(Polish) Poetry After Rozewicz at 'Jacket2'

Posted 12/2/2015 (link)

We wanted to make sure that you didn't miss a major new feature published at Jacket2 last week: "(Polish) Poetry After Różewicz," edited by Marit MacArthur and Kasper Bartczak. This expansive tribute to the influence of Tadeusz Różewicz, who died in 2014 at the age of 92, includes contributions (critical statements, recollections, and poetry) from a wide array of poets and translators born and/or living in Poland: Wojciech Bonowicz, Piotr Florczyk, Darek Foks, Jacek Gutorow, Piotr Gwiazda, Jerzy Jarniewicz, Maciej Melecki, Edward Pasewicz, Marta Podgórnik, Marcin Sendecki, Krzysztof Siwczyk, Adam Wiedemann, and Grzegorz Wróblewski, with additional translations by Tomasz Dobrogoszcz, Marta Pilarska, Adam Zdrodowski, and Barbara Kopec-Umiastkowska, along with the editors.

Here, in the opening paragraphs of her introduction, MacArthur explains her recent, yet profound respect for the late poet:

I proselytize for Tadeusz Różewicz (1921–2014) and his poetic legacy as a new convert, not with unique insight into his importance or his poetics. That I leave to the eleven Polish poets sampled here (and several translators), who can testify better than I can.

I am motivated by a conviction that Różewicz, and the poetry that follows the paths he marked out, should be far better known among American poets — and that as long as we are ignorant of him, we lose something needful for our contemporary poetry. To get acquainted with Różewicz, rush out and buy
Sobbing Superpower: Selected Poems (W.W. Norton, 2011), translated by Joanna Trzeciak. To begin to grasp his legacy for Polish poetry — for the world — read on.

You can read the rest of her introduction, and browse the feature's long table of contents, here. We're happy to report that the feature has received favorable notice on the website of Instytut Książki, "an important literary institution in Poland," according to Bartczak. Moreover, Bartczak and I will be working together in the new year to assemble a PennSound anthology of contemporary Polish poetry for our listeners.

Leonard Schwartz: Ugly Duckling Cellar Series Reading, 2013

Posted 12/4/2015 (link)

December has arrived and that means that soon we'll be posting this past fall's series of Cross Cultural Poetics programs — certainly, something to look forward to — but first, we've got a new addition to CCP host Leonard Schwartz's PennSound author page.

Recorded on April 19, 2013 at Ugly Duckling Presse's Brooklyn headquarters as part of their Cellar Series, this twenty-two minute starts with selections from The Library of Seven Readings — an out-of-print chapbook published by Ugly Duckling in 2008, which you can read excerpts from here. Out of seven sections in total, Schwartz reads four: parts 2, 5, 6, and 7.

You can listen to this reading and many, many more — from a 1992 appearance on A.L. Nielsen's radio program, Incognito Lounge to a 2014 bilingual reading in Paris as part of the Double Change series — on PennSound's Leonard Schwartz author page.

Peter Cole: Two Recent KWH Recordings

Posted 12/7/2015 (link)

We're starting this week off with two new recordings from poet and translator Peter Cole, who visited our Kelly Writers House on October 28th of this year.

The first new recording is from the inaugural event in a new "multilingual poetics" reading and talk series hosted by Ariel Resnikoff. The hour-long set begins with Resnikoff explaining the origins and inspirations for the series before discussing his earliest experiences with Cole, first as a reader and then in conversation, which shaped the course of his doctoral work here at UPenn. Specifically, he cites "The Invention of Influence: A Notebook" (a journal kept for the Poetry Foundation) and Cole's observation that Hebrew had become for him "what Arabic was for the Jewish poets of Spain: the way out that led, curiously, in," as well as the fact that his poetry "is consistently engaged with questions of translation, and his work as a poet and his work as a translator are constantly intertwined." Cole's set consists of three poems — "Through the Slaughter and Bialik," "For a Theophoric Figure," and then excerpts from the long title poem of his latest collection, "The Invention of Influence: An Agon" — and is followed by conversation between the poet and Resnikoff.

Earlier in the day, Cole and Resnikoff say down in KWH's Wexler Studio to record a brief of poems from The Invention of Influence, and this is the second addition to Cole's author page. The eight poems he read include "On Being Partial," "Actual Angels," "Song of the Shattering Vessels," "Quatrains for a Calling," and "Summer Syntax." You can listen to both of these recordings, and several others spanning more than a decade, on PennSound's Peter Cole author page.

PoemTalk 95: on Robert Fitterman's 'Sprawl'

Posted 12/8/2015 (link)

Today we released the latest episode in the PoemTalk Podcast series — its ninety-fifth overall — which focuses on five short sections from Robert Fitterman's 2010 book Sprawl: "J. C. Penney," "Kay Jewelers," "China Buffet," "Sbarro," and "Lacoste." This time around, host Al Filreis is joined by a panel of (from left to right) Michelle Taransky, Rodrigo Toscano, and Laynie Browne.

After discussing the provenance of these recordings (which predate the publication of Sprawl by several years and therefore occasionally stray from the final versions) Filreis' introduction on the PoemTalk blog discusses the technique at the heart of the book: "Fitterman appropriates demotic speech and writing from various sources (overheard conversations, presumably in stores; Internet bulletin board review-ish commentaries and rants, etc.) and creates for each store and mall design element a collage of voices befitting and/or juxtaposing the putatively branded socio-economy of each retail message." "But how are we then to discern the many identities of the many voices?" he continues, then offers up Taransky's answer that Sprawl "gives us what Whitman calls 'the day among crowds of people' where the nascent democratic self 'receiv'd identity.'" 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.

Celebrating Emily Dickinson's Birthday

Posted 12/10/2015 (link)

Today is the 185th birthday of Emily Dickinson and to mark the occasion I've pulled together a proper PennSound author page for the poet, bringing together selected resources from throughout our archives.

It should come as no surprise that Susan Howe would be prominent featured, and here you'll find complete talks on the poet from 1984 (from the New York Talk series) and 1990 (from SUNY-Buffalo) in addition to several smaller excerpts from larger talks pertaining to the poet. There's also a link to PoemTalk #32, which discusses Howe's interpretation of Dickinson's "My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun."

Full series of lectures on Dickinson are also available from Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley, both at the New College and dating from 1981 and 1985, respectively. Among other substantial contributions, there's also the 1979 Dickinson Birthday Celebration at the St. Mark's Poetry Project (featuring Jan Heller Levi, Charles Bernstein, Susan Leites, Charles Doria, Virginia Terrace, Barbara Guest, Madeleine Keller and Vicki Hudspith, Armand Schwerner, Karen Edwards, Jackson Mac Low, Maureen Owen, and Howe) and Rae Armantrout's 2000 presentation on Dickinson from "Nine Contemporary Poets Read Themselves Through Modernism."

You'll also find performances of individual Dickinson poems from John Richetti and Jeffery Robinson as well as brief excerpts of radio interviews — with John Ashbery, Guest, and Elizabeth Bishop — pertaining to the poet.

Our hope is that this page, which brings together disparate resources already available in our archives, will be a useful tool for teachers, students, and casual readers, as well as serious scholars. Click here to start exploring.

Heatstrings: MSA Readings 2014 and 2015

Posted 12/14/2015 (link)

Thanks to the efforts of A.L. Nielsen, we're able to share recordings of the group readings from the Modernism Studies Association's last two annual conferences on his Heatstrings archive page.

These two events — the first in Boston on November 20, 2015, the second in Pittsburgh on November 7, 2014 — were organized by Lesley Wheeler, who starts each evening out with a series of comments and introductions before reading briefly. The rest of this year's roster included (in order) Daniel Tobin, Stephen Burt, Michael Forstrom, Elizabeth Frost, Cynthia Hogue, Julia Lisella, Susan McCabe, Nielsen, Jennifer Scappettone, Lisa Sewell, Donald Wellman , and Tyrone Williams. Last year's line-up consisted of (in order) Wheeler, Williams, Tobin, Elizabeth Savage, Lisa Samuels, Nielsen, Lisella, Meta DuEwa Jones (shown above, in a photo by Nielsen), Hogue, Jeanne Heuving, Frost, Jan Beatty, and, as a featured reader, Rachel Blau Duplessis (to whom we send birthday greetings today!).

To listen to either of these readings, each of which has been segmented into individual MP3 files, click here or the title above.

Housework at Chapterhouse: October and November Readings

Posted 12/16/2015 (link)

From 2006 up until this past May, the Chapter and Verse Series at Philadelphia's Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery — curated by Ryan Eckes and Stan Mir — brought an amazing array of poets, both local and national, to appreciative audiences. You can listen to a representative selection of twenty-two readings from 2008–2012 on our Chapter and Verse series page.

When the series came to an end this spring, disappointment soon turned to excitement with the news that a new reading series would take its place and continue its mission. Billed as Housework at Chapterhouse, the new series is framed by the idea that "[h]ousework is work undervalued, invisible, unpaid. It is classed, raced and gendered. It is also the work that allows life, it is 'reproductive.' It is intimate. It?s necessary. It?s weird. It has been precarious. This is the kind of work we want to recognize." The curators envision the series as "a conversation between friends and with the history of this space," citing the precedent of Chapter and Verse, which "supported young writers and established voices." "It supported us," they acknowledge. "There was something expansive and generous about this room that operated outside funding and institutions. We want to keep and expand that spirit."

Today we're very happy to present the first two events in the series. First, we have an October 10th reading by Joohyun Kim, Marissa Perel, and Jai Arune Ravine. That's followed by a November 14th reading by Michael Cavuto, Jim Corey, and Fan Wu. You can listen to segmented sets for each poet by clicking here.

Whenever We Feel Like It: Louis Bury and Doug Nufer, 2015

Posted 12/18/2015 (link)

Today we're highlighting the latest addition to our archive of the Whenever We Feel Like It Reading Series. Recorded on November 11th at our own Kelly Writers House, this event features poets Louis Bury and Doug Nufer.

Bury, who teaches at Hostos Community College, CUNY, in the Bronx is the author of Exercises in Criticism: The Theory and Practice of Literary Constraint (Dalkey Archive, 2015) and a columnist for Hyperallergic as well as a contributor to Bookforum, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket Magazine, Jacket2, Aufgabe, The Volta, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, and The Believer. Nufer has authored more than ten books — most of them guided by formal constraints (à la Oulipo) — including Never Again (Black Square, 2004), Negativeland (Autonomedia, 2004), By Kelman Out of Pessoa (Les Figues, 2011) Lifeline Rule (Spuyten Duyvil 2015), We Were Werewolves (Make Now, 2008), and Lounge Acts (Insert Blanc, 2013). The poets' sets, each approximately half an hour in length, are followed by a lengthy Q&A session with the audience.

You can listen to this recording — and many more spanning the past six years — on our Whenever We Feel Like It series homepage, and in case you forgot, we should note that that The Whenever We Feel Like It Reading Series is put on by Committee of Vigilance members Michelle Taransky and Emily Pettit, and you should not forget that The Committee of Vigilance is a subdivision of Sleepy Lemur Quality Enterprises, which is the production division of The Meeteetzee Institute.

Celebrate the Start of Winter with Bernadette Mayer's 'Midwinter Day'

Posted 12/21/2015 (link)

While today might or might not be the longest night of the year it's nonetheless a good time to reacquaint ourselves with Bernadette Mayer's classic long poem, Midwinter Day, written in its entirety on the occasion of the winter solstice at 100 Main Street in Lennox, Massachusetts on December 22, 1978.

As Megan Burns notes in her Jacket Magazine essay on the book: "A long held tradition on Midwinter's Day was to let the hearth fire burn all night, literally keeping a light alive through the longest night of winter as a source of both heat and a symbol of inspiration to come out the other side of the long night closer to spring and rebirth. It is fitting that a poem about surviving death and the intimacy of the family would be centered around this particular day that traditionally has focused on both. The hearth is the center of the home where the family gathers, where the food is cooked and where warmth is provided. Metaphorically, the poem Midwinter Day stands in for the hearth gathering the family into its folds, detailing the preparation of food and sleep and taking care of the family's memories and dreams."

Mayer read a lengthy excerpt from the book at a Segue Series reading at the Ear Inn on May 26th of the following year, which you can listen to on her PennSound author page along with a wide array of audio and video recordings from the late 1960s to the present.

A Massive New Set of Recordings from Peter Lamborn Wilson

Posted 12/22/2015 (link)

As the year winds down you think we'd be finished with significant new additions to the PennSound archive, but you'd be wrong. Today, we're proud to unveil an astoundingly large body of recordings of poet Peter Lamborn Wilson, which comes to us courtesy of the hard work of Chris Funkhouser.

In the spring of 2015, Funkhouser traveled to Wilson's Woodstock, NY home for a series of nine recording sessions. Split into twenty sets in total, these recordings encompass hundreds of poems, all drawn from an "unpublished six hundred page-long [manuscript of] collected poems." We've provided organizational links to each of the recording dates, along with bracketed references to the placement of individual tracks within each larger set and the page numbers corresponding to a PDF version of the uncollected poetry manuscript.

In conjunction with the launch of these recordings, we've also published Funkhouser's "Peter Lamborn Wilson: A PennSound Archive" at Jacket2, in which he details the origins and progress of the project. Here's a brief excerpt: "In March 2015, seeking a collaborative project, I discussed doing a recording session with him. He brought up the six hundred pages of unpublished poems, suggesting we could document them. Having high regard for his writing, knowing his work as a poet is essentially unknown beyond the circle of people who are part of his community, this was a grand idea, and something different than any other previous audio project I'd done before: focusing on the work of a single poet over a course of many weeks. For one thing, the duration, scale, and informal approach enabled a series of routines to develop. Some were minor, some technical and pragmatic, and others symbolic. I decided, for example, to bring a different piece of small visual art along to each of our nine sessions, to 'keep us company' and temporarily transform decor in his studio apartment during the many hours we spent at work on our endeavor."

You can read more here and start browsing the recordings here.

Recordings from "The Book Undone: Thirty Years of Granary Books"

Posted 12/28/2015 (link)

We've recently added two new recordings from the exciting events surrounding "The Book Undone: Thirty Years of Granary Books," held at Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library over the course of this fall.

First, we have audio from the launch event, which took place on September 16th. After an introduction from Sean Quimby, Rare Books Curator, and opening remarks from exhibition curators Karla Nielsen and Sarah Arkebauer, Granary Press founder Steve Clay took the podium. After his comments, the even continued with brief presentations from Charles Bernstein, Johanna Drucker, Vincent Katz, Daniel Kelm, Emily McVarish, Jerome Rothenberg, and Buzz Spector. You can find audio from this event on Threads Talk Series page, also curated by Granary Books editors Steve Clay and Kyle Schlesinger, where many of those gathered to celebrate the press have given talks over the year.

Two other authors who took part in Threads events over the years — Cecilia Vicuña and Jen Bervin — were part of a second event connected with the Granary celebration at Columbia on November 17th. Billed as "The Book as Performance", this performance and discussion session is available as both audio and video with links to HD video on Vimeo.