Kenneth Goldsmith

  • Aired:  07/23/13
  •  | Views: 16,102

MoMA's Poet Laureate, Kenneth Goldsmith, discusses his book "Seven American Deaths and Disasters." (6:17)

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS A NEW BOOK

OUT.

PLEASE WELCOME KENNETH

GOLDSMITH.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> Stephen: THANK YOU FOR COMING

ON.

>> SO HAPPY TO BE HERE.

tephen: LATER WE'LL PLAY

SOME DIXIELAND JAZZ OR CHURN

SOME FRESH BUTTER MILK ICE CREAM

OR RECITE SOME POETRY.

WE COULD DO THAT NOW.

>> WE CAN DO IT TOGETHER.

Stephen: WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO START WITH?

>> I DON'T KNOW.

HOW ABOUT OLD SUSANNAH.

>> Stephen: I HAD MYSELF A DREAM

THE OTHER NIGHT WHEN EVERYTHING

WAS STILL.

I DREAMED I SAW MY GIRL COMING

AROUND THE HILL.

BUCKWHEAT CAKE WAS IN HER MOUTH

AND A TEAR IN HER EYES.

I SAID I COME FROM DIXIELAND.

SUSANNAH, DON'T YOU CRY.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> YOU ARE THE POET LAUREATE.

Stephen: OF THE MUSEUM OF

MODERN ART.

YOU HAVE TEN BOOKS OF POETRY.

YOU TEACH WRITING AT THE

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

YOU'VE GOT A NEW BOOK CALLED

AMERICAN DEATH AND DISASTER.

DID YOU WRITE THIS?

>> ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I NEVER WRITE ANY OF MY BOOKS.

>> Stephen: YOU DIDN'T ACTUALLY

WRITE THIS.

YOU COLLECTED IT?

>> I TRANSCRIBED IT.

Stephen: BECAUSE THIS BOOK

ITSELF IS ACTUALLY

TRANSCRIPTIONS OF REAL-TIME

REPORTING OF DEATHS AND

DISASTERS AS THEY HAPPEN IN THE

UNITED STATES.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

Stephen: YOU START OFF WITH

J.F.K.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

Stephen: IT'S A LITTLE RADIO

STATION IN DALLAS.

>> K.L.I.F.

Stephen: THAT'S DALLAS' NEWS

LEADER.

IT'S JUST A WARNING IN 1963.

THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT HAVING A

NICE TURKEY.

WE'RE TALKING NOVEMBER 22 HERE.

SLOWLY IT DAWNS ON THIS GUY THAT

THIS LITTLE SHOOTING DOWNTOWN

TURNED INTO ONE OF OUR GREATEST

NATIONAL TRAGEDIES.

WHY DID YOU WANT US TO HEAR

EVERY WORD OF THIS?

>> THE RADIO SOUNDED DIFFERENT

BACK THEN THAN IT DOES NOW.

THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS THROUGHOUT

THE BOOK.

EVERY TRANSCRIPTION HAS A MARK

ON IT.

THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL SORT OF

FANTASY TIME THAT IS PUNCTUATED

BY AN ASSASSINATION OR A

SHOOTING AT THAT POINT OF A

PRESIDENT.

YOU KNOW, IT SHATTERS THE ENTIRE

ILLUSION OF PRE-THNGS GIVING

HOLIDAYS.

THESE GUYS THAT ARE BROADCASTING

THIS ARE NOT PREPARED IN ANYWAY

FOR THIS TO HAPPEN.

SUDDENLY THEY ARE IMPROVISING,

RIDING BY THE SEAT OF THEIR

PANTS AND MAKING IT UP.

THIS HAPPENS AGAIN AND AGAIN AND

AGAIN.

ONE CHAPTER OF THIS BOOK ABOUT

THE WORLD TRADE CENTER IS

REMARKABLE BECAUSE THERE ARE

MORNING SHOCK JOCK GUYS GOING

INTO TO WORK FIGURING THEY'RE

GOING TO DO THEIR SCHTICK AND

THEN A PLANE GOES INTO A

BUILDING.

THEY'RE STUCK IN THE STUDIO

NARRATING SOMETHING THAT THEY

HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT.

THIS IS INCREDIBLE.

HOW THEY HAVE TO MAKE IT UP AS

THEY GO ALONG.

WHAT'S AMAZING TO ME IS THAT

THERE HAVE BEEN HUNDREDS OF

BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT 9/11.

TO MY KNOWLEDGE, NOBODY WENT TO

LISTEN TO THE WAY THOSE EVENTS

WERE DESCRIBEDDED.

>> Stephen: MAYBE THEY LISTENED

TO IT BUT THEN THEY DID

ADDITIONAL WORK.

>> BUT THAT WORK... ARTISTS ARE

DUMB.

>> Stephen: ARTISTS ARE DUMB?

WE DO THINGS THAT YOU

SHOULDN'T DO.

WHAT I'M DOING IS TOO EASY FOR

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS TO DO.

BY DOING SOMETHING THAT IS THAT

SIMPLE, WE'RE UNCOVERING

SOMETHING THAT NOBODY ELSE HAS

ACTUALLY EVER THOUGHT OF.

THE POETIC QUALITY OF WHAT WAS

UNFURLING LINGUISTICALLY AT THAT

MOMENT.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE SEVEN OF

THESE.

REPORTING ON THE DEATH IN

REALTIME OF J.F.K., R.F.K., JOHN

LENNON, THE COLUMBINE TRAGEDY,

SEPTEMBER 11, THE CHALLENGER

DISASTER AND MICHAEL JACKSON'S

DEATH.

ALL THESE THINGS, THESE SEVEN

DIFFERENT EVENTS, WE KNOW WHAT

IS HAPPENING WHEN WE READ THIS.

THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST LIVING

THEIR LIVES THINKING IT'S AN

ORDINARY DAY DON'T KNOW IT'S

COMING.

WHEN I READ THIS, I FEEL LIKE

I'M SOME SORT OF TIME-TRAVELING

ESPY WHO IS COMING IN SAMPLE

OTHER PEOPLE'S SHOCK.

I'M TASTING THEIR DISBELIEF AND

THE WAY... AND THE WAY IT'S

CHANGING THEM FOREVER.

I AM TASTING IT WHILE I READ IT.

AND IT FEELS EMPIRIC.

ARE YOU GIVING US A FEAST OF

OTHER PEOPLE'S BLOOD?

>> THESE ARE THE TRAGEDIES THAT

MARK OUR LIVES.

>> Stephen: WHY NOT GO BACK

TO... (BOTH TALKING AT THE SAME

TIME).

>> Stephen: JUST FORGET THEY

HAPPENED.

>> THEY HAPPENED.

Stephen: JUST FORGET THEY

HAPPENED SO WE CAN MOVE ON TO

HAPPY DAYS AGAIN.

>> THEN WE HAVE THINGS LIKE THE

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING WHICH

COULD HAVE MADE AN 8th CHAP

CHAPTER OF THIS BOOK.

>> Stephen: WHAT'S THE POINT TO

GOING BACK TO LOOKING AT THEM?

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ANOTHER

ONE.

>> WHY DON'T YOU WRITE THE NEXT

BOOK OF THE NEXT EIGHT OR NINE

OF THESE THAT HAPPENED.

THIS BOOK CAN GO ON FOREVER.

THAT REALLY IS...

>> Stephen: THAT'S SAD.

MY DESIRE DOES NOT THINK ABOUT

BAD THINGS.

>> YOU MUST THINK ABOUT SAD

THINGS.

>> Stephen: WHY?

BECAUSE SAD THINGS HAPPEN.

Stephen: PUT ON A HAPPY FACE.

SUSANNAH, OH, DON'T YOU CRY FOR

ME.

THE BOOK IS SEVEN AMERICAN

DEATHS AND

Loading...