Charles Bernstein: "Down To Write You This Poem Sat"

Posted 8/1/2016 (link)

Here's a fascinating new playlist from PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein entitled Down To Write You This Poem Sat. It was assembled as part of an exhibition of the same name, investigating the relation of visual art and poetry, which is currently running at the Oakville Gallery in Oakville, Ontario through September 3rd.

"Art and poetry share a long and rich history, from the visual poetry experiments of the modernist avant-garde to the association of the Beat Generation with artists like Andy Warhol," the gallery's website explains. "Today, this conversation continues, with artists and poets borrowing freely from one another and often active in both areas." It continues: "Down To Write You This Poem Sat brings together a number of works that move between visual forms and the written word. One of the defining features of this intersection has been the way language is increasingly loosening itself from the printed page, responding both to new technological developments and social and political change. Titled after Canadian poet bpNichol's First Screening — a collection of animated poems written for the Apple IIe computer — Down To Write You This Poem Sat explores this shift, with artists and poets readily making use of new media while drawing on the language and techniques of mass culture through film, writing, performance, and installation."

Bernstein's list is broken into Contemporary and Historical subheadings. The former includes selections from Caroline Bergvall, Christian Bök, Tonya Foster, Susan Howe, Tan Lin, Steve McCaffery, Tracie Morris, Julie Patton, Tom Raworth, Jerome Rothenberg, and Cecilia Vicuña. On the Historical list, you'll find tracks from Guillaume Apollinaire, Amiri Baraka, Louise Bennett, Sterling Brown, John Clare, Velimir Khlebnikov, Harry Partch, Leslie Scalapino, Kurt Schwitters, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and Hannah Weiner.

You can listen to this marvelous set of poems here, and if you're in the neighborhood, be sure to check out the exhibition.

Housework at Chapterhouse: Three New Recordings, 2016

Posted 8/3/2016 (link)

Last December we posted our first recordings from Housework at Chapterhouse, a new series that took the place of the Chapter and Verse reading series, which Ryan Eckes and Stan Mir curated at Philadelphia's Chapterhouse Cafe from 2006–2015. Today, we've got three new recordings from the series that took place this spring.

First, from February 20th, we have Cyree Jarelle Johnson's set from a longer reading featuring Alex Smith and Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela. Next, from March 12th there's a group reading featuring Carolina Maugeri, Davey Knittle, and Nina Puro. Finally, From April 16th, there's Amina Masood's reading from a larger event also featuring Melissa Buzzeo and Nila Nokizaru. These readings join a pair from last fall including sets from Joohyun Kim, Marissa Perel, Jai Arune Ravine, Michael Cavuto, Jim Corey, and Fan Wu.

All of these recordings, as well as twenty-two events from the long run of Chapter and Verse are available here.

Happy 70th Birthday to Ron Silliman

Posted 8/5/2016 (link)

We send our best wishes to Ron Silliman, who was born seventy years ago today in Pasco, WA. You can celebrate by listening to a selection of his work on PennSound author page.

There, you'll find audio documentation covering more than half of his lifespan, starting with a pair of recordings from 1978. Aside from numerous readings — held everywhere from San Francisco to New York, Philadelphia to Chapel Hill, Buffalo to Berkeley, London to Rotterdam — you'll find many talks, interviews, panel discussions, tributes to other poets' work, and podcast appearances (including many on our own PoemTalk series). Aside from the sense of just how central Silliman was to the development of Language poetry (cf. his conversation with Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews, and talks like "The New Sentence" and "Postmodernism: Sign for a Struggle, the Struggle for the Sign") it's also clear how vital a part of the UPenn writing community he is, always willing to share his work, his perspectives, and his praise for other authors.

We wish him many happy returns! You can start listening here.

Yolanda Wisher: New Author Page

Posted 8/8/2016 (link)

We've just created a PennSound author page for Yolanda Wisher, the City of Philadelphia's third Poet Laureate, who follows in the footsteps of Sonia Sanchez (2012–2013) and Frank Sherlock (2014–2015).

As John Timpane reports, Sherlock was "very happy to be passing the laureate position on to Yolanda Wisher," noting that "I've been a fan of her work, admired her activism, and road-tripped with her to some fun and kooky gigs. I hope there's more of that. And I look forward to her vision of Philadelphia's poetry future. It's in truly good hands." Likewise, Beth Feldman Brandt, who runs the poet laureate governing committee, hailed Wisher as "an ideal candidate": "You have to be a really strong poet, and she really is, on the page and in performance, and you have to buy into the fact that this is a position of civic service. And she has already done so much, in Germantown and throughout this area, using poetry to get people to think more deeply about the community. We really felt as if we were hitching up to what she was already doing."

We were happy to welcome Wisher to the Wexler Studio at our own Kelly Writers House for a session this past week. Altogether, her brief sixteen-minute set consisted of thirteen poems, including "From Imhotep's Kundalini," "My Family of Women," "English Department Meeting Query," "5 South 43rd Street, Floor 2," "Lullaby at Seven Months," "First Poem at Forty," and "My Grandmama's House is the E.P.A." You can listen in here.

PoemTalk 103: on Simone White's 'Of Being Dispersed'

Posted 8/9/2016 (link)

Today we released the latest episode in the PoemTalk Podcast series. This time around a quite formidable trio of panelists — (left to right) Eileen Myles, erica kaufman, and Rachel Zolf — join host Al Filreis to discuss four poems from the then-unpublished manuscript that would become Simone White's Futurepoem collection Of Being Dispersed.

Filreis begins his introduction on the PoemTalk blog by acknowledging what the work inherits by way of the book's title: "The work responds in part to George Oppen's Of Being Numerous. Numerousness, pluralism, plenitude of subjects, objects, and sources, are certainly inclusive influences — but are also extended and even defied here by the agony and ferocity of dispersal, the sexual and racial sense of being pushed out. That pushing out, and subsequent closing, might doubt easy numerosity; after all, it births, brings into being (linguistically and in the stories behind several of the poems)." You can read more 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.

New Recordings from Dia Art Foundation 2013-2016

Posted 8/12/2016 (link)

We're kicking the weekend off in grand fashion with a bevy of newly-added recordings from the the Dia Art Foundation's Readings in Contemporary Poetry Series.

Altogether there are twenty-three events represented here, taking place between 2013 and 2016, with readings by CAConrad, Cecilia Vicuña, Amy King, Alan Davies, Simon Pettet, Tracie Morris, Joanne Kyger, Stephen Motika, Peter Gizzi, Edmund Berrigan, Bill Berkson, Basil King, David Shapiro, Mónica de la Torre, Larry Fagin, Mitch Highfill, Charles Borkhuis, Ariana Reines, Joanna Fuhrman, Bruce Andrews, Nada Gordon, Lewis Warsh, John Coletti, Robert Kelly, Anna Moschovakis, Ron Padgett, and Thomas Devaney, among many more.

All of these new recordings, plus contemporary archives going back to 2010, are available on our Dia Art Foundation's Readings in Contemporary Poetry Series homepage.

Orchid Tierney: New Author Page

Posted 8/15/2016 (link)

We start this week off with another new author page. This time around it's for poet and UPenn graduate student Orchid Tierney, who is the author of three books: Brachiation (GumTree Press, 2012), The World in Small Parts (Dancing Girl Press, 2012), and Earsay (TrollThread, 2016).

On her PennSound author page you'll find two brief readings and two discussions. From April 2014 there's a five-minute set from the Hiding Place reading series in Philadelphia, and last month she popped by our own Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House to record the poem "Trees That Cry Winter" for the Morris Arboretum.

Then, from 2014 there's Tierney's appearance as a panelist discussing Anne Waldman's "To the Censorious Ones" ("Open Address to Senator Jesse Helms") on PoemTalk episode #76, and finally from November of that year we have a candid hour-long conversation between Al Filreis, Bob Perelman, Alan Golding, and Tierney recorded at the Kelly Writers House.

Sharon Mesmer: Zinc Bar 2015 Newly Segmented

Posted 8/17/2016 (link)

One of our newest additions to the site is a set of segmented tracks for Sharon Mesmer's October 3, 2015 Segue Series reading at the Zinc Bar.

Mesmer's twenty-eight minute set consisted of six poems in total: "I Am a Lonely Oneironaut in Need of Salutary Grounding," "Build this Chariot," "Nothing Moves Without Sign," "Super Rooster Killer Assault Kit," "I Am Cocked Up from Overpower," and finally, "Unicorn Boner for Humanity." Her performance, like all of the Segue readings from October and November of 2015, features accompaniment by various permutations of Drew Gardner's Poetics Orchestra. For this event, the lineup included Gardner as conductor, Franklin Bruno on piano, baritone sax player Alex Weiss, and Ehran Elisha on the drums.

You can browse PennSound's Sharon Mesmer author page for eight readings from 2000–2015 — mostly Segue Series events, plus a pair of events from our own Kelly Writers House — as well as a 2010 PoemTalk discussion of her "I Accidentally Ate Some Chicken and Now I'm in Love with Harry Whittington."

In Memoriam: Dennis Tedlock (1939-2016)

Posted 8/18/2016 (link)

Earlier today, Charles Bernstein posted the news that Dennis Tedlock, a longtime friend and colleague, had passed away on June 3rd: "I worked closely with Dennis during our time in the Poetics Program at SUNY-Buffalo. I greatly admired Dennis's work and was lucky to get to know him."

He continues, offering a brief list of Tedlock's achievements: "Dennis Tedlock, poet, extraordinary translator of the Popul Vuh and other Mayan treasures over two millennia, editor with Jerome Rothenberg of Alcheringa and with Barbara Tedlock editor of American Anthropologist (1994-1998), essayist/scholar on ethnopoetics, orality, and translation. Dennis was the co-founder of the SUNY-Buffalo Poetics Program and held the James N. McNulty chair in the English department (beginning in 1987)."

Bernstein points his readers in the direction of his 1995 LINEbreak interview with Tedlock as well as the complete Alcheringa audio archives on PennSound. There are also a number of recordings of Tedlock on our SUNY-Buffalo page.

Harvey Shapiro: 2005 KWH Reading Now Segmented

Posted 8/22/2016 (link)

In the fall of 2005 Harvey Shapiro and Norman Finkelstein visited our own Kelly Writers House for a multi-day visit in which they gave readings and took part in a panel discussion on the Objectivists moderated by Bob Perelman. Today, we're highlighting Shapiro's reading from that visit, which was recently segmented into individual MP3s for each poem.

Altogether Shapiro read twenty-seven poems during his set that ran for a little over half an hour. Titles include "Brooklyn Heights," "Three Flights Down the Stairs," "The Librarian," "According to the Rabbis," "The Generations," "Night in the Hamptons," "Telling the Muse What its Like After 70," "Sky," "The Uses of Poetry," "At the Seminar," and "The Old Poet Sums Up."

Shapiro died just shy of his eighty-eighth birthday in January 2013. On his PennSound author page you'll find his 2005 KWH recordings along with his brief contribution to a 2008 Poets House tribute to George Oppen, a 2010 reading from the Key West Literary Seminar, and two singles from Cat Radio Cafe. There's also a 2014 celebration of Shapiro's posthumously-released A Momentary Glory, hosted by Finkelstein, his literary executor. You can read his introduction to that volume and a sampling of the poems contained therein at Jacket2.

Studs Terkel Interviews Ginsberg, Corso, Orlovsky, 1959

Posted 8/24/2016 (link)

Last month, thanks to George Drury, we were able to bring you a studio recording of Tom Raworth reading his poetry made at Chicago's WFMT-FM in 1989, where he had once served as Spoken Arts Curator. Drury is currently working with the Studs Terkel archives and has once again graced us with a marvelous recording from WFMT's archives: Studs Turkel in conversation with Beat poets Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Peter Orlovsky in January 1959. The trio were in town for a benefit reading supporting Paul Carroll's Big Table #1, the repressed Winter 1959 issue of Chicago Review, which contained excerpts from William S. Burrough's Naked Lunch, Jack Kerouac's visionary "Old Angel Midnight," several prose vignettes by Edward Dahlberg, and a handful of poems by Corso.

After a shambling introduction, Terkel asks the assembled poets to discuss the etymology and philosophy of the Beat Generation and questions its inherent sense of defeatedness, which Corso counters, stating "I've reached God and now I wanna go beyond that now" and then goes on to read his poem "Hair" as a demonstration of that fact. Later, he asks the trio, "Do you believe you represent the young generation of poets today?" "No! No! No! No!" they exclaim, en masse. "We're pariahs," Ginsberg explains, "All we represent is ourselves," though later he acknowledges they represent "a lot of dead poets," like Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Christopher Smart, and Thomas Nashe. Terkel again asks Ginsberg for his feelings about the world, and he reads a new poem, "Poem Rocket," in response.

Terkel keeps coming back to defining the essence of Beat and seeking an admission from his guests that, rather than being disaffected youths, they are indeed engaged with the world. They offer playful feints — including a charming observation on the growing police state by way of Howard Johnson's comment cards — before clarifying that they are not "anti-life" and that their presence in Chicago is proof of that. Ginsberg goes on to assert the optimism present in the conclusion of "Howl," for example. He then asks them what made them poets. Ginsberg says "suffering," while Corso offers "God," and Orlovsky, "pennies, coke machines." Towards the end, Corso reads "The Last Gangster," a poem based in Chicago, and Terkel asks the poets for a credo: "Death is a letter that was never sent," Ginsberg says, while, after meowing, Orlovsky states "I walk over a bridge of flowers," and Corso once again offers his enigmatic "fried shoes." In a show of solidarity, Terkel offers his own credo, Woody Guthrie's "take it easy; but take it."

You can listen to this wonderful historic document here. Ginsberg's contribution to the Big Table reading can be heard here.

[ above, clockwise from top left: Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Paul Carroll, Chicago, 1959 ]

Myung Mi Kim: Newly Segmented Segue Series Set, 2016

Posted 8/26/2016 (link)

We close out this week with another recording from the PennSound archives that's recently been segmented into individual tracks. Today, we highlight Myung Mi Kim's recent Segue Series reading at New York City's Zinc Bar.

Recorded this past February 20th, Kim's set is prefaced by a brief introduction by Sophie Seita. From there, she starts with "The Oceans Held Up a Snarling Dog," and moves on to "Definitions" before reading four excerpts from her forthcoming book, Civil Bound to bring the twenty-three minute set to a close. Click here to listen, and while you're at it, check out the fifteen other recordings going back to 1993 that are available on PennSound's Myung Mi Kim author page.

Bill Berkson: Two Newly Segmented Recordings

Posted 8/29/2016 (link)

Many of us continue to acutely feel the loss of Bill Berkson, who would have turned 77 tomorrow. In his honor, today we're presenting two newly-segmented recordings made in 2007 and 2015.

The earlier of these two readings is Berkson's set from the CUE Art Foundation, recorded on May 3, 2007. This forty-three minute set includes sixteen individual pieces as well as an introduction. After starting with a pair of excerpts from What's Your Idea of a Good Time, Berkson reads "Salad Spinner," "Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently," "Art Diary," "Uncertain Pictures by Diane Andrews Hall," "A Lady at Her Writing Table," "Song for Connie," and "Poem Beginning with a Remark by Richard Tuttle," among others. Video footage of this reading is also available.

Jumping forward to March 11, 2015, we have Berkson's reading at Moe's Books in Berkeley, advertised as a "double whammy" by Berkson in that he read excerpts from the monumental New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight (published by Rizzoli in 2014, for which he served as an advisory editor), before reading his own poetry. From the former, his readings include excerpts from Edwin Denby's memoirs of Willem de Kooning, "Crone Rhapsody" (a collaborative over-constrained sestina by John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch), and "The Secret of Jane Bowles" (written by Berkson with Michael Brownstein, Larry Fagin, Ron Padgett, among others), before closing with "The Ballad of Popeye and William Blake" (a hilarious ballad improvised live by Koch and Allen Ginsberg). Then, from his own work, he reads "When We Meet," "Anything Between Us Becomes Money and Manners ," "Poetry and Sleep," "Decal," and "Premises of the Solstice," among others.

You can listen to any of the aforementioned tracks, along with a great many other recordings, on PennSound's Bill Berkson author page.

Alli Warren: 2015 Segue Series Reading Now Segmented

Posted 8/31/2016 (link)

Today we're highlighting Alli Warren's Segue Series reading at the the Zinc Bar in New York City on May 9, 2015, which was recently broken into individual tracks.

Her set, which followed a lively introduction in which audience members were challenged to determine whether supplied lines were written by Warren or legendary hip-hop duo UGK, consisted of twenty poems, including "A Yielding Hole for Light," "A Date with the Cages," "Something is Coming Toward Us," "There's Always Some Bird-Dog," "My Teacup," "On the Levellers Every Day," "I Want to Think the Wind Blows," "Always Crashing in the Same Car," "Singing from My Little Point," and "I Want to Be Shipmated," among others.

You can hear these poems on PennSound's Alli Warren author page, which is also home to a 2011 Segue Series reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, a 2013 reading at St. Bonaventure, and a pair of recordings from Andrew Kenower's A Voice Box, dating from 2007 and 2009. Kenower also took the photo of Warren above.