Chinese Poets at the Kelly Writers House, 2017

Posted 5/4/2017 (link)

At the end of March, our Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House was proud to play host to a group of visiting Chinese poets who were taking part in "A Dialogue in English and Chinese Poetics" — a week-long seminar at Princeton University organized by Susan Stewart. Our guests shared their own work as well as the poetry of others.

The session begins with a brief introduction by Stewart, which is followed by Peter Feng reading "Dwelling" by Lu Dong and Ayin Wang reading "Lying in Me" by Anna Akhmatova. Next up is Yanni Lei, who reads his poems "A Vacant City" and "On a Windy Night," then Xiaohong Chen who reads a trio of poems by others: "Maple Bridge Night Mooring" by Zhang Ji, "At Maple Bridge" by Gary Snyder, and "The Sound of Billows" by Chen Xiaoqi. Zhimin Li is next with two of his own poems, "I Ate Ants: A Story of Chinese Food" and "Who I Am: A Prose Poem," then Qingji He reading "A Lane in the Rain" by Dai Wangshu. Finally, Zhuo Wang brings the session to an end with "Darkroom" by Yi Lai.

You can listen to all of these poems here, and read more about "A Dialogue in English and Chinese Poetics" at Princeton here.

Peter Gizzi Reads from 'The Outernationale' for 'The Nation,' 2010

Posted 5/8/2017 (link)

This week starts off with a recent addition to our Peter Gizzi author page: a trio of poems from the poet's 2007 collection, The Outernationale (Wesleyan), which were recorded at the offices of The Nation on September 17, 2010. The three titles are "Matthew Brady Photographs," "Homer's Anger," and "Beacon."

You'll find these new tracks here, along with numerous other recordings from 1992 to the present. Other poems from The Outernationale are highlighted in Gizzi's 2008 appearance on Close Listening and his 2007 appearance on Cross Cultural Poetics. Other collections including Periplum and Other Poems, Artificial Heart, and Some Values of Landscape and Weather are read from in these recordings as well.

Happy 80th Birthday to Michael Heller

Posted 5/11/2017 (link)

We send birthday greetings out to Michael Heller (shown at left in a well-known, vertigo-inducing photo by Lawrence Schwartzwald), who turns eighty today. There will be a celebration at Poets House this Saturday in his honor, but if you can't make it there you can honor this milestone in your own way by browsing some of the selections on his PennSound author page.

There, you'll find numerous recordings going back more than forty years, including readings, musical performances, panel talks, and lectures (on Oppen, Zukofsky, and their Objectivist peers) from Naropa, Woodland Pattern, Poets House, the annual Louisville Conference, and more. To start browsing, click here.

PoemTalk 112: on Patrick Rosal's "Instance of an Island"

Posted 5/16/2017 (link)

Today saw the release of the latest program in the PoemTalk Podcast series (episode #112 in total), which focuses on Patrick Rosal's poem "Instance of an Island." Joining host Al Filreis for this discussion are Ross Gay, Josephine Park, and Herman Beavers.

After setting up the provenance of the recording and offering two separate versions of the podcast — the finished edit and an uncut video of the discussion before a live audience at our Kelly Writers House — Filreis' introduction on the PoemTalk blog dives right in to one of the poem's more memorable images: "The group begins with the remarkable jam performed by Filomena and Josefa together as an art-making body — each incomplete, but together far more than even an oceanic whole. The poem at the moment of this countercolonial antisynthesis jams — itself jams. And at its essence the discussion that ensues explores the many ways in which Rosal has crafted an ars poetica, a defense of poetry made from the 'invention' of 'cracked' unbroken song. The fingers of these two players, 'joined by that third / body of wood,' remake the body forced into exile by the finger-wiggling world-naming 'great emperor' who had pointed with imperial denotation toward the far-off island." 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 Belladonna* Recordings from 2016 to Present

Posted 5/18/2017 (link)

We recently added several new recordings to our homepage for Belladonna*, the venerable "reading series and independent press that promotes the work of women writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, impossible to define, delicious to talk about, unpredictable, and dangerous with language."

The earliest of these readings took place on March 14, 2016 at Queens College, CUNY, and featured sets from Natalie Diaz and Sandra Lim. That was followed by an April 12, 2016 event at Shoestring Press, New York with readings by Megan Kaminski, Rachel Levitsky, and Yanyi Luo." Jumping forward to the fall, we have November 22, 2016 event cosponsored by Lambda Literary at BAM with a line-up including readings by Theodore (ted) Kerr and Jamara Wakefield, and Keelay Gipson, along with a performance by t?ai freedom ford.

Our last two events come from this past March. First, from the 4th, there's "Great Waves: Annual Intern/Volunteer Reading" hosted by Krystal Languell with sets from Sarah Francois, Ananya Kumar-Banerjee, Marines Gonzalez-DeJesus, Belynda Jones, Krystal Languell, Savannah Hampton, and Yoomee Ohayon. Finally, from the 30th, we have an event co-presented by Belladonna* Vetch Magazine at New York's Bureau of General Services — Queer Division with performances from Aristilde Kirby and Samuel Ace.

You'll find these and a great many more recordings going back to the collaborative's founding in 1999 on our Belladonna* homepage.

Fred Wah, Daphne Marlatt, Colin Browne on Tour, 2017

Posted 5/24/2017 (link)

Earlier this spring a trio of formidable Canadian poets — Fred Wah, Daphne Marlatt, and Colin Browne — set out on a tour of the US. Their Philadelphia stop included a reading at the Penn Book Center on March 15th, which we are very happy to make available in both audio and video format.

In addition to that recording, Marlatt and Browne — both being somewhat less represented in the PennSound archives than Wah — were invited to stop by our Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House to record brief sets of their work, and when the trio visited New York a week earlier, PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein also invited the pair to record episodes for his long-running radio series Close Listening (n.b. Wah recorded a fantastic set of programs for the series in 2010).

These three sets of recordings form the basis for new author pages for both Marlatt and Colin Browne, which you can visit by clicking on each linked name. Wah's contrbutions can be found on his PennSound author page.

Poetry in Conversation at the Centre for Stories, Northbridge, Western Australia

Posted 5/26/2017 (link)

One of our latest series pages is for "Poetry in Conversation," hosted at the Centre for Stories in Northbridge, Western Australia, the aim of which is "to tell good stories in the hope of strengthening connections between people and encouraging a more inclusive and informed community."

The series' host is Robert Wood, who's also curated some terrific Oceania-centric critical work for Jacket2. We're able to present five events in total that took place between February and May of this year, which includes four solo conversations with Sampurna Chattarji, Siobhan Hodge, Jeremy Balius, and James Quinton, and a Westerly Reading event showcasing the work of Amy Hilhorst, Chris Arnold, and Wood himself.

For those interested in more Australian PennSound content, don't forget to check out our Australian Poets audio anthology (curated by Pam Brown in conjunction with the Jacket2 feature, "Fifty-One Contemporary Poets from Australia") and our series page for the School of Life: Melbourne reading series (also curated by Wood).

In Memoriam: Larry Fagin (1937-2017)

Posted 5/30/2017 (link)

Today brings the sad news that Larry Fagin — a New York School mainstay and editor of Adventures in Poetry and Sal Mimeo — passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 79 on May 27th.

Kyle Schlesinger penned a lovely tribute on the Cuneiform Press website, where he details the start of their two-decade friendship: "Larry was the first real poet I ever met. I must have been 19 or so. It was a memorable spring day on the Lower East Side, kids zipping around Tompkins Square Park, birds, and the smell of soft earth was in the air. My friend Luisa Giugliano had hired Larry as a private tutor, as so many poets of our generation had. Larry taught out of his living room, providing long lists of paintings to look at, books to read, movies to watch. We met outside his apartment on East 12th Street between First and Avenue A. He looked so cool with his elbow propped on the building, holding his breezy hair in his hand, and spoke enthusiastically about something called the 'internet' where you could buy any record you wanted."

He continues, describing a recording that you can hear on Fagin's PennSound author page: "We read together just once, at the Bowery Poetry Club just before Christmas in 2008. Larry thought it would be fun to do the shortest reading ever, so we agreed to each keep our sets to ten minutes or less. The audience was a little bewildered, but it was a sweet and modestly refreshing occasion in its own way." In addition to that Segue Series reading, you'll also find an undated recording from the St. Mark's Poetry Project and a 1974 reading in Bolinas, plus a link to video from a 2014 event from Dia's Readings in Contemporary Poetry series.

Those looking to learn more about him might start with Chadwick Moore's 2011 New York Times profile. We send our condolences to Fagin's friends, family, colleagues, and students.