Two New Belladonna* Readings, 2014

Posted 1/5/2015 (link)

We're kicking 2015 off with a pair of new recordings from the venerable Belladonna* reading series recorded at the start of 2014.

First up, from January 31st at Unnameable Books, we have a triple-bill of "Philly Fabulosas": Jena Osman, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, and Carlos Soto-Román

That's followed by a February 18th event at Third Factory, dubbed "HOT TEXTS," which featured sets by Alexis Pope, Maryam Parhizkar, and Andrew Levy.

You can listen to both of these recordings — along with a wide array of readings, panels, and talks dating back to the series' inception in 1999 — on PennSound's Belladonna* series homepage.

Films on Beat Figures Pommy Vega, Joans and McClure

Posted 1/7/2015 (link)

Here's another exciting new addition that bodes well for a fruitful 2015: three new short films, written and directed by Kurt Hemmer and Tom Knoff, that focus on a trio of important (if somewhat neglected) members of the Beat Generation.

We begin with As We Cover the Streets: Janine Pommy Vega (2003), dedicated to the groundbreaking poet, which "intersperses photographs and descriptions of Vega's peripatetic life with an extraordinary performance of her reading poetry from 2002."

That's followed by Wow! Ted Joans Lives! (2010), "a visual and aural collage ... examining the life and works of the legendary, tri-continental poet Ted Joans [shown at left] ... one of the significant poets of his generation." This thirty-minute short "has the sound of jazz and the flavor of surrealism," embodying Joans' dictum, "Jazz is my religion and Surrealism is my point of view."

While the Pommy Vega and Joans films are the sole contents of those poets' PennSound author pages, our last new offering, Rebel Roar: The Sound of Michael McClure (2008), is but the latest addition to our larger Michael McClure author page, which started with two discs from the venerable Rockdrill series and has grown to include album-length collaborations with Terry Riley and Ray Manzarek, along with a number of vintage recordings.

Ted Greenwald's "Voice Truck," 1972

Posted 1/12/2015 (link)

Charles Bernstein got the week off to a good start with a new Jacket2 commentary post on some just-added recordings of Ted Greenwald's "Voice Truck," recorded in 1972 as part of Gordon Matta-Clark's "Open Space" (shown at left in a later reconstruction). Here's Bernstein's description of the recordings:

"In May 1972, the artist Gordon Matta-Clark installed a dumpster in front of 98 Greene Street in Soho (Manhattan). The work was called both 'Open Space' and 'Dumpster.' The Dumpster was filled with construction debris and other material, formed into three corridors. For Ted Greenwald's contribution to the installation, he created a special audio work. Greenwald installed a tape recorder on the delivery truck for the Village Voice, his long-time day job. Six reels were recorded. One of the tapes, featuring the most dramatic action of the day, was stolen from the cab of the truck: in the middle of Times Square, mounted police galloped up to a subway entrance, tied their horses to the entrance, and ran down into the subway. The other five reels survived and are being made available by PennSound for the first time (one of those cassettes is listed below in two parts)."

You can listen, read more about the work, and find a link for further discussion of "Open Space" as well as a short video on Matta-Clark on Bernstein's J2 commentary. The recordings are also linked on our Ted Greenwald author page.

Petah Coyne: Leslie Scalapino Memorial Lecture, 2014

Posted 1/14/2015 (link)

We've just added a short video clip — which comes to us thanks to Kush and his Cloud House Poetry Archives — of sculptor and photographer Petah Coyne giving the Third Annual Leslie Scalapino Memorial Lecture at San Francisco's California College of the Arts on June 23, 2013.

Coyne's long relationship with Scalapino is discussed in the talk's introduction: her work appears on the covers of The Public World / Syntactically Impermanence, Zither & Autobiography, and the reissued edition of How Phenomena Appear To Unfold (which features a detail of Untitled #1336 [Scalapino Nu Shu], dedicated the poet) and is seen as "an important point of reference in Scalapino's cosmology" and likewise Scalapino's work serves as key inspiration for Coyne's art.

You can watch this video on our Cloud House series page along with previous Scalapino Memorial Lectures by Joan Retallack, Divya Victor, and Simone White. You'll find several videos of the poet reading and performances of her plays there as well.

Steve Benson: Two New Videos, 2010-2013

Posted 1/16/2015 (link)

We bring the week to a close with two new videos of poet Steve Benson in performance.

The first of these — "A moment on life/or not" — was recorded last February as part of a Segue Series event at New York's Zinc Bar, and is introduced by curator Ariel Goldberg. In Robert Withers' half-hour film, we see Benson read individual pages from a long unfinished poem, and improvise passages in-between the pre-written sections.

Jumping back three years, we have "unfinished and perfectly still," recorded at the Poetry Project in March 2010. Konrad Steiner's thirty-seven minute film documents this fully improvised collaborative work featuring Benson (spoken voice), Steiner (montage and projections), and the Jon Raskin Quartet (music), which includes Jon Raskin (saxophones, jaw harp, electronics), Liz Allbee (trumpets, conch), Ches Smith (drums) and John Shiurba (guitar, effects).

Both of these films are available, alongside decades of readings, performances, and talks, on our Steve Benson author page. Click on the title above to start watching.

Charles Bernstein: 67 Video Portraits, 2006-2010

Posted 1/19/2015 (link)

Charles Bernstein recently posted a Jacket2 commentary highlighting his video portraits of various poets, performers, artists, filmmakers, and other assorted friends and colleagues. In total, there are sixty-seven short films, created in twelve series between 2006–2010, and now, thanks to the efforts of Jeff Boruszak, Bernstein's portraits have been reorganized into a new series homepage.

Working in the opposite mode of Warhol's Screen Tests, Bernstein's super-short films (rarely exceeding a minute) get absurdly up close and personal with their subjects (complete with shaky handheld cinematography), reducing the encounter to one abstract angle: Rod Smith warns of the postal perils of fruitcakes, Hank Lazer compares poetry and shrimp, Caroline Bergvall discusses "Norwegian speakin,'" Norman Fischer tells of his past work as a baker, and John Yau articulates the difference between children and bears.

Some of the other folks included in the series are Peter Gizzi, Marjorie Perloff, David Antin, Leslie Scalapino, Mimi Gross, Ann Lauterbach, Nicole Brossard, Phong Bui, John Ashbery, Christian Bök, Susan Howe, Jerry and Diane Rothenberg, John Tranter, and Tom Haworth, among many others. To start watching, click the title above.

Cecilia Vicuna: "mtChondrial Eve (Mother of Threads)," 2008

Posted 1/21/2015 (link)

Here's a new addition to the author page of the always-astounding Cecilia Vicuña: "mtChondrial Eve (Mother of Threads)," performed at MoMA's P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center on March 16, 2008 as part of "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" and broadcast on Clocktower / WSP1 on March 31, 2008.

While, given Vicuña's multimodal performance style — this performance included poetry, textiles, and new media — there's obviously something missing in a recording that's strictly audio, I'm nonetheless struck by how effectively she's able to create an immersive and immediate experience through this (incidental) medium, even across barriers of language.

This recording — along with many other performances, interviews, talks, and more spanning twenty years — can be found on PennSound's Cecilia Vicuña author page.

PennSound Podcast #46: Reading and Teaching the Modern Long Poem

Posted 1/23/2015 (link)

We're wrapping up this week with a new entry in the PennSound Podcast series — the forty-sixth overall episode — which is entitled, "On Reading & Teaching the Modern Long Poem, with Reference to Williams's 'Paterson' & Two Passages from Eliot's 'The Waste Land.'"

Here's a write-up of the new program, taken from Jacket2's Podcasts page:

"Eric Weinstein and Al Filreis spent some time in the Wexler Studio of the Kelly Writers House talking about the problematics of the modern long poem. Can it be taught? Why is it so challenging, despite its central importance? The discussion is intentionally general at first, but soon Eric and Al turn to Eliot's The Waste Land, and in particular to two modally quite distinct passages from the poem."

You can browse through the complete PennSound Podcast archives here.

Rosmarie Waldrop at the Kelly Writers House, 2014

Posted 1/26/2015 (link)

Here's a wonderful reading by Rosmarie Waldrop, taken from her recent visit to our own Kelly Writers House last fall. You'll find both audio and video recordings of this forty-minute reading, recorded on November 6, 2014, on our Rosmarie Waldrop author page.

As Waldrop explains in her brief introduction, her reading consists of three different sequences. The first and longest of these sequences — taken from her latest collection, Driven to Abstraction (New Directions, 2010) — was written in memory of John Cage, and takes its name from a quote by the composer: "Music Is an Oversimplification of the Situation We Are In." That's followed by a more recent sequence "Otherwise Smooth," before Waldrop concludes the reading with poems from "In Pieces," an homage to Robert Creeley.

Naomi Replansky: New Author Page

Posted 1/28/2015 (link)

Thanks to a pair of recordings sent our way by Richard Swigg, we've just created a new author page for poet and translator Naomi Replansky, whose writing career — as celebrated in 2012's Collected Poems (Black Sparrow Press/Godine) — spans nearly eighty years.

The first of the two readings you'll find there was recorded for Lilith in 2009 and five of its seven selections — "In the Woods," "Jealous," "Gray Hairs," "Epitaph: 1945," and "I Met My Solitude" — were taken from The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934-1994 (Another Chicago Press), while the remaining two ("Complaint of the Ignorant Wizard" and "Housing Storage") come from her 1952 debut, Ring Song (Scribners).

That's followed by a more comprehensive reading at New York's Poets House, recorded on July 10, 2012, whose sixteen tracks include early work from Ring Song and poems from The Dangerous World spanning the intervening years, as well as a trio of newer, unpublished pieces: "Death and Exile," "Catalogue," and "About Not Writing."

You can listen to both sets on PennSound's Naomi Replansky author page, and stay tuned for at least one more recording of the poet in the near future.

Cross Cultural Poetics: Seven New Episodes

Posted 1/29/2015 (link)

Leonard Schwartz's highly-regarded radio program Cross Cultural Poetics is back with seven new episodes which aired between last November and the first weeks of 2015 on Evergreen State University's KAOS-FM. Here's a rundown of the shows:

Episode #308, "Alejandra Pizarnik," showcases Yvette Siegert's translations of the titular Argentine poet that appear in the recent Ugly Duckling Presse collection, Diana's Tree, while episode #309, "Essay Stanzas," features Thomas Meyer reading from his recent book of the same name, published by The Song Cave. In Episode #310, "Pier Paolo Pasolini," Stephen Sartarelli shares his translations of the legendary Italian director and author, available in a new edition from the University of Chicago Press, and the show brought 2014 to a close with Episode #311, "Book of Travels," in which Puerto Rican poet Lourdes Vazquez reads from her book Samandar: Book of Travels (Editions TSE=TSE).

Twenty-fifteen gets off to an ambitious start with Episode #312, "New York School Painters and Poets: Neon in Daylight," focusing on the exciting new book of the same name published by Rizzoli, with interviews with editor Allison Powers and author Jenni Quilter. Finally, we have two episodes (#313 and 314) dedicated to Jennifer Scappettone's new book, Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice, with the first program taking us right up to Marinetti, from whom she draws her title, and the second picking up with Pound and taking us right up to Venice as contemporary ecological imperative.

To start listening, click the title above to visit PennSound's Cross Cultural Poetics series page. [above: Leonard Schwartz in Beijing, photo by Yolanda Castro]