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Ron Silliman



Photo © 2008 Charles Bernstein/PennSound

LINEbreak program with Charles Bernstein, New York, 1996

  1. introduction by CB (0:22): MP3
  2. on writing a 26 part work and "Albany," the first part of The Alphabet (3:03): MP3
  3. RS reading from "Albany" (5:05): MP3
  4. discussing two sentences from "Albany:" "If it demonstrates form some people won't read it," and "If the function of writing is to 'express the world'" (2:25): MP3
  5. on the different kinds of sentences in "Albany" and the relationships between them (1:02): MP3
  6. RS's interest in disjuncture (2:11): MP3
  7. on the poetry audience (3:00): MP3
  8. circumstances under which poetry has had political efficacy (3:11): MP3
  9. what is a literary movement? (1:09): MP3
  10. RS reading from Xing (5:22): MP3
full program (29:04): MP3


Reading at The Grand Piano June 20, 1978

  • from Tjanting (44:00): MP3

Residency for Writers Workshop, Talk and Discussion, 1978

  • Part 1 (1:00:50): MP3
  • Part 2 (1:01:47): MP3
  • Part 3 (49:07): MP3

Recordings from the Maureen Owen Collection of Greenwich Village Poetry, at the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Presenting "The New Sentence" as a talk at the San Francisco Art Institute, September 16, 1979

From the
Bob Perelman tapes.
  1. Part 1 (1:33:20): MP3 (Break around 45:00 - 46:00 when tape flips over.)
  2. Part 2 (1:32:09): MP3 (Break around 45:00 - 46:00 when tape flips over.)

  3. Complete Recording (3:03:49): MP3 (5-second breaks every 45:00 - 46:00 minutes when the tapes flip over.)

Silliman in conversation with Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein, March 6, 1981

  1. oppositional writing (9:09): MP3
  2. our relationship to a community and "highbrow" hegemonic culture (6:24): MP3
  3. considering the possibility of and what could be defined as ruling class poetry (9:02): MP3
  4. writers, class, and downward social mobility (12:01): MP3
  5. leisure time, the new flaneur, and the work experience (7:58): MP3
  6. the project of writing and dealing with an experience (4:06): MP3
  7. group definitions and social formations (7:30): MP3
  8. Ron Silliman reading "Poem" by Ron Padgett (0:18): MP3
  9. on Ron Padgett's "Poem" (7:26): MP3
  10. the break between Black Mountain & St. Mark's and reformulating positions between social groups (6:33): MP3
  11. correspondence and conversation (4:05): MP3
  12. interpersonal relationships and social formations (14:33): MP3
  13. a self assessment of the conversation and tape (8:10): MP3
  14. 17th century prose and the "clear style" (4:09): MP3
  15. contextualizing and highlighting the political dimensions of the poetry one writes (8:09): MP3
  16. on the term "language poetry" and making generalizations (4:50): MP3
  17. composition as explanation (4:13): MP3
  18. the influence of class background (13:58): MP3
Part 1 (44:37): MP3
Part 2 (44:43): MP3
Part 3 (43:32): MP3

Reading for the Anthology Film Archive, March 8, 1981

  1. Introduction and Opening Comments (4:33): MP3
  2. selection from Tjanting (36:00): MP3

Complete Reading (40:29): MP3

Segue Series Reading at the Ear Inn, NYC April 7, 1984

  1. Opening Comments (0:40): MP3
  2. "Force" (from The Alphabet) [pp. 43-48] (8:52): MP3
  3. Lit: Section One (from The Alphabet) [pp. 225-227] (5:22): MP3
  4. Lit: Section Two [pp. 227-238] (16:45): MP3

Complete Reading (31:37): MP3

Segue Series Reading at The Ear Inn, NYC April 12, 1986

  1. Introduction (1:86): MP3
  2. from "Oz" (from The Alphabet) [pp. 365-380] (36:21): MP3

Complete Reading (37:27): MP3

St. Mark's Talks, NYC April 13, 1986

  • a draft of "Postmodernism: Sign for a Struggle, the Struggle for the Sign"

  • Poetics Journal, No. 7, September, 1987, pp. 18–39. Reprinted in Contemporary American Poet-Critics, op. cit.; translated into Serbian by Dubravka Djuric and published in Gradina, Vol. 26, No. 2–3, 1991, Nis, Yugoslavia, pp. 162–179

  • introduction (3:43): MP3
  • Ron Silliman (1:34:33): MP3
  • discussion (40:39): MP3

Segue Series Reading at The Ear Inn, February 15, 1987

  1. Opening Comments (2:38): MP3
  2. "I am Marion Delgado" (from The Age of Huts) (9:44): MP3
  3. last section of "Oz" (from The Alphabet) [pp. 389-407] (26:08): MP3

Complete Reading (38:28): MP3

Politics of Poetic Form reading, The New School, NYC, November 11 1988

  • lecture (1:12:23): MP3
  • discussion (50:01): MP3
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Appearing on Live at the Ear Inn, a compilation from Elemenope Productions, 1994

reading from Oz (6:01) .rm, text

Segue Series Reading at The Ear Inn, January 29, 1994

  1. Introduction (1:08): MP3
  2. ® ("Circle R") (from The Alphabet) [pp. 441-456] (35:42): MP3

Complete Reading (36:46): MP3

Feb. 2, 1994, Buffalo Poetics Program

"Jones" and ® from The Alphabet, intro: Charles Bernstein (56:28): MP3

Reading at Lehigh University, March 17, 1997

  1. Introduction (3:05): MP3
  2. Opening Comments for "Sunset Debris" (3:43): MP3
  3. Sunset Debris (29:05): MP3

Complete Reading (35:50): MP3

Question & Answer Session (37:07): MP3

(Reading courtesy of Jack Krick)

Reading for LIVE at the Writers House, Episode 6, University of Pennsylvania, November 8, 1997

  • Excerpt from "Oz" (from The Alphabet) [p. 365) (3:27): MP3
  • Philadelphia (2:45): MP3

PhillyTalks Episode #3 with Jeff Derksen, January 21, 1998

Excerpts from "You," (from The Alphabet)
  1. I [p. 903] (1:23): MP3
  2. II [pp. 903-904] (1:30): MP3
  3. III [pp. 904-905] (1:23): MP3
  4. V [p. 906] (1:42): MP3
  5. VI [p. 907] (1:47): MP3
  6. VII [pp. 907-908] (2:13): MP3
  7. VIII [pp. 908-909] (2:07): MP3
  8. XII [p. 912] (1:13): MP3
  9. XVIII [pp. 918-919] (2:59): MP3
  10. XIX [pp. 919-920] (5:11): MP3
  11. XXIII [pp. 924-925] (3:12): MP3

Complete Recording (24:49): MP3

Appearing on A.L. Nielsen's Incognito Lounge, UC Berkeley, May 23, 1989

  • from "Toner" (from The Alphabet) [pp. 481-508] (23:34): MP3

•PennSound only, 1994 Poetry Project, "Poetry of Everyday Life" video

Discussion with Jena Osman, Al Filreis, Bob Perelman, and Brian Kim Stefans at the Contemporary Avant-Garde Poetry Symposium at the Kelly Writers House, December 7, 1999

  1. describing his current poetic practice (1:56): MP3
  2. expressing frustration with the generalization that contemporary experimental poetry is abstract (3:24): MP3
  3. on Kenneth Goldsmith's 111 (1:35): MP3
  4. on Charles Reznikoff's Testimony (1:10): MP3
  5. on what motivates his writing (2:15): MP3
  6. on ways of reading (2:11): MP3
  7. explaining how he got to write avant-garde style poetry based on his educational background (1:44): MP3
  8. on poetry and avant-garde music (0:59): MP3
  9. on living as consciously as possible and writing (1:03): MP3
  10. the uneven relationship between the writer and reader in the activity of making meaning (1:19): MP3
  11. feeling encouraged by the community of readers (0:52): MP3
complete recording (1:51:06): MP3, ..rm

Reading at SUNY-Buffalo, March 16, 2000

  • Introduction (11:02): MP3
  • Paradise (from The Alphabet) [pp. 409-431] (1:05:47): MP3

Segue Series Reading at Double Happiness, May 13, 2000

  1. Introduction (1:48): MP3
  2. Silliman's Introduction (1:18): MP3
  3. from the "You" section of The Alphabet
  4. XVII [pp. 917-918] (2:30): MP3
  5. XVIII [pp. 918-919] (for Bob and Francie) (2:34): MP3
  6. XXVI [pp. 928-929] (0:39): MP3
  7. XXXVIII [pp. 941-942] (for Linh Dinh) (2:44): MP3
  8. LII [pp. 955-956] (2:30): MP3
  9. From the "VOG" section of The Alphabet
  10. Silence of the Looms [pp. 598-599] (5:14): MP3
  11. For Larry Eigner; Silent [pp. 607-609] (4:10): MP3
  12. Spiderduck [pp. 613-633] (11:59): MP3

  13. Complete Reading (38:22): MP3

Silliman on Williams as part of the "9 Poets Read Themselves through Modernism" event at the Kelly Writers House, October 12, 2000

  1. Introduction by Al Filreis (1:17)
  2. Introduction by Ron Silliman (1:39)
  3. The Desert Music (4:08)
  4. The Poet (3:30)
  5. To A Dog Injured In The Street (2:12)
  6. from Paterson (4:16)
  7. from Spring And All (2:53)
  8. Untitled work from Crow (3:11)
  9. Berkeley (5:31)
  10. from Ketjak (2:55)
  11. William Carlos Williams reading (2:37)
Click here for the 25 minute MP3 file.

Reading at La Tazza, Philadelphia, August 8, 2003

  1. Introduction (2:00): MP3
  2. Opening Comments (1:08): MP3
  3. Selections from "VOG," from The Alphabet
  4. Of Grammatology [pp. 595] (1:14): MP3
  5. Dogs Love Trucks [pp. 708-710] (2:15): MP3
  6. Seven Sad Forests [pp. 720] (1:54): MP3
  7. (G)hosts [pp. 742-743] (1:14): MP3
  8. Woundwood [pp. 735-741] (7:34): MP3

Complete Reading (18:03): MP3 (Reading courtesy of Jack Krick.)

Reading at the Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania September 21, 2004

  1. Introduction by Bob Perelman (6:07): MP3
  2. Albany (from The Alphabet) [pp. 1-2] (5:55): MP3
  3. Quindecagon (from The Alphabet) [pp. 433-440] (9:57): MP3: text, © Ron Silliman 1995, 2004
  4. From Xing (from The Alphabet) [pp. 861-882] (20:48) MP3
  5. from Vog, "Woundwood" (from The Alphabet) [pp.735-741] (8:07): MP3
  6. Discussion (10:05): MP3

Talk at Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania, "Theorizing" series, February 23, 2005

  • Plotless Prose: Robert Duncan's H.D. Book (1:30:00) MP3

Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, November 19, 2005

  1. Introduction (3:43): MP3
  2. Silliman's opening comments (3:08): MP3
  3. Quindecagon (from The Alphabet) [pp. 433-440] (8:38): MP3
  4. Albany (from The Alphabet) [pp. 1-2] (5:26): MP3
  5. On Under Albany (1:53): MP3
  6. from Under Albany
  7. "If a function of writing is to express the world" (4:40): MP3
  8. "A benefit reading" (10:17): MP3
  9. "Co-payment" (3:37): MP3

  10. Complete Reading (42:07): MP3

Amy King interviews Ron Silliman on a miPOradio POdcast at Bowery Poetry Club, November 19, 2005

discussing "Quindecagon" (11:25): MP3

Complete Interview (50:15): MP3

Desert City Reading at Chapel Hill, March 2, 2006

  1. Introduction (4:45): MP3
  2. Xing (from The Alphabet) [pp. 861-901] (35:08): MP3

Complete Recording (39:48): MP3

Reading at Kutztown State University in PA, March 6, 2006

  1. Opening Comments (2:25): MP3
  2. Xing (from The Alphabet) [pp. 861-901] (33:06): MP3

Complete Recording (35:41): MP3

MLA Offsite Series Reading in Philadelphia, December 26, 2006

  • "this April eve you do deceive..." (0:29): MP3
  • Reading for the Contemporary Writers Series at Mills College, October 2, 2007

    1. Introduction by Stephen Ratcliffe (6:10): MP3
    2. The Age of Huts (15:10): MP3
    3. A Chinese Notebook (7:09): MP3
    4. 2197 (10:26): MP3
    5. Q&A (15:48): MP3

    6. Complete Reading (58:35) MP3

    From A Celebration of George Oppen's 100th Birthday at the Kelly Writers House, April 7, 2008

    • "Three Regrets for George Oppen" (7:49): MP3 (read Silliman's essay on his blog)

    PoemTalk Podcast #8, discussing Armantrout's "The Way," July 7, 2008

    Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

    The Alphabet Reading at the Kelly Writers House, February 17, 2009

    1. Introduction by Jessica Lowenthal (3:09): MP3
    2. Comment by Rachel Blau DuPlessis (10:44): MP3
    3. Comment by Charles Bernstein (5:18): MP3
    4. Comment by Bob Perelman (4:12): MP3
    5. The Alphabet Reading (52:10): MP3
    6. Albany [pp. 1-2] (5:51): MP3
      Force [pp. 43-48] (9:55): MP3
      from Non [pp. 356-357] (2:35): MP3
      from Paradise [pp. 410-411, 425-431] (26:18): MP3
      from VOG, "For Larry Eigner, Silent" [pp. 607-609] (6:40): MP3

    Complete Recording (1:08:10): MP3
    Watch a video recording of this event via KWH-TV

    Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, April 4, 2009

    Recording (begins midway through) (17:46): MP3

    Reading at the Birkbeck Poetics Centre, London, May 5, 2009

    Watch the full video

    1. opening remarks by Carol Watts (1:35): MP3
    2. Quindecagon (from The Alphabet) (12:56): MP3
    3. ® ("Circle R") (from The Alphabet) (36:55): MP3
    4. Q&A Discussion (9:11): MP3
    Complete Recording (1:00:42): MP3

    Appearing on Cross-Cultural Poetics, Episode #195, "The Alphabet/Farout", June 7, 2009

    Complete Interview (34:58): MP3

    MLA Off-Site Reading at the Rotunda, Philadelphia, December 29, 2009

    Silliman's segment ("Low cricket solos") (2:31): MP3

    Complete Reading (2:36:46): MP3

    Poetry in 1960 - A Symposium at The Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania, December 6, 2010

    (with Al Filreis, Danny Snelson, Erica Kaufman, Bob Perelman, Mel Nichols, Judith Goldman, Chris Funkhouser, Kristen Gallagher, Michael S. Hennessey, Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Charles Bernstein)

    on The Opening of the Field by Robert Duncan (6:42): MP3

    Complete program (2:20:13): MP3

    "Un-scene, Ur-new: Time, History & Ambition in The Collage Poems of Drafts," Rachel Blau DuPlessis Celebration, Temple University, October 21, 2011

    1. introduction (1:14): MP3
    2. Silliman's first encounters with Drafts (4:50): MP3
    3. the long poem in relation to the modernist literary project (6:36): MP3
    4. Zukofsky's A as a useful counterpoint to Drafts and the crisis of the long poem that is at the heart of its composition (5:54): MP3
    5. finding and defining boundaries in relation to the question of what constitutes a long poem (7:12): MP3
    6. gendered critique and the long poem as a male form (5:38): MP3
    7. thinking of what enters into the poem not as new information but as contamination (6:24): MP3
    8. graphic intervention and extralinguistic information in "Drafts 1-8" (4:50): MP3
    9. the act of the mark upon paper, the edge of legibility and articulation (2:39): MP3
    10. the dimensions of the grid and color, and reading horizontally as well as vertically (2:22): MP3
    11. "Draft 94: Mail Art," "Draft 110: Primer," and exploring the frontier of literacy (11:23): MP3
    • complete reading (1:01:58): MP3

    Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.



    Reading for the Kelly Writers House Fellows Program, March 19, 2012

    1. introduction by Al Filreis (6:32): MP3
    2. introduction by Rivky Mondal (6:16): MP3
    3. introduction by Jamie-Lee Josselyn (2:14): MP3
    4. from Ketjak (14:45): MP3
    5. remarks on Ketjak (3:39): MP3
    6. Ketjak shadow text (22:09): MP3
    7. Q & A (14:19): MP3
    • complete reading (1:09:54): MP3

    Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.



    Discussion during the the Kelly Writers House Fellows Program, March 20, 2012

    1. spontaneous prose and RS's relationship with "First thought, best thought" as an idea (3:48): MP3
    2. obsessiveness in RS's writing (9:37): MP3
    3. student responses to reading Ketjak and RS's experience coming out of the first generation of readers who looked at Pound, Williams and Stein together (3:55): MP3
    4. the academy and radical pedagogy (10:21): MP3
    5. on RS's elegy for Larry Eigner and the line "I WANT SPEECH" in response to Bob Grenier's "I HATE SPEECH" (6:48): MP3
    6. RS reading "For Larry Eigner, Silent" (5:32): MP3
    7. RS discussing his blog and the decision to disable comments (7:28): MP3
    8. the relation between embodiment and disembodiment in RS's work and using numbering systems in writing (7:03): MP3
    9. on John Cage's influence (2:57): MP3
    10. RS's current relationship to politics and Marxism (7:24): MP3
    11. RS's relationship to Ezra Pound (4:34): MP3
    12. on work, play and labor (4:53): MP3
    13. RS on his grandmother and his first muse (3:59): MP3
    complete discussion (1:27:20): MP3

    Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.



    Reading from Wharf Hypothesis, 43rd International Poetry Festival, Rotterdam, June 12-17, 2012

    Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.



    complete reading (4:18): MP3

    Reading from The Alphabet, Penn State University, October 9, 2012

    1. Introduction by A.L. Nielsen (2:54): MP3
    2. prefatory comments on The Alphabet (1:58): MP3
    3. Albany (7:29): MP3
    4. Blue (5:51): MP3
    5. Carbon (14:59): MP3
    6. For Larry Eigner, Silent [from VOG] (6:43): MP3
    7. Seven Sad Forests [from VOG] (1:43): MP3
    8. from What (11:13): MP3
    • complete reading (56:40): MP3

    Reading and discussion of "BART," Kelly Writers House, UPenn, October 25, 2012

    1. Ron Silliman reading "BART" (28:38): MP3
    2. Group discussion led by Al Filreis (with Ron Silliman, Kristen Martin, Lily Applebaum, Max McKenna, Molly O'Neill, Emily Harnett, Dave Poplar, and Amaris Cuchanski) (42:59): MP3

    PoemTalk Podcast #59, discussing Paul Blackburn's "7th Game: 1960 Series," November 22, 2012

    Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

    Convergence on Poetics, University of Washington Bothell, North Creek Events Center, September 27-30, 2012

    • Ron Silliman (9:07): MP3
    • complete recording (1:55:03): MP3

    • listen to the entire event here

    Recordings engineered and edited by Steve McLaughlin.

    PoemTalk Podcast #54, discussing Ron Silliman's "You," June 20, 2012

    Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

    PoemTalk Podcast #62, discussing Charles Alexander's "Near or Random Acts," February 5, 2013

    Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

    Reading for the Readings in Contemporary Poetry series at Dia Art Foundation, New York:Chelsea, March 4, 2013

    with Robert Fitterman

    • complete reading (35:21): MP3

    PoemTalk Podcast #69, discussing Rachel Blau DuPlessis's "Draft 85: Hard Copy," July 28, 2013

    Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

    Reading for ex.it, Materiali Fuori Contesto, Albinea, Italy, April 12, 2013

    • Opening Passage from "Sunset Debris" (5:07): MP3

    Reading for Joseph Ceravolo Celebration, September 9, 2013, Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania

    • compelte reading (8:17): MP3

    Introducing Rachel Blau DuPlessis, in celebration of Surge: Drafts: 96-114, KWH, September 25, 2013

    Recorded Poems on Harry's House Vol 2, 2013, CD

    • Section 3 of "Carbon" from The Alphabet - Ron Silliman (1:18): MP3

    Also of Interest at PennSound:

    Ron Silliman on PennSound Daily


    These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. © 2004-2009 Ron Silliman. Used with permission of Ron Silliman. Distributed by PennSound.