Wordplay: Nan Watkins presents Yvan Goll

June 30, 2008 by onair

A little over six months ago, in early December, translator and poet Nan Watkins shared her translations of some of Alsatian poet Yvan Goll’s work with us on Wordplay. At the time, Wordplay was just a half-hour show, but the station had given us the green light to move to our current hour format beginning in January. I really wanted to hear more about her project, and thought the longer show would provide the room to really explore it, so I invited her to come back to the studio to record some further conversation later that month. She accepted, and this week’s show finally airs a more complete presentation of her work with Goll’s poems, especially the last volume, Das Traumkraut (she translates the title as The Dream Weed).

Goll really did help define Surrealism, and wrote some stunning poems in the process. If you don’t know his work (and there’s been little published in English), do click over to hear what the lady has to say.

The show is available 24/7 from the station archive page as both a stream and podcast.

Mercury always seems to be retrograde at WPVM, and during the live broadcast today, one of the CD players just stopped mid-track; by the time I’d cycled power to the machine and persuaded it to resume reading the disk, I realized I’d have to leave out some of the interview with Watkins to avoid going over our time slot. When I got to the production room to edit, though, I added the track back in, and added another song clip to boot.

Music for today’s show included Django Reinhardt, from some 1949 sessions with Stephan Grappelli, playing “Minor Swing” and “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise”; Oscar Allemann, another pre-war master of Paris bandstands, playing “Stardust”; and Maurice Ravel’s “Alborada del Gracioso” – all music Yvan and Claire Goll might have come across during their years in that great city.

Enjoy.

Jeff

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The photo of Goll comes from findagrave.com. Yes, there really is a site for everything.