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:
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.
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:
I am a poet, editor, and educator. I was born and raised in Buffalo and have lived in the Boston area for most of the past 40 years.I am the author of seven poetry collections, most recently, "Go to the Pine" (2012). My work has been translated into German, Polish, and Spanish. My poetry and prose has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2006 (Billy Collins, ed.), New American Writing, Exquisite Corpse, Mother Jones, The Saint Ann’s Review, Terra Incognito and The World, among other places. In addition, I have edited of six anthologies, most recently, Present/Tense: Poets in the World, an anthology of contemporary American political poetry. I've also also co-edited four anthologies of poems and stories by high school-age writers, all drawn from the celebrated high school section of Hanging Loose magazine, where I've been an editor since 1980. I live in Cambridge with my wife, writer Mary Bonina. I support my poetry habit by teaching mathematics and directing Academic Support Programs at UMass Boston.