Motion of Light: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany's Performative Poetics

Posted 5/2/2014 (link)

Last week, we announced the launch of Charles Bernstein's Close Listening conversation with Samuel R. Delaney, recorded as part of "The Motion of Light", a day-long "Celebrat[ion] of Samuel R. Delaney's Performative Poetics." Today, we're very happy to to share that day's complete proceedings with our listeners in three long videos.

In the first video, organizers Tracie Morris and Bernstein offer an introduction, which is followed by a screening and discussion of Fred Barney Taylor's film The Polymath, and talks by Kenneth James, Terry Rowden, and Ira Livingston. Video two starts with a talk by Morris, followed by Fred Moten's keynote address, and concludes with toasts by Frank Sherlock, Jena Osman, and Sarah Micklem, along with (via Morris) John Keene and Anne Waldman. Finally, the third video features the session for Bernstein's Close Listening program, and Delaney's reading.

You'll find all of these recordings on PennSound's Samuel R. Delaney author page, which is also home to a pair of readings from the SUNY-Buffalo, a 2007 Kelly Writers House celebration of Hart Crane, and a recording of Delaney's 1967 radio drama, The Star-Pit.

Ben Lerner at the Kelly Writers House, 2014

Posted 5/5/2014 (link)

We'll kick the week off with a new addition to the PennSound archives from this spring's season of events at our own Kelly Writers House: a Ben Lerner reading that took place on March 18th.

After a lavish an intricate critical introduction, Lerner takes to the podium for a reading that includes both poetry and prose. He begins with "Index of Themes," before a lengthy excerpt from his novel, Leaving the Atocha Station. That's followed by "Contre-Jour," an excerpt from Lerner's second novel, 10:04, and "No Art." An eleven minute question and answer session brings the evening to a close.

You'll find audio and video from this event on PennSound's Ben Lerner author page, which is also home to a 2008 reading at the Kelly Writers House, a "Phoned-In" reading and interview for BOMB, a 2010 Segue Series event at the Bowery Poetry Center, and the author's 2011 appearance at the award ceremony for the Preis für International Poesie der Stadt Münster in Münster, Germany.

Sabrina Dalla Valle reads from '7 Days and Nights in the Desert (Tracing the Origin)'

Posted 5/7/2014 (link)

Here's the latest addition to our Kelsey Street Press series page: Sabrina Dalla Valle reading from 7 Days and Nights in the Desert (Tracing the Origin), which was the 2013 winner of the Kelsey Street Press FIRSTS! Contest judged by Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge. 7 Days and Nights in the Desert (Tracing the Origin) inaugurates a series of first books by emerging writers.

Recorded by Ross Craig on April 25, 2014 in Berkeley, CA, the session runs nearly seventy-seven minutes and includes nineteen tracks, including "Preludio," "Mars," "Integrating," "Jupiter," "Resignify," "Saturn," "Causality," "Intersecting," "Venus," "Design," "Elemental," "Projecting," and "Ritornello."

You'll find this recording — along with sets by Cecilia Vicuña, Hazel White, Rena Rosenwasser, Susan Gevirtz, Elizabeth Robinson, Bhanu Kapil, Myung Mi Kim, Laynie Browne, Laura Mullen, and Kathleen Fraser, among others, on PennSound's Kelsey Street series page.

Chris Funkhouser on recording Amiri Baraka at Jacket2

Posted 5/9/2014 (link)

If you haven't yet checked out Chris Funkhouser's new series of Jacket2 commentaries"in audio practice" — then you're missing out on something spectacular. We'll be focusing on some of his earlier posts in the future, but wanted to close out the week by highlighting his latest post, which discusses his relationship with the late Amiri Baraka. Here's how he begins:

My wife and I first met Amiri Baraka in November 1997, standing in line to get our tickets to a Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, and Maria João/Mario Laginha concert at New Jersey Performing Art Center in Newark. Baraka was directly in front of us! Both Amy and I had been readers of his work since college, were aware of his intensity, and struck up conversation with him. I explained I had been a student and friend of Ginsberg's, and that I was living and working in Newark. He told us about monthly salons he and his wife Amina hosted at their home, Kimako's Blues People, gave us his card, and invited us to come over — which we did many times during the next few years. Beyond being a rare social milieu, great performances ensued these nights featuring dancers, actors, musicians, dramatists, and poets. The Baraka's transformed their basement into a performance space with sound system, lighting, a piano (which they bought when Nina Simone was living with them for a few months in the 80s), and chairs. Everyone was encouraged to read, sing, or play music.

Funkhouser is responsible for a number of the latter-day recordings on PennSound's Amiri Baraka author page, and his piece for Jacket2 includes the stories behind some of these tracks, as well as a treasure trove of photos and a glimpse of Baraka's talents as a visual artist. "I never ceased admiring Baraka's dedication to practicing a multi-disciplinary approach to the arts," Funkhouser writes, and that's made clear in this engaging tribute.

Beverly Dahlen: Two Newly Segmented Recordings

Posted 5/12/2014 (link)

We recently segmented two recent recordings on Beverly Dahlen's PennSound author page for your listening enjoyment. Here are the details:

First up is a Segue Series reading from New York's Bowery Poetry Club, recorded on April 14, 2007. That thirty-three minute set includes a total of seven pieces: the poems, "A Reading: the Beautiful," "If one were another," "He writes these things," "The excess of abundance," "The rasping of grasses," and "A Reading 19," along with the essay, "The Uses of Suicide."

That's followed by a March 15, 2008 reading at Tucson's the Drawing Studio, which comes to us through the POG Sound archives. This thirty-one minute set follows a similar form, with a series of poems — "Phantom reflections," "Moonlight to bereft," "A close brush," "I eat the mourning dove," and "A Reading: the Beautiful," followed by the essay, "Beauty: Another Reading."

You can listen to both of these readings, along with a 2008 tribute to the poet at San Francisco's Small Press Traffic, and a 1983 reading in Natoma, on PennSound's Beverly Dahlen author page.

PoemTalk 76: on Anne Waldman's "To the Censorious Ones"

Posted 5/13/2014 (link)

Today we released the seventy-sixth episode of the PoemTalk Podcast series, in which Stacy Szymaszek, Pierre Joris, and Orchid Tierney join host Al Filreis, to discuss a confrontational Anne Waldman poem that has gone by either "To the Censorious Ones" ( with a dedication to "Jesse Helms & Others") or "Open Address to Senator Jesse Helms."

"Our discussion ranged across many topics," Filreis notes in his write-up of this episode on the PoemTalk blog. "Among them: Waldman's ongoing work as a cultural activist; belief by her, and others, in the 'magical efficacies of language as a political act'; poets' support for alternative art communities; the relationship between the work of curating and institutionally 'making' poetry spaces and the poems that arise from such work; the radical feminist project of 'thrusting into [the censor's] point of view,' a gesture in equal parts writerly and political; and the importance of reasserting myths of the woman rising from below, coming up, coming back, and opening the box." The panelists conclude that "the very question of 'artistic merit' (the vexed and — as it turns out, hypocritical — phrase from the NEA charter) is answered in this poem, through its performative daring. In art that tempts the censors to do their censorious work again, is merit really relevant? Political response emerges as one way to deal with the problem of aesthetics!" 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.

Jaap Blonk at Teesside University, 2013

Posted 5/15/2014 (link)

Simon Morris recently sent us two very exciting videos from Teesside University in Middlesbrough, UK. Today, we're highlighting the first of these: an April 23, 2013 performance by Jaap Blonk, organized in collaboration with information as material and The Laurence Sterne Trust. Running nearly an hour, the event was filmed and edited by Aurora House in the Constantine Lecture Theatre at Teesside University.

Blonk's set is available in its entirety in both audio and video form, with fifteen segmented MP3 tracks. As is his custom, the performance includes a variety of his own work — "Sound," "The Prime Minister 1 & 2," "Muzikaret," "Cheek-a-Synth," "Hommage à A.A.," and "Kulo Quasi" — along with renditions of classic works by Hugo Ball ("Seepferdchen und Flugfische [Seahorses and Flying Fish]"), Velimir Khlebnikov ("Kolokol Uma [The Bells of the Spirit]"), Theo van Doesburg ("Letterklankbeelden [Letter Sound Images] 1, 2 and 3"), Kurt Schwitters ("Wut des Niesens [Fury of Sneezing]," "Zwölf [Twelve]," and "Erster Teil [First Movement] from Ursonate"), Dick Higgins ("glasslass"), and Raoul Hausmann ("Alptraum [Nightmare]").

You can listen and watch all of this on PennSound's Jaap Blonk author page, which is also home to a number of readings, interviews and podcasts, including two events at our own Kelly Writers House (in 2004 and 2013).

Charles Tomlinson: New Author Page and Jacket2 Feature

Posted 5/19/2014 (link)

PennSound listeners should already be well-acquainted with the work of Richard Swigg, who served as the architect of our William Carlos Williams, George Oppen, and Basil Bunting author pages. Today, we're very proud to unveil an astounding new archive of materials concerning British poet Charles Tomlinson, the subject of two books by Swigg — Charles Tomlinson and the Objective Tradition (Bucknell University Press, 1994) and Look With the Ears: Charles Tomlinson's Poetry of Sound (Peter Lang, 2002) — which Richard has kindly assembled for our site.

The first link on our new Charles Tomlinson author page links out to a separate page housing recordings of Tomlinson reading his complete poetic output from 1955 to 1999 — a total of 653 individual tracks spanning fifteen volumes — which were recorded in a number of sessions at Keele University's music studio and the poet's home between 1985–2001. You'll also find audio for trio of readings from 1985 and 1987, some of which focus on specific subsets of poems (his Stoke poems and poems on music), along with video of a 1986 reading and a 1993 set of Tomlinson reading his translations of Antonio Machado and Fyodor Tyutchev. The archive is rounded out with two conversations with the poet — the first with Hugh Kenner, the second with Octavio Paz — recorded in 1988 and 1989 respectively.

As if that wasn't enough, today at Jacket2 we launched another massive and important Tomlinson-related project: Addressing One's Peers: The letters of Charles Tomlinson and George Oppen, 1963–1981." Divided into five chronological/thematic installments, this collection includes seventy-seven intimate letters that provide a glimpse inside these two formidable poetic minds. Richard has provided a short editorial intro to the materials, along with extensive notes throughout and even photos of the poets' residences from which many of these letters were written.

Taken together, these two projects are not only a tribute to the long and productive literary life of Charles Tomlinson, but also to the dedicated scholarship of Richard Swigg, whose work for PennSound and Jacket2 has greatly benefitted us all.

Chris Mustazza on William Carlos Williams Audio at Jacket2

Posted 5/21/2014 (link)

While Chris Mustazza's official title at UPenn — director of Student Technology and director of Social Sciences Computing at the School of Arts and Sciences — suggests a hardline techie, he's also a not-too-secret humanist, currently pursuing a master's in poetics exploring the worlds of phonotextuality and digital poetics. He's also been an important part of both PennSound and Jacket2 since the inception of both projects (you'll notice him listed as the engineer of a lot of early KWH recordings in our archives), and so we're very happy that today his work comes full-circle with the publication of his essay, "Provenance Report: William Carlos Williams's 1942 reading for the NCTE" at Jacket2. It's a fascinating look at the story of the earliest Williams recording in PennSound's archives, and an exploration of the groundbreaking efforts of the National Council of Teachers of English — and figures including William Cabell Greet, George Hibbitt, and Walter C. Garwick — to harness then-cutting-edge technology to enhance the proliferation and enjoyment of poetry. Click the title above to start reading.

Recordings from PO.EX, 2013

Posted 5/23/2014 (link)

We're closing out the week by highlighting today's latest post from Chris Funkhouser's Jacket2 commentary series, "in audio practice", which is concerned with the poet's February 2013 trip to Porto, Portugal as a consultant to PO.EX: A Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature.

As part of that visit, Funkhouser recorded sets by aranhiças & elefantes (a group consisting of Bruno Ministro, Liliana Vasques, and Rita Grácio, who have been performing together since 2007) and Américo Rodrigues at Maus Hábitos, Porto, on February 14, 2013. The aranhiças & elefantes set consists of seven tracks — "sul," "borda," "e outros poemas de memoria," "quatro autenticidades basicas do proprio evo," "alguem lhes devia dizer," "e se ela te disser diz lhe," and "tantas coisas para dizer" — whereas the Rodrigues performance is presented as one file. You can read more about PO.EX and Funkhouser's visit here, and listen to these tracks by clicking here or the title above.

Al Filreis' Mix of New PennSound Additions

Posted 5/27/2014 (link)

If you check out the PennSound box on Jacket2's front page, you'll find a playlist sampler of recently-added recordings to the PennSound archives. We've already discussed some of these sets on PennSound Daily, and will be highlighting some in the future, but for now here's a fun mix that allows for contextual interplay between poets and poems.

- Jim Dine reads "Deer Walking" in Paris in February 2014 (0:23): MP3

- Catherine Wagner at Segue in February 2014, "[On Bernadette Mayer]" (6:03): MP3

- Jaap Blonk at Teesside in 2013, "The Prime Minister 1" (0:51): MP3

- Rachel Blau DuPlessis at Arizona State in 2013, "Letter 19: Dear C" (1:24): MP3

- Ben Lerner in Kelly Writers House in March 2014, "Index of Themes" (2:22): MP3

- Frank Sherlock's inaugural poem as Philadephia poet laureate in January 2014 (3:23): MP3

- Owen Sound, "Headlines" (4:32): MP3

- Youmna Chlala reads "The Paper Camera" on Cross-Cultural Poetics, episode 296, in February 2014 (19:20): MP3

- Kenneth Goldsmith reads excerpts from "The 1703 Weather Diary of Thomas Appletree" at Principal Hand Presents in March 2012 (15:17): MP3

- Benjamin Hollander discusses monolingualism in U.S. culture at Bard College in November 2013 (6:40): MP3

- Anne Boyer reads "The Stupid Love" at St. Bonventure in October 2013 (2:15): MP3

- C. S. Giscombe's "Writing from the New Coast" reading in April 1993 (18:45): MP3

Rachel Blau DuPlessis at Arizona State University, 2013

Posted 5/29/2014 (link)

If you haven't yet had a chance to spend time with our recently-posted footage of Rachel Blau DuPlessis' October 23rd reading at Arizona State University, now's a perfect time to do so, because we've augmented the video by segmenting the reading into individual MP3s.

Running thirty-five minutes in total, DuPlessis' set includes seven poems including three from her recently-concluded Drafts series — "Draft 102: One on One," "Draft 104: The Book," and "Draft 109: Wall Newspaper" — along with newer poems from her "interstitial" series of letters and ledgers: "Letter 19: Dear C," "Ledger 11," "Letter 8: Dear Y," and "Letter 6: Dear J." There's also a sixteen-minute question and answer session with the audience following the set.

You can watch and listen to this set on PennSound's Rachel Blau DuPlessis author page, which is also home to a wide variety of recordings spanning nearly three decades, including readings, talks, interviews, podcasts, and more.