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photo courtesy of Abraham Ravett (click here to see more)

Charles Reznikoff reads from Holocaust, New York City, December 21, 1975

recorded by filmmaker Abraham Ravett

  • The audio recording and accompanying photographs were made on December 21, 1975 in Charles Reznikoff's NYC apartment. I had just graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and was working on my first, autobiographical, diary film, Thirty Years Later, completed in 1978.

  • Published in 1975 by Black Sparrow Press, Holocaust profoundly resonated with me during the process of gathering material for the above-mentioned film project. Without a pre-conceived idea as to how I would shape the film, my hope was that Mr. Reznikoff's reading could be part of the sound track.

  • Mr. Reznikoff's West End apartment was located within a high-rise apartment complex reminiscent of where I grew up during my teens in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, N.Y. He was very kind and gracious to a rather nervous young filmmaker fumbling with his Nagra tape recorder and Sennheiser microphone who hoped that everything would work as planned.

  • Subsequent to the above session, I received permission from Black Sparrow Press as well as from Mr. Reznikoff to include the reading in the film project.

  • I've held on to this audio recording for many years with the thought of producing a cd that could be made available to the public. Through protracted negotiations with Black Sparrow Press, David R. Godine the current publisher of Holocaust and most recently, with the Reznikoff estate, I was given permission to make this recording available for non-commercial, educational purposes only.

  • The b/w photographs were made with a medium format, Minolta Autocord camera. The blue toned, 35mm slides were the result of using tungsten rated film during daylight. The combined images record a momentary interaction between this writer and a great poet who was to pass away just a few months later.

  • Abraham Ravett, Florence, MA, December 16, 2009

  1. audio check (0:32): MP3
  2. Research 1 (take 1) (1:49): MP3
  3. Research 1 (take 2) (1:36): MP3
  4. Ghettos 8 (1:13): MP3
  5. Massacres 4 (2:03): MP3
  6. Massacres 4 (end) (0:29): MP3
  7. Massacres 5 (take 1) (0:46): MP3
  8. Massacres 5 (take 2) (0:41): MP3
  9. Work Camps 1 (1:10): MP3
  10. Gas Chambers and Gas Trucks 1 (9:15): MP3
  11. Gas Chambers and Gas Trucks 1, strophe 9 (retake) (0:53): MP3
  12. from Work Camps 3, final (5th) strophe (1:19): MP3
  13. Children 2 (0:52): MP3
  14. Children 3 (1:15): MP3
  15. Work Camps 6 (2:26): MP3
  16. Work Camps 8 (1:59): MP3
  17. Entertainment 1 (0:56): MP3
  18. Mass Graves 5 (2:40): MP3

Click here to see more photographs taken by Ravett

read Charles Bernstein's essay, "Reznikoff's Voices" and learn more about a CD release of these recordings on Ravett's website

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. © 2010 the estate of Charles Reznikoff. Used with permission of the Reznikoff estate and Abraham Ravett. Distributed by PennSound.