Cross Cultural Poetics: Two Programs Filmed at KWH, 2013

Posted 3/2/2015 (link)

Last month, we posted footage of two Cross Cultural Poetics programs filmed at Evergreen State College in 2009 and 2010. Today, we're back with another pair of videos, this time for programs filmed at our own Kelly Writers House during host Leonard Schwartz's 2013 visit.

The first of these, episode #273, "Canon/Foster," begins with Spanish poet Isabel Cadenas Canon reading from recent collection, To Leave, along with her translations of Raul Zurita into Basque. Then Edward Foster reads from his long poem in process and discusses international poetry in translation. Schwartz and his two guests are shown at left during the recording session.

Next, we have episode #274, "Zemborain/Moschovakis," showcases Argentine poet Lila Zemborain's The Murmur of Borders, with reading from the book in both Spanish and English translation; she then discusses the idea of the "bio-poem." She's followed by Anna Moschovakis, who shares her "Film 2," and muses on the relationship between philosophy and poetry.

Cross Cultural Poetics will be back with more episodes in the near future, but revisiting these two vintage programs, with a new video component, is a wonderful way to bide the time until then.

Naomi Replansky Reading in NYC, 2014

Posted 3/4/2015 (link)

In January, we announced the addition of two sets of recordings from Naomi Replansky, dating from 2009 and 2012, which came to us through Richard Swigg. Today, we're happy to unveil a third recording from the poet.

Recorded at the home of Marcia Eckhert and Tom Haller in New York City on November 19, 2014, this nineteen-poem set includes the years of composition for each piece. While there's some overlap with the previous two sets — "Epitaph: 1945," "Complaint of the Ignorant Wizard," "Gray Hairs," "Foreigner," "I Met My Solitude," among others — there are also a number of poems unique to this recording, including "The Balloon," "The Human Intellect Divine," "Memory of a Party," "Factory Poem," and "The Sightseers," spanning her more than eighty years of work.

Robert Creeley Interviews Kathy Acker, 1979

Posted 3/6/2015 (link)

On December 12 and 13, 1979, Robert Creeley hosted Kathy Acker at SUNY-Buffalo. He introduced her and in two sessions she read from her work and engaged with Creeley on conversation. PennSound now offers, in addition to the whole recording, segments by topic and work. Topics discussed include French novelists, translations, self-expression, self-reflection, subjectivity and perception, the writer's perspective, and the divided self.

You can listen to this newly-segmented recording, along with a number of full-length album releases, readings, and interviews recorded between the late 1970s and the mid-90s, on PennSound's Kathy Acker author page.

New Gertrude Stein Recordings at PennSound

Posted 3/7/2015 (link)

We have some very exciting new additions to our Gertrude Stein author page, which were discovered by our own Chris Mustazza. You can read more about the recordings in a new Jacket2 commentary post. Here's a preview:

"Most who have encountered Stein's mellifluous voice have heard it from Caedmon record TC 1050 (1956), either directly or via its digitization in PennSound. The provenance of these recordings, however, begins on January 30, 1935, when Stein visited Columbia University during her American tour. Most interestingly, perhaps, is that the Columbia professors who invited her, George W. Hibbitt and W. Cabell Greet, are the lexicologists and scholars of American dialects who founded and edited the National Council of Teachers of English's Contemporary Poets Series, one of the first archives of poetry audio and for which these recordings were made. PennSound is making available here, for the first time ever, the master recordings that came be released as in the Contemporary Poets Series and the Caedmon record, unedited and containing commentary, false starts, and some previously unreleased tracks."

You can read more here, and click here to listen to the recordings.

PennSound Podcast 43: Conceptual Writing by Women

Posted 3/10/2015 (link)

Amaris Cuchanski has edited and now introduces a 20-minute excerpt from a one-hour recording made of an October 17, 2012, event at the Kelly Writers House featuring conceptualist writing by women, celebrating the publication of I'll Drown My Book.

This excerpt is episode 43 in the PennSound podcast series. You can hear the entire recording — and indeed watch a video recording — of the event by visiting the Kelly Writers House web calendar entry and by visiting the PennSound page created for the audio recordings, which have there been segmented. Authors included in the event include Lee Ann Brown, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Jena Osman, Kristin Prevallet, and Cecilia Vicuña.

You can read more about this podcast, including a recollection of the event offered up by Nicki Resnikoff on Jacket2.

Alexander Skidan on Close Listening, 2015

Posted 3/12/2015 (link)

The latest episode in Charles Bernstein's Close Listening series features Russian poet Alexander Skidan. Recorded on February 27, 2015, the show follows the standard format with one program dedicated to the poet reading his work, followed by a second in which the poet and host talk. Here's Bernstein's description of the show from a recent Jacket2 commentary post:

Alexander Skidan was born in Leningrad in 1965. He is a poet, critic, essayist and translator. In 2008 his book Red Shifting was published in USA by Ugly Duckling Presse, tr. Genya Turovskaya. He is the co-editor of the New Literary Observer magazine and lives in Saint Petersburg.

Program One: Skidan reads from Red Shifting (Brooklyn: Ugly Ducking Press, 2008) in Russian as well as reading the English translations by Genya Turovskaya.

Program Two: Skidan discusses his Ugly Duckling Press book, Red Shifting, the changes in the literary climate in Russia after 1989, the contemporary situation for poetry in Russia, and the mysticism of Arkadii Dragomoschenko.

Don't Miss Jacket2's "Twenty-Two on 'Tender Buttons'"

Posted 3/17/2015 (link)

Jacket2 unveiled a new microreview feature last week, "Twenty-Two on Tender Buttons," which commemorates (a little belatedly) the hundredth anniversary of Gertrude Stein's influential book.

Edited by Julia Bloch, the feature includes twenty-two "short, impressionistic, discursive, or momentary reflections on the book," which "has come to be understood as one of the most important and challenging texts of twentieth-century literary modernism, what Charles Bernstein has called 'the fullest realization of the turn to language and the most perfect realization of 'wordness,' where word and object are merged.'"

Contributors include Bernstein, Laynie Browne, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Marcella Durand, Michael Farrell, Seth J. Forrest, Rachel Galvin, erica kaufman, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Astrid Lorange, Jason Mitchell, Dee Morris, Tracie Morris, Sawako Nakayasu, Bob Perelman, Sarah Posman, Andrea Quaid, Joshua Schuster, Karen Volkman, and Mia You.

Congratulations to National Book Critics Circle Award Winner Claudia Rankine

Posted 3/19/2015 (link)

Congratulations are in order for Claudia Rankine, who was recently announced as this year's winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for her groundbreaking book, Citizen: An American Lyric. In their announcement the NBCC noted that Citizen — which "maps the uneasiness and charged space of living race now, miraculously breaking racism's intractability down into human-sized installations, accounts of relationships and examples of speech" — "made history for having been the first book to be a finalist in two categories (poetry and criticism)."

We gladly point our listeners towards all of the recordings that can be found on Rankine's PennSound author page, but in particular, her 2014 appearance on Between the Covers with David Naimon, in which she discusses the book, its contexts and composition, in encyclopedic detail. It's a wonderful introduction to the book for those who haven't had a chance to read it yet, and it'll send those who have back into its pages to consider the work in a different light.

Claudia Rankine Reads at Temple University, 2015

Posted 3/22/2015 (link)

Speaking of Claudia Rankine, we're very happy to be able to share the poet's reading at Temple University last Thursday night — an even that brought out a massive and enthusiastic audience. Ranking's set, which drew exclusively from her National Book Critics Circle Award-winning collection, Citizen: An American Lyric, ran just short of an hour. Audio of the complete reading is available, along with an eighteen-minute video clip shot by Charles Bernstein.

Jena Osman provided the evening's introductory comments, meditating on the subtitle of Rankine's last two books, noting that:

Anybody who has read or written a poem is familiar with the conventional lyric mode, where some I, some consciousness, talks about thoughts and feelings that make us, the listeners or the readers, have thoughts and feelings in turn. The lyric draws us closer, might make us feel like we're sharing a secret, or an epiphany, or a love, or a disappointment. We might feel like we're communing with this I, this someone, who has chosen us to be their confidant. We might project ourselves into that I and think, "Yes, I can relate. Yes, that's the truth." But whose truth? That's where the trouble starts. The lyric I is the first person singular, and as it's conventionally used, it presumes our bond, even when it's not in our plural images, not in our plural interests. Ranking's documentary poems are fully aware of that glitch in the system and work to fix it. In Citizen, the lyric subject is you, second person, and while that pronoun can bring you closer in an intimate way, it can also call you out. As the poet Erica Hunt has said in a review of Citizen, "You, the reader, called out as bystander, are compelled to stand at attention." You're compelled to notice the race-based microaggressions that you may endure, or that you may inflict. As you read Rankine's poems, you never leave the realm of feeling, however you must examine your own position: are you the first person or the second person, the other person? If you're one, how do you recognize the other? How do you see the other? Meet the other? Could it be otherwise?

You can listen to this recording and many others on PennSound's Claudia Rankine author page.

PoemTalk 86: on Tyrone Williams' 'Written By H'Self' and 'Cant'

Posted 3/24/2015 (link)

Today we released the eighty-sixth program in the PoemTalk Podcast series, which focuses on two poems from Tyrone Williams' 2008 Omnidawn collection, On Spec: "Written By H'Self" and "Cant." Joining host Al Filreis for this show is a panel that includes Alan Golding, Lily Applebaum and Herman Beavers.

Filreis' write-up on the PoemTalk blog starts with an acknowledgment of the complexity of these poems: "These densely allusive poems meant that our first task was to peel back at least some of the layers of referentiality, yet the layers overlap, are torqued, punned, entendred, homophoned and doubly and triply and quadrupally historicized — sometimes, in one word or phrase, conjuring social, geographical, historical, juridical, psychological, musical, poetic, theoretical registers. Among the allusions we trace: Eliot's 'Tradition and the Individual Talent'; the Washington/DuBois debate over the 'Talented Tenth'; the 'one drop' racial rule; the John Henry Complex; the Cumberland Gap as an escape route; the Gap (source for jeans) and marketing fetishes; the folkloric figure of Stagger Lee, who murdered for the swiping of his Stetson; the Happy Feet of African American dancers and Disney animationists; the signature of the slave narrativist, needed to 'prove' her and his capacity for self-authoring; Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Exposition speech of 1896; 'Terrible Tom' with his three historical personages, including the blind autistic musician whose race and music are categorically indecipherable; the historical relegation of black musicians to vernacular music; and Moby-Dick." You can read more about the program 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.

Birds of Metal in Flight: An Evening of Poetry with 5+5, 2015

Posted 3/31/2015 (link)

Here's an exciting new addition to the PennSound archives: "Birds of Metal in Flight: An Evening of Poetry with 5+5". Recorded at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine on February 25, 2015, this event — organized by Lydia Liu and presented in partnership with the Weatherhead East Asia Institute at Columbia University — featured five poets from China and five from the United States sharing work inspired by Xu Bing's exhibit "Phoenix." The evening's roster consisted of Bei Dao, Ouyang Jianghe, Xi Chuan, Zhai Yongming, Zhou Zan, Charles Bernstein, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Pierre Joris, Afaa Weaver, and Marilyn Nelson (the Cathedral's current Poet in Residence), with opening introductions by James Kowalski and Lydia Liu, and closing remarks by Xu Bing.

You can watch video footage of the complete event, along with segmented MP3 audio of individual readers on the special page we've put together for this event.