Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Denise Levertov Oral History

The inaugural Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard) Oral History Initiative was a conversation among panelist Mark Pawlak (me), Dick Lourie, and Donna Hollenberg. The focus was the period that Denise Levertov lived and taught in the Boston area (1969 through the late 1980s). I studied with Levertov at MIT. Afterward she became my friend and poetry mentor. Dick Louris was in her first poetry workshop in New York in 1965. Donna Hollenberg knew Levertov while a graduate student at Tufts University in the mid-70s. Donna's official biography of Levertov (the first) will be published by University of california Press in 2013. The audio recording of the oral history, which included comments from many members of the audience, who also knew Levertov in Boston, can be found at:

Hanging Loose at UMass Boston

The Breakwater Review has just published an interview conducted by Peter Picetti with Hanging Loose editors Dick Louri and Mark Pawlak (me), in which we discuss the long, twined history of Hanging Loose magazine and UMass Boston. Along the way we have a lot to say about contemporary American poetry.

You can find the interview at:


Poetry and Mathematics

Whenever someone learns that I'm a poet who teaches mathematics -- to "support my poetry habit", as I like to say -- I always get a quizzical look, then, after a moments thought the person usually says, "Well it kind of makes sense. There is a mathematical element to poetry."

Here's an excerpt from my memoir about Denise Levertov which talks about this mre directly: