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Canadian avant-garde poet Lisa Robertson in Buffalo Monday

 One of North America's leading literary innovators will visit Buffalo on Monday for an afternoon talk on a current sound art project she is engaged in and an evening reading from her work.  For over three decades, Canadian avant-garde poet Lisa Robertson has focused her adaptations and reconfigurations of  traditional and "found" narrative and lyric forms into a body of work that challenges and expands our understanding of language, gender, and difference.

In a rescheduling of a visit originally intended for this past February, Robertson is the guest of the University at Buffalo Poetics Program this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. at the Poetry Collection at 420 Capen Hall on UB's North Campus to deliver a talk about an ambient listening and sound recording project she is currently undertaking in Paris, making digital sound exposures at the sites of famed French photographer Eugène Atget's documentary photos of late 19th and early 20th century street life in the city.  Her talk entitled "Disquiet" speculates on the prosody of urban noise. 
 
At 8 p.m., the venue will shift downtown for a Poetics Program reading by Robertson at Hallwalls Cinema, 341 Delaware Avenue (near Tupper St.).  A longtime resident writer and scholar associated with Vancouver’s Kootenay School of Writing, Robertson--a Toronto native--has lived and taught in California over the past decade as Holloway poet-in-residence at the University of California-Berkeley, and, more recently, at the California College for the Arts in San Francisco. 
 
The author of 18 books of poetry, prose and criticism, she is perhaps best known as the author of The Weather (2001), a book she has described as the result of  “an intense yet eccentric research in the rhetorical structure of English meteorological description” incorporating such diverse elements as BBC shipping forecasts, her appropriation of meteorological science as a discourse of cultural indeterminacy and change, a nuanced reading of William Wordsworth's The Prelude, meditations on the role of sincerity and friendship in the construction of the self as a Romantic subject in literature, and a critique of personal identity as a axiom of English grammar.
 
Robertson's other notable books include Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (2003), a site specific (Vancouver) collection of essays, prose poems, art theory, and photography that redraws the boundaries of sensation, temporality, and personal and public space, Rousseau’s Boat (2004), a meditation on solitude and walking, and The Men: A Lyric Book (2006), a strong collection of short poems that explores the territory between the male poet's textual subjectivity and the lineage of lyric poetry and thought in the Western canon. Robertson's own exquisite lyric gifts often come into play in this volume that takes the literary equivalent of "The Male Gaze" and seeks to "defamiliarize" it, raising many questions about gender and the nature of language in the process.
 
Her most recent books include the eponymously titled  Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip (Coach House Press, 2009) and R’s Boat (University of California Press, 2010), a continuation of the project of her earlier chapbook on Rousseau and the attempt to construct a kind of autobiographical writing outside of the conventions of the self-referential, "confessional" tradition.
--R.D. Pohl
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