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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Apply to Be Philadelphia's Next Poet Laureate

Posted 9/21/2021

The City of Philadelphia is currently accepting applications for its next Poet Laureate! 

The Free Library of Philadelphia — which administers the program with guidance from "a governing committee composed of local poets, educators, arts-organization professionals, and Free Library staff members" — has information on how you can apply on their website. Per their invitation, they're looking for candidates who "will demonstrate a commitment to the power of poetry to inspire people throughout Philadelphia's neighborhoods," and over the course of their two year term (running from 2022–2023), they will "mentor two Youth Poet Laureates ... and engage with the city through readings, events, and a signature project of their choosing."

Candidates must be current residents of Philadelphia and will need to meet other eligibility requirements. The deadline for applying is by 5:00PM on Friday, October 15, 2021. The application form can be found here, and those in need of more information can write PoetLaureate@freelibrary.org.

Rachel Zolf: 'No One's Witness: A Monstrous Poetics' Launch at KWH

Posted 9/20/2021

This new week starts off with a brand new recording from our own Kelly Writers House: the September 9, 2021 launch event for Rachel Zolf's new book, No One's Witness: A Monstrous Poetics.  Here's our preview blurb for the event from the KWH calendar:
In No One's Witness, Zolf activates the last three lines of a poem by Jewish Nazi holocaust survivor Paul Celan—"No one / bears witness for the / witness"—to theorize the poetics and im/possibility of witnessing. Drawing on black studies, continental philosophy, queer theory, experimental poetics, and work by several writers and artists, Zolf asks what it means to witness from the excessive, incalculable position of No One. In a fragmentary and recursive style that enacts the monstrous speech it pursues, No One's Witness demonstrates the necessity of confronting the Nazi holocaust in relation to transatlantic slavery and its afterlives. Thinking along with black feminist theory's notions of entangled swarm, field, plenum, chorus, No One's Witness interrogates the limits and thresholds of witnessing.

Judith Butler says No One's Witness "shows in brilliant and moving ways how language must change to come close to registering the living aftermath of destruction," and John Keene has described the book as "a critical-theoretical intervention and a lyric prose artifact that will appeal not only to theorists and critics, but also to poets, professors, and students."
For this special event, Airea D. Matthews served as host and interlocutor for the conversation that followed the reading. UPenn undergrad Sofia Sears also makes a guest appearance reading their poetry. Click here to start listening to this event on PennSound's Rachel Zolf author page, where you'll also find a wide array of readings, talks, and performances spanning the last fifteen years.

Congratulations to National Book Award Long-Listers Gander, Kearney, Nguyen

Posted 9/17/2021

Well, it looks as if this week on PennSound Daily is all about bestowing congratulations, with a trio of PennSound poets having been announced this week as being on the long-list for this year's National Book Award in Poetry. That includes one repeat nominee, Forrest Gander, and a pair of exciting poets getting the nod for the first time: Douglas Kearney and Hoa Nguyen.

Gander is nominated for Twice Alive, which "addresses the exigencies of our historical moment and the intimacies, personal and environmental, that bind us to others and to the world." "Drawing from his training in geology and his immersion in Sangam literary traditions," the summary contines, "Gander invests these poems with an emotional intensity that illuminates our deep-tangled interrelations." PennSound's Forrest Gander author page is home to readings and interviews from 1992 to the present year.

Kearney is nominated for Sho, which "eschew[s] performative typography [and] aims to hit crooked licks with straight-seeming sticks." This collection "navigat[es] the complex penetrability of language, while espous[ing] Black vernacular strategies" and "examining histories and current events through the lyric, brand new dances, and other performances," creating "a genius work of literary precision, wordplay, farce, and critical irony." PennSound's relatively-new Douglas Kearney author page is where you can find a handful of readings from 2005 to the present, along with an illuminating appearance on Charles Bernstein's Close Listening program from 2018.

Last but certainly not least, Nguyen is nominated for A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure, "a poetic meditation on historical, personal, and cultural pressures pre- and post-'Fall-of-Saigon' with verse biography on the poet's mother, Diệp Anh Nguyễn, a stunt motorcyclist in an all-women Vietnamese circus troupe." This haunting collection "sings of language and loss; dialogues with time, myth and place; and communes with past and future ghosts." Our Hoa Nguyen author page houses a quartet of readings spanning the years 2010 to 2017.

We send our heartiest congratulations to these three poets and the other seven on this year's long-list. Like many of our listeners, we'll be excitedly waiting to see who makes the final list and eventually is awarded the prize.

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