2017: Necessary Cuts: Rickey Laurentiis on Revision at Poets House
Though Paul Valéry claimed “a poem is never finished, only abandoned,” what happens between a poem’s creation and its abandonment is revision. Examining “Southern Cross” by Carl Phillips, “Look” by Solmaz Sharif, “won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton and bits of Sappho and Whitman, besides the spiritual “Wade in the Water,” Ma Rainey’s “Prove it On Me Blues,” and, finally, the art of Basquiat, poet Rickey Laurentiis examines how writers can enact revision in their language, politics and lives via a poem. Laurentiis unpacks what it means to return and revise—connecting, crossing, and shaping context— until, like Michelangelo, you find the angel in the marble and set it free.
(Full audio, approx. 1hr 6 mins)