Douglas Kearney: Not a Melody, but a Thorn

Douglas Kearney discusses recordings that give rise to reflections on human interaction and the potential for both connection and violence held there. Kearney introduces Rosa Alcalá as she uses found text to chart the shape of violence (“Are You Okay?"), Martín Espada as he encounters “reeling hyper-reality” in the courtroom (“City of Coughing and Dead Radiators”), and Ai as she pushes the limits between understanding and sympathizing with cruel narrators (“Abortion”). Kearney ends by reading a poem sparked by Fred Moten’s essay “Black Kant.”Listen to the full recordings of Alcalá, Espada, and Ai reading for the Poetry Center on Voca:Rosa Alcalá (2020)Martín Espada (1992)Ai (1972)You can also find readings by Douglas Kearney on Voca, including his most recent with percussionist/electronic musician Val Jeanty, which was given as part of the Thinking Its Presence conference in 2017.

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Poetry Centered features curated selections from Voca, the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s online audiovisual archive of more than 1,000 recordings of poets reading their work during visits to the Center between 1963 and today. In each episode, a guest poet introduces three poems from Voca, sharing their insights about the remarkable performances recorded in our archive. Each episode concludes with the guest poet reading a poem of their own.