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Excursion by Bill Morrison
On May 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

The summer 2006 issue of Virginia Quarterly Review arrived at my house in Chatham County, North Carolina and I was knocked down by four paintings by film artist Bill Morrison reproduced in that issue along with an introduction by Lawrence Weschler.  I was later coming to Morrison’s seminal film work than some people and these paintings […]

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Two Quotes of the Day from Susan Howe
On May 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

From “Sorting Facts; or, Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker” by Susan Howe. “The will to produce poetic film, and particularly poetic documentary, still runs up against a wall of perplexity and indifference.” – Dziga Vertov. 1926. Not much has changed in 92 years. “I am an American poet writing in the English language. I […]

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Gene Smith’s Sink coming in Paperback
On April 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
Sink Event at Big Ears 2018
On March 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

I’m excited and grateful for a Gene Smith’s Sink event at Big Ears Festival this Friday March 23, featuring brief readings by me special performances by Big Ears musicians Rachel Grimes, Jason Moran, and Aine O’Dwyer, plus Jem Cohen’s short film, Chuck-will’s-widow, based on a chapter in Sink. This event means more than most to me. While documenting […]

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Sink Event at The Durham Hotel Feb. 28
On February 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

THIS UPCOMING EVENT means a lot to me.  I’ll be back in town to speak to the MFA students at the Center for Documentary Studies, where I was based for fifteen years and where I did much of my Smith and Jazz Loft work.  The event also features writer Allan Gurganus, to whom Gene Smith’s Sink […]

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Interview on Outspoken Podcast from Cal. St. Fullerton
On January 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Usually I’m on the interviewing side of oral history work.  HERE I’m receiving questions from Ben Cawthra of Cal. St. Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History, where I gave the annual Hansen Lecture in Fall 2017.  In a good oral history interview, not intended for broadcast but for posterity, the questions are deeper than […]

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My Best of 2017
On December 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

2017 was epochal and challenging for most, including me.  It was the first time I’ve had an automobile license plate not issued in North Carolina.  Our toddler started bilingual day care, which he (and we) loved for five months before it almost disappeared overnight, saved by my wife and her colleagues on an urgent parent […]

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Jem Cohen’s film “Chuck-will’s-widow”
On December 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

There’s not much that could make me feel better about Gene Smith’s Sink than Jem Cohen’s short film based on it, “Chuck-will’s-widow,” and his words to introduce the film’s online premiere last week at The Paris Review Daily.  The film premiered on screen at National Sawdust in Brooklyn in October.  Jem’s work has influenced me for almost as […]

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Gene Smith’s Sink in December Harper’s
On November 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

All involved in Gene Smith’s Sink figured it would be a slow burn.  2017 isn’t the ideal year for a spare, quiet, “strange” (Luc Sante) and “unorthodox” (Nate Chinen) book incommensurate in page numbers (206) with the years of work (20) that made it possible. So we’re not surprised it took three months to get a deep […]

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Poet Ross Gay: Gene Smith’s Sink is “lyric research”
On November 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

  A few years ago a respected writer familiar with my work urged me to coin a phrase for what I do.  I asked him for a suggestion.  He said, “indirect narrative.”  I thought about it for a couple of years, modifying his idea and words to come up with “organic narrative,” meaning that my […]

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