Full program video: David Hobbs, The George Oppen Memorial Lecture: December 2, 2017
Video highlight clips: David Hobbs, excerpt from "Oppen and His Early Others" | David Hobbs reads George Oppen's poem XIV from 21 Poems
The 33rd annual George Oppen Memorial Lecture, featuring David B. Hobbs, discoverer of a lost early manuscript of Oppen's poems, just published in pamphlet form, edited by Hobbs, for New Directions. The George Oppen Memorial Lecture is supported by the Dorothy A. Fowler Trust.
“What I found was something far more exciting than I could have imagined: an early Oppen manuscript. Scholars have long assumed that the ‘32pp’ to which Zukofsky referred in 1930 comprised a draft of Discrete Series that had been lost, like the sheaf he sent to Reznikoff in late 1933, now held in the Archive for New Poetry at the University of California, San Diego. But my recovery of 21 Poems evinces a larger, more dynamic body of work. Only one poem in the typescript can be found in Discrete Series….” (David B. Hobbs, Introduction to 21 Poems, New Directions, 2017)
David B. Hobbs is a writer and academic, currently completing his PhD at NYU. He is interested in the relationship between urban experience and literary experimentation, and recently edited 21 Poems by George Oppen (1930; 2017) for New Directions, after discovering Oppen’s early manuscript among the Ezra Pound correspondence at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. His recent work has appeared in The Journal of Modern Literature, The Nation, BOMB Magazine, and the Times Literary Supplement.
Photo on left: Mary and George Oppen, c. 1930; with thanks to David Hobbs.