Featured resources

From "Down To Write You This Poem Sat" at the Oakville Gallery

  1. Charles Bernstein, "Phone Poem" (2011) (1:30): MP3
  2. Caroline Bergvall, "Love song: 'The Not Tale (funeral)' from Shorter Caucer Tales (2006): MP3
  3. Christian Bôk, excerpt from Eunoia, from Chapter "I" for Dick Higgins (2009) (1:38):  MP3
  4. Tonya Foster, Nocturne II (0:40) (2010) MP3
  5. Ted Greenwald, "The Pears are the Pears" (2005) (0:29): MP3
  6. Susan Howe, Thorow, III (3:13) (1998):  MP3
  7. Tan Lin, "¼ : 1 foot" (2005) (1:16): MP3
  8. Steve McCaffery, "Cappuccino" (1995) (2:35): MP3
  9. Tracie Morris, From "Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful" (2002) (3:40): MP3
  10. Julie Patton, "Scribbling thru the Times" (2016) (5:12): MP3
  11. Tom Raworth, "Errory" (c. 1975) (2:08): MP3
  12. Jerome Rothenberg, from "The First Horse Song of Frank Mitchell: 4-Voice Version" (c. 1975) (3:30): MP3
  13. Cecilia Vicuna, "When This Language Disappeared" (2009) (1:30): MP3
  1. Guillaume Apollinaire, "Le Pont Mirabeau" (1913) (1:14): MP3
  2. Amiri Baraka, "Black Dada Nihilismus" (1964) (4:02):  MP3
  3. Louise Bennett, "Colonization in Reverse" (1983) (1:09): MP3
  4. Sterling Brown, "Old Lem " (c. 1950s) (2:06):  MP3
  5. John Clare, "Vowelless Letter" (1849) performed by Charles Bernstein (2:54): MP3
  6. Velimir Khlebnikov, "Incantation by Laughter" (1910), tr. and performed by Bernstein (:28)  MP3
  7. Harry Partch, from Barstow (part 1), performed by Bernstein (1968) (1:11): MP3
  8. Leslie Scalapino, "Can’t’ is ‘Night’" (2007) (3:19): MP3
  9. Kurt Schwitters, "Ur Sonata: Largo" performed by Ernst Scwhitter (1922-1932) ( (3:12): MP3
  10. Gertrude Stein, If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (1934-35) (3:42): MP3
  11. William Carlos Willliams, "The Defective Record" (1942) (0:28): MP3
  12. Hannah Weiner, from Clairvoyant Journal, performed by Weiner, Sharon Mattlin & Rochelle Kraut (2001) (6:12): MP3

Selected by Charles Bernstein (read more about his choices here)

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Claude Royet-Journoud: Close Listening Conversation with Charles Bernstein

Posted 12/6/2019

Our latest addition to the site is Charles Bernstein's recent Close Listening conversation with French poet Claude Royet-Journoud, which was recorded in Paris late last month. In his Jacket2 commentary post announcing the episode, Bernstein offers this summation: "I recorded this Close Listening conversation with Claude Royet-Journoud in Paris on November 24, 2019. We talked about his early years in London, his editing of Siècle à mains, meeting Anne-Marie Albiach, his extraordinary poetry interview program for France Culture, as well as his trips to the United States, where I first met him in 1984."

On PennSound's Claude Royet-Journoud author page you can actually listen to the poet's November 3, 1984 reading with Keith Waldrop at the Ear Inn, where ostensibly he and Bernstein met for the first time. Waldrop reads his translations of La Notion d'Obstacle alongside the French originals, and to close out the set, Royet-Journoud reads prose excerpts from book three of Les Objets Contiennent l'Infini. Strangely enough, segmenting this reading was one of the very first projects I undertook after starting at PennSound and it's wonderful to revisit it now. You'll also find a 1974 documentary film on the poet that also features Edmond Jabés and Lars Fredrikson, along with a 1995 reading at SUNY-Buffalo as part of the First Poetics Program French Poetry Festival, a 2008 video portrait by Bernstein, a 2012 lecture in Paris, and a pair of 2016 videos celebrating the release of La finitude des corps simples. Click here to start listening.

Congratulations to Premio Velázquez de Artes Plásticas Winner Cecilia Vicuña

Posted 12/5/2019

We could not be happier for the one and only Cecilia Vicuña, who — in the words of no less respected a source than The New York Times — "is having a new North American moment," though we'd amend that worthy praise to "worldwide" instead, particularly with the recent news that the she's won the Premio Velázquez de Artes Plásticas for 2019. As ARTnews explains, this prize, which is "given out by the Spanish Ministry of Culture to an artist based in the country or from the Ibero-American Community of Nations" is "Spain's most prominent art award." The jury hailed Vicuña's "outstanding work as a poet, visual artist and activist” along with her “multidimensional art that interacts with the earth, written language, and weaving.”

As ARTnews attests, this well-deserved honor is one of several recent accolades for Vicuña, including her nomination for the the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize and work that "figures in the Museum of Modern Art’s rehang that debuted last month." This week also saw a lavish profile in The Times — "For Cecilia Vicuña, 'Consciousness Is the Art'" — which centers on About to Happen, which is now taking Miami by storm after previous stops in New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Berkeley. One especially fascinating passage in the article describes the epicenter of Vicuña's lifelong relationship with art and nature:
While the public’s attention may have shifted in recent years, the artist notes that her work has held to the same themes for more than half a century, going back to a certain January day in 1966, when she was 17. She vividly recalls standing on the beach in Concón, Chile, not far from her hometown, Santiago, and in the shadow of an oil refinery that had been built on an ancient Andean ritual site. 
She suddenly became aware of how every object and action in the universe was connected. She picked up a stick, turned it vertically and stuck it in the sand. It was that moment, she said, when her art began. 
"When I look at these little things, I immediately see in them what they want to be, what they can be," Ms. Vicuña said. "I see this potentiality of place, of balance, of asymmetry. This is what moves me."
Whether you're new to Vicuña or an old fan, it's a wonderful time to take in the many varied materials available on her PennSound author page. There you'll find more than two dozen complete readings, talks, and interviews, from as early as 1994 up to last year. Given the visual impact of Vicuña's work, it's fitting that many of these recordings include video components. Taken together, they serve as a document of her varying modes and aesthetic evolution over a long and fruitful career. I've only had the pleasure of seeing Vicuña perform once — her 2008 Writers Without Borders event at our own Kelly Writers House — and more than a decade later I'm still struck by the profound bodily sense of calm and connectedness that she elicited that evening. If you've never had a chance to witness this artist first-hand, then here's a wonderful chance to see if you might have a similar experience, albeit vicariously. Click here to start browsing.

Congratulations to National Book Award Winner Arthur Sze

Posted 12/2/2019

We send our heartiest congratulations to Arthur Sze, whose Sight Lines was recently awarded the National Book Award for Poetry, beating out stiff competition that included Jericho Brown's The Tradition, Toi Derricotte's I: New and Selected Poems, Ilya Kaminsky's Deaf Republic, and Carmen Giménez Smith's Be Recorder. Mark Wunderlich presented the award to Sze at the ceremony late last month. Here's what he had to say:
The great wit Max Beerbohm wrote that the most difficult thing about being a poet was deciding what to do with the other twenty-three and a half hours of the day. But I can tell you that the greatest difficulty poets face is having to withstand the pointless public and private arguments about poetry's relevance to our culture. Writing poetry is an essential human activity — like dancing, or making music — and as long as the moon rises in the night sky, or people love each other, or break each other's hearts — poetry will matter. Having read a large cross section of it this past year, I can tell you that poetry is essential to our national character, and in our country — with its fractiousness, its vulgarity and cupidity — we are also a nation capable of great sensitivity, refinement, and generosity of spirit, and those best qualities are possessed by our nation's poets who show us what we all might be capable of feeling and knowing and saying. America is a nation of great poets, and it is important for us to see them as the treasure that they are. 
We're proud to count Sze as part of our archive, with a modest collection of recordings available on his PennSound author page. They include two appearances on Leonard Schwartz's Cross Cultural Poetics program in 2004 and 2010. In the earlier program, Sze read from The Redshifting Web as well as his volume of Chinese translations, The Silk Dragon, while in the latter, he shared work from his anthology Chinese Writers on Writing. These two shows bookend a 2006 visit to our own Kelly Writers House, where Sze also read from The Redshifting Web along with his later book, Quipu. You can listen to all of the aforementioned recordings by clicking here.

PennSound Presents Poems of Thanks and Thanksgiving

Posted 11/27/2019

With the US celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, it's time to revisit a perennial PennSound Daily tradition that started way back in 2010: a mini-mix of poems of thanks and thanksgiving — some old, some new — taken from the PennSound archives.

In a classic recording of "Thanksgiving" [MP3] from the St. Mark's Poetry Project, Joe Brainard wonders "what, if anything Thanksgiving Day really means to me." Emptying his mind of thoughts, he comes up with these free associations: "first is turkey, second is cranberry sauce and third is pilgrims."

"I want to give my thanks to everyone for everything," the late John Giorno tells us in "Thanx 4 Nothing" [MP3], "and as a token of my appreciation, / I want to offer back to you all my good and bad habits / as magnificent priceless jewels, / wish-fulfilling gems satisfying everything you need and want, / thank you, thank you, thank you, / thanks." The rolicking poem that ensues offers both genuine sensory delights ("may all the chocolate I've ever eaten / come back rushing through your bloodstream / and make you feel happy.") and sarcastic praise ("America, thanks for the neglect, / I did it without you, / let us celebrate poetic justice, / you and I never were, / never tried to do anything, / and never succeeded").

"Can beauty save us?" wonders Maggie Nelson in "Thanksgiving" [MP3], a standout poem from her marvelous collection, Something Bright, Then Holes, which revels in the holiday's darker edges and simplest truths: "After dinner / I sit the cutest little boy on my knee / and read him a book about the history of cod // absentmindedly explaining overfishing, / the slave trade. People for rum? he asks, / incredulously. Yes, I nod. People for rum."

Yusef Komunyakaa gratefully recounts a number of near-misses in Vietnam — "the tree / between me & a sniper's bullet [...] the dud / hand grenade tossed at my feet / outside Chu Lai" — in "Thanks" [MP3], from a 1998 reading at the Kelly Writers House.

Finally, we turn our attention to the suite of poems that concludes Mark Van Doren's Folkways album, Collected and New Poems — "When The World Ends" / "Epitaph" / "Farewell and Thanksgiving" [MP3] — the last of which offers gratitude to the muse for her constant indulgence.

To keep you in the Thanksgiving spirit, don't forget this 2009 PennSound Podcast (assembled by Al Filreis and Jenny Lesser) which offers "marvelous expressions of gratitude, due honor, personal appreciation [and] friendship" from the likes of Amiri BarakaTed BerriganRobert CreeleyJerome RothenbergLouis Zukofsky and William Carlos Williams.

Phill Niblock on PennSound

Posted 11/25/2019

We were very proud to be able to host work by composer and Experimental Intermedia Foundation director Phill Niblock for practically as long as our site has been in existence. Today, we're highlighting the three films by Niblock available on PennSound, all of which were upgraded with higher-resolution video files when we created a proper Niblock author page in 2013.

The latest addition is Evidence, starring Erica Hunt. Shot in 1983, the eighteen-minute relishes negative space, beginning with stark white Helvetica lettering on a black background that persists for more than a minute before fading in the film's sole visual: the poet's face, silhouetted to near-featurelessness by a white television screen. Seen in profile, Hunt's speaking gestures are heightened — subtle shudders and nods, along with the frenetic moiré of her mouth — serving as an apt accompaniment to the narrative.

This one-third/two-third profile motif also appears in Niblock's mid-70s portrait of Hannah Weiner, where the poet's speedy delivery of her clairvoyant writings weaves in and out of live reading segments juxtaposed with domestic scenes. Meanwhile, in Niblock's 1973 portrait of Armand Schwerner, the poet contends with the wind as he reads (or more accurately, preaches) from his Tablets pacing back and forth in a bright orange jacket on a hilltop, the Verrazano-Narrows bridge behind him.

You'll find all three of these marvelous poetic portraits on our Phill Niblock page, and don't forget to check out PennSound Cinema, home to a stunning array of essential filmic materials.

PoemTalk #142: on Charles Bernstein's "As If the Trees by Their Very Roots Had Hold of Us"

Posted 11/22/2019

Today, we release episode #142 in the PoemTalk Podcast Series, a very special episode on Charles Bernstein's early poem, "As If the Trees by Their Very Roots Had Hold of Us," recorded as part of a Kelly Writers House celebration of Bernstein's retirement from teaching last April. Host Al Filreis convened a panel that included (shown from left to right) Tracie Morris, Marjorie Perloff, and Danny Snelson, and Bernstein makes a cameo at the end, popping into the Wexler Studio to share a poem during the concluding Gathering Paradise segment.

As Filreis explains in his PoemTalk blog post on this episode, the poem "originally appeared in Senses of Responsibility (1979) and in 2010 was chosen by Bernstein to be included in All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems. We know the writing of the poem dates at least to 1977, which is when he performed it at a reading at the Place Center in New York (on December 18); he read that day with Kathy Acker." He continues, offering this preliminary summary of the program's discussion: "Our group observes that the poem is uncharacteristic, especially of writing in that early period with its intensely disruptive, disjunctive style at the level of the phrase. Yet the poem's satire — a mock of 'poet voice' and of the centrality of concepts like poetic 'presence' dominant in that era — looks forward to Bernstein's stance and tone of recent years." You can read more about the program, find the complete text of Bernstein's poem, read more about the Bernstein celebration, and listen to or watch video of this episode by clicking here. The full PoemTalk archives, spanning more than a decade, can be found here.

In Memoriam: Sean Bonney (1969–2019)

Posted 11/20/2019

Today brings the sad news of English poet Sean Bonney's passing. His sister, Mel Bonney-Kane, shared this message on social media: "We are devastated to let people know that my beloved brother Sean Bonney died in a tragic accident last week in Berlin. We are in the process of seeking to bring him home and will let people know of the funeral arrangements when we are clearer. He will live on in his words and poetry."

We couldn't agree more, which is why we humbly direct our listeners to our Sean Bonney author page. There, you'll find a modest collection of recordings made between 2009 and 2012. The earliest reading, presented in two videos, is an August 2009 reading at Manchester's The Other Room that includes selections from The Commons, Document: Poems, Diagrams, Manifestos, and Tracts and Commentaries. Next there's a 2011 reading from The Commons at London's Birkbeck College, and a trio of readings from Happiness: Poems After Rimbaud at the University of Cambridge's Lady Mitchell Hall in November 2011, and unknown London venue in 2011, and at the Poetry and Revolution Conference, X-ing the Line, at London's The Apple Tree in May 2012. Our last two recordings are "Notes on Militant Poetics" from the aforementioned Poetry and Revolution Conference, and a home recording from the Letters on Harmony series made in the summer of 2012. 

These documents of Bonney's work are nicely complemented by PoemTalk Episode #122, where Bonney's "Happiness" is discussed by a panel including Al Filreis, Anna Strong Safford, Chris Martin, Stephen Willey, and Luke Roberts. You can listen to everything mentioned above by clicking here. We send our condolences to Bonney's family, friends, colleagues, and fans as this devastating news spreads throughout the poetry community.

Ted Enslin: New Author Page

Posted 11/18/2019

Our latest PennSound author page is for Ted Enslin (1925–2011), the avant-garde poet long associated with the Maine wilderness. 

Our collection starts well into his writing life, with a February 1985 reading at the legendary Woodland Pattern Book Center, followed by a January 1986 interview and reading on WMCS-AM and a reading of the single poem "Antiphony" at Bowling Green State University's Kobacker Hall in April 1989. We have another Woodland Pattern reading from February 1990, a March 1992 reading at Granary Books and another set from the same month at Wendell's, both in New York City. Then there are readings in Las Cruces in February 1997, the University of Maine in February 2000, and a recording of Enslin and Ben Friedlander reading at an unknown location in April 2000. Finally, from Jonathan Skinner's Steel Bar Reading Series, we have Enslin's last reading, close to home at Bates College in November 2009.

You can browse the aforementioned readings by clicking here.

Happy Birthday, Ted Berrigan!

Posted 11/15/2019

November 15th would have been the 85th birthday of Ted Berrigan, a poet of capacious talents and appetites whose life and work continues to resonate decades after his premature death. We honor him today by taking a tour of his PennSound author page, which has grown exponentially over the course of our history.

Our earliest recording comes from a 1968 visit to SUNY-Buffalo, where Robert Creeley provided an introduction to a set that includes a number of iconic early poems like "Words for Love," "Living with Chris," "For You," and "Things to Do in New York City," along with a generous selections from The Sonnets. That's followed by a May 1971 reading with Anne Waldman of their co-authored poem "Memorial Day" in its entirety, and while we now know that this isn't the sole surviving copy of this historic reading, that makes it no less breathtaking. Next, there's an August 1971 reading a San Francisco's Intersection for the Arts, whose setlist draws heavily from poems that would eventually be published in 1975's Red Wagon, including "Wishes," "Ophelia," "Wrong Train," "Frank O'Hara," "Crystal" and "Three Sonnets and a Coda for Tom Clark," along with "People Who Died" (from 1970's In the Early Morning Rain), "Southampton Business" (published in 1977's Nothing for You) and the as-yet-unpublished "Things To Do in Bolinas." The true standout tracks, however, are of some of Berrigan's most-beloved works from the period — "Words for Love," "What I'd Like for Christmas, 1970," "Today in Ann Arbor" and "Things To Do in Providence" — performed with their full emotional weight and playful hilarity, by a young writer at the peak of his poetic abilities.

Moving forward in time, we have a trio of recordings from a March 28, 1973 reading at the St. Mark's Poetry Project that were released on the 1980 album, the World Record: Readings at the St. Mark's Poetry Project, 1969-1980 — "Things to Do in New York City," "Landscape with Figures (Southampton)" and "Frank O'Hara" — followed by an August 1977 appearance on on Public Access Poetry with Harris Schiff, where Berrigan read a handful of mid-70s poems like "A Little American Feedback," "Carrying a Torch," "Erasable Picabia," and "From A List of the Delusions of the Insane, What They Are Afraid Of." From August 1978, we have Berrigan's appearance on In the American Tree, hosted by Lyn Hejinian and Kit Robinson. In this 35 minute program, the poet reads from Red Wagon and his Easter Monday manuscript, and discusses his compositional techniques, including his novel, Clear the Range. Highlights include "Whitman in Black," "Buddha on the Bounty," "Personal Poem #9," "Crystal," "Three Pages" and "Remembered Poem." From December of the same year, we have a Jim Brodey-organized recording of The Sonnets that starts with an intro from Ron Padgett and singing by Shelley Kraut, which unfortunately suffers from audio quality issues for a roughly twenty-minute span towards the beginning. 

Next we have a handful of audio and video recordings from Naropa University made during 1979 and 1980, followed by the heart of our Berrigan author page (and one of the very first recordings to be added to PennSound) is a historic and controversial June 1981 reading of his masterpiece, The Sonnets, in its entirety as part of a residency at San Francisco's New Langton Arts Center. Berrigan had been preparing the manuscript for a new edition of The Sonnets to be published the following year by United Artists, and therefore this reading includes a number of poems left out of the 1966 Grove Press edition, making this (until the revised 2000 Penguin Poets edition) the most complete record of his debut collection. Equally important is the poet's lengthy introduction, running nearly ten minutes, in which he describes in great detail the origins of the methods employed in The Sonnets, his life story in the years surrounding its composition and his early correspondences with poets who'd go on to become some of his closest friends (including Robert Creeley, Frank O'Hara and Philip Whalen).

Our last complete reading is a 1982 set at Bard College that covers Berrigan's A Certain Slant of Sunlight-era output, including the title poem, "Red Shift," "A Poets Tribute to Philip Guston," "Blue Galahad," "The School Windows Song," and "Sleeping Alone." There are also a few scattered tracks, including "Red Shift" from the Peter Gizzi-edited Exact Change Yearbook #1 and an excerpt from "Memorial Day" from Waldman's 2001 album, Alchemical Energy. Last, but by no means least, is PoemTalk #5, which addresses Berrigan's "3 Pages (for Jack Collom)." You can listen to all of the recordings mentioned above on PennSound's Ted Berrigan author page — clicking on the title above will take you directly there.

Haroldo de Campos on PennSound

Posted 11/13/2019

Today we're highlighting our author page for poesia concreta pioneer, Haroldo de Campos, which is anchored by a 2002 video from the Guggenheim Museum celebrating his life and work. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Brazil: Body and Soul, this January 12, 2002 event featured both performances and discussion of de Campos' work by a wide variety of poets, translators and critics.

The video begins with introductory comments by Pablo Helguera and organizer Sergio Bessa, who are followed by a staging of de Campos' 1950 poem/play "Auto do Possesso (Act of the Possessed)," translated by Odile Cisneros and directed by Cynthia Croot. Craig Dworkin is next, reading his translation of "Signantia quasi coelum / signância quase céu," follwed by a brief set by Cisneros, who reads her translations. The performances conclude with Marjorie Perloff and Charles Bernstein reading Bessa's translation of "Finismundo," after which Perloff and Bernstein take part in a panel discussion moderated by Bessa.

Next, from 2005's Rattapallax we have a single track, "Calcas Cor de Abobora." Finally, we have a 2017 video of our own Charles Bernstein performing at New York's Hauser and Wirth Gallery with Sergio Bessa on September 28, 2017. This event, co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America and held in conjunction with an exhibit by Mira Schendel at the gallery, included Bessa speaking about de Campos and Bernstein reading his translations of Drummond, Cabral, Cruz e Sousa, Leminksi, and Bonvicino.

On our Haroldo de Campos author page, you'll also find a link to Bernstein's 2003 essay "De Campos Thou Art Translated (Knot)", first published in the Poetry Society of America's Crosscurrents.

Jackson Mac Low and Tom Leonard, Sound and Syntax Festival, 1978

Posted 11/11/2019

Here's a fascinating recent addition to our archives: a 1978 video of Jackson Mac Low and Tom Leonard reading at the Sound and Syntax International Festival of Sound Poetry. Bob Cobbing provides introductions to both poets.

The first performer is Jackson Mac Low. His set begins with the "First Milarepa Gatha," the syntax of which, he explains, is taken from the mantra of Milarepa, "the bodhisattva who looks as if he's listening to a transistor radio." He follows that performance with a brief explanation of the techniques involved in the piece's composition. Next is a series of eleven poems, "Phone," which starts with an improvised piece that is then processed into various variations that complete the set. His next piece, "1st Sharon Belle Mattlin Vocabulary Crossword Gatha" returns to the techniques of his first text, but adds an added delight for listeners: live accompaniment on piano, as dictated by the very complex set of performance instructions Mac Low typically provides with his gatha pieces. Then we have a "Simultaneity" taken from his recently-published book, 21 Matched Asymmetries, which is nothing short of stunning, with Mac Low joined on stage by a quartet of friends and collaborators — bpNichol, Steve McCaffery, Jerome Rothenberg, and David Toop — for a five-voice performance. Mac Low concludes with "Let It Go," starting with William Empson's poem of the same name, which inspired his own "Words nd Ends" revision of that piece, which follows. 

Tom Leonard's set is next, starting with "A Short History of Marianism" — a recorded piece during which Leonard presents an altar of sorts with a box of Flash detergent set between two candles, dances for the audience, and holds up signs (which unfortunately are not completely legible in the video). That's followed by "The Rainbow Of," a piece built upon repetitions of short phonemes and words. He next reads a few pieces from his 1975 book Bunnit Husslin that are "not sound poems but reflect Glasgow patois," including the prefatory poem, "Poetry." The recording concludes with a then-recent tape composition, "Either/Or," based on Kierkegaard's work of the same name, during which Leonard sits on stage, smoking thoughtfully.

As would befit both of these artists and their interest in chance operations, the video is handheld and grainy, producing lovely visual distortions throughout (as is visible in the photo above). You can start watching by clicking here.

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge: 2019 KWH Fellows Program

Posted 11/8/2019

We recently announced the exciting roster of Kelly Writers House Fellows that will be joining us in 2020 — including Canadian poet and translator Erín Moure — which gives us something to look forward to in the cold winter months to come. Today we're looking backwards to our visit from one of this year's fellows, poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, who joined us this past March 25–26.

Berssenbrugge's visit began with a reading on the evening of the 25th that included a number of longer readings, including "Irises," "Concordance," "Hello, the Roses," "Star Beings," "Lux," and "Chaco and Olivia." She returned on the 26th for a brunch conversation with Al Filreis, which has been segmented thematically. Some of those sections include their discussion of aphorisms, syntax and line structure, Berssenbrugge's poetic influences, classical literature, photography, and the definition of time.

Audio and video versions of both of these programs are available for your listening and viewing pleasure here. Our PennSound author page for Berssenbrugge houses more than two dozen individual recordings going back as far as 1986, including interviews, radio programs, and many, many readings. Click here to start browsing.

Congratulations to 2019 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize Winner Stephen Collis

Posted 11/6/2019

Today brought the exciting news that poet Stephen Collis had been awarded the 2019 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, which is "given to a mid-career poet in recognition of a remarkable body of work, and in anticipation of future contributions to Canadian poetry." The jurors' citation, signed by Hoa Nguyen and Margo Wheaton, states:
Through six collections of poems, Stephen Collis has achieved something remarkable: an invigorating body of work that convincingly addresses both the urgency of the present moment and the long echoes of our historical and lyrical past. 
In disrupted language simultaneously unsettled and musical, Collis passionately investigates subjects as diverse as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, John Clare and the English countryside, the increasing disappearance of public space, and, in a hauntingly beautiful sequence, the death of his sister from cancer. The depth and scope of Collis' vision is startling and impressive; so are the courage, precision, and care he brings to the poems he creates. 
In Collis, we find a poet ferociously hitting his stride. We're looking forward with eagerness to what comes next.
We congratulate Collis for this astounding honor and happily direct our listeners to his PennSound author page where they can sample his award-winning work. There you'll find a modest yet broad array of recordings made between 2005 and 2014, including readings, panel discussions, and an interview on Leonard Schwartz's radio program Cross-Cultural Poetics. Among many great resources, I'd especially like to highlight Collis' contributions to North of Invention, the two-day festival we hosted at the Kelly Writers House in January 2011, along with Short Range Poetic Device, a four-part radio show organized and hosted by Collis and Roger Farr during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. As the program notes explain, "Each show hosted a number of Vancouver poets, nearly all of whom were involved in anti-Olympic activities of one sort or another. The poets read from their work and discussed the role of poetry in contemporary struggles, the politics of poetic form, protest genres and both political and literary 'tactics.'" Click here to start listening.

Joseph Ceravolo on PennSound

Posted 11/4/2019

We're starting this week by highlighting our holdings from beloved New York School poet Joseph Ceravolo (1934–1988), which we're very proud to be able to present through the generosity of his widow, Rosemarie.

Our earliest recording was made at the poet's home in the spring of 1968 and largely consists of poems from Wild Flowers Out of Gas (published the previous year) including "A Song of Autumn," "Drunken Winter," "Skies," "Happiness in the Trees," "White Fish in Reeds," and "Dangers of the Journey to the Happy Land." That's followed by "Poems and Background" from the 1969 album Tape Poems (ed. Eduardo Costa and John Perreault) and another set of home recordings from 1971. Running a little more than half an hour, this set also includes selections from Wild Flowers Out of Gas, plus "Ho Ho Ho Caribou" (here divided into its ten sections), the first three sections of "The Hellgate," and "Where Abstract Starts." 

Up next is a lengthy set of forty-nine poems recorded at the University of Chicago on May 11, 1976. Some titles included in this set: "Winds of the Comet," "Sleeping Outside My Mind," "The Spirit Mercury," "Interior of the Poem," "Kyrie Eleison," and "Good Friday." As Rosemary Ceravolo notes, there are some differences in titles between these recordings and the table of contents of 2012's Collected Poems since "Joe must have changed or added titles after he did the readings." Our last recording is Ceravolo's October 21, 1978 set at the Ear Inn that contains a number of poems-in-progress from the collection Mad Angels, often represented by a first line rather than its finished title, including "Tongues" and "Night Ride," along with a selection of early poems published in 1979's Transmigration Solo: "Sleep in Park," "Descending the Slope," "Romance of Awakening," and "Migratory Noon."

Along with these original recordings, we offer our listeners two marvelous complements. First, there's the September 2013 celebration of Ceravolo's work at the Kelly Writers House, organized by CAConrad, along with "The Lyrical Personal of Joe Ceravolo," an ambitious 2013 Jacket2 feature organized by Vincent Katz. Click here to listen to everything mentioned above.

Tuli Kupferberg's "No Deposit, No Return" (1966)

Posted 11/1/2019

We're closing out this week with one of my favorite recordings from our archives and one I'm very proud that we can share with our listeners: Tuli Kupferberg's 1966 ESP-Disk release, No Deposit, No Return. While many know the late Kupferberg for his inimitable contributions to poetry-rock mavericks, the Fugs, this ambitious solo album is far more obscure, though not without its dedicated fans.

Subtitled "an evening of pop poetry" on the record sleeve, which devolves into "a nightmare of popular poetry" in Kupferberg's opening track, No Deposit, No Return is comprised exclusively of found texts performed with musical accompaniment "by Gary Elton on the various": "Real Advertisements," as the back cover explains, "As they appeared in newspapers, magazines, in direct mail. No word has been added. There are genuine ads. Parts of some ads have been repeated. Parts of some ads have been omitted. But these are the very texts. These are for real!" The end result is quite poetic, yet also drifts into the realm of pure comedy — albeit a comedy rooted in social critique — along with the golden age of radio, thanks to Elton's musical backings and sound effects. The invocation of sixties pop sensibilities and appropriative aesthetic also adds an element of the visual arts, creating a truly hybrid electric form that neatly parallels the contemporaneous sound poetry of John Giorno in building upon the foundational work of Charles Reznikoff.

"Everyone I suppose has always wanted to write his own commercial." Kupferberg notes in the introductory track, explaining the album's origins. "I have resisted this temptation strenuously, especially for this album, but when a certain well-known shampoo company came to the Fugs last summer, proposing that we do our own commercial for their new summer product, I countered with my own suggestion for a new product" — namely, Pubol, a pubic hair shampoo — and thus the project was born.

Aside from consumerism and America's culture of violence, No Deposit, No Return's major preoccupation is sex and sexuality, as Kupferberg performs advertisements for timid swingers, not-so-timid swingers, fetish photos, an erotic novel (Violations of the Child Marilyn Monroe, attributed to "Her Psychiatrist Friend") and a scary-looking penis pump,"the Hyperemiator," whose ad is one of two reproduced on the record's back cover. In a Foucauldian sense, particularly in the midst of a period of revolutionary sexual exploration, the poet reminds us that societal curiosity about sex and atypical sexual interest are nothing new. Regardless, there's a startling difference between the hidden, repressed and clinical nature of the poems on No Deposit, No Return, and the joyous and liberated carnality celebrated in Fugs' songs like "Supergirl" and "Coca Cola Douche." Thus, the album serves as both a strident cross-generational critique and a statement of shared beliefs, targeted at young audiences through one of their most popular media. In a fashion not dissimilar from what Kupferberg parodies in tracks like the heartbreaking "Social Studies," or the Fugs' "Kill for Peace," No Deposit, No Return is very effective propaganda.

We're grateful to Kupferberg's daughter, Samara, for her permission to share this groundbreaking record, which you can listen to in its entirety here. By clicking on the thumbnail images you can view large-format scans of the album covers and liner notes as well.

Cia Rinne: Two New Recordings, 2019

Posted 10/30/2019

We recently congratulated Finnish sound poet Cia Rinne for winning the the 2019 Prix Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou from Fondazione Bonotto for "non-book literature." Today, we're back with a pair of recent recordings from the poet, which you'll find on her PennSound author page.

First, we have a brief recording from April 2019 of Rinne reading a new poem by Vagn Steen (which you can see here). That's joined by video footage and audio of Rinne and  Tomomi Adachi reading texts based on the work of Ruth Wolf Rehfeldt at the Haus für Poesie in Berlin on February 2nd of this year.

These new recordings join a fine survey of Rinne's work available on  her PennSound author page, starting with a 2014 Close Listening program hosted by PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein in which she reads recent work and discusses her creative processes. From the same year, we have Rinne's participation in the Convergence on Poetics panel "INTERVAL: LANGUAGE + PRESENCE" alongside Aeron Bergman, Alejandra Salinas, and Lisa Radon. We have a trio of reading videos from 2013: two collective performances with Berlin Sound Poets Quoi Tête in Ausland and Altes Finanzamt, and a Berlin reading as part of "a night of text / sound / video" #3. Next there's 2012's Nonstop Action Poetry at Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki, Finland (with Leevi Lehto and Tomomi Adachi) and "notes for soloists" for the Quiet Cue Intermedia and Cooperation in Berlin as well as a performance of "sounds for soloists" with sound design by Sebastian Eskildsen from the same year. To round things out, we have another performance of the same piece (also with sound design by Eskildsen) from 2011 and a reading with Charles Bernstein and Caroline Bergvall at Gyldendal, Copenhagen from the same year. You can listen to all of these recordings by clicking here.

PoemTalk #141: on Rosmarie Waldrop's "Memory Tree"

Posted 10/28/2019

Today, we release episode #141 in the PoemTalk Podcast Series, recorded on a very special ModPo visit to the  Providence, RI home of Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop. There, host Al Filreis gathered a panel that included (shown from left to right) Laynie Browne, Mónica de la Torre, and Kate Colby (with a cameo by Lee Ann Brown) to discuss Rosmarie Waldrop's prose poem "Memory Tree," which comes from the book Split Infinitives (Singing Horse Press, 1998).

Filreis' PoemTalk blog post on this episode offers this brief summation of the poem: "'Memory Tree' bears a major linguistic disruption: it integrates and mashes up folkloric messaging and makes phrasal and homonymic fragments of fragmented memories. The prose poem offers itself as an alternative representation of the disaster. It is a post-traumatic portrait of the artist as a young girl. Its first six stanzas or paragraphs are written out of the moment in September 1941 when, at a time of absolute control of every aspect of German society by the Nazi regime, a girl goes to school for the first time — enters, that is to say, the vortex of totalitarian socialization." You can read more about the program, find the complete text of Waldrop's poem, see many more wonderful photos, and listen to or watch this special video episode by clicking here. The full PoemTalk archives, spanning more than a decade, can be found here.

Announcing the 2020 Kelly Writers House Fellows

Posted 10/25/2019

Yesterday, Al Filreis announced the 2020 Kelly Writers House Fellows, which, as usual, is a diverse and exciting group of authors from across multiple genres.

They include historian, memoirist, and 2019 MacArthur Fellow Saidiya Hartman; renowned Canadian poet and translator Erín Moure; and journalists, cultural critics, and co-hosts of the acclaimed New York Times podcast Still Processing, Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris. 

Funded by a grant from Paul Kelly, the Kelly Writers House Fellows program enables us to realize two unusual goals. We want to make it possible for the youngest writers and writer-critics to have sustained contact with authors of great accomplishment in an informal atmosphere. We also want to resist the time-honored distinction — more honored in practice than in theory — between working with eminent writers on the one hand and studying literature on the other.

You can read more about the program and browse through past Fellows going back to the program's start in 1999 by clicking here.

Guillaume Apollinaire on PennSound

Posted 10/23/2019

We're very fond of touting our recordings by Guillaume Apollinaire, which are the earliest artifacts in our archives. Ironically, it's been more than a decade since we've highlighted these recordings on PennSound Daily, so it seemed like a great time to do so.

Recorded on December 24, 1913 at the laboratory of Abbé M. Rousselot, these three brief recordings offer a rare opportunity to experience the work of germinal Surrealist author Guillaume Apollinaire through his own voice. "Le Pont Mirabeau," "Marie" and "Le Voyageur," all taken from his first significant volume of poetry, 1913's Alcools, reveal both a strengthened sense of rhythm and a lyrical, elegiac tone, when presented in the original French. 

You can listen to all three poems and read the full text of "Le Pont Mirabeau by clicking here. "Le Pont Mirabeau" has also been included in several PennSound Featured Resources playlists, including Charles Bernstein's Down to Write You This Poem Sat and Marcella Durand's 2011 list of recordings.

Marking the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac's Death

Posted 10/21/2019

This October 21st is the 50th anniversary of the death of iconic novelist and poet Jack Kerouac, who finally succumbed to the collective effects of alcoholism and disillusionment at the age of forty-seven in St. Petersburg, FL. To mark this historic milestone, we're revisiting a PennSound Daily post for Kerouac's birthday from this past March.

While we don't have permission from the Kerouac estate to share recordings of the poet's work — multiple albums, including collaborations with Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, along with polymath Steve Allen, are widely available — we do have a truly astounding document of Clark Coolidge and Michael Gizzi reading Kerouac's iconic spontaneous prose piece, "Old Angel Midnight." This session took place at the studio of Steve Schwartz in West Stockbridge, MA in 1994, and served as the basis of PoemTalk #124, first released in May 2018, where Coolidge was joined by J.C. Cloutier and Michelle Taransky to discuss the piece.

Coolidge is, of course, well-known for, as Al Filreis phrases it, "his advocacy for Kerouac as properly belonging to the field of experimental poetry and poetics." Here's how he lays out his sense of what he refers to as Kerouac's "babble flow":
[S]ound is movement. It interests me that the words "momentary" and "moments" come from the same Latin: "moveo, to move. Every statement exists in time and vanishes in time, like in alto saxophonist Eric Dolphy's famous statement about music: "When you hear music, after it's over it's gone in the air, you can never capture it again." That has gradually become more of a positive value to me, because one of the great things about the moment is that if you were there in that moment, you received that moment and there's an intensity to a moment that can never be gone back to that is somehow more memorable. Like they used to say, "Was you there, Charlie?" 
Kerouac said, "Nothing is muddy that runs in time and to laws of time." And I can’t resist putting next to that my favorite statement by Maurice Blanchot: "One can only write if one arrives at the instant towards which one can only move through space opened up by the movement of writing." And that’s not a paradox.
Here's how Kerouac himself described the project (which famously appeared in the premier issue of Big Table, along with excerpts from William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch — content liberated from the suppressed Winter 1958 issue of The Chicago Review): 
"Old Angel Midnight" is only the beginning of a lifelong work in multilingual sound, representing the haddalada-babra of babbling world tongues coming in thru my window at midnight no matter where I live or what I'm doing, in Mexico, Morocco, New York, India or Pakistan, in Spanish, French, Aztec, Gaelic, Keltic, Kurd or Dravidian, the sounds of people yakking and of myself yakking among, ending finally in great intuitions of the sounds of tongues throughout the entire universe in all directions in and out forever. And it is the only book I've ever written in which I allow myself the right to say anything I want, absolutely and positively anything, since that's what you hear coming in that window... God in his Infinity wouldn't have had a world otherwise — Amen."
You can listen to Coolidge and Gizzi's rendition of this classic here.

Bern Porter on PennSound

Posted 10/14/2019

Today we're highlighting our holdings from the influential author, artist, and publisher Bern Porter, perhaps best known for his pioneering work in the field of Found Poetry.

Our earliest recording is parts one and two of "For Our Friends in Germany," recorded by Mark Melnicove in 1979 at the Eternal Poetry Festival in South Harpswell, Maine. Then there's "Aspects of Modern Poetry," a 1982 WBAI program with Bob Holman that was broadcast live. It's presented in two parts that are roughly a half-hour each.

Next, we have the New Wilderness Audiographics cassette release, Found Sounds, whose two sides consist of two separate sessions, the first made on December 2, 1978 with Dick Higgins and Charlie Morrow; the second from May 9, 1981 and featuring Patricia Burgess (tenor saxophone), Glen Velez (bodhrán, cymbal, tambourine), and Morrow (brass, ocarina, and voice). 

Jumping forward to December 1989, we have a recording from "Williamson Street Night" at the Avant Garde, Museum of Temporary Art in Madison, Wisconsin with contributions by Malok, Elizabeth Was & mIEKAL aND, and our final recording is an interview with Higgins and aND from Woodland Pattern Book Center on March 16, 1990. You can browse all of the aforementioned recordings by visiting our Bern Porter author page.

Congratulations to 2019 Prix Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou Winner Cia Rinne

Posted 10/11/2019

We send our heartiest congratulations to Finnish sound poet Cia Rinne, who was awarded the 2019 Prix Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou by Fondazione Bonotto last month. The prize, for "non-book literature," was previously won by Caroline Bergvall and Fia Backström.

Writing up the accompanying festival, Extra! for the Best American Poetry blog, Tracy Danison observes that "Rinne has linguistic feet in Sweden, Finland and Germany, as well as in her translingual poetry, which, she told me, was suggested by ordinary conversation in the multilingual household where she grew up. Just as Nina Santes' work reverberates with energies inherited from happenings, Rinne's work winds around and binds together concepts exemplified by sound-tech poet pioneers such as Laurie Anderson and traditional, page-visual-Ogden-Nash-book-of -practical-cats-style poetry formats."

Our Cia Rinne author page is anchored by a 2014 Close Listening program hosted by PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein in which she reads recent work and discusses her creative processes. From the same year, we have Rinne's participation in the Convergence on Poetics panel "INTERVAL: LANGUAGE + PRESENCE" alongside Aeron Bergman, Alejandra Salinas, and Lisa Radon. We have a trio of reading videos from 2013: two collective performances with Berlin Sound Poets Quoi Tête in Ausland and Altes Finanzamt, and a Berlin reading as part of "a night of text / sound / video" #3. Next there's 2012's Nonstop Action Poetry at Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki, Finland (with Leevi Lehto and Tomomi Adachi) and "notes for soloists" for the Quiet Cue Intermedia and Cooperation in Berlin as well as a performance of "sounds for soloists" with sound design by Sebastian Eskildsen from the same year. To round things out, we have another performance of the same piece (also with sound design by Eskildsen) from 2011 and a reading with Charles Bernstein and Caroline Bergvall at Gyldendal, Copenhagen from the same year. You can listen to all of these recordings by clicking here.

New at the PEPC Library: Poets on Stage: The Some Symposium on Poetry Readings

Posted 10/10/2019

This week saw an exciting new addition to our PEPC Library, Poets on Stage: The Some Symposium on Poetry Readings, edited by Alan Ziegler and originally co-issued by the journal Some (as its ninth issue) and and its book publishing arm Release Press in 1978. The volume's origins are explained in an introductory note by Ziegler:
One night the three editors of Some were discussing possibilities for forthcoming issues. One of the editors didn't have his mind in the sessions; he was thinking about a poetry reading he was to give the next day. He had given readings before but hadn't thought much about them. But now, as he drifted away from the work at hand, he thought about the fact that the next afternoon he would be reading his poems to an audience. Some of his poems would reveal to strangers and friends alike things he had not told anyone. (Of course, these secrets would be presented on a "wall of literature," and he could remain behind that wall). There was also material that was mostly incarnated from the imagination — images that had emerged excitedly yet silently onto the page. How comfortable would they be wearing sound? 
These musings interested him, and since the major criterion for Some is interesting material (and he was feeling guilty about not contributing to the meeting), he suggested: why not an issue of Some devoted to poetry readings? The meeting was transformed into a tentative discussion of the new project.
What emerged from that suggestion is a trailblazing document in the field of poetry in performance that draws its responses from fascinating cross-section of the contemporary poetry world, with contributions from (in order of appearance) Alan Dugan,  Jack Anderson, Colette Inez, John Love, Stephen Stepanchev, Marge Piercy, David lgnatow, Janet Sternburg, June Fortess, Mark Weiss, Phillip Lopate, Joe Brainard, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Haseloff, John Wieners, Gerard Malanga, Audre Lorde, Virginia R. Terris, Hugh Seidman, Paul Hannigan, Terry Stokes, Armand Schwerner, Rochelle Ratner, Denise Levertov, David Meltzer, Margaret Atwood, Dick Gallup, Anne Waldman, and James Dickey.

The responses, as you might imagine, are as diverse as the authors interviewed. Dugan offers this practical advice: "The first time I recited, at a college, I had forgotten how over-heated academic interiors can be and sweated because I was wearing a jacket and was too nervous to take it off, and therefore performed badly. The students and teachers were good to me, saying, roughly, 'Well, it's over, it's your first time, you'll do better next time,' which I did." Brainard's handwritten response, "On Reading," starts by observing "Both my aim and my desire is to please." Malanga shares that "I know I've made people feel I'm having just as good a time reading as they are listening, because of the response I've received at the end of the reading. I include the audience in what I'm feeling in every instant in my poems when I read aloud. I've attended readings by many poets who literally drove their work into the ground and knew it, too, although they probably didn't mean to. The worst feeling in the world is when you and your audience both know you're bad. When an audience loves you, there is no greater exhilaration." Finally, Audre Lorde confesses that "I find [readings] both leech-like & rewarding, alternately and together, so approach them always with great excitement & terror." 

You can read and/or download Poets on Stage: The Some Symposium on Poetry Readings in PDF format by clicking here.

Happy 85th Birthday to Amiri Baraka

Posted 10/7/2019

Today would have been the eighty-fifth birthday of legendary poet and provocateur Amiri Baraka, born LeRoi Jones in Newark, NJ in 1934. That means that it's a great time to revisit the recordings housed on our Amiri Baraka author page.

The earliest two recordings found there — the first from the Asilomar Negro Writers Conference in Pacific Grove, CA, which took place in early August 1964; the second from March 1965 at San Francisco State University — are particularly interesting because they show the author in flux, still LeRoi Jones but quickly being pushed by current events (most notably the assassination of Malcolm X in early 1965) towards his rebirth in Harlem. These sets include a number of notable poems, including "A Poem for Speculative Hipsters," "Short Speech to My Friends," "Black Dada Nihilismus," "A Poem Some People Will Have to Understand," "Kenyatta Listening to Mozart," and "Black Bourgeoisie."

We take a massive leap forward to a pair of Buffalo recordings from the archives of Robert Creeley: a short set from 1978 accompanying a much larger reading by Ed Dorn at the Just Buffalo Literary Center, and a two-part performance from 1985 at the Allentown Community Center. We owe Chris Funkhouser a debt of gratitude for several full-length recordings — from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2000, a home recording for Kenning in 2001, the Newark Public Library in 2002, and the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival, also in 2002 — along with many miscellaneous recordings presented without date or location information. Our final major recording is a 2007 appearance on Leonard Schwartz's Cross Cultural Poetics program, where he read his work and discussed a number of topics including the recent controversy over "Somebody Blew Up America." There are also, as mentioned before, a healthy collection of miscellaneous audio recordings, joined by a fine selection of video clips made by Optic Nerve. Finally, Baraka's work has served as the subject for not one, but two episodes in the PoemTalk Podcast Series: episode #20 on "Kenyatta Listening to Mozart" and episode #126 on "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)." Click here to access all of the aforementioned recordings and more.

Eva Macali on PennSound Italiana

Posted 10/4/2019

We're closing this week out with a series of new audio visual recordings by Eva Macali, which were recently added to our PennSound Italiana page (lovingly edited by Jennifer Scappettone).

The first of these is GAR, "a project about the Proto-Indo-European languages theory (PIE) inspired by the semiology research of Zoltán Ludwig Kruse," which states that "the majority of languages spoken today have a common ancestor language [whose] seed-words can be found in today's spoken languages with similar meanings." Here, Macali explores one of these seed words, "gar," which means "circle," in two pieces, "Gar," (recorded at Tapetenwerk, Leipzig, Germany with sound design Benjamin Leal) and "Har" (recorded at Campus Allegro, Jakobstad Pietarsaari, Finland with sound design by Matteo Polato).

Next, there's The Fire of 'Bu, an operetta "developed with jazz singer Alice Ricciardi in 2016-2017 and performed in different locations and with different musical arrangements." There are three selections from this project — "Y'am," "Tip Tap Shoes," and "Savoy Savoy" — recorded at various locations and presented in both video and audio forms. The libretto for this project is also provided. That's followed by "Ustica ha il ritmo suo" from I Luoghi, a "live recording performed with jazz drummer Armando Sciommeri and piano player Pietro Lussu," and AL5B5RI "a poetry film produced with Joakim Finholm and installed in the exhibition AL5B5RI at Energiverket in Jakobstad Pietarsaari, Finland." Finally, we have Löyly, another short poetry film also based on Kruse's Proto-Indo-European languages theory.

You can listen to or watch all of the aforementioned recordings by clicking here and while you're there don't forget to check out the many other astounding poets housed on our PennSound Italiana homepage.

Finally, we have two more projects, each represented by one 

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.