Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rachel Zolf's Human Resources & Shoot and Weep



Margaret Christakos runs a fantastic course through continuing ed at University of Toronto called Influency. She invites eight poets to read and lecture. Each poet gives a half hour reading and is invited to give a talk about the work of one of the other poets. Margaret tends to match up poets with work that is outside of their usual concerns to create a bit of a frisson. The students read a particular book (or books) of each poet. This book forms the heart of the lecture by lecturing poet. Margaret begins each session with a talk looking backwards and forwards at the works, bringing up other related issues, and generally creating a broad conceptual framework in which the discussion takes place.

This is the fourth year that this course has been running and I was invited to participate and speak about Rachel Zolf's Human Resources and her new chapbook Shoot and Weep. Zolf is a fascinating, challenging, musical, and just plain engaging writer, so I was happy to have the opportunity to examine her work more closely. Allan Briesmaster is going to be speaking on my work, and specifically, my book Raising Eyebrows on May 28th.

I thought I'd post the text of my talk here which I gave on May 7th.

Barwin on Zolf talk at Influency

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