PennSound Classics: Richetti Reads Dryden, McEvilly Reads Sappho

Posted 5/1/2009 (link)


While PennSound constantly strives to bring our listeners the newest developments in American (and international) poetics, we're just as happy to look backwards through poetry's long and storied history, and so we're closing out this week by highlighting a pair of new additions to our PennSound Classics page.

Recently-retired UPenn professor John Richetti has graced us with his presence twice before for Studio 111 Sessions in 2005 and 2007, during which he read favorite selections from Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. Last month, he returned to record eight poems by John Dryden, including "Song for St. Cecelia's Day," "Alexander's Feast, or The Power of Music," "To the Memory of Mr. Oldham," "Epistle the Third, to My Honoured Friend Dr. Charleton" and "Mac Flecknoe." His set concludes with an hour-long performance of Dryden's 1681 political satire, "Absalom and Achitophel." These masterful renditions are sure to please listeners of all stripes, from old fans to those just coming to Dryden's work. Click here to read our PennSound Daily announcement of Richetti's 2007 Studio 111 Session, and be sure to visit his PennSound author page, where you can listen to these Dryden tracks, plus more than a dozen recordings of Swift and Pope.

Poet, scholar and translator Thomas McEvilley has joined us once before in 2006, for a Close Listening reading and conversation with Charles Bernstein, during which he shared works from Homer, Sappho, Aeschylus, and Meleajer — both in the original Greek and in translation — providing commentary along the way. Earlier this spring, he sent us a new recording, featuring a half-dozen fragments from Sappho, once again presented in both Greek and English, taken from his latest book, 2008's Sappho. In the near future, we'll be adding the original texts along with McEvilley's translations, but for the time being, you'll certainly relish the opportunity to hear these texts brought to life. On McEvilley's PennSound author page, you'll find all of the recordings mentioned above.

Also be sure to visit our PennSound Classics homepage, where you'll also discover links to recordings of everything from ancient Greek songs to William Blake, as interpreted by the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Caroline Bergvall and David Wallace, among others.


Ron Padgett and Tom Veitch: Antlers in the Treetops (1970)

Posted 5/4/2009 (link)


You already know that PennSound is a tremendous resource for poetry audio and video (with nearly 17,000 files and archives that are growing day by day), but did you know that you can find honest-to-goodness texts on the site as well? On the PEPC (the Penn Extenstion of the Electronic Poetry Center), you'll find dozens of texts for browsing of download, including individual poems, translations, essays, scholarly writings, pedagogical guides, online anthologies of digital and visual poetry, and whole books, many of which are digital editions of long-out-of-print small press publications. Today, we're very happy to announce the latest addition to the site: Ron Padgett and Tom Veitch's 1970 appropriative collaboration, Antlers in the Treetops, originally published in 1970 by Coach House Press.

This 132 page novel is presented in its entirety as a downloadable, high-resolution PDF, or in a series of three smaller low-res files, accompanied by introductory notes by Padgett, in which he explains their compositional process: "each of us collected paragraphs that we happened to find in our ordinary reading, snippets from fiction, nonfiction, journalism, letters, whatever. Choosing whatever struck our fancies, we made no distinctions between high and low literature. After one of us had "enough" of these, he mailed them to the other, whose job it was to select and arrange them in a sequence that seemed to make sense and to lightly revise them for continuity." On the PEPC page for Antlers in the Treetops, you'l also find a listing of errata present in the first edition, and carried over into the second edition in 1973.

Unfortunately, PennSound only has one recording featuring Tom Veitch (a February 23, 1979 appearance on In the American Tree) however, on our Ron Padgett author page, you'll find a number of recordings from throughout the poet's career. In addition to a 1973 recording of "The Music Lesson" (taken from The World Record: Readings at the St. Mark's Poetry Project, 1969-1980), you'll also find a 2006 appearance on miPOradio, hosted by Amy King, and two readings from 2003 — one at the Kelly Writers House, the other as part of the Line Reading Series — which showcase selections from Padgett's memoir, Oklahoma Tough: My Father, King of the Tulsa Bootleggers and his 2002 poetry collection, You Never Know.

To read more about or download Antlers in the Treetops, click on the title above, and don't forget to take a look at the PEPC's Table of Contents, where you'll find many more rare delights from PennSound authors.


Magdalena Zurawski and Julian T. Brolaski: Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, 2009

Posted 5/6/2009 (link)


Here's the most recent pairing of authors to grace the stage of the Bowery Poetry Club as part of the Segue Reading Series — Magdalena Zurawski and Julian T. Brolaski, recorded this past Saturday afternoon, May 2nd.

Zurawski begins her reading with "Memory is a House You Can't Live In," a translation of a Brian Evanson story, "The Father Unblinking." She continues with two excerpts from an untitled work-in-progress, before concluding with a "The Hum" and "Daphne," two excerpts from her 2008 debut novel, The Bruise.

Brolaski's set starts with a series of translations from Catullus, which are followed by selections from recently-completed manuscript, Gowanus Atropolis: "Not Quite Cows in Texas," "Gowanus Atropolis," "Washtub in the Gowanus" and "Your Inner Fish." The reading concludes with a series of recent poems, including "The Boar's Head in Hand," "Rules for Bones," "What is My Anatomy?," "Gotham in Arrears," "Coming Up Porn," "Some Say an Army of Horse-People" and "Of Mongrelitude."

We've also just created a new PennSound author page for Magdalena Zurawski, where you'll find this recording, as well as previous Segue Series readings from 2000 and 2003, a 2006 roundtable discussion on "Bay Poetics," taken from The Philly Sound: New Poetry Weekend event, and her introduction of Brenda Coultas as part of Three Contemporary Women Writers, from January of the same year.

To listen to Zurawski and Brolaski's readings from this weekend, click on the title above, and keep an eye out for more recent Bowery Poetry Club recordings from the Segue Series in the near future.


In Memoriam: Robin Blaser (1925-2009)

Posted 5/8/2009 (link)


We at PennSound were devastated to learn of the passing of Robin Blaser yesterday morning, weeks shy of his 84th birthday. Charles Bernstein paid tribute to the late poet in a blog entry reposting his afterword to The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser yesterday afternoon. That essay begins by noting, "Robin Blaser's poems are companions on a journey of life, a journey whose goal is not getting someplace else, but, rather, being where you are and who you are — where you is always in the plural."

In The Globe and Mail, Judith Fitzgerald echoes Bernstein's praise, calling Blaser, "an important voice in the experimental movement whose influence still sings in the works of some of the greatest poets of both his and subsequent generations," and observing, "[o]ne of our greatest has passed away." In the same article, Erin Mouré gives her estimation of Blaser's import: "Robin's death leaves an irrevocable hole in our poetic lives. A man of grace and with a deep philosophical and social conscience and relationship with language, he leaves shoes that can't be filled."

A worthwhile summation of Blaser's poetic career, The Holy Forest was selected as a Canadian Griffin Prize Winner in 2008, though, as the judges warned, "[t]here is an irony in the presumption that the universe contains the 'collected' poems of Robin Blaser." Their citation continues, "Whitman was not fooling when he said that a poet, an extraordinary poet, can himself be a cosmos. But as sidereal as Blaser's lines become, we never forget that the purpose is human living every day inside what is." Undoubtedly, the loss of so influential a figure will continue to be felt by poets throughout the globe for quite some time.

Of course, there's no better way to honor Robin Blaser's life than by re-engaging with his work, and so we encourage you to visit his page at the Electronic Poetry Center, as well as PennSound's Blaser author page. On the latter, you'll discover four decades' worth of recordings, beginning with a 1965 reading in Vancouver, BC, which features "The Moth Poem" and "The Translator: a Tale." There are also readings from the University of British Columbia in 1970 and 1995, SUNY Buffalo in 1987, Universita d'Annunzio in 1997, Vancouver's Cultural Centre in 2003, and finally at Milwaukee's Woodland Pattern bookstore in 2004, as well as three appearances on Cross-Cultural Poetics in 2003, 2004 and 2007. These readings are complemented by a handful of recorded lectures (on Charles Olson and Robert Duncan), discussions and talks from throughout his life. Click on the title above to start exploring.


PoemTalk 17: Rodrigo Toscano's "Poetics"

Posted 5/11/2009 (link)


Today, we're very proud to launch episode number seventeen of the PoemTalk podcast series: a discussion of Rodrigo Toscano's "Poetics." Joining host Al Filreis for this latest program are a pair of PoemTalk veterans — Randall Couch, Linh Dinh — and a first-time panelist, Emily Abendroth.

The discussion begins with a consideration of Toscano's recurring alusion to Pyongyang, which Couch sees as "the intrusion of the non-European world into this psycho-acoustic jam session," and Filreis considers ideologically as "the return of the has-been Stalinism." Abendroth considers this move as emblematic of Toscano's broader poetics, which she characterizes as, "seating people together at the table who are not necessarily seated there generally, and to take it into different registers and ranges that don't coincide well or easily or without friction," and Dinh agrees, citing North Korea's presence as a gadfly "minor threat" amongst the so-called Axis of Evil. Couch segues from political oppression to aesthetic oppression, as North Korea is also a "society which resists the imperialism of the Pomomomo," where "Pomomomo" represents the postmodern, poetry, MOMA, mama, etc. Moreover, Toscano's idisyncratic compound words reinforce his aesthetic of juxtaposition on a microscopic scale.

From there, the panelists shift gears to consider Toscano's namedropping Thelonious Monk's classic, "In Walked Bud," which Couch interprets through Abendroth's idea of "clashing registers," noting Monk's dissonant sense of harmony, which "suggests the kind of possibilities you get when you throw [...] the North Korean and Latin American notes into this jam session here [...] they complicate the Eurocentric Pomomomo." Dinh wonders whether "the primary pleasure of this poem [is] a sonic pleasure, a textual pleasure," since its politics are hard to sort out. Filreis agrees that jangling is the predominate mode, however he sees this clash of geographically disparate voices precisely as the site of its political ideology. "Rodrigo Toscano is a leftist in a post-communist era and he's not uncomfortable with that, but we're supposed to be uncomfortable with it" he states, implying that any public argument for the social good (versus the EU's focus on the individual good) places one in cahoots with Pyongyang.

Next the panelists consider the poem's relationship to the postmodern tradition, which carries similar social liabilities in the aesthetic realm as Toscano's left-leaning ethos does in the political realm. Dinh sees a disparity here, as well as "a decadence" — though Toscano is a union organizer with "very direct experience with common people," this poem is "meant for the poetry community, for a certain sophisticated audience, it's not meant for your average reader," and therefore somewhat "exclusive and elitist," which he sees as "off-putting." Abendroth agrees with much of what Dinh says, but points out snippets of the vernacular in Toscano's diction, which don't come from lofty, academic places (further stressing juxtaposition), and furthermore believes that a self-critical awareness is a key component of Toscano's poetics. Filreis concurs, finding affinities with Amiri Baraka's poetry, in that the liveliness of its sound (particularly in performance) is welcoming to listeners of all backgrounds, even if they might not necessarily be able to parse out the finer points of its politics. Couch then focuses on the inclusion of the Mesoamerican deity, Quetzalcoatl, to suggest that "there's a lot of potential clash of culture, colonial/postcolonial energy being brought into this discussion, too — I don't think it's just the European question of communism versus Adam Smith, I think this is a lot about a global set of relationships that may not fit into that dynamic."

In their closing thoughts, Dinh speaks of his worries of the irrelevance of poets and poetries in increasingly dire times. Couch sees "Poetics" as a successful evocation of jazz in poetry, not as a poem about jazz, but rather a performance of (and through) jazz aesthetics. Abendroth notes a difference between the poetic space versus political space, in that one can be less cohesive and more exploratory in the former than the latter, which leads nicely into Filreis' final thought, that "radical poetics [...] is going to have to do more than provide radical content — it's going to have to test the formal limits and risk being called inaccessible and risk being unavailable. And one of the ways in which he reaches out beyond just lexical meaning of politics is by playing with the sound of these politically charged words, and thus refreshing them."

PoemTalk is a co-production of PennSound, the Kelly Writers House and the Poetry Foundation. If you're interested in more information on the series or want to hear the previous sixteen episodes, please visit the PoemTalk blog, and don't forget that you can subscribe to the series through the iTunes music store. Our next episode will feature Al Filreis, Jessica Lowenthal, David Grazian and Adrian Khactu discussing Lydia Davis' short short, "A Position at the University," and future programs in the series include conversations on Bob Perelman, Amiri Baraka, Charles Bernstein, Louis Zukofsky and Cid Corman.


Jerome Rothenberg: Two New Rockdrill Collections

Posted 5/15/2009 (link)


This time last spring, we were wrapping up the academic year in grand fashion with a visit from Jerome Rothenberg, the third and final of last year's Kelly Writers House Fellows. You can read about that visit on PennSound Daily here, and listen to recordings of Rothenberg's reading and question and answer session with Al Filreis on Rothenberg's PennSound author page.

Today, we're excited to announce the two latest additions to PennSound's collection of Rothenberg recordings, both taken from the Rockdrill series of CDs, produced by Colin Still of Optic Nerve for Birkbeck College's Contemporary Poetics Research Centre.

We begin with Sightings: Poems 1960-1983, Rockdrill CD #6 originally published in 2004. Starting with his debut collection, White Sun, Black Sun, this disc also contains selections from classic Rothenberg volumes such as Poland/1931, A Seneca Journal, That Dada Strain and Vienna Blood & Other Poems, including "The Wedding," "Cokboy," "Old Man Beaver's Blessing Song," "The Chicago Poem" and "That Dada Strain." Next comes Seedings: Poems 1984-2003, Rockdrill CD #7, also published in 2004, picks up where the previous disc leaves off, with favorites from later collections (A Paradise of Poets, Seedings & Other Poems, The Lorca Variations and Khurbn, among others), including "Peroration for a Lost Town," "A Paradise of Poets," First Night Poem, for Jackson Mac Low," "Three Paris Elegies" and "Autobiography 1997."

In addition to straightforward readings, a number of the poems included here are presented in multiple variations. Poland/1931's "A Wedding," for example, appears three times: Rothenberg reading along, Rothenberg performing the poem with musical accompaniment by Bertram Turetzky and in a Yiddish translation by Amos Schauss. Turetzky also scores renditions of "That Dada Strain," "A Glass Tube Ecstasy for Hugo Ball," and Ball's germinal sound-poem, "Karawane." Frequent Rothenberg collaborator Charlie Morrow provides music for a number of poems on the second disc, including "Dos Oysleydikn (The Emptying)," "Dos Geshray (The Scream)" and "In the dark world, khurbn," and there are also pieces featuring George Lewis and Richard Johnny John.

Taken together, these two volumes provide a wonderful introduction to the prodigious written output of Jerome Rothenberg, who's just one year away from the fiftieth anniversary of his first book's publication. If you're eager to dig deeper into his work, please be sure to visit his PennSound author page, where you'll find recordings spanning nearly thirty-five years, from his 1975 album, Horse Songs & Other Soundings through last fall's 40th Anniversary Celebration of Technicians of the Sacred at the Bowery Poetry Club. Aside from many readings and performances, you'll also find a 1996 appearance on LINEbreak, and a pair of podcasts: PennSound Podcast #1 and PoemTalk #7. Click on the title above to start exploring.


John Ashbery: Staged Reading of "The Compromise," Paris, 2007

Posted 5/18/2009 (link)


On Friday, we announced the latest additions to Jerome Rothenberg's already-massive archive of recordings, and today, we're doing the same for another one of our favorite poets, John Ashbery. In both cases, we're particularly proud of the broad scope of these collections, and while Rothenberg's Rockdrill CDs were a veritable "greatest hits" of well-known poems, today's Ashbery offering is a lesser-known work from early in his writing life: a staged reading of his play, The Compromise, performed at Paris' Theatre Metropole on March 5, 2007.

Originally advertised as "a new comedy . . . in the style of the silent screen, inspired by Rin-Tin-Tin," The Compromise was first performed at The Poets' Theater in Cambridge, Mass. from April 4-21, 1956, with a cast including Frank O'Hara and Bunny Lang. Indeed inspired by the 1923 Rin-Tin-Tin feature, Where the North Begins, as well as Christian Deitrich Grabbe's play Parody-Jest-Something-Else-and-Higher Meaning and Gilbert Murray's translations of Greek drama, the play was collected in Three Plays (published by Kenward Elmslie's Z Press in 1978), along with The Heroes and The Philosopher. Previously, it had been published in Alfred Leslie's one-shot review, The Hasty Papers in 1960, alongside another play, To the Mill, and the poem "America." As staged here, the play is presented in three files approximately thirty minutes long each, corresponding to the play's three acts. There's also a brief introduction in which the cast members are introduced.

While you're on PennSound's John Ashbery author page, be sure to browse through the dozens of readings and other recordings available, spanning nearly half a century, from with the poet's September 1963 homecoming reading at The Living Theatre through to very recent recordings including this spring's New York Review of Books Podcast and his appearance as part of last fall's State of the Union: a Poetry Reading.


Lee Harwood: New Author Page

Posted 5/20/2009 (link)


Yesterday afternoon, we put the finishing touches on our newest author page, for British poet Lee Harwood, anchored by a pair of recent recordings sessions which provide a thorough survey of more than forty years of work.

First, we have The Chart Table: Poems 1965-2002, another compilation from the marvelous Rockdrill series of compact discs published by Optic Nerve and Birkbeck College's Contemporary Poetics Research Centre. Disc number three in the series, The Chart Table was released in 2004, and contains selections from germinal volumes such as 1965's Title Illegible (published by Bob Cobbing's Writers Forum) and 1966's The Man With Blue Eyes (released by Lewis Warsh and Anne Waldman's Angel Hair Press) through to work Harwood's first poems of the new millennium. Many of these books were out of print until the publication of 2004's Collected Poems, and the opportunity to hear these twenty poems — including "As Your Eyes Are Blue," "Animal Days," "Gorgeous," "October Night," "Salt Water" and "Hampton Court Shelter" — read by the poet is a true delight.

Next, there's a reading with Nathaniel Tarn as part of the Shearsman Reading Series at London's Swedenborg Hall last June. Hardwood's twenty-seven minute set features a half-dozen titles, including "Comparative Anatomy," "Old Bosham Bird Watch," "Summer Solstice" and "Late Journeys."

We're very proud to be able to add Lee Harwood to our roster of poets, and hope that you'll enjoy this opportunity to hear his work. Click on the title above to listen to all of the poems mentioned above and many more.


Tim Peterson: New Author Page Plus "Poetry and Architecture" Event

Posted 5/22/2009 (link)


We thought it fitting the bring this week to a close with a very exciting new addition to our roster of author pages. As editor of EOAGH, and co-curator (with Kristen Gallagher) of the Segue Series Readings at the Bowery Poetry Club, Tim Peterson has likely been responsible for some of your favorite recordings on PennSound, however, until now very few recordings of his own work were available through the site. We're glad to be remedying that today, as we unveil our new Tim Peterson author page.

At the heart of this collection of recordings are three full-length readings, the oldest one being Peterson's Segue Series debut in March 2005, showcasing selections from two early chapbooks, Cumulus and Trinkets Mashed into a Blender, including "Light Flooding the Aperture," "Embarrassment of Riches," "The Spinal Vocal Animal," "A Commons" and "The Age of Advertising," before wrapping up with a masterful rendering of "Trans Figures," a key poem in 2007's Since I Moved In.

Next comes a February 2007 reading as part of the Belladonna series, which begins with a trio of shorter poems — "My Organelles Monitored as a Single Unit," "A Casualty" and "Brickey" — before concluding with "Sites of Likeness," a longer poem about his mother's family and the development of suburbs. Finally, we have a brief set recorded at Chax Press' studios last October, marking (belatedly) their 2007 publication of Peterson's Since I Moved In, winner of the first Gil Ott Memorial Book Award. The twenty-minute reading begins with "Spontaneous Generation," taken from that volume, and continues with a number of newer poems, including "Junk Tropics," "Nocturne" and "Hydro-Powered Turbines."

In addition to these three readings, you'll also find shorter recordings of Peterson, taken from the Queering Language launch readings in New York City and Philadelphia (celebrating EAOGH #3: Queering Language), Chax Press' New York City Book Launch and the kari edwards Memorial Reading at New York's Zinc Bar, all of which took place in 2007.

In conjunction with our new Peterson author page, we're also launching a special page for one of Tim's latest curatorial efforts: the April 25th Poetry and Architecture event at the Bowery Poetry Club as part of the Segue Series. Featuring presentations by Robert Kocik, Benjamin Aranda and, Vito Acconci, "Poetry and Architecture" seeks to "reach across the strange gap between [these two discourses] and attempt a conversation with interdisciplinarity as a mutually resonant theme." We've very proud to be able to present this ambitious and engaging two-hour symposium in both audio and video formats, augmented by a link to Peterson's illustrated report on the event on his blog, Mappemunde. You'll find a link to "Poetry and Architecture" on Peterson's PennSound author page, and clicking the link above will take you directly there.


Caroline Bergvall: Three New Additions

Posted 5/26/2009 (link)


Today, we're very happy to announce three new additions to our PennSound author page for Caroline Bergvall, including a vintage Segue Series recording from Double Happiness, and one of the poet's latest sound collaborations.

We begin with 2005's Via: Poems 1994-2004, volume number eight in the Rockdrill series of compact discs chronicling some of the most exciting voices in contemporary poetry and poetics. Combining previous sound collaborations and tracks recorded specifically for this disc, Bergvall's collection brings together eight selections from Goan Atom (I. Doll) (2001) and Fig (Goan Atom, 2) (2005), including "Ambient Fish," "Rapid Eye Movement, Part 2," "About Face" and "8 Figs."

Next, we have Bergvall's November 18, 2000 reading at New York's Double Happiness, which also showcases poems from Goan Atom (I. Doll), starting with "Jets-Poupee," and continuing through "Ambient Fish" and "Flesh a Coeur," among others. It's one of two Segue Series recordings available on Bergvall's PennSound author page, joining her November 9, 2002 reading at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Finally, we conclude with "Invocation (after Ingeborg Bachmann)," Bergvall's collaboration with sound artist Zahra Mani, composed specifically for the PhonoFemme Festival of Sound Art in Vienna late last month. While maintaining continuities with the poet's past work, this piece hints at exciting, new directions in Bergvall's work, and in the coming months, we'll be working together with her to make a number of new recordings available to our listening audience. In the meantime, however, these three recordings, as well as many others archived on her PennSound author page will be more than enough to hold her fans over. Click on the title above to start exploring.


Charles Bernstein: Class Remasters Now Complete

Posted 5/28/2009 (link)


In February, we announced that three tracks from Charles Bernstein's 1982 Widemouth Tapes release, Class had been made available in newly remastered stereo versions, as overseen by PennSound Contributing Editor, Danny Snelson — you can refer to our earlier PennSound Daily entry for a full discussion of the tracks "My/My/My," "Goodnight" and "Class." Today, we're very excited to release the final two tracks from Class: a full stereo realization of "Piffle (Breathing)," and a remastered version of "1-100" taken directly from the original reel-to-reel tape.

As the lead track on Class, "Piffle (Breathing)" serves as an overture of sorts, preparing listeners for many of the techniques that will be taken up throughout the album: a three-track stereo collage (with separate discursive elements panned hard left, hard right and center) exploring the potential of the human voice, and more specifically the textures produced when they overlap with one another. In his liner notes on our Class page, Bernstein describes "Piffle" as "the most formally self-reflective, trying to bring the process of making the piece to the fore: it's me breathing and making the commentary." The piece unfolds slowly, beginning with thirty seconds of the poet's slow and mindful breathing in the center channel before Bernstein and Greg Ball's running meta-discussion on the tapepoem's composition begins on the right channel, replete with technical details (i.e. stereo vs. mono recording preferences and how many feet of tape are left before the necessary recording time has been met) and expressing aesthetic concerns which take an ironic posture, yet seem to reveal real vulnerabilities. A statement like, "We should sense ourselves as if talking for posterity, and try to focus on what would be the most deep, most profound, most resonant statements or conversations or thoughts that we have, that we would want to see preserved for time immemorial," appearing in a contemporary Bernstein poem would strike us as the poet's characteristic exploration of the myriad rhetorics bombard us in our day-to-day experience of language, however when uttered by a 26 year old author of two self-released books, still one year away from the launch of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, and not yet the iconic figure we know today, it takes on a different tenor.

Fifteen seconds after Bernstein and Ball's discussion begins, the left channel track, featuring Bernstein's interrogation of Susan Bee (Laufer) cuts in. Setting up a competing dialogue, it also serves as a commentary upon the initial track (she finds it "too personal" and "tedious"), before devolving into spontaneous singing and scanning the radio dial for weather bulletins and top 40 hits (which are deemed more interesting than recordings of breathing). As with Robert and Bobbie Creeley's performance of the 1972 radio play, Listen, we can't help but let our foreknowledge of the couple's relationship shade our interpretation of their interaction, and so even the more aggressive questioning seems charming.

Undoubtedly, "Piffle (Breathing)" is a challenging listening experience as one tries to engage with and sort through the two competing dialogues simultaneously, aided and hindered by Bernstein's basso continuo (which threads them together, encouraging elision even as it keeps each conversation distinct), and by the poet's close mic-ed breathing (which seems to obscure key words and draw our attention back towards the middle). As in "Goodnight," Susan Bee's voice emerges as the secret weapon here, cutting mellifluously through the accumulation of male timbres and providing listeners with a clear focal point. Moreover, when Bee and Ball make brief cameos in one another's track, this already vividly three-dimensional piece takes on added depth.

Finally, we're very happy to be able to present a (p)remastered version of "1-100," the iconic 1969 performance piece which is the earliest known recording of the poet (composed during his sophomore year at Harvard). Stripping away years of static and tape hiss, which appear to have sanded down its rougher edges, Bernstein's visceral emergency language becomes even more harrowing here, taking on a buzzsaw intensity as the more whimsical tones earlier in the piece give way to distressing yelps. Surprises emerge in this cleaned-up version as well: not only the diegetic soundtrack of background music and conversation that are now audible, but also notable differences between this take and the digitization previously made available in 2003. Aside from running longer than that original version (and also, perhaps, slightly slower), we can make distinctions between effects on the overall fidelity of the piece due to multiple-generation transfers and the limitations of the recording equipment itself — most notably, the metallic modulation and reverb effects on Bernstein's voice are present in the master track, and the clipping distortion created as he overloads the microphone has an even more elemental effect upon listeners here.

Our now-complete remastering of Class serves as a preview for an extensive collection of Bernstein's early recorded works which we'll be unveiling later this summer, so be sure to stay tuned to PennSound Daily for news on this project, and for now, click on the title above to start listening.