Featured resources

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

Contemporary
  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
Historical
  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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In Memoriam: Joanne Kyger (1934-2017)

Posted 3/23/2017

We're very sad to report the news that legendary poet Joanne Kyger — whose long career (starting more than fifty years ago with The Tapestry and the Web) bridged multiple schools and styles — has passed away at the age of eighty-two.

Just recently, we were proud to have Kyger as panelist for the latest PoemTalk Podcast on Philip Whalen's "Life at Bolinas. The Last of California", and Kyger's own poem "It's Been a Long Time: Notes from the Revolution" was the subject of PoemTalk #79 from 2014. Kyger was also the subject of an extensive feature in Jacket #11 (2000), which was edited by Linda Russo.

Of course, you'll also find am impressive archive of recordings on our Joanne Kyger author page, going as far back as her appearance at the Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965. From there, we have numerous recordings from Bolinas and San Francisco (from the 1970s, the 2000s, and the 2010s), East Coast visits to read on Public Access Poetry (in 1978) and for Dia's Readings in Contemporary Poetry series (in 2015) and a handful of other interesting recordings from along the way.

We humbly acknowledge the void that Kyger's death leaves in the world of contemporary poetry and send our condolences to her family, friends, and fans.

The Four Horsemen Live in Toronto, 1984

Posted 3/21/2017

We have an exciting new performance from legendary Canadian sound poets the Four Horsemen that you'll want to check out.

Recorded on October 11, 1984 at the Tivoli in Toronto, this set runs just over forty minutes and features eight individual pieces. All four members of the group — bpNichol, Steve McCaffery, Paul Dutton, and Rafael Barreto-Rivera — are present, and McCaffery plays reeds in addition to vocalizing.

You'll find this new gem on our Four Horsemen author page along with three complete albums — Nada Canadada (1973), Live in the West (1977), and Two Nights (1988) — and a variety of links and other resources. Our individual author pages for members bpNichol, Steve McCaffery, Paul Dutton, and Rafael Barreto-Rivera — are also well worth checking out.

We're grateful to both Dutton and Gary Barwin for their help in bringing this recording to our site.


PoemTalk 110: on Philip Whalen's "Life at Bolinas. The last of California"

Posted 3/9/2017

Earlier this week we released the latest episode in the PoemTalk Podcast series, its 110th in total, which addresses Philip Whalen's poem, "Life at Bolinas. The last of California," written between 1968–69. Appropriately enough, for this program, host Al Filreis hit the road to the Bolinas home of poet Stephen Ratcliffe, where, together with Joanne Kyger and Julia Bloch, they conducted a lengthy discussion of the work.

In his introduction on the PoemTalk blog, Filreis starts his discussion of the poet itself by considering the one word in its title that seems somewhat out of place: "What does Whalen mean by 'last'? Is this a farewell to Bolinas? Is there something final about the experiences reported here in this collage of memories and scenes? Joanne at several points observes that at least parts of the poem seem to have been written in Kyoto, and that Kyoto scenes are a presence in its lines, mixed with memories of Bolinas, a recent past seen from afar. Even 'Duxbury Pond,' as locally specific a reference to Bolinas as could be, is pronounced unlocally (as Stephen and Joanne both notice). The outsider's enunication suggests that the poem is the ode to places composed from beyond them. Then again, there's a precise evocation of the late Bolinas autumn ('Blithering dead leaves along the ground / Crooked sunlight'); the desolate, windy scene intruded upon only by very particularized raccoons; and the real clock Whalen broke at the Doss house where he was staying as a guest. The speaker is there." You can read more — and both listen to and watch this special episode — 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.



Jacket2 welcomes Divya Victor

Posted 3/7/2017

Jacket2 is delighted to welcome Divya Victor to our team as our new guest editor. Divya has long been a friend of the journal: she has curated and edited two extraordinary features, "Discourses on Vocality" and "Conceptual writing (plural and global) and other cultural productions" — the latter of which is one of our most massive and ambitious features to date — and written insightfully on her time in Singapore as part of our Commentaries section. She is a prolific poet whose titles include the award-winning Natural Subjects (reviewed here), UNSUBThings to Do with Your MouthSwift Taxidermies 1919–1922Goodbye, John! On John Baldessari, PUNCH, and the Partial trilogy, as well as a number of chapbooks. Her next book, Kith, includes poetry, prose, and essays on globalization and the South Asian diaspora, and is forthcoming from Fence and BookThug. Divya currently teaches poetry and poetics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and has previously been a Mark Diamond Research Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Riverrun Fellow at the Mandeville Poetry Collections at University of California San Diego, and a writer in residence at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibit (LACE). We at Jacket2 are thrilled to have such an insightful and brilliant editor and writer join us. Welcome, Divya!


New Series Page: Kootenay School of Writing

Posted 3/6/2017

We have recently created a new series page for the Kootenay School of Writing, the venerable, Vancouver-based writing collective now in its thirty-third year of existence.

Encapsulating what you'll find there will not be easy. As you might expect, there are a lot of Canadian authors, and non-Canadian authors as well. There are a lot of recordings in general — hundreds, in fact, with the majority of them coming from the 1990s and 2000s, though the 80s and teens are well-represented as well. Some of the names you might encounter there: Carmen Aguirre, Ken Belford, Bruce Boone, George Bowering, Dionne Brand, Suzanne Buffam, Alice Burdick, Danika Dinsmore, George Evans, Marwan Hassan, Jeanne Heuving, Brook Houglum, Kevin Killian, Dorothy Trujillo Lusk, Nicole Markotic, Daphne Marlatt, Barry McKinnon, Duncan McNaughton, Peter Nichols, Douglas Oliver, Michael Palmer, Meredith Quartermain, Peter Quartermain, Sina Queyras, Denise Riley, Stuart Ross, Jordan Scott, Nico Vassilakis, Melissa Wolsack, and many, many more.

This impressive roster of poets really needs to be seen to be believed, so you should just check out our KSW series homepage and find one (or several) of your favorite poets to start with. Better yet, this is just the start of KSW recordings that we'll be adding to the site in the near future!


New at Jacket2 Reissues: 'Aufgabe' (2001-2014)

Posted 3/3/2017

This week draws to a close with a very exciting new addition to our Jacket2 Reissues section: a complete run of the much-beloved journal Aufgabe.

As Reissues editor Danny Snelson notes, "The task of recounting the work of Aufgabe is formidable." He continues: "Founding editor E. Tracy Grinnell initiated the magazine in the Bay Area in 1999. Over the next fifteen years, Aufgabe has featured seventy editors, roughly 700 writers, nearly 150 translators, and twenty artists from twenty-three countries. The magazine was uniformly released from 2001 until 2014 in perfect-bound 6" x 9" format with one thousand copies printed per issue. In each issue, Aufgabe 'challenges static cultural modes of thinking and being' through a dense global network of innovative poetry and poetics." Snelson's introductory note continues acknowledging the geographical diversity of the journal's participants and guest editors, along with its stated privileging of "the editorial art itself," which is clear from a mere moment's glance at the tables of contents for each of Aufgabe's thirteen issues.

You can browse those issues, or download bookmarked PDF files of each here, and don't forget to visit our Reissues homepage, where you can survey the many other journals that have been preserved by Snelson and his crew.


Close Listening: Tyrone Williams, 2016

Posted 3/1/2017

As we mentioned in our last post, we have two exciting new Close Listening programs from PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein to discuss this week. Last time, we introduced his episodes focused on Myanmar poet ko ko thett, and today we're highlighting a new episode featuring poet Tyrone Williams. Born in Detroit, Williams is the author of c.c., On Spec, The Hero Project of the Century, Adventures of Pi, and Howell. He's taught at Xavier University in Cincinnati since 1983.

Over the course of forty-five minutes, Williams talks to Bernstein about "growing up working class in Detroit; bookishness and the role of education and his early teachers; assimilation versus resistance and formal innovation in American poetry in relation to his dissertation on ?Open and Closed Forms In 20th Century American Poetics?; his practice of ?eshuneutics? (after Yoruba spirit Eshu); the use of appropriation in his poetry and the necessity of research and reading beyond one?s immediate knowledge context; and the politics and history of English for African-Americans."

On Williams' PennSound author page, you'll find a wide array of readings spanning the past decade, including his February 7th reading at our own Kelly Writers House that followed this Close Listening recording session. Click the title above to start listening.


Close Listening: ko ko thett, 2017

Posted 2/26/2017

PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein is back with two recently-recorded programs in his long-running Close Listening series, which is broadcast by Clocktower Radio. Today, we'll highlight the first of these shows, which features ko ko thett, a poet, editor and translator from Burma/Myanmar.

ko ko thett is the author of The Burden of Being Burmese (Zephyr Press, 2015), a book hailed by John Ashbery as "brilliantly off-kilter," and is co-editor (with James Byrne) of Bones Will Crow, an anthology of contemporary Burmese poetry. He also serves as translator for the speeches of Aung San Suu Kyi. A student activist during the military dictatorship in Burma, ko ko thett spent many years living in exile in Finland, Austria, and the U.S.. He has recently returned to Yangon.

The two-part program begins with the author reading before a live audience at the Kelly Writers House on January 23, 2017. In the second half, he and Bernstein discuss his decision to write in English; his 19 years in exile and the experience of returning home; the political situation in Burma at the time of his exile compared to the present; his sense of the futility of the student protests; and the international context of the poets he anthologized in Bones Will Crow. He also reads a recent poem in Burmese and offers a spontaneous translation.

In his Jacket2 commentary on the program, Bernstein also provides video footage of the two programs as well as a link to PennSound's anthology page for poets from Burma/Myanmar. You can start listening by clicking here.


Peter Jaeger Performed by the Yehudi Menuhin Music School, 2016

Posted 2/23/2017

Here's is the latest addition to our author page for poet and critic Peter Jaeger to get your toes tapping for the coming weekend.

Daniel Penny, winner of the BBC's young composer of the year award in 2015, set Peter Jaeger's poem "Sub Twang Mustard" to music. The piece is performed here by members of the Yehudi Menuhin Music School and trombone soloist John Kenny, under the direction of John Cooney. "Sub Twang Mustard" was originally published in Jaeger's 2004 book Eckhart Cars.

You can listen in here and be sure to check out the rest of the recordings archived on PennSound's Peter Jaeger author page, including sets from Manchester's The Other Room series, the if p then q series in London, and a 2013 reading at London's Kingsgate Gallery. There's also a 2003 radio appearance from Resonance FM's program "Up on Air," and a 2006 recording of "Prop" made at London's Regal Lane Studios.


New at J2: Chris Funkhouser on Cecil Taylor

Posted 2/22/2017

We've just published a wonderful new piece from Chris Funkhouser over at Jacket2. Titled "Being Matter Recorded: Cecil Taylor on/Poetry,", this essay serves as a complement to Funkhouser's participation in the Whitney Museum of American Art's exhibition focused on Taylor's work as well as "improvised is how the voice is used...", an interactive web-based matrix of excerpts from four hundred minutes of interview recordings (a large portion of which was published in Hambone #12).

More importantly, it traces Funkhouser's long and influential relationship with Taylor and his work over the past thirty years. Here's how he begins:

After my first firsthand encounter with Cecil Taylor's work in Charlottesville in November 1986, I never would have imagined having a series of extraordinary experiences with him across the decades that followed. Seeing him that first time, a two-hour solo concert during a thunderstorm, I didn't realize music could exist in such a different aesthetic universe — concert as a poem: words, movement, and sound, ominously beginning, "A stroke, the night." I had been exposed to all kinds of music and was a student of jazz via courses centered on the Smithsonian Collection, which included something of Cecil's work, but experiencing it live was as if someone from another planet came down to embody what music and performance could be — that every norm could be reshaped, if not broken altogether.

Funkhouser is a prolific and talented poet, critic, and archivist, and we're very lucky to have benefited to his generous contributions to both Jacket2 and PennSound over the years. You can start reading his latest here.


Edmond Jabes: New Author Page

Posted 2/20/2017

Here's a remarkable new addition to our site, but one that only certain members of our audience are going to be able to enjoy: on our new PennSound author page for Edmond Jabès you'll find a 1974 documentary on the Egypt-born French author made by Jean-Pierre Prevost.

Originally broadcast on French television, the film features Jabès in conversation with Claude Royet-Journoud and Lars Fredrikson. As our own Charles Bernstein notes, it has not been seen in forty years. Unfortunately, it's presented as it originally aired, in French and without subtitles. It's too important a document not to share with our listeners, so if you are lucky enough to be fluent, or feel like giving your dusty high school French a shot, you can start watching here.


Cid Corman Recordings by John Levy, 1974

Posted 2/17/2017

Here's a remarkable recent addition to our site that we wanted to make sure that you didn't miss: approximately eighteen hours worth of recordings of Cid Corman made by John Levy in 1974.

Steel Wagstaff, who originally digitized and posted these recordings last year was kind enough to share them with us, so that they might coexist alongside the wonderful bevy of materials — both Corman reading his own work and critical commentary by others — available on his PennSound author page. Wagstaff provides this context for the recordings:

In 1973, Cid Corman and his wife Shizumi Konishi Corman opened CC's, a coffeeshop in Kyoto, Japan. The second floor was a tatami space with a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf and a space where Cid hosted readings and talks. Soon after opening the shop Cid invited one of his many correspondents, an American named John Levy, to work at the shop for room and board. In 1974 and 1975 John taped some of the readings and talks on poetry Cid gave. During these gatherings of Cid's friends and customers (often other American & British writers), the group would sit, often in a circle, on the tatami mats.

Poets discussed in these sessions include Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky, Wallace Stevens, and Marianne Moore. Others have colorful names like "In Good Time & Words for Each Other," "0:1 & Little Books," or "Plight | & [infinity]." Again we are grateful to both Steel Wagstaff and John Levy, along with Bob Arnold (Corman's literary executor) for the opportunity to make these unique documents with our listeners.


Joey Yearous-Algozin: New Author Page

Posted 2/15/2017

Our latest, long-overdue author page is for Buffalo-based poet Joey Yearous-Algozin.

The recordings archived there include Segue Series sets at the Zinc Bar in 2012 and 2016, a 2014 reading with Trisha Low at our own Kelly Writers House as part of the Emergency Series, a 2012 appearance on Stephen McLaughlin's Into the Field podcast series, and a 2009 reading from the Chapter and Verse Series at Chapterhouse Cafe. You can also hear Yearous-Algozin weigh in on Robert Grenier's Sentences as one of the panelists for PoemTalk #31.

To listen to any of the aforementioned recordings, click here.


PoemTalk 109: on Kate Colby's "I Mean"

Posted 2/13/2017

Last week saw the release of episode #109 in the PoemTalk Podcast series, which discusses the title poem from Kate Colby's 2015 Ugly Duckling collection, I Mean. This time around, host Al Filreis gathered a panel that included Siobhan Phillips, Emily Harnett, and Joseph Massey.

Filreis starts off his introduction on the PoemTalk blog by considering the implications of the poem's title: "The main task for the group, at least at first, is to enumerate the possible meanings of the prefatory tagline — and, in effect, the constraint entailed in — 'I mean.' 'I mean' means synonymizing, the list-maker's many options for draft equivalences. It indicates the job of trying to get the poem right. It means ironizing articulateness. It means amending, enduring the process of phrasal completion. It means disavowal, constant starting over. It refers to meaning's instability, of course. It equals idiomatic 'just saying' (ironic emphasis). It acts as a phrase breaking down the very word choice that follows. It means unironic emphasis. It enables a reference to the poem's own ongoingness (pleasure as a joy in uncertainty). It means that one can always mean something else — more. It means Whitmanian cataloging, the poem's ecstatic, open capacity. It invites a prefatory tick, permitting the poet to note or observe or say anything at all (list poem)." 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.



In Memoriam: Tom Raworth (1938-2017)

Posted 2/8/2017

This evening brings the very sad, but not unexpected news that Tom Raworth has passed away after a long battle with cancer. The larger-than-life poet, editor, and translator was seventy-eight years old.

PennSound co-editor Charles Bernstein relayed the news from Raworth's wife, Val, and observed that "there were many false alarms as those of us who loved Tom grappled with the fact (or tried to) that he was in his last weeks. The intensity of the vigil is the measure of how much he meant to both those who knew him and those who know him by his work." He concluded, "I am drinking a gin and tonic now, toasting Tom, and also all of you who are reading this sad note." Over the past few weeks since news of his terminal condition broke many in our poetry community have shared what Raworth meant to them, and so I'll humbly do the same.

As a grad student, a decade or so ago, I first saw him read with Anselm Berrigan at an event Bill Corbett had organized at MIT to celebrate the publication of Ted Berrigan's Collected Poems. I had no idea who this strange man was who stood at the podium — hands splayed on either side of his papers, head bowed in a monastic pose — reading his poems at a breakneck pace without looking up. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before, and an apt complement to Berrigan's speedy poems that I knew well, though his own work moved beyond conversational ease into dense, abstract constellations of syntax and sensation that I wasn't yet ready to fully understand. It was a provocation, but one I wouldn't fully understand until a few years later when I came to work at PennSound, stumbled across Raworth's author page, learned that he didn't always read quite so quickly, and looked more deeply into his body of work. Since then, I've had the pleasure of introducing students to his poetry and while they too seemed a little intimidated at first, in time they'd relax and follow his lead and it would start to make sense. I also wound up as a PoemTalk panelist with some very august company discussing Raworth's "Errory," and managed (I think) not to make too much of a fool of myself.

Not long after news of Raworth's illness emerged, I discovered a well-worn copy of his Tottering State on the shelves of a local bookstore. At the same store last night, I noticed that it was gone. I like to imagine the person who picked it up, perhaps someone who's never read his work before, and think about the journey they have ahead of them — one that many of us have been well-rewarded to take.

We have quite a treasure trove of materials on our Tom Raworth author page, including the aforementioned PoemTalk, a 2006 Close Listening program, two discs from the venerable Rockdrill series, and readings from the early eighties right up to the recent past. This would be a very good time to have a listen.


New at PennSound Cinema: Short Films by Ken Jacobs

Posted 2/6/2017

We recently added a number of stunning short films by Ken Jacobs to our PennSound Cinema homepage. They include a half-dozen silent micro-films, each the length of a television commercial, created in 2016: Writhing Cities, Central Park, Snow in Headlights I, Window Cleaner, Dead Leaves, and Deader Leaves. These silent meditations serve as an amuse-bouche to unfamiliar viewers, introducing them to Jacob's use of the Pulfrich effect — an early film theory based on the notion that a projected image reaches each eye at a slightly different time (those interested in learning more can read a wonderfully-detailed explanation by Miriam Ruth Ross here) — built upon looped images that rapidly alternate from positive to negative. The resulting films effect a visual equivalent to the Shepard scale, seeming simultaneously static and in-motion, and creating a lush, immersive three-dimensional image.

This is probably a good point to warn readers that due to this intense flickering effect we recommend that those with epilepsy and similar conditions triggered by light avoid watching these films. They can be challenging even for those without seizure disorders: I started to get a headache after about a half hour with the films, but it was a worthwhile tradeoff for the viewing experience.

After the super-brief clips, we have a trio of longer films: Capitalism: Child Labor (2006), Another Occupation (2011), and Seeking the Monkey King (2012). On the small scale, these films operate much like the aforementioned shorts in terms of their flickering using the Pulfrich effect, however the images are further embellished with color washes, inset details, and other distortions, and evolve over time rather than fixating on one image. They're also scored, with Rick Reed providing music for the first two — which showcase tremoloed drones that shift from peaceful bell-tones to harsh metallic squeals — while J.G. Thirwell's soundbed for the last blends dramatic blockbuster pomp with calmer passages. In Capitalism we meditate on a haunting Lewis Hine-like image of young textile workers, while Another Occupation recycles and degrades found footage of Bangkok, and in Seeking the Monkey King we explore dazzling jewel-like landscapes of crumpled tinfoil while pondering occasional intertitles that rail against the titular monarch.

You can view all of these films, and listen to a three-part 2009 Close Listening program with the filmmaker on our Ken Jacobs author page.


MLA Offsite Reading 2017

Posted 2/2/2017

Thanks to the diligent efforts of Aldon Nielsen, we're able to present audio and photos from this year's MLA Offsite Reading, which took place on January 6, 2017 at West Philly's Rotunda. The hosts and organizers for the evening were Davy Knittle and Anna Strong, along with Lily Applebaum, Zack Arrington and Mel Bentley.

Here's the all-star roster of poets in reading order: Seth Perlow, Diana Hamilton, Timothy Yu, Crossley Simmons, Anna Maria Hong, Danny Snelson, Angela Hume, Zhimin Li, Alexa Smith, Faye Marie Chevalier, Evie Shockley, Eric Keenaghan, Zack Arrington, Pattie McCarthy, Chris McCreary, Tsitsi Jaji, Ryan Eckes, Sean Collins, Ted Rees, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague, James Ingoldsby, Andrew Dieck, Michelle Taransky, Sue Landers, Frank Sherlock, CA Conrad, Anne Boyer, Laynie Browne, Andrew Gorin, Rachel Milligan, Raquel Salas-Rivera, Nicole Stemberg, Tung-Hui Hu, Oki Sogumi, Trisha Low, Emily Abendroth, Connie Yu, Paul Gorman, Mark Scroggins, Piere Joris, Habib Tengour, Marion Bell, Kristen Case, Orchid Tierney, Herman Beavers, Thomas Devaney, Steven Kleinman, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Lauren Samblanet, Jason Zuzga, Leoard Schwartz, Christy Davids, Jim Krull, Amanda Silberling, A.L. Nielsen, Mel Bentley, Sara Jane Stoner, Knar Gavin, Meg Pendoley, Amish Trivedi, Maya Arthur, Davy Knittle, and Anna Strong.

You can listen to the entire reading or segmented files for each reader here. On our MLA Offsite Reading series page you'll find previous events from 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 1996, and the very first offsite from 1989.


Congratulations to Frost Medal Recipient Susan Howe

Posted 1/31/2017

With so much bad news in the world, we need to relish good news when it comes in, and that includes last week's announcement that Susan Howe had been named the 2017 recipient of the Poetry Society of America's prestigious Frost Medal, which recognizes "distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry." As the PSA's press release notes, "Previous winners of this award include Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, Barbara Guest, Lucille Clifton, Charles Simic, Michael S. Harper, and Marilyn Nelson."

We congratulate Howe on this great honor and encourage our listeners to check out PennSound's Susan Howe author page, which is home to forty years' worth of recordings, including her Pacifica Radio poetry program, various talks and readings, interviews, and her audacious collaborations with David Grubbs.


Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus"

Posted 1/28/2017

In light of deeply troubling current events, we humbly offer up Emma Lazarus' sonnet "The New Colossus" as a reminder of the high-minded ideals of acceptance that we, as a nation of immigrants, should hold ourselves to.

As the curators of a 2004 Library of Congress exhibit on America's "century of immigration" note: "Lazarus, who had worked with East European immigrants through her association with the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society, composed 'The New Colossus' in 1883 as part of a fundraising campaign for erecting the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, a tablet with her words — "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" — was affixed to the statue's base. These words remain the quintessential expression of America's vision of itself as a haven for those denied freedom and opportunity in their native lands.

PennSound listeners might also be interested in PoemTalk #58 on Bernadette Mayer's poem, "The Tragic Condition of the Statue of Liberty," which begins by quoting Lazarus' final, and most iconic, lines:


The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


In Memoriam: Harry Mathews (1930-2017)

Posted 1/26/2017

We're very sorry to report that Harry Mathews has passed away at the age of eighty-six in Key West, Florida. The prolific writer — perhaps most (in)famously known as the only American member of Oulipo — had a career that spanned six decades and multiple genres.

We're very grateful to be able to share Mathews' work as part of the PennSound archives. Most notable among our collection is a trio of recordings that came from Mathews own papers, housed at UPenn, which Chris Funkhouser dutifully tracked down and digitized for our site — a process that he detailed in a 2011 Jacket2 article, "Bringing Harry Mathews to PennSound (and You)." Along with these three readings (from Michael Silverblatt's Bookworm program, MIT, and Friends of the Library), he and Mathews also worked to secure a dozen poems originally presented as part of The Sienese Shredder in 2006. The collection is rounded out by a 2002 reading as part of the Line Reading Series. Listeners will also want to check out PennSound Podcast #34 in which Mathews provides a crash course in Oulipo — an excerpt from the MIT reading.

We send our condolences to those who knew and loved Mathews and his work and offer sincere hopes that 2017 will not be as taxing on our creative communities as its predecessor was.


New Recordings from Housework at Chapterhouse, 2016

Posted 1/24/2017

In December 2015 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. A second installment was posted last August. Today, we have even more recordings from the series.

From May 21, we have the trio of Coda Wei, Kate Schapira, and Lucas de Lima, followed by Dale Smith, Faye Chevalier, and Lamont Steptoe on July 23rd, and an event honoring Hillary Gravendyk with Julia Bloch and Cynthia Arrieu-King on September 10th. In that same month Mel Bentley interviewed Jay Besemer as part of the series.

October saw Gabriel Ojeda-Sague, Colette Arrand, and Raquel Salas-Rivera reading on the 15th, while November had Crystal Curry, Akhil Katyal, and Nico Vassilakis on the 12th, and Bentley interviewing Alex Smith. Finally, on December 17th, the reading line-up included Emma Sanders, Joie Wu, and Oki Sogumi.

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


Chinese American Association for Poetry Reading Los Angeles, CA, November 11, 2016

Posted 1/19/2017

While the new year brings many terrifying changes with it, there are still many good things we can rely on, and for PennSound listeners, one of those things is getting great recordings from Aldon Nielsen for his Heatstrings collection. Today, we're highlighting the latest file to be posted: the Chinese American Association for Poetry Reading, which took place in Los Angeles, California on November 11, 2016.

The roster for the seventy-minute event includes (in order): Eun-Gwi Chung, Feng Yi, Nicholas Karavatos, Ling Jian-e, Steven Tracy, Lin Chen, Susan Schultz, Liu Kedong, Luo Linaggong, Jerry Ward, Lv Aijing, Lauri Ramey, Young Suck Rhee, Li Zhimin, Sun Dong, Wu Zhaofeng, Nielsen, Zeng Wei, Charles Bernstein, Zhang Er, Youngman Kim, and a final reader identified only as Miles.

You can see photos of the event and listen to the complete recording, as well as recordings going back nearly thirty years, on our Heatstrings series page. As always, we're grateful to Nielsen for sharing these vital documents with us.


Hilda Morley: New Author Page

Posted 1/17/2017

Our latest author page is for Black Mountain-associated poet Hilda Morley (1916–1998). Admittedly, it's a scant archive, containing just one three minute recording — the poem "Provence" from a March 15, 1992 reading at New York's Alice Tully Hall — but as PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein notes, "it is the only recording of Morley now available."

In her New York Times obituary, Wolfgang Saxon observed that "Ms. Morley published five books of poetry in which she articulated emotions and feelings in free verse, but a type of verse as measured as dance or music. She was a 'master of that ability,' Robert Creeley, a fellow poet, said." He continues: "She wrote that her poetry was shaped by the visions of Abstract Expressionism, which can create metamorphoses. Artists like Klee and Picasso, she said, gave her the means to create word canvases depicting the world around her."

We're grateful to be able to share this document of Morley's life, no matter how brief, and thank Patrick Beurard-Valdoye and Austin Clarkson for their assistance in making this recording available.


PoemTalk 108: on Tracie Morris' "Tracie Morris, "Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful"

Posted 1/13/2017

Today we released episode #108 in the PoemTalk Podcast series — a discussion of Tracie Morris' performance piece/musical poem "Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful," as performed at the 2002 Whitney Biennial. For this program, host Al Filreis was joined by a panel including Camara Brown, Edwin Torres, and Brooke O'Harra.

Filreis starts off his introduction on the PoemTalk blog with a little background on the piece itself, "a last-minute improvisation after Morris discovered she misplaced or lost her planned text, accompanied by — and intuitively responsive to — two colleagues whose dance movements, in part, reproduced the sweeping up-down motions of rice harvesting." He then moves on to the perspectives of the panelists, noting that "The three guest PoemTalkers being performers themselves, the conversation naturally turned to the crucial connection between voice as expressive subjectivity and voice as physical sonant effect." He continues, asking Brooke, Camara, and Edwin "to describe the impact on their own work of Morris's radicalization of the poetic voice as an agonizing through stereotype." 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.



PennSound Featured Resources Archive

Posted 1/11/2017

If you scroll a little farther down on our homepage you'll notice a sidebar on the left with our latest PennSound Featured Resources list, chosen by our co-director, Charles Bernstein. What you might not know, however, is that we maintain an archive of our featured resources selections that goes all the way back to August 2005, not long after our official launch.

Click here to start browsing lists by Brian Ang, Marcella Durand, Stephen McLaughlin, Danny Snelson, Eric Baus, Thomas Devaney, Marjorie Perloff, Steve Evans, Al Filreis, David Jhave Johnson, and yours truly.

A great many of these lists feature accompanying essays, or at the very least links to PennSound Daily entries with brief explanations for the curator's choices. Some, like Johnson's and Snelson's are new constructs built up from raw materials from our archives (the former a digital interface, the latter a palimpsestic text). Some, like Devaney's "Death Poems & PennSound," are thematic groupings of material. Some, like Bernstein's current "Down To Write You This Poem Sat" and my "Recording Performance / Recording as Performance" were written for external venues and repurposed for the site. They're never presented as PennSound's greatest hits or most important recordings, but rather as idiosyncratic glimpses through the great breadth of the archive. If you had to choose your personal favorite PennSound recordings what would make the list?


PennSound Daily is written by Michael S. Hennessey.

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