 30, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo literary series, "Wednesdays at 4 PLUS," continues in October with a variety of events, including a presentation by three very distinguished Balkan writers, and one by the director of the internationally recognized UB Poetics Program.

It also will introduce many in the region to the work of Ben Marcus, a novelist said to "immolate American notions about family, culture and the domestic drama, and ask questions later."

The first event scheduled for that month is the previously-announced discussion of "The Music of Ezra Pound and Its Relationship to his Literary Theories."

Conductor/producer Robert Hughes and Margaret Fisher, writers and scholars who have focused the world's attention on Pound's extraordinary operas and other musical compositions, will present them to a new audience Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. in the Poetry/Rare Books Room, 430 Capen Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Fisher is the author of "Ezra Pound's Radio Operas: The BBC Experiments, 1931-1933." Hughes' credits include the sound recording "Ego Scriptor Cantilenae: The Music of Ezra Pound." They co-authored "Cavalcanti: A Perspective on the Music of Ezra Pound."

Wednesdays at 4 PLUS is a co-sponsor of the second annual "Indy Lit Luau," a celebration of culture of literary arts and small press publishing that will be held at Medaille College, Agassiz Circle, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1-2.

Bob Perelman, professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, long has been a leader of the language poetry movement in the United States, which he memorably described as a range of writing that is "(sometimes) non-referential, (occasionally) polysyntactic, (at times) programmatic in construction, (often) politically committed, (in places) theoretically inclined, and that enacted a critique of the literary I (in some cases)."

He will present a reading from his work Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. in the Poetry/Rare Books Room.

Among the most recent of Perelman's 16 books of poetry are "Playing Bodies," "The Future of Memory" and "Ten to One: Selected Poems." His critical texts are "The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein and Zukofsky" (California University Press, 1996) and "The Marginalization of Poetry" (1996).

Myung Mi Kim, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the UB English Department's Poetics Program since 2002, will read from her work Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. in the Poetry/Rare Books Room.

A Korean-Born American poet, Kim is the award-winning author of five books of poetry, most recently, "Commons" (University of California Press, 2002). She has published in major poetry journals and her work has been anthologized widely. She is the recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative North American Poetry and several awards from the Fund for Poetry, among others.

Sound, repetition and disruptions in narrative are very important in Kim's poetry. Each elusive, elegant line in her poems is independent and does not connect to earlier lines, except in the mind of the reader. Poet C.B. Cisco wrote, "One critic described (Kim's) book, 'The Bounty,' as tesserae -- the small squares of stone or glass that make up a mosaic. Kim's poetry allows the reader to examine each tile for its beauty and delicacy, while the pattern as a whole -- the complete picture -- is absorbed more intuitively."

On Oct. 20, Taylor Brady, the author of "Microclimates," "33549" and "Is Placed/Leaves," will join Stephen Ratcliffe, author of 20 books of poetry, including "Portraits and Repetition" and "SOUND / (system)," for a talk and poetry reading titled, "Reading the Shape of Sound: Aesthetics of Aural Embodiment." It will take place from 7-9 p.m. at Rust Belt Books, 202 Allen St., Buffalo.

This event will be followed on Oct. 22 by a Balkan Poetry Festival featuring three very distinguished speakers: Slovenian poet and social analyst Ales Debeljak, Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic, and Ammiel Alcalay, poet, scholar, translator and author of "From the Warring Factions."

Debeljak is chair of the Cultural Studies Department at the University of Ljubljana. He has published many books, including "The Child and the City," "Dictionary of Silence," "Twilight of Idols: The Tragedy of Yugoslavia and Individualism" and "Literary Metaphors of the Nation."

Mehmedinovic, who now lives in Washington, D.C., is an internationally acclaimed author of the nightmarish but exhilarating odyssey, "Nine Alexandrias" a response to a cross-country journey in post-9/11 America. Like his previous book, "Sarajevo Blues," it offers graphic and tactile affirmation of life amidst horror.

Alcalay, who coincidentally translated "Sarajevo Blues," among many other works, is a professor and former chair of the Queens College Department of Classical, Middle Eastern & Asian Languages &

Cultures, and is on the Medieval Studies and Comparative Literature faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center.

He is a regular contributor to the Village Voice Literary Supplement and his poetry, prose, reviews, critical articles, editorials and translations have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Magazine, The New Republic, The Jerusalem Post, Grand Street, Conjunctions, Sulfur, The Nation, Middle East Report, Afterimage, Parnassus, City Lights Review, Review of Jewish Social Studies and many other magazines, newspapers and journals, including the two most prominent publications in former Yugoslavia, the Croatian weekly Feral Tribune and the Bosnian magazine DANI.

Audacious and widely heralded writer Ben Marcus will speak on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, now at 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. Marcus' first novel, "The Age of Wire and String," was hailed by Robert Coover as "the most audacious literary debut in decades. The Times Literary Supplement called it "An extraordinary first novel....a treasury of interconnected fables of violence and hope, (it) stands out as an exhilarating work of literature."

His second novel, the hilarious, original and daring "Notable American Women," was called by Publishers Weekly "a dystopian novel in the tradition of 'Brave New World' and '1984.'" This unconventional tale concerns the activities of "Jane Dark," whose cult-like female following seeks to attain perfect stillness and silence. Critics aside, Marcus says every word is true and that Jane Dark was his fourth-grade teacher. As his own father has asked, however, "How can one word from Ben Marcus's rotten, filthy heart be trusted?"

October's final Wednesdays at 4 PLUS presentation will be a poetry reading in "The Exchange Rate Reading Series" featuring Derek Beaulieu, Greg Betts and Rob McLennan. It will take place at 8 p.m. Oct. 29 at 74 Cottage St., Buffalo.

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