Reading of “Volcanoes/Organics” and Other Poems

On September 18, 2018, I read some poems with Julie Suarez-Hayes at SUNY Oneonta  in Oneonta, NY for the Red Dragon Reading Series. I read “Volcanoes/Organics” and “Nothingness Introduced into the Heart of the Image,” from The Rocking Chair (Blue Sketch, 2015), and “Fallout: New Vegas” and “An Open Letter to Narcissus: The Magazine by Narcissists, for Narcissists,” from The Shape of Things (Salò, 2017). I concluded with a couple poems from a new project, which I have omitted from the recording. Roger W. Hecht provided a wonderful introduction. Thanks to Ruth Carr for the recording, and to George Hovis and Bob Bensen for inviting me to read.

Here is a link to the audio.

And a clip of “Volcanoes/Organics”:

 

Reading at Hartwick College on November 16

To welcome me as a new faculty member in the Department of English at Hartwick College, I have been invited to give a reading from my new book, The Shape of Things (Salò, 2017), on Thursday, November 16 at 7:00 pm as part of the Visiting Writers Series. The reading will take place in the Eaton Lounge of Bresee Hall, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY. One of my students at Hartwick, Chelsea Jacobson, will be reading some poems as well.

The Shape of Things

The Shape of Things, my second book of poetry, is now available and shipping from Salò Press. Order it here if you’re in the UK and here if you are anywhere else. I am very proud of this book.

Bradley J. Fest’s second volume of poetry, The Shape of Things, continues his project of poetic assemblage. Written in an age of ubiquitous algorithmic surveillance and increasingly catastrophic climate change, these poems both describe the shape of things in the overdeveloped world and endeavor to challenge the widespread feeling that the imagination has been foreclosed in the twenty-first century. An ambivalent hyperarchive, the collection draws influence from a number of seemingly incompatible lyric registers, including the language of contemporary theory. The Shape of Things culminates in an eponymous long poem that asks if a poiesis of “network being” is possible and suggests that there might be some other way to dance to the sounds of our present.

 

If Whitman and Adorno had a knife fight on the ruins of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, The Shape of Things would be the perfect voice over. Which is to say, though it’s not a pretty scene, there’s pleasure and beauty to be found in the action and music of the syntax and in following the wild movements of this poet’s mind. Truly original, dazzlingly smart and game for anything, Fest writes of lives and desires torn apart by the neoliberal security state. Jolting between paranoiac rage and orgasmic bliss, between all- out negation and Wordsworthian swoon, these poems describe the awful implications of a contemporary moment in which “we have made ourselves a gallows of a house.”

–Sten Carlson, author of Fur & After

To call The Shape of Things “post-apocalyptic” would be a mistake: its poignant present tense anxiety unfolds in the apocalypse now. Ataris and hunter-gatherers lean together over the edge of time, commingling in harrowing yet pleasurable ways. But this is no book of “detached mirth.” Hear in Fest’s singing the quiet pathos of humans and machines out of time. While Fest’s human creatures have lulled themselves into submission—”There may be something (virtually) / on fire. More likely our expectations are being met . . .”—his work nudges middle class late capitalist culture awake into the disturbing awareness that “a prolonged adolescence is the shape of things.”

–Robin Clark, author of Lines the Quarry

Reading at Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series on June 13, 2017

I recently read  at the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series, and you can listen to (and download) it here. I read “We’re Just Like Yesterday’s Headlines,” “Throw Out Your Life,” and “The Shape of Things I,” all from my forthcoming collection, The Shape of Things, due out soon from Salò Press.

You can also hear the other poets here: Nikki Allen, Jennifer Jackson Berry, Jason Irwin, Sharon Fagan McDermott, Kayla Sargeson. It was a really nice evening filled with wonderful verse. Thanks all.

Poets who read at Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series, June 13, 2017. Back row, left-to-right: Jimmy Cvetic, Bradley J. Fest, Sharon Fagan McDermott, and Joan Bauer; front row, left-to-right: Nikki Allen, Jennifer Jackson Berry, Kayla Sargeson, and Jason Irwin.