March 19, 2009

Rena Rosenwasser with Hadley Haden Guest (Barbara Guest Series)

Rena Rosenwasser: October 23, 2007, Barbara Guest’s livingroom, Berkeley, CA

The main focus of this track is on Guest’s collaborations with visual artists throughout her writing career.

Guest’s visits to Berkeley in the eighties for readings and to stay for periods of time in friends’ homes. How “writing against personal difficulties” stimulated her middle and later poems. Combinations of adventurous spirit, risk-taking, insecurity, fear, opportunity, spontaneity as part of her process and an aspect of her modernism. Guest’s close friendship with artist, June Felter. The importance of the writing of “Chalk” in an empty Albany, CA classroom. Rosenwasser’s first meeting with Guest and their visits in NYC in the eighties. New York School views of life and art as not separate from social engagement of artists, writers, dancers, musicians in studios, museums, bars, parties and private conversations. Reasons for Guest’s move to the Bay Area in 1994. Guest’s immediate impact on the poetry Bay Area poetry scene among innovative feminist writers, students, and others. Discussion of some of her Bay Area poet friends. Guest’s many awards in later life, including the highly prestigious Robert Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime of Work in Poetry from the Poetry Society of America, 1999.

Works discussed:

THE CONFETTI TREES, Sun & Moon, 1999

Poem paintings with Mary Abbott in NYC and Ilse Getz in Paris

MUSICALITY: With artist June Felter, Kelsey Street Press, 1988
THE NUDE: With artist Warren Brandt, International Editions, 1989
THE ALTOS: With artist Richard Tuttle, Hank Hine Press, 1992
OFTEN: A play, in collaboration with poet Kevin Killian, performed at Small Press Traffic, 1990’s
STRIPPED TALES: With artist Anne Dunn, Kelsey Street Press, 1995
SYMBIOSIS: With artists Laurie Reid, Kelsey Street Press, 2000
DURER IN THE WINDOW: With artist Richard Tuttle and editor Africa Wayne, Roof Books, 2003