Saturday, 2 March 2013

Michael Heller & Norman Finkelstein

Mike Heller read at The Lamb on Tuesday, at the Veg Box Café in Canterbury on Wednesday and, with Norman Finkelstein gave a seminar at the University of Kent on Friday morning. I attended the first and third of these events and would have been at the second had circumstances permitted. Heller now has a substantial collected poems, This Constellation Is A Name, finely presented by Nightboat Books. As ever it was great to hear him read. The seminar, featuring both authors, was on the Objectivist poets and their later followers, notably Harvey Shapiro (who died early this year) and Hugh Seidman. Finkelstein focussed on these poets while Heller concentrated on the work of George Oppen. Heller is the author of one of the earliest books on Objectivism (Conviction’s Net of Branches) and subsequent work on Oppen in particular. Finkelstein presented a previously unavailable poem by Shapiro (referring to Charles Reznikoff). It would have been well worth anyone’s while to have been present. Both men were modest in their presentations but one felt privileged to have been part of the audience.

1 comment:

Ian Brinton said...

8-22Hugh Seidman studied under Zukofsky at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and recorded the following: 'Whenever possible we took our required English with him. The ground seemed at first mysterious. Conclusions dropped from arguments in a method of oblique reference and private irony. Yet if one followed the game and its repetitions (similar to his contention that the poet wrote the same poem all his life) at some point first principles would invariably resurface. Of course, the student who had not the patience for such tactics might indeed be frustrated. I vividly remember one poor soul who rose angrily one afternoon to grumble that he had been here for months and yet still had not understood one thing that had been said. Characteristically and stoically Louis replied that perhaps in time he would see it'.