Featured resources

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

  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
  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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PoemTalk #129: Sylvia Plath's "The Stones"

Posted 10/18/2018

Yesterday we released the latest episode in  the PoemTalk Podcast Series (number 129 in total), where Sylvia Plath's "The Stones" — one part of a 1959 seven-poem sequence called "Poem for a Birthday" — is the poem up for discussion. For this program, host Al Filreis convened a panel of (from left to right) Susan Schultz, Sally Van Doren, Huda Fakhreddine.

In his post announcing the new episode on the PoemTalk Blog, Filreis starts by detailing the panelists' opening observations: "The group, starting with Susan, begins with Plath's constant substitution of the natural and the artficial. They then compile instances of her strategic mixing of metaphors. Sally also points out the 'shifted scenes.' Huda notes the ironic reversals of images of illness and health and the resulting confusion and means and ends. It simply cannot be discerned which person (the speaker-patient? a foetus within? another?) is being constructed by this place, nor what is the relationship between mending and newness." "Moreover," he continues, "if 'This is the city where men are mended,' where does that leave the speaker? Is the next step more hell than rehab? What exactly is this 'after-hell'? Is it associated more with birth than with death, more with beginnings (delivery) than with endings (deliverance)?" 

You'll find the full text of Plath's poem and can read more about the program here. The full archive of PoemTalk podcasts is available here for your listening pleasure.

Two New Rudy Burckhardt Films Featuring Kenneth Koch

Posted 10/17/2018

Today we have a pair of very exciting new additions to our PennSound Cinema author (or auteur?) page for filmmaker and photographer Rudy Burckhardt, both of which feature friend and New York School mainstay Kenneth Koch.

The earlier of the two, The Apple (1967), features a lyric and spoken interlude written by Koch, which was set to music by Tony Ackerman and Brad Burg, and sung by Kim Brody. In stop-motion and live action, it traces the sprawling adventures of its titular fruit. Running just one minute and fifty-four seconds, the film is nevertheless the subject of a marvelous essay by Daniel Kane — "Whimsy, the Avant-Garde and Rudy Burckhardt's and Kenneth Koch's The Apple" — in which he praises it for "the ways in which ideas of temporality, spontaneity, childishness, and parody are expressed within this tiny little film work," thus "revealing the latent and hilarious power of the whimsical affect."

The latter film, On Aesthetics (1999) has a sense of finality about it, coming during Burckhardt's last year and not long before Koch developed leukemia that would ultimately take his life in 2002. Running nine minutes and taking its name from the last poem in Koch's 1994 collection One Train, On Aesthetics — charmingly presented by "KoBu Productions" — features the poet's voice-over reciting the various micropoems contained under that title, from "Aesthetics of the Man in the Moon" and "Aesthetics of Creating Light" to "Aesthetics of Being with Child" and "Aesthetics of Echo," while Burckhardt's camera eye finds appropriate accompanying images, whether literary or abstract.

We're grateful to be able to share this work with our listeners, along with two other Burckhardt films: — The Automotive Story (1954) and Central Park in the Dark (1985) — which you can find here. Our Kenneth Koch author page also houses these films, along with a 1998 reading at our own Kelly Writers House and a few brief recordings from the St. Mark's Poetry Project.

Five New Belladonna* Readings, 2018

Posted 10/15/2018

We're starting this week off with five new additions to our homepage for the Belladonna* Reading Series, all taken from this year. 

First, from March 1st, we have a Belladonna* intern and staff reading at Out-of-Office at the Brooklyn Art Library. That event featured brief sets from Lindsey Hoover, Christine Ramkarran, Rupert McCranor, Fatima Lundy, Christina Barriero, Kayla Park, Rachel Wilson, Emily Skillings, and Asiya Wadud. We also have audio from a March 19th staff reading at Queens College, with sets by Javier Zamora and Aracelis Girmay.

From April 10th, we have an event organized in conjunction with the Asian American Writers' Workshop and held at the Brooklyn Public Library, in which Abdellah Taïa reads from his Belladonna* chaplet and then talks with Meena Alexander. Jumping ahead to May 14th, we have a reading from New York's Institute of Arabic and Islamic Art, at which Aditi Machado and Iman Mersal read from their Belladonna* chaplets and then take part in a conversation moderated by Omar Berrada.

Finally, from August 16th, we have at event at the Matthew Gallery held in collaboration with Montez Press Radio, at which Pamela Snead read from her book, Sweet Dreams.

Now approaching its twentieth year, Belladonna* continues to be as vital a force as ever in our contemporary poetry scene. On our Belladonna* reading series homepage, you'll find an astounding array of audio and video documentation of the organization's ambitious work promoting "the work of women writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, impossible to define, delicious to talk about, unpredictable, and dangerous with language," going back to its very origins. Click here to start browsing, or click any of the individual dates above to visit that specific reading.

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.