Poetry and Literature

$39.95 paperback

Add to Cart

How Long Is the Present: Selected Talk Poems of David Antin

Edited by Stephen Fredman

Poet, performance artist, and critic David Antin invented the “talk poem.” He insists that his poems be oral and created in front of a live audience, in a specific time and place, with the transcription of the performance adjusted for print by presenting it not in prose but in clumps of words without justified margins or punctuation, peppered with white spaces that indicate pauses.

In this book, editor Stephen Fredman provides a critical introduction to a selection of talk poems from three out-of-print collections, accompanied by a new interview with the author. As Fredman points out, Antin’s work is a form of conceptual writing that has influenced generations of experimental poets and prose writers. His profound and humorous talk poems are essential for classroom and scholarly discussions of the arts in modernism and postmodernism—offering as well an invitation to strengthen the ties between the sciences and the humanities.


David Antin’s most recent book is Radical Coherency: Selected Essays on Art and Literature, 1966 to 2005. He lives in San Diego, California.

Stephen Fredman is a professor of English literature and American studies at the University of Notre Dame. His most recent book is Contextual Practice: Assemblage and the Erotic in Postwar Poetry and Art.


“Antin’s work is fascinating, masterful, and possibly one of the most stimulating challenges to a reader of contemporary poetry.”


The Jewish Daily Forward

“The dynamic, rhythmical impulse to Antin’s poems is the primary characteristic of their being. Open the book anywhere and you will find the coherent rhythmical pattern that rocks us readers and reassures us that there is a firm, probing mind within these poems that will not fail us.”


American Book Review

“One of the true originals among American poets.”


San Diego Reader

6.125 x 9.25 in. 408 pages