Featured resources

From "Down To Write You This Poem Sat" at the Oakville Gallery

Contemporary
  1. Charles Bernstein, "Phone Poem" (2011) (1:30): MP3
  2. Caroline Bergvall, "Love song: 'The Not Tale (funeral)' from Shorter Caucer Tales (2006): MP3
  3. Christian Bôk, excerpt from Eunoia, from Chapter "I" for Dick Higgins (2009) (1:38):  MP3
  4. Tonya Foster, Nocturne II (0:40) (2010) MP3
  5. Ted Greenwald, "The Pears are the Pears" (2005) (0:29): MP3
  6. Susan Howe, Thorow, III (3:13) (1998):  MP3
  7. Tan Lin, "¼ : 1 foot" (2005) (1:16): MP3
  8. Steve McCaffery, "Cappuccino" (1995) (2:35): MP3
  9. Tracie Morris, From "Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful" (2002) (3:40): MP3
  10. Julie Patton, "Scribbling thru the Times" (2016) (5:12): MP3
  11. Tom Raworth, "Errory" (c. 1975) (2:08): MP3
  12. Jerome Rothenberg, from "The First Horse Song of Frank Mitchell: 4-Voice Version" (c. 1975) (3:30): MP3
  13. Cecilia Vicuna, "When This Language Disappeared" (2009) (1:30): MP3
Historical
  1. Guillaume Apollinaire, "Le Pont Mirabeau" (1913) (1:14): MP3
  2. Amiri Baraka, "Black Dada Nihilismus" (1964) (4:02):  MP3
  3. Louise Bennett, "Colonization in Reverse" (1983) (1:09): MP3
  4. Sterling Brown, "Old Lem " (c. 1950s) (2:06):  MP3
  5. John Clare, "Vowelless Letter" (1849) performed by Charles Bernstein (2:54): MP3
  6. Velimir Khlebnikov, "Incantation by Laughter" (1910), tr. and performed by Bernstein (:28)  MP3
  7. Harry Partch, from Barstow (part 1), performed by Bernstein (1968) (1:11): MP3
  8. Leslie Scalapino, "Can’t’ is ‘Night’" (2007) (3:19): MP3
  9. Kurt Schwitters, "Ur Sonata: Largo" performed by Ernst Scwhitter (1922-1932) ( (3:12): MP3
  10. Gertrude Stein, If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (1934-35) (3:42): MP3
  11. William Carlos Willliams, "The Defective Record" (1942) (0:28): MP3
  12. Hannah Weiner, from Clairvoyant Journal, performed by Weiner, Sharon Mattlin & Rochelle Kraut (2001) (6:12): MP3

Selected by Charles Bernstein (read more about his choices here)

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Tuli Kupferberg: "No Deposit, No Return" (1966)

Posted 1/24/2022


We begin this week with one of my favorite recordings from our archives and one I'm very proud that we can share with our listeners: Tuli Kupferberg's 1966 ESP-Disk release, No Deposit, No Return. While many know the late Kupferberg for his inimitable contributions to poetry-rock mavericks, the Fugs, this ambitious solo album is far more obscure, though not without its dedicated fans.

Subtitled "an evening of pop poetry" on the record sleeve, which devolves into "a nightmare of popular poetry" in Kupferberg's opening track, No Deposit, No Return is comprised exclusively of found texts performed with musical accompaniment "by Gary Elton on the various": "Real Advertisements," as the back cover explains, "As they appeared in newspapers, magazines, in direct mail. No word has been added. There are genuine ads. Parts of some ads have been repeated. Parts of some ads have been omitted. But these are the very texts. These are for real!" The end result is quite poetic, yet also drifts into the realm of pure comedy — albeit a comedy rooted in social critique — along with the golden age of radio, thanks to Elton's musical backings and sound effects. The invocation of sixties pop sensibilities and appropriative aesthetic also adds an element of the visual arts, creating a truly hybrid electric form that neatly parallels the contemporaneous sound poetry of John Giorno in building upon the foundational work of Charles Reznikoff.

"Everyone I suppose has always wanted to write his own commercial." Kupferberg notes in the introductory track, explaining the album's origins. "I have resisted this temptation strenuously, especially for this album, but when a certain well-known shampoo company came to the Fugs last summer, proposing that we do our own commercial for their new summer product, I countered with my own suggestion for a new product" — namely, Pubol, a pubic hair shampoo — and thus the project was born.

Aside from consumerism and America's culture of violence, No Deposit, No Return's major preoccupation is sex and sexuality, as Kupferberg performs advertisements for timid swingers, not-so-timid swingers, fetish photos, an erotic novel (Violations of the Child Marilyn Monroe, attributed to "Her Psychiatrist Friend") and a scary-looking penis pump,"the Hyperemiator," whose ad is one of two reproduced on the record's back cover. In a Foucauldian sense, particularly in the midst of a period of revolutionary sexual exploration, the poet reminds us that societal curiosity about sex and atypical sexual interest are nothing new. Regardless, there's a startling difference between the hidden, repressed and clinical nature of the poems on No Deposit, No Return, and the joyous and liberated carnality celebrated in Fugs' songs like "Supergirl" and "Coca Cola Douche." Thus, the album serves as both a strident cross-generational critique and a statement of shared beliefs, targeted at young audiences through one of their most popular media. In a fashion not dissimilar from what Kupferberg parodies in tracks like the heartbreaking "Social Studies," or the Fugs' "Kill for Peace," No Deposit, No Return is very effective propaganda.

We're grateful to Kupferberg's daughter, Samara, for her permission to share this groundbreaking record, which you can listen to in its entirety here. By clicking on the thumbnail images you can view large-format scans of the album covers and liner notes as well.


Jerry Rothenberg's 90th Birthday Celebration, 2020

Posted 1/21/2022

We close out this week with video footage from the legendary Jerry Rothenberg's 90th birthday celebration, hosted by Charles Bernstein and Pierre Joris. This special event took place at the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation in New York City on December 12, 2021. Nicole Peyrafitte was kind enough to provide us with video from the event.

Sasha Davis and Mimi Gross provided a brief welcome to the audience before Bernstein offered up introductory comments. Speakers offering toasts, tributes, memories, and poems in Rothenberg's honor included Matthew Rothenberg, Steve Clay, Jeffrey Robinson, Al Filreis, Joris, and Diane Rothenberg, before Jerry took the mic.

You can watch this event by clicking here, and don't forget to explore the vast array of recordings available on PennSound's Jerry Rothenberg author page, which offers listeners an encyclopedic collection of interviews, performances, readings, talks, and much more, from the late 1960s to the present. 


Trish Salah on PennSound

Posted 1/19/2022

Today we're highlighting our author page for Canadian poet and critic Trish Salah.

Our holdings included the poet's appearance at the 2009 ADFEMPO (Advancing Feminist Poetics and Activism) conference, organized by Belladonna*, which took place on September 24th and 25th of that year. Salah appeared as part of a panel on "Body as Discourse" chaired by Kate Eichhorn that included Joan Retallack, Laura Smith, Nathalie Stephens (Nathanaël), and Ronaldo V. Wilson in addition to Salah, which explored "questions of the body, referentiality, remapping bodies and borders, intertextuality, narrativity, aesthetics, and the challenges of de-essentialization as we scrutinize 'female,' 'queer,' 'raced' and 'othered' bodies."

In addition to that panel, we have a brief set as part of a Belladonna* Reading Series event on Transfeminism and Literature from 2012, and Salah's Segue Series reading at the Zinc Bar in March 2013. More recent recordings, include "Nevada: A Reading and Panel" that also included Imogen Binnie, from the Young Centre for Performing Arts in 2013; 2014's Wanting in Arabic: A Conversation with Poet Trish Salah," recorded as part of the Asia Pacific Forum for NYC's WBAI-FM; and a 2014 reading at the East Bay Poetry Summit, hosted by the Manifest Reading and Workshop Series. There's also a very exciting PennSound Podcast episode (#57) in which Christy Davids interviews Salah and Salah reads her poetry, including "Two Self Portraits," "Interlude for the Voice," "Future Foundered," and "Gossels in Fugue."

You can listen to any and all of the recordings mentioned above by clicking here.


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