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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Remembering Gregory Corso, On the 20th Anniversary of His Death

Posted 1/17/2021

January 17th marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Beat legend Gregory Corso. While the loss of any poet is a tragedy, one feels especially sorry for Corso, who had finally attained some modicum of hard-fought peace and closure in his final years, leaving behind the traumas that had marked his childhood and reuniting with his mother after decades of separation (as detailed in the late Gustave Reininger's criminally neglected documentary, Corso: The Last Beat).

We launched our Gregory Corso author page in June 2017, with assistance from Raymond Foye. There, you'll find five full readings plus one individual poem recorded between the 1970s and 1990s. The earliest recording is an April 1971 reading at Duke University, which is followed by an August 1985 appearance at the San Francisco Art Institute as part of their "Art of Poetry" series. Jumping forward to the 90s, there's a March 1991 Brooklyn College reading notable for the appearance of Corso's iconic late poem "The Whole Mess ... Almost" and for the half-hour candid conversation recorded in the car on the way home. From December 1992, there's a stellar reading in New York City also featuring Herbert Huncke, John Wieners, and Allen Ginsberg, and finally, from March 1993, we have a half-hour reading from Rutgers University including "I Met This Guy Who Died," "Earliest Memory," "Youthful Religious Experiences," and "Friends," among other poems.

Ginsberg famously offered high praise for his dear friend, calling him "a poet's Poet, his verse pure velvet, close to John Keats for our time, exquisitely delicate in manners of the Muse," who "has been and always will be a popular poet, awakener of youth, puzzlement & pleasure for sophisticated elder bibliophiles." He continues, judging Corso as "'Immortal' as immortal is, Captain Poetry exampling revolution of Spirit, his 'poetry the opposite of hypocrisy,' a longer, laughably unlaurelled by native prizes, divine Poet Maudit, rascal poet Villonesque and Rimbaudian whose wild fame's extended for decades around the world from France to China, World poet." Per his request, and with the help of donations from his fans worldwide (I still remember the call for funds and might have sent in $5), Corso's ashes were interred in Rome's Cimitero Acattolico right next to the grave of his greatest poetic hero, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and in close proximity to Keats. His tombstone bears his poem "Spirit," written as his epitaph during his lifetime. While that poem — and many more — are on my mind today, the one that seems like the most appropriate tribute is another classic Corso poem addressing mortality that includes a good dose of his trademark humor, "How Not to Die." We have a great recording of Corso reading it at that 1993 Rutgers reading [MP3] and here's the poem in its entirety:

How Not To Die 

Around people
if I feel I'm gonna die
I excuse myself
telling them "I gotta go!"
"Go where?" they wanna know
I don't answer
I just get outa there
away from them
because somehow
they sense something wrong
and never know what to do
it scares them such suddenness
How awful
to just sit there
and they asking:
"Are you okay?"
"Can we get you something?"
"Want to lie down?"
Ye gods! people!
who wants to die amongst people?!
Especially when they can't do shit
To the movies — to the movies
that's where I hurry to
when I feel I'm going to die
So far it's worked

Click here to start browsing the recordings collected on PennSound's Gregory Corso author page.

Reminder: Kelly Writers House Fellows Program Starts Next Month

Posted 1/14/2021

The 22nd annual Kelly Writers House Fellows program begins next month, and we can't be more excited about who'll be joining us this year. We first announced this year's roster back in September, and now that the schedule has been finalized, we wanted to refresh everyone's memory. You can RSVP for one or all of this year's events by dropping us a line at whfellow@writing.upenn.edu.

First up, visiting on February 22–23 is Erica Hunt. Hunt is a poet, essayist, and author of Local History, Arcade, Piece Logic, Time Flies Right Before the Eyes, A Day and Its Approximates, Veronica: A Suite in X Parts, and her newest work Jump The Clock: New and Selected Poems out with Nightboat Books in October 2020. Her poems and non-fiction have appeared in BOMB, Boundary 2, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetics Journal, Tripwire, FENCE, Hambone, and In The American Tree, among other publications. Essays on poetics, feminism and politics have been collected in Moving Borders, Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women and The Politics of Poetic Form, The World, and other anthologies. With poet and scholar Dawn Lundy Martin, Hunt is co-editor of the anthology Letters to the Future, Black Women/Radical Writing from Kore Press.

Hunt graduated with a B.A. in English from San Francisco State University in 1980 and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in 2013. She has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Fund for Poetry, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Djerassi Foundation, and is a past fellow of Duke University/the University of Capetown Program in Public Policy and a past Fellow at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing in Poetics and Poetic Practice here at Penn. Currently, Hunt is Bonderman Visiting Professor at Brown University and a Poet in Residence at Temple University.

Next, on March 29–30, our guest will be Hilton Als. Als began contributing to The New Yorker in 1989, writing pieces for "The Talk of the Town," and later became a staff writer in 1994, theatre critic in 2002, and lead theater critic in 2012. His reviews are not simply reviews; they are provocative contributions to the discourse on theatre, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America. He is currently working on a new book titled I Don’t Remember (Penguin, early 2021), a book length essay on his experiences in AIDS era New York. Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. Als edited the catalogue for the 1994-95 Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition "Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art." His first book, The Women, was published in 1996. His book, White Girls, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014 and winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Non-fiction, discusses various narratives of race and gender. He wrote the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of The Early Stories of Truman Capote, and was guest editor for the 2018 Best American Essays. He wrote Andy Warhol: The Series, a book containing two previously unpublished television scripts for a series on the life of Andy Warhol. His in-progress debut play, Lives of the Performers, has been performed at Carolina Performing Arts and LAXART in Los Angeles.

In 1997, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment. He was awarded a Guggenheim for creative writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002–03. In 2016, he received the Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature, as well as the Windham Campbell Prize for Nonfiction. In 2017 Als won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, and in 2018 the Langston Hughes Medal. In 2016, his debut art show "One Man Show: Holly, Candy, Bobbie and the Rest" opened at the Artist’s Institute. He has curated "Alice Neel, Uptown" and "God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin" at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City. He is also curating three successive solo exhibitions at the Yale Centre for British Art, the first exhibit in 2018 featured Celia Paul, the second, in 2019, features Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, the third will feature Paul Doig. In 2019 Als partnered with WNYC's Greene Space on a limited podcast series titled The Way We Live Now: Hilton Als and America’s Poets. He recently contributed an essay to Moonlight, a limited edition book about the film of the same name. Als is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College. He lives in New York City.

Finally, from April 26–27 we'll be joined by Gabrielle Hamilton. Hamilton is the chef and owner of the acclaimed Prune restaurant in New York City’s East Village, and the author of Prune, the cookbook. Hamilton has won four James Beard awards over her career, perhaps most notably for her New York Times bestselling memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef (Random House, 2011). Her other James Beard awards were for Best Chef in New York City in 2011, an award for journalism in 2015 for her essay “Into the Vines” for Afar magazine, and Outstanding Chef in 2018.

Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Bon Appetit, Saveur, and Food & Wine. She is an Eat columnist in The New York Times Magazine contributing regularly, and most recently wrote the widely praised essay "My Restaurant Was My Life For 20 Years. Does The World Need It Anymore?" for the April 26, 2020 issue, just a month or so into the 2020 Coronavirus epidemic, about closing her restaurant and the state of the industry generally. Her writing has also been collected several times in the annually published Best Food Writing, and was a featured subject of season 4 of the PBS docuseries Mind of a Chef in 2015. Hamilton received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan and a BA from Hampshire College. She lives in New York City.

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.

Congratulations to Bollingen Prize Winner Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Posted 1/12/2021

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge has popped up on PennSound Daily frequently over the past few months, between her nomination for this year's National Book Award in Poetry for A Treatise on Stars, and her October reading for POG's Zoom series, but today brings even more reason to celebrate Berssenbrugge: she's been awarded the 2021 Bollingen Prize for Poetry from Yale University. Here is part of announcement, including the judges' rationale:

"Mei-mei Berssenbrugge's poetry explores the permeable boundaries between the human and the natural worlds, as she makes palpable her communion with birds, plants, dolphins, stars, and the beyond," the three-member prize judging committee said. "Emerging from the ferment of the Basement Workshop,  a collective of Asian-American poets, artists, and activists in the 1970s, Berssenbrugge went on to create a visionary ecopoetics that directly confronts our planetary –– and human –– crisis. With her preternaturally long lines, Berssenbrugge composes a syntax of unfolding vistas, stretching our senses of both the plausible and the possible, bringing new modes of affinity and new paths for freedom into view. Berssenbrugge's entanglements of consciousness and perception have created a lyric that moves away from self-centeredness toward the cosmos. A Treatise on Stars is a far-out star flight — profoundly meditative, extravagant, disarming, open. 'Any soul may distribute itself into a human, a toy poodle, bacteria, an etheric, or quartz crystal.' As readers we are, again and again, enthralled by her radical wagers on poems enacting transformation. 'Writing,' the poet tells us, 'can shift the mechanism of time by changing the record, then changing the event.'"

The judges panel included Maureen N. McLane, Nicole Sealey, and our own Charles Bernstein, who won the Bollingen in 2019. You can read the complete announcement herePennSound's author page for Berssenbrugge is home to more than two dozen individual recordings going back as far as 1986, including interviews, radio programs, and a great many readings. You can hear more from A Treatise on Stars in particular by checking out her 2019 Kelly Writers House Fellows reading and the aforementioned 2020 Pog reading.

William Carlos Williams Burns the Christmas Greens

Posted 1/6/2021

In Irish culture January 6th is traditionally recognized as Little Christmas, which marks the official end of the holiday season. On a chilly day like today, even a lapsed Catholic such as myself can't help but shudder just a little at the sight of the previous year's Christmas trees stripped bare and piled at the curbside waiting on trash day. Richard Brautigan's portrait of the grim holiday season after JFK's assassination, "'What Are You Going to Do With 390 Photographs of Christmas Trees?'" (from The Tokyo-Montana Express) does a fine job of paying tribute to this strange phenomenon — the sense of loss that haunts the promise of a fresh new year — but even it pales in comparison to the stark beauty of William Carlos Williams' "Burning the Christmas Greens," one of my favorite hidden gems on PennSound's encyclopedic Williams author page.

First published in the January 1944 issue of Poetry, the poem would later appear in The Wedge that same year. Altogether we have four recordings of Williams reading the poem: one from a May 1945 session at the Library of Congress Recording Library, another from a June 1951 home recording by Kenneth Burke, the third from a reading at Harvard in December of that year, and the last from the 92nd Street Y in January 1954; we also have a 1990 rendition of the poem by Robert Creeley.

"At the winter's midnight" — the thick of the dark / the moment of the cold's / deepest plunge" — "we went to the trees, the coarse / holly, the balsam and / the hemlock for their green," Williams tells us, before launching into a litany of the season's decorative delights. "Green is a solace / a promise of peace, a fort / against the cold," something that "seemed gentle and good / to us," and yet now, "their time past," Williams finds a different sort of solace in the "recreant" force of the conflagration, "a living red, / flame red, red as blood wakes / on the ash." Surrendering ourselves to the experience, we find ourselves, like Williams, "breathless to be witnesses, / as if we stood / ourselves refreshed among / the shining fauna of that fire," ready and grateful to be able to begin the cycle once more.

So even though the calendar's turned over, the presents are put away, and the all-too-swift delights of the season are gone, here's one last chance to reflect on what we've experienced and an opportunity to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. You can listen to our four recordings of Williams reading the poem on his PennSound author page, or click here to hear the earliest.

Two New Belladonna* Readings, 2020

Posted 1/5/2021

Here's a pair of new recordings from the influential Belladonna* Readings Series to get this first week of the new year off to a great start.

First, from September 22nd of last year, we have a book launch event for Kimberly Alidio’s book, : once teeth bones coral :, which took place over Zoom. James Loop provided introductions for the stellar line-up celebrating Alidio, which included Gabrielle Civil, Krystal Languell, cheena marie lo, and Anne Waldman.

Then, from December 8th, we have the latest In-Flux Zoom reading, featuring authors jay dodd and Cameron Awkward-Rich. Introductions for this event were provided by James Loop, Alma Valdez-Garcia, and Zoe Tuck.

Entering its twenty-second year, Belladonna* is "a reading series and independent press that promotes the work of women writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, impossible to define, delicious to talk about, unpredictable, and dangerous with language." You can watch these latest additions by clicking here, and there are countless amazing recordings spanning the series' complete history waiting for you to discover on PennSound's Belladonna* series page.

In Memoriam: Jean Valentine (1934–2020)

Posted 12/30/2020

Perhaps it's fitting that this year that's been so thoroughly shaped by loss ends with us remembering poet Jean Valentine, who passed away yesterday at the age of 86. Valentine's life in poetry was auspicious from beginning to end, starting with her 1964 debut, Dream Barker, which was chosen by Dudley Fitts for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Her 2004 volume Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003 won the National Book Award for Poetry, she served as New York State's poet laureate from 2008–2010, and was awarded Yale's Bollingen Prize for American Poetry in 2017.

While we don't have a PennSound author page for Valentine, we do have one recording from her in our Singles database. Recorded on April 6, 2010, when Valentine read with Cindy Savett at our own Kelly Writers House. Bob Perelman provided introductions for the evening; here's what he had to say about Valentine:

I think her poems have at their core a tenderness toward existence and attention to the rhythms of our life on earth, of birth and death and renewal, of time sometimes standing still for a time and allowing us to be attuned to everything happening in the always-present. The poems seem to me to be like beautiful translucent doors swinging easily in the wind without trying to keep anything in or out. The sound of the swinging like the sound of the lightness we wish to feel — the wind's lightness perhaps — and as if the body could open all its own doors, letting the world pass through it to become the world, to become everyone in it.

I think it is most boundaries that separate us from each other — one condition of being we think entirely different from another — though Jean Valentine's poems in a sense are poems celebrating an erasure of all that keeps us separate from each other, and from one life, and the next, and the next after. Perhaps that's why her poetry is also as fluid as it is, something like a clear lake on which we may float for a time, as if we were little boats gliding across it, buoyed by the generous force of its uplifting.

Valentine's half-hour set was mostly comprised of new poems that would appear in Break the Glass, published that fall by Copper Canyon. She finished the reading with a few favorite poems from her previous collection, Little Boat (Wesleyan, 2007). You can listen in by clicking here. We send our condolences to Valentines family, friends, and her many fans throughout the world.

PoemTalk #55: on Lorenzo Thomas' "Souvenir of the Manassah Ball"

Posted 12/28/2020

Last week we released the newest episode in the PoemTalk Podcast series — its 155th program in total — which addresses Lorenzo Thomas' poem "Souvenir of the Manassah Ball," a poem written in 1990 or 1991, which the author read at SUNY-Buffalo on November 13, 1991. For this show, host Al Filreis brought together a stellar panel that included (from left to right) Erica Hunt, Bob Perelman, and Tonya Foster in "a virtual version of the Wexler Studio of the Kelly Writers House" to discuss Thomas' poem.

After some introductory information Filreis' PoemTalk blog post announcing the new episode confesses that "We think this PoemTalk conversation will be especially helpful to those who are reading this poem for the first time: we collaboratively identify all or most of the cultural and historical references (Lochinvar of Walter Scott, the fashion for 'Pantomime Quiz' as another name for Charades, Lear's Cordelia, etc.) and we are able to figure out why so many pairs of dancers appear, despite this couple's pariah status (it is because they themselves reflect a thousand times in the chandelier above them)." He continues, "the group identifies the racist hatred that animates some or likely all the couple's detractors," before asking, "the poem of course counters such violent hatred, but can it (or the speaker) be said to be ideological?"

You can read more about this latest show, read Thomas' poem, and listen to the podcast here. The full PoemTalk archives, spanning more than a decade, can be found here.

John Richetti reads Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas"

Posted 12/23/2020

As we close out the year, we have one more gift to pass along to our listeners from our friend John Richetti: a recording of Clement Clarke Moore's beloved Christmas poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas," made specially this month to be added to his growing anthology, "114 Favorite Poems, Good for Memorizing."

More frequently known by its opening phrase, "'Twas the night before Christmas ...," "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was first published in Troy, New York's Sentinel on this day in 1823 with no attribution. It became wildly popular, reprinted far and wide, and its author — a professor of literature and divinity at New York City's General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, who initially sought to downplay his connection to the poem — would finally be credited in 1837, with Moore including it in a collection of his verse in 1844.

Click here to listen to Richetti's performance of the poem. You can read along on the Poetry Foundation's copy of the poem here. Many more recordings made by Richetti form the backbone of our PennSound Classics page, which is organized by author name. To start browsing, click here.

Spending Midwinter Day with Bernadette Mayer

Posted 12/21/2020

At 5:02AM EST, we officially made the transition from autumn into winter, and the day that lies ahead of us will be the year's darkest. The winter solstice has long been a source of cultural inspiration and poetic inspiration as well, with one of the most notable recent manifestations being Bernadette Mayer's iconic Midwinter Day, which celebrates its forty-first birthday this year. While not published until 1982, Mayer famously wrote the book — hailed by Alice Notley as "an epic poem about a daily routine ... sedate, mundane, yet marvelous" — in its entirety while marking the the winter solstice at 100 Main Street in Lennox, Massachusetts on December 22, 1978. 

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

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

Phill Niblock on PennSound

Posted 12/18/2020

We are honored that PennSound has been able to host work by composer and Experimental Intermedia Foundation director Phill Niblock very close to our project's inception. We close out this week by highlighting the three films by Niblock available on his PennSound author page, which were upgraded to higher-resolution videos when we created the page in 2013.

The most recent 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.

New at PennSound: the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive Reading Series

Posted 12/16/2020

The latest series to join the PennSound archives is the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive's reading series, which is curated by Cole Solinger. We're proud to be able to present three recordings from the fall of 2019 before the series was interrupted by the pandemic, with each event featuring three readers.

First up, from September 8th, we have a reading by Trisha Low, Elaine Kahn, and Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta. That's followed on September 29th by Ocean Escalanti, Vasiliki Kitsigianis Ioannou, and Jheyda McGarrell, and finally, from October 13th, we have the trio of Eric Dolan, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and Fego Navarro to close out the series.

We're grateful to Solinger for sharing these recordings with us, and look forward to future events in the series. For now, you can enjoy the three readings mentioned above by clicking here.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis Reads from 'Late Work' and 'Around the Day in 80 Worlds'

Posted 12/14/2020

There's no reason whatsoever to break our recent string of birthday greetings here on PennSound Daily, especially when December 14th is the birthday of poet Rachel Blau DuPlessis and we've got a recent addition to the site to announce as we celebrate her today. 

Recorded in October, as part of a Zoom reading series curated by Don Yorty, this video showcases poetry from two of DuPlessis' recent books, starting with selections from Late Work (Black Square Editions, 2020) and Around the Day in 80 Worlds (BlazeVOX [books], 2018). The first two titles read here — "Late Work" and "Mackle, Shard, and Trace" — come from the former, followed by section 69 of the latter. 

Of course, this is just one of many, many wonderful recordings you'll find on PennSound's Rachel Blau DuPlessis author page, which hosts nearly forty years' worth of readings, lectures, interviews, panels, class discussions, and much more, including the vast majority of her magnum opus, Drafts, written between 1986 and 2012, and the projects that came before and after it. Indeed, there's something about being able to take in the complex grandeur of the Drafts project in this manner that gives you a different sense of its architecture — especially when a number of the longer poems in the series have been segmented into their individual sections — and while Rachel's verbal playfulness and charm is well evident on the page, they truly shine in performance. Beyond a greater appreciation of her own poetry, one really gets a sense of what a marvelous commentator and teacher DuPlessis is, and not just through formal talks on her own diverse scholarly interests, but also via more spontaneous recordings like her countless appearances on PoemTalk and special events at our Kelly Writers House. Taken as a whole, these recordings show just how vital a force DuPlessis has been over the past four decades, and what a valuable member of Philadelphia's poetry scene she's been as well. Therefore we send her birthday greetings today with great admiration and hopes for many happy returns.

Happy 89th Birthday to Jerome Rothenberg!

Posted 12/11/2020

In our last post, we shared birthday greetings for a legendary poet, Emily Dickinson. Today, we'll do one better and salute a living legend: the one and only Jerry Rothenberg, who turns 89 on December 11th.

Our PennSound author page for Rothenberg, collecting recordings from 1969 to the present, is a wonderful way to interact with the Rothenberg's considerable legacy. There's a comprehensive survey of his own diverse poetic modes, spread across numerous recordings, from album releases via S Press and Optic Nerve's Rockdrill series to myriad readings and even some of his musical collaborations. There are a number of recordings related to his editorial and translation projects, including launch readings celebrating several different volumes in the Poems for the Millennium series and milestone events for Technicians of the Sacred (both its 40th and 50th anniversaries). There are lectures, class recordings, and interviews with Rothenberg, as well as commentaries on his own work, including several PoemTalk episodes. With nearly 300 MP3s alone — counting individual tracks and complete recordings — not to mention videos, it's a fittingly encyclopedic tribute to Rothenberg's influence, as well as a useful resource for all sorts of classroom settings. Listeners will also enjoy Rothenberg's ongoing Jacket2 commentary series, "Poems and Poetics," which we've been honored to host for the past eight years.

Pick any recording at random and you'll understand instantly why Rothenberg is so universally beloved: for someone who's published output might fill several shelves, he's truly at his best in a live environment. Having worked at PennSound for so long, I've been to a lot of poetry readings and have listened to many more beyond that, and for my money, there's no one as captivating, no voice as powerful, no poet who entertains as well as he moves us and teaches us. I cherish the three times I've seen Jerry read in person — at our own Kelly Writers House in 2008, at Xavier University here in Cincinnati in 2011, and at the University of Michigan in 2013 (all of which are available on PennSound) — and as he adds another year to a long and fruitful life, let's all hope there will be many more happy and healthy birthdays to come, because I won't be satisfied until I get to see him read at least one more time.

Happy 190th Birthday to Emily Dickinson!

Posted 12/10/2020

This December 10th marks 190 years since the birth of one of the United States' most singular voices, Emily Dickinson. For most of PennSound's history a treasure trove of Dickinson materials was scattered throughout our site, but several years ago we pulled together a proper PennSound author page for the poet, gathering selected resources from throughout our archives.

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

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

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

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

"Teaching Without a Text": Jacob Edmond on Kamau Brathwaite

Posted 12/7/2020

We're starting off this week with an exciting new essay by Jacob Edmond, the editor of PennSound's Kamau Brathwaite author page. Published in the journal archipelagos, "Teaching without a Text: Close Listening to Kamau Brathwaite’s Digital Audio Archive" begins with a simple, reciprocal proposition: "new media technologies — from the tape recorder to the computer — enabled Kamau Brathwaite's revolutionary poetic approach; digital technologies likewise enable us to study and teach his groundbreaking work in new ways." 

Edmond makes the argument that "that teaching and studying Brathwaite should begin with the audible word not the written text and that digital audio archives and platforms can play a key role in enabling this approach," noting that "digital audio archives such as PennSound and the Poetry Archive allow students and scholars to approach Brathwaite's work by listening closely to a wide range of sound recordings." He concludes: "This essay demonstrates the utility of this close listening approach by taking advantage of the digital platform of archipelagos journal to interweave its text with Brathwaite's recorded voice. It not only demonstrates the value of approaching Brathwaite's work through digital sound recordings but also argues for a larger overturning of critical, pedagogical, and essayistic conventions in literary studies through a methodological turn away from the page."

We're always excited to see PennSound recordings being put to good use, and even more thrilled that the MP3 files are integrated within the body of the essay itself, allowing a seamless reading and listening experience. PennSound co-founder Al Filreis discusses Edmond's essay on his Jacket2 commentary page, highlighting a passage that discusses Brathwaite's poem "Negus," which he and Edmond, along with Amber Rose Johnson and Huda Fakhreddine, discussed in episode #149 of the PoemTalk podcast series. You can listen to that program here, browse our Brathwaite author page here, and read Edmond's essay here.

Tim Dlugos: 30 Years After

Posted 12/3/2020

December 3rd marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of poet Tim Dlugos, who lived A Fast Life (as the title of his collected poems attests) that was unfairly cut short by AIDS at the age of 40. Dlugos is justifiably celebrated for his bravery and candor in documenting his deteriorating health in iconic poems like "G-9" — named for Roosevelt Hospital's AIDS ward, where he'd been an inpatient on several occasions— from which Dlugos read excerpts on ABC's Good Morning America just weeks before his final admission. Nevertheless, this is but one facet of Dlugos' poetics, where we also find charming pop sensibilities, tender expressions of love, unflinching dispatches from queer culture, an eye for formal experimentations, and a wicked sense of humor.

We've already marked one milestone for Dlugos in 2020 — on what would have been his 70th birthday in August — and after writing that post, I found myself lamenting that we didn't have a lot of recordings to be able to share. Soon thereafter, I reached out to Christopher Wiss and David Trinidad and was ecstatic when David was able to send three recordings our way. While we hope to be able to announce even more additions to our Tim Dlugos author page in time, we will celebrate him today with these three terrific readings.

The earliest of these recordings is a 1974 from Mass Transit Bookstore in Washington, D.C., where he read alongside John Ashbery (Trinidad notes that you can hear Ashbery in the background reacting to Dlugos' poems). Dlugos notes that he's only going to read one poem "from the book" (High There, his debut chapbook published by Some of Us Press in 1973) in this nearly forty-minute set, which includes a number of early favorites like "American Baseball" and "Gilligan's Island," along with "Great Art," "So Far," "Flaming Angel," "Poem for Jeanne," "Dream Series," "President Truman," and "As It Is." This recording also includes a number of unpublished early poems ("Sexual Postures," "Gypsy," and "The Eyes of Our Hearts") as well as a shorter draft version of "Stanzas for Martina" (written for Tina Darragh) than what was eventually published.

An undated home recording made by Dlugos in D.C. appears to be from not long thereafter. Running twenty-six minutes, this set begins with a bold proclamation, "from high above DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C. to your machines, this is Tim Dlugos . . . and this is 'John Tongue,'" before launching into the poem of the same name. He also reads "Poppers," "Great Books of the 1950s," and "Some," along with some titles from the previous recording ("As It Is," "American Baseball," "Stanzas for Martina"). This tape also includes a few unpublished pieces: "Dream With You In It," excerpts from a January 1975 dream journal similar to "Dream Series," and a piece from the series Music (for Maurice Sendak) based on Rachmaninoff's second symphony.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Dlugos' 1984 reading with Dennis Cooper at Venice, CA's beloved Beyond Baroque. This forty-minute set consists of ten poems in total, starting with "Pretty Convincing," and moving on to "Close," "Sonnet ["Stevie Nicks walks into the Parisian weather"]," "The Nineteenth Century is 183 Years Old," "Octavian," "Not Stravinsky," "Green Acres," "Summer, South Brooklyn," and "The Morning," before concluding with the long poem "Cape and Islands." When sending the recordings along, Trinidad reminisced, "I was there; it was a spectacular reading," and I agree with him wholeheartedly. You will too.

These three recordings join those already in the PennSound archives, including his 1977 appearance on Public Access Poetry and a segmented 1978 Segue Series reading from the Ear Inn where Dlugos reads "Sonnet for Eileen Myles," "Je Suis Ein Americano," and "A Day for Don and Vladimir," along with several of the perennial favorites listed above.  

Once more, we thank Christopher Wiss for his kindness in letting us share these recordings, and David Trinidad for sharing them with us. Dlugos' New York Diary — like the indispensable A Fast Life (Nightboat Books), edited by Trinidad — will be released next month by Sibling Rivalry Press. You can listen to the aforementioned recordings by clicking here.

Happy 111th Birthday to Helen Adam!

Posted 12/2/2020

December 2nd would have been the 111th birthday of Helen Adam, the beloved Scottish eccentric who found a home in San Francisco's thriving midcentury poetry scene. While we don't have an extensive archive of her work, we're nevertheless glad to have a set of essential recordings that give listeners a clear sense of what made Adam so special.

Chief among these is her magnum opus, San Francisco's Burning, a lyric drama co-written with Adam's sister Pat, which was produced by Charles Ruas for the Audio Experimental Theatre and first broadcast on New York City's WBAI FM on July 17th, 1977. In addition to the two Adam sisters, the radio play's cast also included Marilyn Hacker, Robert Hershon, and Barbara Wise in major roles. To give listeners some context for this iconic piece, we're very glad to be able to share Kristin Prevallet's "Notes on San Francisco's Burning" from A Helen Adam Reader (2007), which features some charming anecdotes about the drama's production, including this recollection from musical director Rob Wynne regarding the "structured chaos" of the recording process: "It took a few months to pull it all together, often ending up after a session at Helen & Pat's apartment, surrounded by her collection of agates and stones, in which she saw images and stories. She always served celery filled with peanut butter, a bizarre but oddly delicious combination." 

Aside from San Francisco's Burning, Adam is perhaps best known for her rollicking performance of "Cheerless Junkie's Song" from Ron Mann's 1981 film, Poetry in Motion, which is presented here, along with PoemTalk #93, in which host Al Filreis leads a discussion of the poem with panelists Corina Copp, Laura Sims, and Richard Deming. Finally, we have Adam's late-70s appearance on Susan Howe's Pacifica FM radio show, where she discusses her life and work with Howe and Ruas. This recording has been broken into MP3s for individual poems (including "Ballad of the Hawthorn Bower," "In and Out of the Horn-Beam Maze," "At the Window," "The Fair Young Wife," and "A Walk in the Wind") as well as different thematic segments of the interview (such as "On her childhood in Scotland;" "On Allen Ginsberg, Jack Spicer, Open Space, and the atmosphere of San Francisco;" and "On gothic romances, magic, and the relationship between love and death"). Listeners will also enjoy browsing "A Helen Adam Sampler," Prevallet's brief selection of poems that forms the centerpiece of Adam's EPC author page. You can find links to all of these resources on PennSound's Helen Adam author page.

In Memoriam: Miguel Algarín (1941–2020)

Posted 12/1/2020

We have sad news to start off this week: Miguel Algarín, poet, professor, editor, and co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Café has passed away at the age of seventy-nine. The Nuyorican Poets Café confirmed the news with a tweet last night: "With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to poet & visionary Miguel Algarín, founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.  Miguel was a brilliant poet, an influential professor and leader, and a supportive mentor who inspired and guided generations of artists." In a follow-up tweet, they added, "The literary world owes Miguel a debt of gratitude. He will be greatly missed."

Remezcla posted a lovely tribute to Algarín earlier today, which, among other things, talks about his formative years and the founding of the Nuyorican Poets Café, along with its lasting influence:
Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico on September 11, 1941, his family moved to New York’s Lower East Side in 1950. Algarín has described his upbringing as very culturally minded which set him for a similar path of his own. He studied English, earning various degrees including a PhD in comparative literature, and later becoming a professor of the language, lecturing in Brooklyn University, NYU, and Rutgers where he became emeritus professor.

By 1975, his home had become a meeting ground for writers to share their works and thoughts. Expanding to a formal space, Algarín — along with Miguel Piñero, Pedro Pietri, and others — founded the Nuyorican Poets Café, becoming ground zero for a literary movement. During its history, the Nuyorican Poets Café has been a haven for poetry, prose, theater, visual arts, and music, as their weekly jam sessions attest. Algarín broadcasted a radio program from the Café and compiled various anthologies of Puerto Rican literature, founding the publishing house Nuyorican Press as well as Arte Public Press.
We only have one recording of Algarín in our collection, but it's a good one: his July 13, 1978 appearance on the St. Mark's Poetry Project-affiliated series Public Access Poetry, where he read alongside Regina Beck. You can watch that episode by clicking here. We send our sincerest condolences to Algarín's family, friends, and his many fans.

PoemTalk #154: on Elizabeth Willis' "The Similitude of This Great Flower"

Posted 11/25/2020

Today we release the newest episode in the PoemTalk Podcast series, its 154th program in total, which focus on "The Similitude of This Great Flower" by Elizabeth Willis. For this show, host Al Filreis brought together a panel consisting of (from left to right) Kate Colby, Simone White, and Angela Carr over Zoom to discuss Willis' poem.

Filreis starts his PoemTalk blog post announcing the new episode in an evocative fashion: "'You promised to go on' indicates mere survival in the end." He continues, "The compressed and converged idioms of the previous sentences — there's a fly on the wall looking through a keyhole 'trying to read the wall'! — have a comic, almost punny multivalent quality, but whatever that indicative writing on the wall is, at least 'It says we haven't died.' We’re alive indeed and that’s grimly good — and, the group agrees, such witness to survival is owing to the writing as writing. We 'go on' through the resistant act of writing, yes, but also in the writing, in the materiality of those words. The poem is a small machine for going on."

You can read more about this latest show, read Willis' poem, and listen to the podcast here. The full PoemTalk archives, spanning more than a decade, can be found here.

PennSound Presents Poems of Thanks and Thanksgiving

Posted 11/23/2020

With the US celebrating Thanksgiving this week, 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.

Kathy Acker: SUNY-Buffalo Talk and Creeley Interview, 1979

Posted 11/20/2020

Here's a fascinating document from our archives that certainly merits your attention. On December 12–13, 1979, Kathy Acker was a guest of Robert Creeley's at SUNY-Buffalo. Over those two days she read from her own work, delivered a talk on French novelists, and was interviewed by Creeley. Both events have been segmented, and are available on our Kathy Acker author page.

After introductory comments by Creeley, Acker begins with "Tangier," a long chapter (the recording is forty-six minutes long) from Blood and Guts in High School about meeting Jean Genet in Tangiers. She and Creeley then talk briefly about Erica Jong before the first day's event ends. 

The second day begins with Acker offering introductory comments on the pair of French novelists "whose work I'm absolutely fascinated with" that she'll be discussing in this session: Pierre Guyotat and Laure (the pen name of Colette Peignot). "You can't get these books in this country. Don't even try," Acker warns, however she explains that "I wanted to present what I'm doing with their work to you" — even though her translations are rough first drafts and "my French is very bad," ("I knew it enough to know I didn't know it," she later tells the audience) — because of how captivated she became with these authors on a recent trip to France. Specifically, this interest ties into language: both her experience of their language and mediation inherent to encountering a foreign language of which one only has a basic knowledge, but also concerns that have followed her for much longer: "It seemed to me that more and more — I've lived in New York for the last seven years — [that] language is almost impossible now. It's as if ... to have a language, to be able to really speak to someone, seems to be almost like total freedom, in my mind."

She then reads brief translations from each author's work: an excerpt from Guyotat's novel, Eden, Eden, Eden, followed by a piece by Laure about her childhood.  A half-hour lecture on the two authors comes next, with a discussion session of about the same length wrapping up the event. That conversation has been segmented into five thematic parts: "on self-expression," "on self-reflection," "on subjectivity and perception," "on the writer's perspective," and "on the divided self." You can listen in by clicking here

Congratulations to National Book Award Winner Don Mee Choi

Posted 11/18/2020

We have been very excitedly following news of this year's National Book Award nominations — particularly PennSound poets Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and Don Mee Choi as they made it from the longlist to the group of five finalists. In ceremonies held earlier this evening it was announced that Choi's DMZ Colony had been selected by judges Layli Long Soldier, Rigoberto González, John Hennessy, Diana Khoi Nguyen, and Elizabeth Willis as this year's winner.

In their citation, the judges hailed DMZ Colony as an "urgent" text that "captures the migratory latticework of those transformed by war and colonization." "Homelands present and past share one sky where birds fly," they continue, "but 'during the Korean War cranes had no place to land.'" They conclude: "Devastating and vigilant, this bricolage of survivor accounts, drawings, photographs, and hand-written texts unearth the truth between fact and the critical imagination. We are all 'victims of History,' so Choi compels us to witness, and to resist."

While we don't have a PennSound author page for Don Mee Choi, you can also hear her reading her work as part of Poetry Politic and as part of the 2012 MLA Offsite Reading. We congratulate Choi and Wave Books for this well-deserved honor.

In Memoriam: Lewis Warsh (1944–2020)

Posted 11/16/2020

We start this new week off with sad news to report that broke overnight: poet and publisher Lewis Warsh, a much-beloved member of the New York School's second generation has passed away just a few days after his 76th birthday.

It's hard to underestimate the impact that Warsh has had upon the field of contemporary poetry through the work of his two presses: Angel Hair (co-founded with Anne Waldman) and United Artists (co-founded with Bernadette Mayer), which continues to release books to this day. Both projects served as essential extensions of the thriving socio-poetic scene, centered around the St. Mark's Poetry Project, that just as easily could have found its nexus in Waldman and Warsh's Lower East Side apartment, as evidenced by the latter's well-known "New York Diary 1967." United Artists in particular shows us the evolution of that scene beyond its vibrant first flourish, as marked by a series of departures — the death of Frank O'Hara, Ted Berrigan's departure to Iowa and Chicago, and Warsh and Mayer's move to Western Massachusetts, chief among them.

Of course, it would be a mistake to overlook Warsh's prolific output as both poet and novelist as well, and that's where humbly direct our listeners towards our Lewis Warsh author page, where you'll find a variety of recordings spanning six decades, starting with "Halloween" (an excerpt from "New York Diary 1967") from Tape Poems (edited by Eduardo Costa and John Perreault) and a 1972 reading in Oakland. Other interesting selections include Warsh's contribution to a 2006 Barbara Guest Day Tribute, a two-disc album of Warsh's long-poem The Origin of the World released by Deerhead Records and Ugly Duckling Presse in 2006, and Warsh and Mayer's appearance on Public Access Poetry in 1978. Click here to start browsing. Those eager to learn more about Angel Hair and its history will want to start with the retrospective feature on the press published in Jacket #16 in 2002, and Laura Sims' 2016 Jacket2 commentary series "Reports from the Archives" also showcases a number of publications from the press.

We send our deepest sympathies to Warsh's family, his friends, and his many fans in the poetry world as they come to terms with his death.

Julie Patton: Two Short Films by Ted Roemer c. 2013

Posted 11/13/2020

Here's a wonderful pair of videos of Julie Patton performing her poetry, which were made by Ted Roemer circa 2013. They've been on our site for a little while now, and we wanted to make sure that they got the attention they certainly deserve.

Filmed in an intimate domestic setting, traffic noises and birdsong drifting through open windows, Patton sits comfortably in a chair before the camera, reading from typescript pages, a pen poised in one hand. She performs in a fluid sprechtstimme, easing in and out of accents and personas, casually adding various musical accompaniments from time to time: she forces the knob on a toddler's toy music box, galloping through the lullabye at a hectic gait, then backs off, plinking it forward in little tonal constellations; she reaches down, offscreen, to plunk a guitar note or stroke the strings behind the nut, producing glassy little accents; her foot settles into a restless and insistent rhythm that resonates through the room. Papers flutter as pages turn, her hands trace and stretch notes through the air. She stares you down, then returns to the poem.

These remarkable clips demand and reward your attention, whether you're watching or simply listening in, the various sonic elements creating one sort of experience with their visual counterparts and a different one without. You'll find these two films here on PennSound's Julie Patton author page, which is also home to a wide variety of audio and video recordings of readings, performances, panel discussions, interviews, and more, from 1997 to the present.

Ted Greenwald, "Voice Truck" (1972)

Posted 11/11/2020

Here's a fascinating recording from the late Ted Greenwald that we added to the site in January 2015. "Voice Truck" was assembled as part of Gordon Matta-Clark's installation Open Space (a similar contemporary work is shown at right). Our own Charles Bernstein announced the new addition in a Jacket2 commentary post, which includes this description of the recordings:

In May 1972, the artist Gordon Matta-Clark installed a dumpster in front of 98 Greene Street in Soho (Manhattan). The work was called both Open Space and Dumpster. The Dumpster was filled with construction debris and other material, formed into three corridors. For Ted Greenwald's contribution to the installation, he created a special audio work. Greenwald installed a tape recorder on the delivery truck for the Village Voice, his long-time day job. Six reels were recorded. One of the tapes, featuring the most dramatic action of the day, was stolen from the cab of the truck: in the middle of Times Square, mounted police galloped up to a subway entrance, tied their horses to the entrance, and ran down into the subway. The other five reels survived and are being made available by PennSound for the first time (one of those cassettes is listed below in two parts)."

You can listen, read more about the work, and find a link for further discussion of Open Space as well as a short video on Matta-Clark on Bernstein's J2 commentary. The recordings are also linked on our Ted Greenwald author page, where, among many other recordings, you can also listen to a March 1971 reading by Greenwald with Matta-Clark. Click here to start listening.

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.