John Matthias: New Author Page

Posted 10/1/2012 (link)

Our latest author page, for poet, scholar and translator, John Matthias, is home to a wealth of recent audio and video recordings.

Altogether, there are three full-length videos featuring Matthias, beginning with a 2007 reading at UC Berkeley as part of the Lunch Poems Series. That's followed by a 2010 performance of "Automystifstical Plaice" (Matthias' "Ballet Mécanique Spread-Spectrum Ecstasy, with voices," that traces the collaboration between actress Hedy Lamarr and avant-garde composer George Antheil) and a 2011 reading (with Joyelle McSweeney) at the University of Chicago's Poem Present Reading and Lecture Series.

On the audio side of the spectrum, we have lengthy 2010 reading at Notre Dame's London Centre that offers a survey of several of Matthias' more recent publications, including Trigons (Shearsman, 2010), An Unofficial Roy Fisher (Shearsman, 2010), Kedging (Salt, 2007) and Carcanet's 2010 volume Five American Poets.

'Poems for the Millennium' Vol. 3 Reading at Harvard, 2009

Posted 10/3/2012 (link)

As poetry fans and scholars, we're very glad that the marvelous Poems for the Millennium series exists, and as poetry media archivists, we're even happier when we can share recordings from events related to the series with our listeners.

Today, we have a new two-hour video recording of a 2009 event at Harvard University, "Reconfiguring Romanticism: A Reading and Discussion of Experimental Poetics," held in conjunction with the launch of the series' third volume, on "Romantic and Postromantic poetry," edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey Robinson. At this event, the editors read selections from the anthology and, at the urging of host Patrick Pritchett, they consider whether "Romanticism [is] the original experimental poetry." They're joined by local readers William Corbett, Keith Waldrop and Gerritt Lansing, along with critical respondents Sonia Hofkosh and Virginia Jackson from nearby Tufts University.

You'll find this video on our Poems for the Millennium series homepage, along with launch events for volume three at the Kelly Writers House and the Bowery Poetry Club, and a 1998 celebration of the series first two volumes (also at the Writers House), all of which feature all-star rosters of poets and scholars.

Dennis Barone: Alumni Visitor Reading Series, 2003

Posted 10/10/2012 (link)

Today we're highlighting a recently-added reading from poet and prose writer Dennis Barone.

Barone, a professor at the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut, read at Kelly Writers House in the spring of 2003, as part of the Alumni Visitor Reading Series (he earned his Ph.D. from the university in 1984). His set is introduced by Gil Ott, who shares his recollections of Barone as "one of a very small band of intellectually adventurous writers," when poetry was "not so widely appreciated as it is today in Philadelphia," and cites the importance of his work as publisher of Tamarisk.

The forty-three minute set is segmented into a dozen tracks, which include the titles "Greeting," "Savoir Faire," "Let Us Suppose," "The Tyrants' Textbook" and "The Craftsmanship of Macaroni Manufacture," along with an excerpt from his novella, Temple of the Rat. You'll find this recording on our Dennis Barone author page, which also includes the poet's appearances as part of MLA Offsite Reading in 2004 and 2006, a 1991 Segue Series reading at the Ear Inn, and the single poem "Metronome," taken from a 2004 reading at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, CT.

Lyn Hejinian PoemTalk Transcript Posted on Jacket2

Posted 10/15/2012 (link)

Over at Jacket2, we've just posted a new transcript of PoemTalk #15 on Lyn Hejinian's "constant change figures."

For this episode, host was joined by frequent panelists Bob Perelman and Thomas Devaney, along with Tom Mandel, who was visiting from Delaware. You can read our original PennSound Daily write-up of the program here, and you'll find the February 2005 recording of Hejinian's reading at the Kelly Writers House (from which the poem under discussion was taken) on our Lyn Hejinian author page. To start reading, click the title above.

PoemTalk 58: Bernadette Mayer's "The Tragic Condition of the Statue of Liberty"

Posted 10/17/2012 (link)

Yesterday we launched the fifty-eighth episode in the PoemTalk Podcast Series, which is concerned with Bernadette Mayer's "The Tragic Condition of the Statue of Liberty." For this program, host Al Filreis is joined by a stellar panel including Anne Waldman, Julia Bloch and Jacket2 interviews editor Katie L. Price.

In his write-up of the episode on the PoemTalk blog on Jacket2, Filreis begins by exploring the poem's provenance and inspiration: "Most of us who have read Bernadette Mayer's poem, "The Tragic Condition of the Statue of Liberty," encountered it in Andrei Codrescu's anthology American Poetry since 1970: Up Late (1987), where it was joined by her "Laundry & School Epigrams" (written in the same spirit) and eight of her other poems. PennSound's recording of "The Tragic Condition" comes from an Ear Inn reading that took place in October of 1988. . . As we note from the start, the poem's subtitle is "A Collaboration with Emma Lazarus" and it begins by appropriating lines 10 through 14 of the famous Lazarus sonnet, "The New Colossus" — lines spoken by the giant statue, the "Mother of Exiles" that now stands in the harbor of New York, Mayer's own beloved wretched town."

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. Thanks, as always, for listening!

Wagner, Hinton, Shockley, Russo, Nielsen: Poetry in Performance at the NPF 80s Conference

Posted 10/22/2012 (link)

We wanted to make sure that you didn't miss out on this marvelous recording from this summer's NPF conference on Poetry in the 1980s, which comes to us via Aldon Nielsen's Heatstrings Archives.

Here's Nielsen describing the event in one of several blog dispatches from the conference: "Poet friend Laura Hinton contacted me in advance of the National Poetry Foundation conference at the University of Maine to invite me to join the company she was assembling for a late night poetry performance. I was glad to be part of this dear company, which in the end included Linda Russo, Evie Shockley and Catherine Wagner." "We only had time to talk our way through the performance in advance back at the hotel," he continues, "but things went well that night and we had an appreciative audience, who also appreciated the free drinks we provided. I may do that at all my readings in the future. I certainly wish I could have these poets with me at every reading in the future."

Wagner begins the reading with "A Well Is A Mine" and "Capitulation to the Total Poem." She's followed by Hinton's "Paris in the Springtime" and three pieces by Shockley ("Duck,Duck-Redux," "Post White," "You Can Say That Again Billy" and "Miles's Muse") and Russo's "American Heritage Syntax," before returning for four more pieces ("Clairvoyage Le Royale [Shared Death Experience]," "Despuis," "Postcards Never Sent" and "My French Swimming Pool"). Next up is Nielsen, with four pieces ("Redevelopment," "Translations From the Rubic I," "Nannie Burroughs Avenue" and "Evacuation Routes E and D"), before Hinton brings the event to a close with "Geothermal Jardhiti" and "South Fork Palouse River."

You can see more photos from the event and read its complete program on the Heatstrings blog, and be sure to check out our Heatstrings archive page for many more fantastic recordings spanning several decades, which Nielsen's been kind enough to share with us.

Happy Birthday, Denise Levertov!

Posted 10/24/2012 (link)

Had she lived, the poet Denise Levertov would have turned eighty-nine today, and while she's a poet we very much admire, we unfortunately don't have permission to share her work through PennSound, but that doesn't mean that we don't have a wealth of materials related to the poet in our archives.

Chief among these is this 2010 event at Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room as part of their Oral History Initiatives program, in which Mark Pawlak (poet and editor of Hanging Loose, who befriended Levertov at MIT in 1969), Dick Lourie (founding editor of Hanging Loose Press and a member of Levertov's very first writing workshop in 1965) and Donna Hollenberg (author of the first full-length biography of Levertov) discuss their relationships to the poet and engage with audience questions. You can listen to these recordings by clicking the title above.

PennSound co-director Al Filreis catalogues our other Levertov-centric recordings in a Jacket2 commentary post. These include discussions of the poet by Robert Creeley and Albert Gelpi, along with recordings of John Wieners and Ken Irby reading Levertov's poetry.

While we'd still very much like to bring you recordings of Levertov herself, these assembled recordings nonetheless make a fitting tribute to the poet on her birthday.

New at Jacket2: Richard Swigg on Oppen and Levertov

Posted 10/26/2012 (link)

Earlier this week, we marked what would have been Denise Levertov's eighty-ninth birthday with a selection of PennSound resources related to the poet. Today, we'd like to add something else to that already-impresive list: a new essay on the poet that's just been posted at Jacket2.

Written by Richard Swigg (the architect of PennSound's William Carlos Williams and George Oppen author pages), "The Test of Belief: Or, Why George Oppen Quarrelled with Denise Levertov" is a fascinating document of the ideological correspondence between these two titans of 20th century poetry.

"There are fruitful literary quarrels and their opposite," Swigg begins. "For while the big, personal rift that opened up between Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov exemplifies the latter — when he complained that the subjugation of her poetry to the cause of political activism was creatively damaging — George Oppen's earlier argument with Levertov was markedly beneficial. It was the means by which he defined a poetic way forward in the 1960s, having known long before, as a Communist social worker during the Depression, the necessity of not politicizing his art."

You can read the article in full at Jacket2, where, in addition to the PoemTalk and Reissues materials that we've discussed here over the past month, you'll also find a wealth of newly added content, including Sandra Alland's feature on "New Scottish Poets," Jason Morris' meditations on Clark Coolidge's The Crystal Text and Louis Armand's philosophical exploration of "Poetry and the Unpoetic."

New at Jacket2: a Major Interview with Bruce Andrews

Posted 10/31/2012 (link)

Update: due to Hurricane Sandy, the Andrews symposium has been postponed until Friday, December 7th. More information on the event can be found here.

Just in time for Friday's symposium on his life and work at Fordham University, Jacket2 has just released "The Contextualizing Capacity of the Writing Itself," a new comprehensive interview with the author.

The interview was conducted by Dennis Büscher-Ulbrich in the poet's New York City apartment on September 27th, 2010, and as Andrews notes, "Dennis did the painstaking transcription of this interview; I massaged it a teeny bit mostly deleting a few 'you know's and 'so's & adding a few commas & dashes to capture something of the rhythm, but keeping it as loose & informal as it was, rather than trying to jazz it up or make it more official or impressive." Reflecting on the day, he recalls, "This was a lovely afternoon for me; many thanks to Dennis for all his enthusiasm during his month in the USA as a self-identified 'fan boy' — the breath of fresh air still reverberates!"

You can read the interview in its entirety here. Also on Jacket2, Charles Bernstein recently posted a new commentary with all the details of this week's Andrews symposium at Fordham (which he'll moderate) along with links to a newly-compiled online archive of works by and about the poet.