Poetry Clips of the Week: Frances Richard, the George Oppen Memorial Lecture

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

These video clips are the part of a series highlighting recent readings held by SF State’s Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives. Visit this website regularly for fresh poetic content.

On December 17, The Poetry Center presented its 32nd annual George Oppen Memorial Lecture, featuring Frances Richard discussing “The Mind’s Own Place and Feminine Technologies: George Oppen and Possibilities of the Political” at the Unitarian Center in San Francisco. The Oppen Memorial Lecture series benefits from the support of the Dorothy A. Fowler Trust.

Frances Richard speaks to the quarrel between George Oppen and Denise Levertov over politically motivated poetry and how critics overlook Levertov’s role, and introduces her exploration of Oppen’s naming the “technologies” that block and dissipate “feminine.”


Frances Richard explores the “effeminate and effeminizing” characterizations George Oppen opposes to “truth-seeking art,” and addresses Oppen’s World War II military experience as an infantryman wounded on the battlefield.


Frances Richard counterposes George Oppen’s with John Milton’s notions regarding the ability or inability to reconcile opposing life demands and suggests each poet bears resemblance to the feminine characters they each argue against.


Full program

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