Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pierre Joris @ SAIC + Free All Month: The Art Institute of Chicago

I am still confusing New York time with Chicago time, though I thankfully have not done it with my classes, but I do have to keep rechecking when all other events are happening, because although a month and a week have passed, my brain is still churning a hour ahead, and I somehow unchecked something on my phone calendar, which then reset every Central Standard Time event I'd keyed in to Eastern Standard time. That included events, like Pierre Joris's recent reading in the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection (which I'll have to check out again at leisure) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (it was jointly sponsored by the Poetry Center of Chicago and the University of Chicago), which I did nevertheless manage to make. Joris is a poet, translator, and professor at the University of Albany, and primarily known to me as one of the best translators of Paul Celan, through Joris's translated volumes of Celan's poems, Breathturn (originally published by Sun & Moon Press, 1995, and reissued by Green Integer in 2006), and Threadsuns (Sun & Moon Press, 2000). In 2005, Green Integer published a third volume, Light-duress, which received the 2005 PEN Poetry Translation Award. I also knew of him from the huge and hugely important anthology that he edited with Jerome Rothenberg, Poems for the Millennium, vol. 1 & 2: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry (2007).

According to the event bio, Joris, the author of 40 books of poetry and other works

in 2007 & 2008...published Aljibar and Aljibar II (poems, a bilingual edition with French translation by Eric Sarner, Editions PHI, Luxembourg). Justifying the Margins: Essays 1990-2006 came out in 2009 from SALT in the UK. His 2007 publications are the CD Routes, not Roots (with Munir Beken, oud; Mike Bisio, bass; Ben Chadabe, percussion; & Mitch Elrod, guitar) issued by Ta¹wil Productions and Meditations on the Stations of Mansour Al-Hallaj 1-21 (Anchorite Press, Albany). Other translations include Paul Celan: Selections (University of California Press) and 4×1: Work by Tristan Tzara, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey & Habib Tengour translated by Pierre Joris from Inconundrum Press.
(Photos & more after the jump!)

I'd never heard Joris read his poetry, so it was a treat to catch him deliver it--though without music and the performances I'd heard about--and to hear him read a few of the Celan translations, as well as some selections from his translation of Algerian poet Habib Tengour's work. (Several of the Italian poets I met in December had translated and published one of Tengour's long poems.) Poet and critic Jennifer Scappettone introduced Joris, who answered questions, with real sprezzatura, afterwards. As almost always, the photos are below.
Jennifer Scappettone introducing Joris
Jennifer Scappettone, introducing Joris
Pierre JorisShow all
Pierre Joris
Pierre Joris
The audience
The audience before the reading began (the room was packed shortly thereafter)


All February, the Art Institute of Chicago is free. FREE. All day, every day, for the entire month. I shall be getting myself there forthwith!

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