Notes on PennSound: "Plus This"

Posted 6/3/2011 (link)

This week closes out with Eric Baus' latest "Notes on PennSound" commentary for Jacket2: a compendium of "additions, updates and singles" titled "Plus This."

"I want to backtrack a bit and link to some recordings related to earlier commentaries," he explains. "Rather than update the older posts, I'll periodically add new tracks to expand previous playlists. I'll also make some new unthemed playlists of singles segmented from longer recordings that I came across while browsing PennSound's reading series pages."

Those selections include tracks from Prageeta Sharma and Sina Queryas, along with a soundpiece featuring Joseph Ceravolo from UbuWeb, that correspond to previous "Notes on PennSound" posts. Eric's also split out individual tracks from readings by Cedar Sigo, Genya Turovskaya, Carla Harryman and Akilah Oliver.

You can read the full piece, and all of Baus' previous "Notes on PennSound" commentaries on Jacket2.

New Homepage for Recordings from PennSound/Beinecke Partnership

Posted 6/6/2011 (link)

Last week brought the very exciting news of our new Muriel Rukeyser author page, the latest in a series of collaborations between PennSound and Yale University's Beinecke Library, which will bring highlights from the Lee Anderson Papers to our listeners. Today, we're happy to unveil a new group homepage where you can find all of the recordings that have been (and will be) posted as part of this partnership.

Al Filreis announced the new page in a post on Jacket2 this morning. In addition to the Rukeyser audio and our previously-posted recordings from Stanley Burnshaw, you'll also find a thirty-minute recording of Robert Duncan reading his work in March 1952. Altogether, there are a dozen poems, including "Africa Revisited," "An Imaginary Woman," "The Dreamers," "The Mirror" and "Huon of Bordeaux."

You can browse the Rukeyser, Burnshaw and Duncan readings on our new Lee Anderson Recordings group page, and stay tuned for more wonderful recordings from our ongoing collaboration in the near future.

Alcheringa Audio Inserts: 1971-1978

Posted 6/9/2011 (link)

If you haven't already checked out Jacket2's extensive reissue of Jerome Rothenberg and Dennis Tedlock's influential ethnopoetics journal, Alcheringa — a massive undertaking commissioned by Tedlock and Jon Cotner with site design and information architecture by PennSound senior editor and Jacket2 reissues editor Danny Snelson — then by all means, do so immediately.

This week, that already-impressive project was taken one step further when Snelson unveiled a new Alcheringa page on PennSound, home to the flexidisc inserts that accompanied nine of the journal's issues from 1971 to 1978. These "audio inserts" include work from a number of PennSound poets including Rothenberg, Jackson Mac Low, Armand Schwerner and Anne Waldman, along with a wide array of recordings, from the Reverend W.T. Goodwin's "Easter Sunrise Sermon" and bluesman Son House's "Conversion Experience Narrative" to Somali folktales, "Songs of Ritual License from Midwestern Nigeria" and Jaime de Angulo's "The Story of the Gilak Monster and his Sister the Ceremonial Drum."

You can read more about the Alcheringa discs on Jacket2, and explore the journal's archives here. To listen to the audio inserts, click on the title above to visit PennSound's Alcheringa audio page.

Short Range Poetic Device

Posted 6/10/2011 (link)

We're very proud to close out this week with new recordings from Short Range Poetic Device, a radio series of "Poetry and Poetics Streaming Against the Totality." Here's a brief description from our page for the series:

Short Range Poetic Device was a four-part radio show organized and hosted by Stephen Collis (left) and Roger Farr (right) during the Vancouver Winter Olympics as part of Vivo Media Arts' "Safe Assembly" project. Vivo was one of the few Vancouver arts organizations which did not accept Olympic money, and it organized "Safe Assembly" as a means of meeting the games critically and creatively through a number of programs. Ready to broadcast on FM 91.5, Vivo's radio transmitter was shut down on the eve of the games by Industry Canada and VANOC. Short Range Poetic Device, and the other broadcasts, went ahead on live internet feed.

Each show hosted a number of Vancouver poets, nearly all of whom were involved in anti-Olympic activities of one sort or another. The poets read from their work and discussed the role of poetry in contemporary struggles, the politics of poetic form, protest genres and both political and literary "tactics."

Each of the four programs run a little over an hour and includes music and discussion in addition to readings. The first episode features Donato Mancini, while Reg Johanson, Kim Duff, and Jeff Derksen returned the following day for the second show. The following week, Clint Burnham and Rita Wong joined the hosts for the third program, and Clint Burnham and Rita Wong closed things out in the final show.

You can listen to these programs now on PennSound's Short Range Poetic Device series page, and hopefully we'll be able to bring you new episodes in the future.

PoemTalk 43: John Wieners' "The Acts of Youth"

Posted 6/14/2011 (link)

This week we launched the forty-third episode in the PoemTalk Podcast Series, a discussion of John Wieners' poem "The Acts of Youth" from his second collection, Ace of Pentacles. For this show, host Al Filreis is joined by Ammiel Alcalay, Danny Snelson and Gary Barwin.

The discussion begins with Snelson discussing the poem's history of revisions, which leads to a larger discussion of Wieners' belief in the fluidity and mutability of his work and the primacy of performance to this evolutionary process. They go on to discuss other recordings of the poem available on PennSound, including Wieners reading it for Robert Creeley's class at Harvard, along with Creeley's own reading of it.

Filreis then questions what makes this recording so special, with Alcalay praising Wieners' artistry — "John's relationship to poetry is the formula 'all great art is made of suffering.' This stuff just came right through him." — and the rare importance of any performance by the poet, particularly given the issues he faced in his later years. The circumstances of this 1990 reading, in which the poet only reads two of his own works alongside a number of poems by others (giving most of the set over to a lengthy Allen Ginsberg elegy), is also notable, particular, Filreis notes, because it establishes Wieners' "Beat context."

The panelists lament the fact that this poem isn't better known and anthologized — as part of a a more generalized neglect of Wieners' work, much of which is out of print — and this leads into Alcalay discussing his long friendship with the poet, starting during his teenaged years in Boston. Filreis ties this back to the question of why "The Acts of Youth" isn't as widely anthologized: comparing it to "Howl," which is "too elated about everything that's wrong, and it's very comic and antic, and it's fun. This is really down and dirty, this is really hard to imagine . . . It's not good for our health."

Towards the end of the program, Gary Barwin discusses the ways in which Wieners works against the solid meter of the poem in the live setting, creating a dense rhythmic field, and plays a brief snippet of a remix he's created, emphasizing its complex patternings. We've made the complete recording of this composition available on Barwin's PennSound author page.

PoemTalk is a co-production of PennSound, the Kelly Writers House, Jacket2 and the Poetry Foundation. If you're interested in more information on the series or want to hear our archives of previous episodes, please visit the PoemTalk blog, and don't forget that you can subscribe to the series through the iTunes music store. Stay tuned for future programs in the series that will address poems by Joan Retallack, Fred Wah, Eileen Myles and Tom Raworth. Thanks, as always, for listening!

Newly Segmented MLA and AWP Off-Site Readings

Posted 6/17/2011 (link)

We're closing out the week with a pair of newly-segmented off-site readings from recent MLA and AWP conventions.

First up is "Coming in from the Cold: Celebrating Twenty Years of the MLA Off-Site Poetry Reading", a special panel organized by Aldon Nielsen as part of the 2009 MLA Conference in Philadelphia. This event honored previous off-site coordinators and participants, with an all-star lineup of Elizabeth Willis, Tyrone Williams, Rodrigo Toscano, Rod Smith, Evie Shockley, Jennifer Scappettone, Bob Perelman, Laura Moriarty, Patrick Durgin and Charles Bernstein.

We've also recently segmented one of the two recordings of off-site readings from this year's AWP that Nielsen was kind enough to pass along to us. Co-sponsored by Edge Books, Abraham Lincoln and West Wind Review, this February 5th reading at Washington, D.C.'s The Reef featured a total of twenty readers, including Brandon Downing, Buck Downs, K. Lorraine Graham, K. Silem Mohammad, Vanessa Place, Rod Smith, Gary Sullivan.

Click on the links above to listen to individual tracks from each reading, and be sure to check out PennSound's homepages for both the MLA Off-site readings and the AWP Off-site readings for more recordings from both conferences.

Notes on PennSound: Complete Works

Posted 6/20/2011 (link)

Eric Baus posted his latest "Notes on PennSound" commentary for Jacket2 earlier today. Entitled "Complete Works", this playlist "includes recordings of authors reading the entirety of a book or chapbook." "I find that longer recordings allow me to become immersed in the textures of the work, to register the ambient sonic environment, and to perceive other small shifts and variations within and between pieces," Baus explains. "I sometimes listen to one long recording that allows me to settle into a particular mode of listening and then follow it by listening to another recording that suggests another form of attention. I like the feeling of becoming engrossed and hypnotized by a recording and then using another recording to snap myself out of the experience so that I can see the initial recording with more critical distance."

The eight poets and books included in this entry include Dana Ward's Typing "Wild Speech", Barbara Guest's Quill, Solitary Apparition, Susan Howe's Singularities (which Baus has reconstructed from three separate readings from 1986-2007), C.D. Wright's Deepstep Come Shining, Clark Coolidge's Polaroid and Summi Kaipa's The Epics, along with two recordings Baus made especially for Jacket2 and PennSound: Farid Matuk's This Isa Nice Neighborhood and HR Hegnauer's Sir.

You can read the full piece, and all of Baus' previous "Notes on PennSound" commentaries on Jacket2. While you're at it, you should also check out Baus's PennSound author page, where you can hear him read a wide array of work in eight separate readings from 2004-2010.

Bergvall, Bernstein and Rinne in Copenhagen, 2011

Posted 6/22/2011 (link)

Last month, Charles Bernstein posted on Jacket2 about his upcoming appearance at the conference "Literature in the Expanded Field", held at the University of Copenhagen's Institute of Arts and Cultural Studies from May 6-10. Today, we're very happy to be able to present a brief recording of his reading at a May 8th event, along with sets by two other poets taking part in the conference: Caroline Bergvall and Cia Rinne.

You can hear Bernstein's twenty-seven-minute set on his Readings page and Caroline Bergvall's nineteen-minute set is available on her PennSound author page. Finally, you'll find Cia Rinne's seventeen-minute set on her brand-new PennSound author page, which also contains her 2011 composition, "Sounds for Soloists, Text and Voice" (with music and sound design by Sebastian Eskildsen). Click on the individual links above to visit the respective authors' pages.

Robert and Bobbie Creeley: Placitas phone log, 1968

Posted 6/27/2011 (link)

This morning, Charles Bernstein announced a very exciting new addition to PennSound's Robert Creeley author page as a Jacket2 commentary post:

Among the reel-to-reel tapes in PennSound's Robert Creeley archive, we found a phone log Bob had made of a day in the life, the life being lived at the time in Placitas, New Mexico, in the late 1960s (let's call it 1968, but exact date not known as yet), where Creeley was living with his wife Bobbie Louise Hawkins and their children. The log captures everyday life, that great Creeley theme, from a daughter asking permission for sleep-over to a brief conversation about an overdue phone bill to a long chat with Bob's life-long friend photographer Elas Dorfman. In an age of email, this time capsule gives a sense of the phone conversation as both a space of intimate exchange and quotidian commerce. And the personalities of Bobbie and Bob shine through, just at the other end of the line.

While Bernstein's opted to leave the length recording whole — "I haven't segmented the log as it strikes me as one long work," he explains — he has provided a timetable of the ten conversations, which you can find both on Jacket2 and on our Creeley author page.

We'd like to thank everyone who gave permission for these recordings to be made available (including Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Bill Katz, Elsa Dorfman and Penelope Creeley) and we hope you'll enjoy them.

George Oppen Reads from "Primitive," 1978

Posted 6/29/2011 (link)

We recently posted a very exciting recording of George Oppen reading a dozen poems from his final collection, 1978's Primitive, at Berkeley's La Peña Cultural Center on December 11th of that year. The twelve poems included in this brief set are "A Political Poem," "Disasters," "The Poem," "To Make Much," "Waking Who Knows," "If It All Went Up in Smoke," "The Tongues," "Populist," "Gold on Oak Leaves," "The Natural," "Strange are the Products" and "Til Other Voices Wake Us."

This recording came to us courtesy of the Mandeville Special Collection at the University of California, San Diego, and we're grateful to be able to present this historic reading to our listeners. Be sure to visit PennSound's George Oppen author page for a wealth of recordings from the poet along with a number of commentaries on his life and work, including massive centennial celebrations at both Poets House, NYC and our own Kelly Writers House.