New PennSound Podcast Honoring Anselm Hollo

Posted 5/1/2013 (link)

Anselm Hollo, the widely admired Finnish poet and translator, died on January 29, 2013. He lived in the United States from 1967 until his death. Hollo translated poetry and belles-lettres from Finnish, German, Swedish and French into English. He was one of the early translators of Allen Ginsberg into German and Finnish. Hollo taught creative writing in eighteen different institutions, among them SUNY Buffalo, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the University of Colorado at Boulder; and starting in 1985, he taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. PennSound's Hollo author page includes three segmented recordings of full readings dated 1991, 1999, and 2001. For the 30th episode of the PennSound podcasts series, Nick DeFina and Amaris Cuchanski have put together an anthology of Hollo recordings.

PennSound Podcasts: A Belladonna* Anthology

Posted 5/3/2013 (link)

We wanted to close out the week by highlighting another recent addition to the PennSound Podcast series. Here's Al Filreis' write-up of the program from Jacket2's new podcasts page:

From the excitingly varied PennSound page hosting recordings from the Belladonna* reading series from 1999 to the present, PennSound podcasts now presents, for its 28th episode, an anthology of seven Belladonna* performances. The seven are: Erica Kaufman, "A Conventional Hero" and "PS 54"; Rae Armantrout, "Seconds"; Lydia Davis, "City People"; Rachel Levitsky, "In the Wee Hours"; Sharon Mesner, "Gait Signatures"; Trace Peterson, "Bricky"; Jennifer Moxley, "Taking My Own Advice After Skylar."

A reading series and independent press that promotes 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, Belladonna* was founded as a reading and salon series by Rachel Levitsky at Bluestocking's Women's Bookstore on New York City's Lower East Side in 1999. In 2000, in collaboration with Boog Literature, Belladonna* began to publish commemorative "chaplets" of the readers' work. Erica Kaufman joined Levitsky as co-curator/editor in 2002. Then in 2005, the series moved its events to the downtown performance venue, Dixon Place.

This episode of PennSound podcasts is introduced by Amaris Cuchanski, edited by Nick De Fina, and produced by Al Filreis.

Cross Cultural Poetics: Five New Episodes

Posted 5/7/2013 (link)

We're always excited when Leonard Schwartz sends us new episodes of Cross Cultural Poetics and today we've got five new programs to add to the series archives.

First, in episode #270, Catherine Wagner discusses her new City Lights collection, Nervous Device, while Mikhail Epstein discusses his work of theory and pedagogy The Transformative Humanities: A Manifesto (Bloomsbury). That's followed by episode #271, where Robert Kelly talks about his big new/old poem 'The Loom' and Raul Zurita reads from his Dreams for Kurosawa (while Schwartz reads Anna Deeny's translations). Program #272, "The North African Anthology," is an hour-long discussion with Pierre Joris, editor of the newly-released The University of California Book of North African Literature.

Those three episodes are followed by two that find Schwartz traveling away from his usual base of operations at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA to our own Kelly Writers House. The first program takes two looks at international poetry in translation with guests Isabel Cadenas Canon and Ed Foster and for the second, Schwartz was joined by Lila Zemborain and Anna Moschovakis — shown above with Schwartz arriving at Philadelphia's 30th St. train station — reading new work and discussing their individual poetics.

To listen to these newest episodes, click the title above and don't forget to scan through seven years' worth of programs in the Cross Cultural Poetics archives.

John Yau: George Mason University, 2006

Posted 5/13/2013 (link)

Fans of poet John Yau will be excited to check out this newly-added recording of the poet reading at George Mason University on September 29, 2006.

Yau's set draws heavily from his most-recently published book at the time — the 2005 Saturnaila Books collaboration with Thomas Nozkowski, Ing Grish — starting with some general comments on the collection before moving on to the poems "Even Now," "Diaspora," and the title poem. Other titles included in the reading are "Andalusia," "Conversation After Midnight," "In the Kingdom of Poetry," and "Revised Guide to the Ruins of a New City."

This reading is just one of many that you'll find on John Yau's PennSound author page from a 1977 appearance on Public Access Poetry to a 2010 Segue Series appearance at the Bowery Poetry Club. Click the title above to start exploring.

PoemTalk 66: on William Butler Yeats' "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"

Posted 5/15/2013 (link)

Yesterday saw the sixty-sixth episode of PoemTalk Podcast, which shifts gears after several recent episodes focusing on contemporary poets with a discussion of William Butler Yeats' beloved early poem, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." For this program, host Al Filreis is joined by a panel that includes Taije Silverman, Max McKenna, and John Timpane.

Filreis starts off his write-up of the episode on the PoemTalk blog with a little context for the poem: "Yeats's father had read Walden aloud to him; Thoreau's pastoral simplification had been alluring for him as a teen, when he fantasized living on an uninhabited island in Lough Gill (near Sligo) — Innisfree. In the poem, the speaker, now longing for an orginary Ireland 'while I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey' of the city (presumably London), expresses his desire to build a small cabin on the isle and, like Thoreau, to plant rows of beans and 'have some peace there.' The romantic torque generated by such Irish/English splitting produces at the same time a brilliant but makeshift, extra-cultural — one might almost say, dramatically dislocated — prosody. The striking sound made by this poem is a topic that draws special attention from our three talkers." You can read the rest of his introduction on Jacket2.

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.

New on PennSound: Burmese Poetry

Posted 5/17/2013 (link)

One of the newest additions to the PennSound archives is a special compilation of Burmese poets curated by our own Charles Bernstein. While more recordings will be added in time, the page presently features two recordings of poet Zeyar Lynn — a new Close Listening program recorded on May 6th and a set of three poems ("My History Is Not Mine," "Slightly Lopsided but a More Accurate Portrait," and "Big Sister Have You Been to Laiza") recorded the day before — along with a new Close Listening program with Khin Aung Aye and James Byrne, also recorded on May 6th.

Bernstein recently posted a Jacket2 commentary on these recordings as well as the anthology, Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets, edited by ko ko thett and James Byrne, which was just released by North Illinois University Press. "The presiding spirit of the anthology," Bernstein writes, " is Zeyar Lynn, who spoke at a May 5 PEN event and the next day on Close Listening with great lucidity about the situation of contemporary Burmese poetry. As I heard Zeyar Lynn speak I felt an uncannily immediate engagement with his views; we are in the same conversation. Of course, this is partly because Zeyar Lynn is so conversant with the expanded field of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. But this itself is possible because we share a common set of readings and literary traditions, as well as a very divergent set."

Paul Hoover: New Author Page

Posted 5/20/2013 (link)

Our latest author page is for poet and editor Paul Hoover.

This new page is anchored by three appearances on Leonard Schwartz's Cross Cultural Poetics program. First, from episode #50, "What Dialogue Does," Hoover reads from his then-latest collection, Rehearsal in Black. Next, from episode #171 "Forms of Address II," he reads from his essay collection, Fables of Responsibility, and finally on episode #223 "Two From San Francisco," Hoover reads from and discusses his co-translation from the Vietnamese Beyond The Court Gate: Selected Poems of Nguyen Trei.

These are followed by a pair of Segue Series readings, recorded at the Ear Inn and Double Happiness (the former in January 1991, the latter in December 1999), and the page is closed out with Hoover's mini-set during the 2008 MLA Offsite Reading in San Francisco.

While this new author page is a good start at encapsulating Hoover's long career, we're excited that Hoover will be sending along some additional recordings from his collection, which we'll be adding in the near future.

PennSound Congratulates Man Booker Prize Winner Lydia Davis

Posted 5/22/2013 (link)

This afternoon saw the announcements of the annual Man Booker Prize, one of Brittain's most prestigious literary awards, and we were very happy to see Lydia Davis had won this year's International Prize.

Those looking for an audio introduction to Davis' work will do well to visit her PennSound author page, which features a wide variety of readings, talks and interviews going all the way back to 1983. Those recordings include two appearances on Cross Cultural Poetics from 2006 and 2008, a 2003 reading as part of the Belladonna* series, appearances at our own Kelly Writers House from 2003 and 1999, a 1995 reading and interview (with Charles Bernstein) from SUNY-Buffalo and Segue Series reading at the Ear Inn from 1987, 1984 and 1983. You'll also find a 2009 PoemTalk Podcast on Davis' "A Position at the University," featuring David Grazian, Jessica Lowenthal and Adrian Khactu.

PoemTalk 67: on Catherine Wagner's "This Is a Fucking Poem"

Posted 5/28/2013 (link)

Today we've launched the sixty-seventh episode in the PoemTalk Podcast series, which addresses Catherine Wagner's "This Is a Fucking Poem," from My New Job (Fence Books, 2011) and the chapbook Hole in the Ground (Slack Buddha Press, 2008). Joining host Al Filreis for this discussion is a stellar group of panelists that includes Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Laura Elrick and Rae Armantrout.

Filreis starts off his write-up of the episode on the PoemTalk blog by providing some context for the poem under discussion: "The Hole in the Ground poems form a sequence, even beginning with a poem setting out 'The Argument.' On their site, the Slack Buddha folks say mildly (but, to be sure, accurately) that these poems 'explore[...] the mores of interpersonal relationships.' The PoemTalkers say much the same thing of 'This Is a Fucking Poem' in particular, but perhaps, in the spirit of our poem, more bluntly. The fucking poem, which includes child sexualization through insectization and (self-)cannibalism or body mortification and brutal socialization ('Send her to school // ... her eyes will retract inside // ... nobody will hurtcha'), asks us right away not to 'expect too much' and then nevertheless 'go[es] into the / fucking human tunnel' headlong." You can read the rest of his introduction on Jacket2.

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.