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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Donato Mancini: Two Recent Readings

Posted 11/14/2018

Just a few weeks ago, we highlighted Canadian poet Donato Mancini's recent Wexler Studio Recording Session. Today, we have two more recent additions to announce. The first of these, dating from October 20th of this year, is a Baltimore reading from the "fatrasies" of Philippe de Beaumanoir and the "fatras" of Watriquet de Couvin. That's joined by an October 3, 2017 reading at Simon Fraser University, where Mancini reads "A Flea the Size of Paris: The Fatras," with Ted Byrne and guests Danielle LaFrance and Jacqueline Turner.

Our Donato Mancini author page is home to many more recordings of the poet from over the past five years, including two separate Wexler Studio sessions, readings from Washington, D.C.'s venerable Bridge Street Books, Johns Hopkins University, The Kootenay School of Writing, and Vancouver, BC. You'll also find two recordings from Mancini's residency at University of Windsor, a 2016 home-recorded session of poems from his earlier collections, Buffet World (2011) and Loitersack (2014), and a 2016 appearance on the inaugural episode of Short Range Poetic Device, entitled "Poetry and Poetics Streaming Against the Totality." Click here to start exploring all of the recordings mentioned here.

Divya Victor: New Author Page

Posted 11/9/2018

Over the past year and a half it's been an amazing experience working with Jacket2 guest editor Divya Victor. She has a keen eye for content, offers effortlessly incisive commentary, and has shaken up and challenged our tight-knit editorial team in the best ways imaginable. If you don't already know this side of Divya, you will soon enough, when we unveil the "Extreme Texts" feature she's been working on for the past year.

One thing Divya is well-known as, however, is a talented and innovative poet, and that's what makes her recently-created PennSound author page a cause for celebration. There, you'll find an archive of work spanning nine years, starting with a 2009 Emergency Series reading at our own Kelly Writers House. That's followed by a 2010 reading of Hellocast Feral Cat Attack (with participant-collaborators) for Les Figues Press, a 2012 St. Mark's Poetry Project reading with Vanessa Place, 2014 readings at Videofag and Counterpath, and "Cicadas in the Mouth," her Leslie Scalapino Memorial Lecture in Innovative Poetics (which you can read as well as watch). Jumping forward to 2017, theres video of her reading "W is for Walt Whitman's Soul" at BookThug, and then a trio of readings from this year: a Wexler Studio Recording Session and a Kelly Writers House conversation with Laynie Browne, both recorded on April 20th, along with a July reading with Cat Tyc for Living Poetry at the Hudson Area Library. Click here to start exploring this treasure trove of recordings.

George Quasha reads "Verbal Paradise," 2018

Posted 11/7/2018

Over the past several years, one of the many herculean tasks Chris Funkhouser has set for himself is recording the work of fellow poet George Quasha. Today we're highlighting a recent addition from that project: audio of Quasha reading his book Verbal Paradise in its entirety. This session took place in Barrytown, New York on July 3rd of this year.

On his author website, Quasha has this to say about Verbal Paradise, which is the first of six projected books in his "preverbs" series: 

The work of preverbs, of which this is the first book to enjoy publication, resists introductory or explanatory remarks, even as it makes them inevitable in the context of poetry. Preverbs precede themselves, so to speak, with hidden trapdoors; but this rather elusive distinction regarding a radical of composition is not like premeditation or conceptualization. One instance has to do with the relationship of preverbs to poetry in any pre-existing sense. The question “is this poetry?” has to remain open; if preverbs have a program it’s an openness regarding their own nature, especially in relation to the big consensual distinctions (poetry, even language). (Preverbially: poetry is what still exists on the other side of the distinction.) The escape-hatch approach to definition-qualification is not a defensive act by which, say, preverbs would ward off all conceptual framing or aesthetic theory (which they quite willingly play with); rather, it’s an expression of their nature to promote mind-degradable utterance. Thinking, unthinking, further thinking; saying, unsaying, further saying.

You can read more about the book here, and listen to it here. Funkhouser's complete Quasha recordings can be found here.

Philly Small Presses Dinner Panel, 1999

Posted 11/5/2018

Here is a true slice of vintage Kelly Writers House programming, dating all the way back to March 26, 1999. If you were around then, you could've enjoyed a full day of wonderful programming billed as "A Celebration of Philadelphia Writers," which was sponsored by the Humanities Forum.

The day started early with breakfast at the White Dog Cafe and a talk entitled, "So, You Want to Get Published?" That was followed by "Communities and Writers," a lunchtime event on "Writing in Philly," "Philadelphia in Film," and an exhibition opening and book signing that went straight on through to 5:30. For evening plans, you had your choice of The Chosen at the Arden Theatre or a busy night at the Clef Club that started with a talk on "Interplay of Philadelphia Jazz and Poetry," followed by an open-mic poetry jam hosted by KWH.

The keystone event of the day, however — and the one that we're highlighting — is the Philadelphia Small Presses Dinner, held at the Writers House. As the program blurb announces, "Philadelphia is experiencing a literary renaissance, thanks to the many dedicated poets and writers who run reading series, publish literary journals, and run small presses here in Philadelphia. Join some of Philadelphia's literary innovators at the Kelly Writers House for a roundtable conversation about Philadelphia's lively publishing scene." The line-up for the event is quite formidable, including Chris and Jenn McCreary (of Ixnay Press), Dave Deifer (of Xconnect), Michael Magee (of Combo), Heather Thomas and Alicia Askenase (representing 6ix), Gil Ott (of the Philadelphia Publishing Project and Singing Horse Press), Louis Cabri (of PhillyTalks), Kristen Gallagher (of Handwritten Press), and Jena Osman (of Chain). You can listen to this historic discussion here.

Steve McCaffery, "Wot We Wokkers Want" b/w "One Step to the Next"

Posted 11/2/2018

We close out this week with an interesting artifact from Steve McCaffery"Wot We Wokkers Want" b/w "One Step to the Next" was released on LP and cassette in 1980 by the Underwhich Audio Collective, a small Canadian independent label (based in Toronto, Ontario and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) that also issued small run releases (usually about 100 copies) by the likes of Owen Sound, the Four Horsemen, Paul DuttonBob Cobbing, Susan Frykberg, Larry Wendt, and DUCT, among others.

Better known by its full title, The Kommunist Manifesto or Wot We Wukkerz Want Bi Charley Marx un Fred Engels, the leadoff track is McCaffery's translation of The Communist Manifesto into the dialect of West Riding of Yorkshire, or, as he puts it, "Redacted un traduced intuht’ dialect uht’ west riding er Yorkshuh bi Steve McCaffery, eh son of that shire. Transcribed in Calgary 25 November to 3 December 1977 un dedicated entirely to Messoors Robert Filliou and George Brecht uv wooz original idea this is a reullizayshun." You can read the piece in its entirety here as part of the PECP Library. Side A also includes "Mid●night Peace" ("a nostalgic translation of the Dadaphony of hell") and "A Hundred And One Zero S One Ng," which is McCaffery's translation of Brecht's translation of the closing section of Robert Filliou's 14 Chansons et Charade.

Side B starts with "One Step Next to the Next," co-created with Clive Robertson, which centers around turntable manipulations of a National Geographic flexi-disc on the Apollo space flights. The closing track, Emesin which "a phrase is intercepted, reversed, synthesized, and obsessively repeated as a stolen micro-unit." As the liner notes explain, "it represents McCaffery's first theft from himself." Listen in to all of these tracks here.

Donato Mancini: Wexler Studio Session, 2018

Posted 10/31/2018

Late this summer, Canadian poet Donato Mancini visited the Wexler Studio at our own Kelly Writers House to record a selection of recent work. This session, which was recently segmented, can now be found on his PennSound author page. Recorded on August 13th of this year, this set includes twenty-five titles, including "Buy my buy high.," "a kind in glass and a cousin," "prevent emergency tours, and," "The nervous system of a tomato plant," "bitter generic," and "january made from table salt."

Our Donato Mancini author page is home to many more recordings of the poet from over the past five years, including a separate Wexler Studio session of selections from his Griffin Poetry Prize-nominated collection, Same Diff, readings from Washington, D.C.'s venerable Bridge Street Books, Johns Hopkins University, The Kootenay School of Writing, and Vancouver, BC. You'll also find two recordings from Mancini's residency at University of Windsor, a 2016 home-recorded session of poems from his earlier collections, Buffet World (2011) and Loitersack (2014), and a 2016 appearance on the inaugural episode of Short Range Poetic Device, entitled "Poetry and Poetics Streaming Against the Totality." Click here to start exploring all of the recordings mentioned here.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis: "INTERFACES" Opening at KWH, 2017

Posted 10/29/2018

We're starting this week off with video and audio from the opening celebration for INTERFACES: Work by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, held at the Brodsky Gallery at our own Kelly Writers House on November 15, 2017.

As the introductory note for the event observes, "Collage poems as an inter-art practice characterize recent work by Rachel Blau DuPlessis." It continues: "These collage poems, in serial groups like Churning the Ocean of Milk, Life in Handkerchiefs, and Numbers, are charged by DuPlessis's mix of aphorism, aesthetic perception, and sociopolitical comment. A bright visuality, intense poetic commentary, and a confrontative intertextuality combine in these personable and evocative works on paper, which negotiate the afterlife of debris by vibrant uses of its traces." This event features DuPlessis reading selections from her recent books Days and Works (Ahsahta, 2017) and Graphic Novella (Xeroxial Editions, 2015), along with a illustrated talk on her collage work in the exhibition.

It's appropriate that the archive you'll find on PennSound's Rachel Blau DuPlessis author page is as ambitious, complex, and rich as the poet's work. In numerous audio and video recordings going back four decades, you'll find readings from the vast majority of DuPlessis' one hundred and fourteen poems that comprise her twenty-six year magnum opus, Drafts, along with a sampling of the work that came before and after that project. There are also numerous talks, interviews, and other events. Click here to start browsing.

28th Annual Subterranean Poetry Festival

Posted 10/26/2018

Here's an amazing event to close out your week in spectacular fashion: audio from the 28th annual Subterranean Poetry Festival, which was held in Rosendale, NY on September 8th of this year. Curator Chris Funkhouser — who also was kind enough to provide us with a recording of the event — offers up this introduction to the unique event:

Again asked to “curate” this unique annual event held in Rosendale, NY, I unintentionally brought together writers whose places of residence are equally balanced between nearby regions known as “upstate” and “city”. A moist year for the annual Festival at Widow Jane Mine! Not only did the poets dowse the space with language and song, water steadily dripped from the ceiling all afternoon as accompaniment for everyone, and one poet, Douglas Rothschild, arrived for his boombox-infused performance wearing a wetsuit after paddling an inflatable raft across the underground lake adjacent to the stage (& no one remembered to bring a lamp for the stage so it was darker than usual down there, a sign of the times perhaps). Such dramatic presentations began early on: Tony Torn opened the show by enlisting several of the other performers — Katy Bohinc, Lee Ann Brown, Bob Holman and Rothschild — “a preview of the day to come” — to help him stage a Google translation of cave scene of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi. As always, beautiful to hear a range of voices in the acoustically marvelous setting. Other highlights included hearing Nancy Dunlop’s setting of Blake’s songs, as well as her a lovely duet with Brown, who also sang some of her work — as did Holman while rendering a new work titled The Cut Outs (accompanied by soundtrack; it was a much longer performance, edited for this collection at his request). Philip Good, Michael Joyce, Bohinc, Joan Retallack, Erica Kaufman all prepared stellar sets work and read with gusto reverberating throughout the Mine, as heard in these recordings.

You'll find segmented MP3 files for each of the performers mentioned above here. On the same page, we're lucky to also have audio from last year's iteration of the festival, which featured sets from Rebecca Wolff, Pierre Joris, Pamela Twining, Nicole Peyrafitte, Michael Ruby, John Cayley, David Rothenberg, Dorota Czerner, Andy Clausen, and Adeena Karasick. We're grateful, as always, to Chris Funkhouser for his generosity in sharing these and numerous other wonderful recordings with the PennSound archive.

Rodney Koeneke: New Author Page

Posted 10/24/2018

Our latest author page is for Portland, Oregon-based poet Rodney Koeneke. It's anchored by a brand-new recording session done at our own Wexler Studio on September 24th, which showcases poems from Koeneke's two latest books, 2014's Etruria and 2018's Body and Glass, both of which were published by Wave Books. Titles included in this twenty-six minute set include: "Larry's House of Brakes," "in the backlands of the provence," "tarnish the coppice, punk autumn," "the new sobriety," "scott walker sings," "humber, severn, mersey, thames, and ouse," "another hapless functionary," and "he continually puts autumn in his writing."

In addition to this new set, you'll also find a trio of Segue Series readings from the Zinc Bar and the Bowery Poetry Club from 2015, 2012, and 2004, along with an hour long "Poet as Radio" interview recorded in San Francisco in 2013, and video of a Counterpath reading in Denver in 2014. You can browse all of the aforementioned recordings here.

Two David Bromige Tribute Readings, 2018

Posted 10/22/2018

We're starting this week in grand fashion with two recent events — one held in Philadelphia, the other in Vancouver, BC — honoring the late David Bromige and celebrating the recent publication of if wants to be the same as is: The Essential David Bromige.

The first of these two readings was held at our own Kelly Writers House on September 25th of this year, and featured an astounding line-up of friends, fans, and colleagues of the late poet, including Charles BernsteinRachel Blau DuPlessis, Steve Dolph, Ryan Eckes, George Economou, Eli Goldblatt, Tom Mandel, Chris McCreary, Jason Mitchell, Bob PerelmanFrank Sherlock, and Orchid Tierney. That seventy-five minute event is available in both MP3 and streaming video formats.

Then, from just a few days ago on October 12th, we have video from a launch party for the new Bromige collection, which was held at the People's Co-op Bookstore in Vancouver. That event featured readings from Bob Perelman, Meredith Quartermain, George Bowering, Anakana Schojfield, Peter Quartermain, Fred Wah, Paul Debarros, Clint Burnham, Mackenzie Ground, and Chris and Joni Bromige. We've provided an embedded and segmented YouTube playlist for these recordings.

You'll find both of these events on PennSound's David Bromige author page, along with a 2009 tribute to the poet produced by Katherine Hastings of KRCB-FM in Rohnert Park, CA, and a vast array of recordings from 1998 as far back as 1964. Click here to start exploring.

PoemTalk #129: Sylvia Plath's "The Stones"

Posted 10/18/2018

Yesterday we released the latest episode in  the PoemTalk Podcast Series (number 129 in total), where Sylvia Plath's "The Stones" — one part of a 1959 seven-poem sequence called "Poem for a Birthday" — is the poem up for discussion. For this program, host Al Filreis convened a panel of (from left to right) Susan Schultz, Sally Van Doren, Huda Fakhreddine.

In his post announcing the new episode on the PoemTalk Blog, Filreis starts by detailing the panelists' opening observations: "The group, starting with Susan, begins with Plath's constant substitution of the natural and the artficial. They then compile instances of her strategic mixing of metaphors. Sally also points out the 'shifted scenes.' Huda notes the ironic reversals of images of illness and health and the resulting confusion and means and ends. It simply cannot be discerned which person (the speaker-patient? a foetus within? another?) is being constructed by this place, nor what is the relationship between mending and newness." "Moreover," he continues, "if 'This is the city where men are mended,' where does that leave the speaker? Is the next step more hell than rehab? What exactly is this 'after-hell'? Is it associated more with birth than with death, more with beginnings (delivery) than with endings (deliverance)?" 

You'll find the full text of Plath's poem and can read more about the program here. The full archive of PoemTalk podcasts is available here for your listening pleasure.

Two New Rudy Burckhardt Films Featuring Kenneth Koch

Posted 10/17/2018

Today we have a pair of very exciting new additions to our PennSound Cinema author (or auteur?) page for filmmaker and photographer Rudy Burckhardt, both of which feature friend and New York School mainstay Kenneth Koch.

The earlier of the two, The Apple (1967), features a lyric and spoken interlude written by Koch, which was set to music by Tony Ackerman and Brad Burg, and sung by Kim Brody. In stop-motion and live action, it traces the sprawling adventures of its titular fruit. Running just one minute and fifty-four seconds, the film is nevertheless the subject of a marvelous essay by Daniel Kane — "Whimsy, the Avant-Garde and Rudy Burckhardt's and Kenneth Koch's The Apple" — in which he praises it for "the ways in which ideas of temporality, spontaneity, childishness, and parody are expressed within this tiny little film work," thus "revealing the latent and hilarious power of the whimsical affect."

The latter film, On Aesthetics (1999) has a sense of finality about it, coming during Burckhardt's last year and not long before Koch developed leukemia that would ultimately take his life in 2002. Running nine minutes and taking its name from the last poem in Koch's 1994 collection One Train, On Aesthetics — charmingly presented by "KoBu Productions" — features the poet's voice-over reciting the various micropoems contained under that title, from "Aesthetics of the Man in the Moon" and "Aesthetics of Creating Light" to "Aesthetics of Being with Child" and "Aesthetics of Echo," while Burckhardt's camera eye finds appropriate accompanying images, whether literary or abstract.

We're grateful to be able to share this work with our listeners, along with two other Burckhardt films: — The Automotive Story (1954) and Central Park in the Dark (1985) — which you can find here. Our Kenneth Koch author page also houses these films, along with a 1998 reading at our own Kelly Writers House and a few brief recordings from the St. Mark's Poetry Project.

Five New Belladonna* Readings, 2018

Posted 10/15/2018

We're starting this week off with five new additions to our homepage for the Belladonna* Reading Series, all taken from this year. 

First, from March 1st, we have a Belladonna* intern and staff reading at Out-of-Office at the Brooklyn Art Library. That event featured brief sets from Lindsey Hoover, Christine Ramkarran, Rupert McCranor, Fatima Lundy, Christina Barriero, Kayla Park, Rachel Wilson, Emily Skillings, and Asiya Wadud. We also have audio from a March 19th staff reading at Queens College, with sets by Javier Zamora and Aracelis Girmay.

From April 10th, we have an event organized in conjunction with the Asian American Writers' Workshop and held at the Brooklyn Public Library, in which Abdellah Taïa reads from his Belladonna* chaplet and then talks with Meena Alexander. Jumping ahead to May 14th, we have a reading from New York's Institute of Arabic and Islamic Art, at which Aditi Machado and Iman Mersal read from their Belladonna* chaplets and then take part in a conversation moderated by Omar Berrada.

Finally, from August 16th, we have at event at the Matthew Gallery held in collaboration with Montez Press Radio, at which Pamela Snead read from her book, Sweet Dreams.

Now approaching its twentieth year, Belladonna* continues to be as vital a force as ever in our contemporary poetry scene. On our Belladonna* reading series homepage, you'll find an astounding array of audio and video documentation of the organization's ambitious work promoting "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," going back to its very origins. Click here to start browsing, or click any of the individual dates above to visit that specific reading.

Two New Richard Foreman Recordings

Posted 10/12/2018

We bring this week to a close by highlighting a pair of new recordings of Richard Foreman, noted avant-garde playwright and founder of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater.

First, we have an excerpt from Foreman's 2013 film, Once Every Day, which is accompanied by a link to rent the complete film from Vimeo on Demand. Observing that "the goal, for Foreman, is not to induce pleasure, but rather to demand acute — even obsessive — attention in his viewers," Film Comment's Emma Meyers notes, "the film is most striking for the emptiness of its signs. A woman's feet, clad in high heels and bound together with rope, or the stern face of an old man, do not necessarily signify anything outside of themselves." She concludes, "the effect falls anywhere between refreshingly liberating, mildly amusing, and stalwartly infuriating."

Second, we have candid video and audio footage of Foreman discussing the pioneering queer filmmaker Jack Smith, recorded at New York City's Metrograph on September 10th of this year. You'll find both of these artifacts on PennSound's Richard Foreman author page, amidst a remarkable treasure trove of work from the 1970s up to the present. Click here to start browsing.

PoemTalk #128: Sueyeun Juliette Lee's "Perfect Villagers"

Posted 10/10/2018

Finally, here's the most recent episode in the PoemTalk Podcast Series, which was released just a few weeks back on September 19th. For this program, host Al Filreis and a panel of (from left to right) Sawako Nakayasu, Donato Mancini, and Gabriel Ojeda-Sague discuss a pair of poems — "Dear Margaret Cho" and "Daniel Dae Kim" — from Sueyeun Juliette Lee's sequence "Perfect Villagers," which first appeared in a 2006 chapbook of the same name, and later was republished in 2008's That Gorgeous Feeling.

Here's Filreis's brief description of the commentary on the latter of the two poems, taken from his write-up on the PoemTalk blog: "The four PoemTalkers attempt to assess the effects on Lee's powerful lyric about Daniel Dae Kim enabled by his fame as 'the sexiest man alive' in 2005, per People magazine. The poem, seemingly a verse portrait, begins with 'a perfect symmetry' — he is after all, in the public eye, the truly 'perfect villager' — and concludes with a Korean American body as it is constructed of 'beautiful tangents.'"

You can read both poems and learn more about this episode here. The full archive of PoemTalk episodes can be found here.

PoemTalk #127: John Ashbery's "The Short Answer"

Posted 10/8/2018

Since we ended last week with a recent PoemTalk episode on Amiri Baraka — just in time for his birthday this weekend — it might be a good idea to catch up to the latest episode in the series. Before we get to the most-recent program, we have episode #127, on John Ashbery's "The Short Answer," which was released in August of this year. For the discussion of this Quick Question-era poem, host Al Filreis was joined by (from left to right) Susan McCabe, Marjorie Perloff, and Robert von Hallberg at Perloff's Los Angeles-area home.

As Filreis explains in his write-up on the PoemTalk blog, "There are, abounding, the usual marooned pronouns, and the typically high 'daftness quotient,'" however he notes that he and Perloff chose this poem "with the goal of exploring of what it means to read closely and talk in detail about a seemingly 'minor' poem from a 'major' poet, from a late book not especially praised — a poem that might strike readers as an effect of Ashbery's incessant and seemingly easeful poetic fermentation." He concludes, "Perhaps, too, the poem evinced a style grown old."

You can read Ashbery's poem in full, and as was the case with the previous episode, interact with both audio of the finished podcast and raw video of the recording session here. The full archive of PoemTalk episodes can be found here.

PoemTalk #126: Amiri Baraka's "Something in the Way of Things"

Posted 10/5/2018

Last July we released the 126th episode in the PoemTalk Podcast Series, which addresses Amiri Baraka's poem, "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)," perhaps best-known for its appearance on The Roots' 2002 LP, Phrenology. For this discussion, host Al Filreis assembled an astounding all-star panel including (from left to right) Aldon Nielsen, Tyrone Williams, and William J. Harris

After getting preliminaries out of the way, Filreis' write-up on the PoemTalk blog starts by discussing the connection between Baraka and The Roots, noting, "Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson of The Roots wrote a remembrance of Baraka after the poet's death. It was published on January 12, 2014, in The New York Times. The essay describes Baraka's influence and importance. It identifies poets who had influenced the Amiri Baraka of this particular poem (Olson and Burroughs, for instance) in such a way as to complicate (in a manner the PoemTalk panelists commend) the relationship between experimental black poetics arising out of modernism and the themes taken up by Phrenology — racial profiling, social Darwinism, and 'hip-hop itself.'" He continues, "We at PoemTalk recommend this episode for several reasons, among them this in the middle of the podcast: a fresh, detailed analysis of Baraka's critical yet ultimately unstubborn and nuanced relationship to popular black music in his later years. This leads to a discussion more generally of the special power of Baraka's later poetry." 

You can read more about this episode, read Baraka's poem in full, and explore both audio of the finished podcast and raw video of the recording session here. The full archive of PoemTalk episodes can be found here.

Bernadette Mayer: Kelly Writers House Fellows Program, 2018

Posted 10/3/2018

This past spring we were very lucky to be joined by the one and only Bernadette Mayer (shown at right with Al Filreis), as the second of this year's three Kelly Writers House Fellows. Her visit consisted of a reading on the evening of March 26th and a brunch conversation with Filreis on the 27th. Video and audio of both sets are available on Mayer's PennSound author page, with the reading segmented into individual MP3 files as well.

Running more than an hour, that reading serves as a useful introduction to Mayer's diverse creative modes, which have sustained for more than five decades. Mayer starts with new poems, including "Myrmidon" and "Dear Sarah," before moving into requests from the audience, some very old ("Failure in Infinitives," "Eve of Easter") and some quite recent ("Chocolate Poetry Sonnet," "Summer Solstice"). To start listening, click here.

"Talking About David Antin," Artists Space, NYC

Posted 10/1/2018

Antin's "Sky Poem," 1987
Here's a wonderful recent addition to our archives that you don't want to miss: "Talking About David Antin," with with Eleanor Antin, Charles Bernstein, Julien Bismuth, and Ellen Zweig, recorded at New York's Artists Space on March 27th of this year.

Artists Space Director Jay Sanders provided introductory comments for the two-hour event, which featured individual talks by the aforementioned friends and colleagues, followed by a half-hour collaborative Q&A session.  As the venue's blurb for the event notes, "David Antin's influential work as a poet and artist led him to develop the hybridized format of 'talk poems' in the 1970s, whereby he would compose literary texts in an improvised, conversational manner in a public setting." Those assembled offer up "performances and interventions" that pay tribute to his prodigious, "multidimensional literary and artistic output."

You can enjoy video and audio versions of this event on PennSound's David Antin author page, which is home to forty years' worth of recordings highlighting his singular talents, which are sorely missed.

Etel Adnan: New Author Page

Posted 9/28/2018

Our latest PennSound author page is for Lebanese-American poet and painter Etel Adnan.

The earliest recording you'll find there is Adnan's 2006 appearance on episode #118 of Leonard Schwartz's program, Cross-Cultural Poetics, titled "Forms of Violence." Calling in from Paris, she "reads from her book In the Heart of A Heart Of Another Country (City Lights), and meditates on her mother city of Beirut and American violence, inner and outer."

Jumping forward to 2010, we have a Serpentine Gallery reading showcasing The Arab Apocalypse and a 2012 reading commemorating the release of Homage to Etel Adnan (Post-Apollo), which was held at The Green Arcade Books Ideas Goods and co-sponsored by The Poetry Center and Small Press Traffic. Adnan returned to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London for a conversation with poet Robert Grenier, which we first announced on PennSound Daily in July 2016, just a few weeks after the event took place. This chat between two formidable authors served as the inaugural event for the exhibition, "Etel Adnan: the Weight of the World."

Finally, our most recent addition is a wonderful, lengthy interview with Jennifer Scappettone, which took place on September 23rd and 24th of last year. Seven thematic segments are presented to listeners, including "Home Life and School in Beirut," "Education in Philosophy and Beginnings in Painting," and "English-Language Poetry and US Politics from the Vietnam War through Today." We're grateful to Adnan for the opportunity to share her work with our audience, and to those who've made these recordings available to us. Click here to start browsing.

bpNichol Thirty Years On

Posted 9/25/2018

bpNichol's grave marker (photo by Derek Beaulieu)
September 25th is the thirtieth anniversary of the passing of legendary Canadian multiform writer and performer bpNichol, and therefore an excellent opportunity to reconnect with his work. We're very proud to have counted Nichol among the very first poets to be featured on PennSound, and in the intervening fifteen years, our bpNichol author page — edited by Lori Emerson — has grown into a fascinating collection of artifacts from throughout his tragically foreshortened creative life.

It's a testament to Nichol's diverse interests that there we find work originally released on flexi-disc, LP, cassette, and even floppy disc. That last piece, 1984's "First Screening: Computer Poems" — initially written in Apple's BASIC programming language and converted into a Quicktime emulation in 2007 by a team of poets and media archivists — is a clear highlight of the collection. Another is a series of lengthy recordings (totaling nearly six hours) from Nichol's unfinished magnum opus, The Martyrology, made in 1983 and 1987. You'll find these and many more recordings by clicking here, and don't forget to check out our separate author page for The Four Horsemen. We'd also be remiss if we didn't point you in the direction of the official bpNichol archive, which is a truly marvelous resource.

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