Grzegorz Wroblewski: New Author Page

Posted 3/3/2014 (link)

We recently created an author page for Grzegorz Wroblewski, one of Poland's leading contemporary authors. There, you'll find four brief recordings made over the past two years, starting with a 2012 performance of Wiara with guitar accompaniment by Amir Hadziahmetovic, which took place in Copenhagen, where Wroblewski currently resides. A recording from this past January of translator Marcus Slease reading a selection of Wroblewski's poetry also has a musical backing track, and we have a second reading featuring Slease taken from an Enemies Project reading at London's Rich Mix Arts Centre in February of this year. Finally, from last month (and also in London) we have Wroblewski's set from the Torriano reading series, which showcases work from his recent volume Kopenhaga, with translations by Piotr Gwiazda.

In Memoriam: Robert Ashley (1930-2014)

Posted 3/4/2014 (link)

Today brings sad news from the world of contemporary music: pioneering composer Robert Ashley has died at the age of 83 following a battle against cirrhosis. Scholar Kyle Gann, who recently completed a biography of the composer, confirmed Ashley's passing, and observed, "Bob was one of the most amazing composers of the 20th century, and the greatest genius of 20th-century opera. I don't know how long it's going to take the world to recognize that. And it hardly matters. He knew it. That the world was too stupid to keep up was not his problem."

PennSound is very proud to be home to a newly remastered version of Ashley's seven-part "opera for television," Music with Roots in the Aether, which was first aired in 1974 and includes segments on the work of (in order) David Behrman, Philip Glass, Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley and Ashley himself. You can watch all seven installments on our Robert Ashley author page.

A New PennSound Podcast on Ann Lauterbach

Posted 3/10/2014 (link)

Back in November, we announced that Ann Lauterbach's recent Kelly Writers House reading had been added to her PennSound author page. That reading is the subject of a new PennSound Podcast, hosted by Allison Harris, which offers up a nine-minute distillation of the event. The podcast starts with a snippet of Charles Bernstein and continues with selections from Lauterbach's most recent collection, Under the Sign, including "Triptych (Van Eyck)," "Night News With Fake Zebra," "Domestic Modernism," and "Letter (in Praise of Promiscuity)."

New Series: St. Bonaventure Visiting Poets Series

Posted 3/20/2014 (link)

Here's a new series addition to the PennSound archives that starts off with some interesting readings and promises more fantastic events in the future. Organized by the inimitable Kaplan Harris, the St. Bonaventure Visiting Poets Series has previously played host to a wide array of contemporary authors including Ben Friedlander, Mark Nowak, Gregory Betts, Catherine Wagner, Jonathan Skinner, Joshua Clover, Michael Baskinski, Erin Moure, Oana Avasilichioaei, and Matvei Yankelovich.

While our collection of recordings only includes events from this past fall semester, that's still plenty to get excited about. First up, we have a September 19th reading by Juliana Spahr, who read new, unpublished work, one of the poems an experiment in iambic pentameter. Next, we have Anne Boyer's October 10th set that included an older memoir, "Ma Vie En Bling 2," that will be coming out as part of a book by Ashahta in 2015. Harris notes that, "The poem is somewhat loosely a memoir of flarf." Then, from October 31st, we have K. Lorraine Graham, who "read a memoir-type poem focusing on her world travels in college." "She is a former DC-poet, of late living in SoCal, Colorado, & Spain," Harris explains.

From November 6th, we have sets from Stephanie Young and Alli Warren. "Stephanie & Alli were on an East Coast road trip to promote their new books from Krupskaya & City Lights. They read new unpublished poems too." Harris also points out "an interesting twist" — "Stephanie read a new poem that quoted something one of my students had said to Anne earlier in the semester about a Dana Ward poem." That's followed by Tyrone Williams' November 15th keynote reading for the St. Bonaventure University English Graduate Conference, in which he "read a series of poems about moving to SW Ohio." Finally, from December 5th, we have a reading by Rod Smith — co-editor, with Harris, of the landmark Selected Letters of Robert Creeley.

Cross Cultural Poetics: Eleven New Programs

Posted 3/26/2014 (link)

I invited the indispensable Sharon Margolis to write up one of the latest projects she completed for the site. Part two will be forthcoming shortly:

Today we bring you an exciting 19 new episodes of Leonard Schwartz's genre-blending program, Cross Cultural Poetics, in two different sections spanning late October 2013 to February 2014.

The first 11 episodes, #277-287, round out the year with an eclectic mix of musical performances and readings by poets from their latest written and translated works. In #277, Nicole Peyrafitte gives a not-to-be-missed, "poly-lingual" vocal rendition of a poem from her book, Bivalve: Vulvic Space, Vulvic Knowledge (Stockport Flats), and discusses the various forms and history of the Occitan language. Brent Cunningham reads from his epic poem, Journey to The Sun (Atelos) in #278, and in #279, Mary Ann Caws calls in from New York to discuss her translations from French of the poems of the so-called "Cubist poet," Pierre Reverdy, published by the NYRB Classics Series.

We continue in #280, with a discussion of eminent opera singer Joyce Castle, who recently performed in Gaetano Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment ("La fille du regiment") at the Seattle opera. Next, we have our only pairing in this group of episodes, two fascinating interviews from Tinfish publisher Susan M. Schultz, who reads from the posthumously published collection of poetry, The Arc of the Day/The Imperfectionist by reclusive Hawai'i poet Steve Shrader (Tinfish), and, in a separate recording, the Oakland poet Farnoosh Fathi reading from her explosive debut book titled Great Guns (Canarium Press).

In "Sakra Boccata," #282, Peruvian poet Jose Antonio Mazzotti reads from his text of the same name, his latest out from Ugly Duckling Presse. Leading Italian translator Tim Parks later phones into the station from Milan in #283 to read from his translation of Roberto Calasso's The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony (Vintage). The following episode, #284, sees the welcome return of Anselm Berrigan to the program, back to discuss the evolution of his digitally themed, text-and-picture collaboration with painter Jonathan Allen titled Loading (Brooklyn Arts Press) and to read several of his poems in that book.

Another familiar voice, French author Jacqueline Risset, offers a lovely reading of her "Instants I" and "Instants II", while describing the titular word "instant" as the "center of life and inspiration," in #285. Continuing with the visual thread throughout this section, artist Heide Hatry joins us in #286 ("Flowers of Offal") to speak about Not a Rose, her new collection of juxtaposed images and "curated" texts (Charta). Finally, we cap off this section with an intriguing double-interview with both the poet Forrest Gander and journalist Magdalena Edwards, together to discuss the revolutionary Pinochet-era poet Raul Zurita of Chile (see Gander's review of Zurita's Purgatory, titled "Out of Delirium", here on Jacket2).

Look out for a recap of the latest batch of episodes, including #288 through 295, up next on PennSound Daily.