English 795 / Comp Lit 795

The Sound of Poetry, the Poetry of Sound
Charles Bernstein
Spring 2007
Thursdays, 6:30pm, Fisher-Bennett Hall 222: note new room!

INTRODUCTION (required books, listserv, &c)

list archive
posts to poetics@mailman.ssc.upenn.edu

Course Requirements: Weekly postings to the class list, responding to the week's reading. Leading one week's discussion as a respondent. A final paper or project is due at the end of the semester.

Supplemental bibliography of new works:
Sound of Poetry/Poetry of Sound, ed. Craig Dworkin and Marjorie Perloff, 2009
e-version (preview)

Diana Taylor The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (2003).

Louis Cabris, Peter Quatermain, Michael Hennessey, Editors, "On Discreteness: Event and Sound in Poetry," special issue of ESC/ English Studies in Canada 33:4 (Dec. 2007) (available via Project Muse).

Stein and Waveforms, Tanya Clement

Martina Pfeiler, American Performing Poets (full full)


First recording of human voice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znKNQXo58pE&feature=youtu.be

1. (Jan.11) Introduction

Tuesday, 1/16 at 6 PM
Brian Kim Stefans &  Sueyeun Juliette Lee
Reading at Kelly Writers House

2. (Jan. 18): Roots of Lyric

Andrew Welsh, Roots of Lyric
Stephen Ratcliffe, Campion, On Song pdf
Bernstein, "The Art of Immemorability" from The Book of the Book
Further Listening:
Three Campion songs
Respondents: Jennifer Jahner & Brenda Haak,

2.01 (now/not now) Rime's Reasoning: Supplemental Reading

Prosody bibliography (for two items by Terry Brogan)
Gregory Nagy, Poetry as Performance and his two more recent books Homeric Questions and Homeric Responses ): Caroline Whitbeck on Nagy
Richard Cureton, Rhythmic Phrasing in English Verse
Wlad Godzich & Jeffrey Kittay, The Emergence of Prose: An Essay in Prosaics
Anthony Easthope, Poetry as Discourse (London: Methuen, 1983)
Henri Meschonnic, Critique du rythme: anthropologie historique du langage (Lagrasse: Verdier, 1982). English material on on Mechonnic is of limited value; all these availalbe via JSTOR: Meschonnic, interviewed by Gabriella Bedetti,  Diacritics, Vol. 18, No. 3. (Autumn, 1988), pp. 93-111; Gabriella Bedetti, "Henri Meschonnic: Rhythm as Pure Historicity, "New Literary History, Vol. 23, No. 2, (Spring, 1992), pp. 431-450;; Meschonnic, tr. Gabriella Bedetti, "Rhyme and Life," Critical Inquiry, Vol. 15, No. 1. (Autumn, 1988), pp. 90-107.
Lawrence Kramer, Music and Poetry: the Nineteenth Century and After (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). See also his "Rhythm Party Manifesto": pdf
Marjorie Perloff , "Lucent And Inescapable Rhythms: Metrical 'Choice' And Historical Formation"
Wesling, Donald, The Chances of Rhyme : Device and Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980)
Susan Stewart, Poetry and the Fate of the Senses (note her "Letter on Sound" in Close Listening is included in this book)
Michael Golston, “Rhythm and Race in 20th century Poetry and Poetics: Pound, Williams, and Modern Sciences of Rhythm(forthcoming, Columbia University Press): gloss

Stephen Ratcliffe, Listening to Reading
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
J.L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words
Yunte Huang, Transpacific Displacement. Ethnography, Translation, and Intertextual Travel in Twentieth Century American Literature
Jerome McGann, Romantic Ideology
Thomas Patteson, The Voice in Western Music after 1950: special web project for this syllabus

3. (Jan. 25)  Hart Crane (Brian Reed seminar visit)
NOTE: Wednesday, 1/24
, 6:00 PM in the KWH Arts Cafe:
A celebration of Hart Crane with Susan Howe, Samuel R. Delany, and Brian Reed
moderated by Charles Bernstein and introduced by Alice Quinn.
Note: Reed will be talking about Crane's "Repose of Rivers."
Hart Crane, "The Bridge" (1930) & in and around the rest of his work
Recommended edition: the new Library of America Crane, which will be on sale at the Crane event. Crane's poems are also available on-line:go to LION (Literature on Line at Penn library electronic resources; when at LION home page, use the quick search on the upper left and type in "Hart Crane Bridge" [use exactly those words]); quick guide: notes for, and text of, "Cutty Sark" See also "Repose of Rivers" which Reed will discuss Wednesday.

Brian Reed, "Hart Crane's Victrola" in Modernism/modernity - Volume 7, Number 1, January 2000, pp. 99-125 (available via Project Muse on-line)
Reed, Hart Crane: After His Light & see biblio in his book for further reaiding
Samuel R. Delany on Crane in Longer Views Respodent: Jason Zuzga

February 1
THALIA FIELD: 1:30-3:00, Center for Humanities Lounge, 10th floor Gladfelter
Temple University series
Part of POETRY COMPLEX: Cross-Genre Writing, co-sponsored by Temple-Penn Poetics

4. (Feb. 1) Orality, Ethnopoetics, Performance, Song, Sound
•"Sound" and "Performance" in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (X) & pdf: note the Encylopedia is also on-line via Penn library. See also "timbre."
Richard Bauman, ed., Folklore, Cultural Performances, and Popular Entertainments : A Communications-Centered Handbook: secs. on Oratory, Oral Poetry, Ethnopoetics, Gesture, Song pdf
•Sound States: Mackey and Moten
•Close Listening: Dennis Tedlock
Tedlock, The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation (on library reserve):
chapter one (pdf, psswd req.); this chapter may be easier to read via JSTOR, but please be sure to read the "Epilog" in the pdf, starting p. 55, which is not in the original article: "On the Translation of Style in Oral Narrative" from The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 84, No. 331: Toward New Perspectives in Folklore. (Jan. - Mar., 1971), pp. 114-133: Penn Access.
Tedlock, From Voice and Ear to Hand and Eye (Penn access) from The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 103, No. 408. (Apr. - Jun., 1990), pp. 133-156. Stable URL
Charles Olson, "Projective Verse"

Tedlock, Spoken Word : Intro, prologue, & chaps. 1, 3, 10, and 16; ch. 7 is assigned for later week.
From Oral Performance to Paper-Text to Cyber-Edition
Fred Moten, In the Break: the Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition
Mackey Penn Sound page and near end "Song of the Andoumboulou")
Amiri Baraka, Blues People
Charles Olson, "Proprioception" (in Collected Prose)
"Wedding of Mustajbey’s Son Bećirbey" as performed by Halil Bajgorić & recorded by Milman Parry and Albert Lord (Serbian epic singing)
Bernstein, "Introjective Verse"
Jed Rasula, "Notes on Genre"
Recommned listening : speech & music. multivoice
Robert Ashley: excerpts from Perfect Lives::
The Bank (Victimless Crime); .The Backyard (T'Be Continued) ,  The Bar (Differences) [excerpt]:
Steve Reich, The Cave and "Come Out": @2 hrs 21 min this Rel Audio Kenny Goldsmith broadcast, and "It's Gonna Rain": first in this RA broadcast
Julia Bloch & Adrian Khactu on Moten
Eric Baus on Mackey
3. Jana Schmidt on "Projective Verse"

5. (Feb. 8)
Sound Theory/Theory of Sound (Phonology)
Roland Barthes, "Listening" (X), pdf: Respondent: Thomas Patteson
Reuven Tsur, What Makes Sound Patterns Expressive
Roman Jakobson, "Quest for the Essence of Language" (X), pdf : Respondent: Matt Hubbell
George Lakoff sound symbolism notes (X, pdf)
Roman Jakobson and Linda Waugh, The Sound Shape of Language
Jakobson, Language in Literature
See bibliography of Close Listening
We can continue discussion of ethnopoetics from last week, beginning with Thomas's discussion of Brogan.
But first: & heldover: Adam Tabor on ethnopoetics

6. (Feb. 15) Susan Howe ," 'What Is This Crackling of Voices in the Mind' ": Edwards, Stevens, Howe"
We will meet at KWH!
Howe will give a public talk at 6:30 & we will have a light supper with Susan Howe after the talk.
Note also: Feb. 14: Susan Howe reading, 6:30, KWH
Susan Howe, The Midnight
Jonathan Edwards, "Personal Narrative" (1794)
[NOTE: Quick running html text of Howe's Stevens selection plus a passage from Dickinson , Whitman, and Crane she requested to include.Will project on Thurs. but you might want to print out]
Wallace Stevens, "Dutch Graves in Bucks County" (from which the title of the talk is taken)
&, from The Rock: "The Planet on the Table," "The Rivers of Rivers in Connecticut," & "Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself"
& "Poetry Is  Destructive Force" (from "Parts of a World")
Note: Recommended edition of Stevens: Library of America; Stevens's poems also available via LION
CD Howe did with David Grubbs, Thiefth (available for seminar only here)
Howe, Singularities
Stevens, The Rock and "John Crowe Ransom: Tennessean" (in LOA collection)
Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"
Edwards, mss at Beinicke (search Jonothan Edwards)
Further reading/listening via Susan Howe EPC page & PennSound page
Esp. recommended: LINEbreak program

7. (Feb. 22) 
Sound Theory/Theory of Sound (2)
Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music
Walter Benjamin, "On Language as Such and the Language of Man" (1916)
______"Doctrine of the Similar" (1933)
 :::: pdf of both WB essays; word doc of "Doctrine"
Adorno & Horkheimer, Siren passage from The Dialectic of Englightenment
Luigi Russolo, "The Art of Noises"
Torben Sangild, " The Aesthetics of Noise" (UBU, rec. by Kenneth Goldsmith)
via Greg Steier:
David Toop, Haunted Weather: Music, Silence and Memory
L. Murray Schafer, Soundscape (aka The Tuning of the World)
World Forum for Acoustic Ecology
Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces
Information Theory:
Claude E. Shannon (intro Warren Weaver), "A Mathematical Theory of Communication"
Daniel Changeler, a good summary of the "The Transition Model of Communication"
"Conduit Metaphor" see e.g. Lakoff & Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 1980, p. 10
Norbert Wiener (1894-1964), Cybernetics: or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948)
Abraham Moles (1920-1992), see esp. Information Theory and Esthetic Perception (1966)(in Penn library)

Matt Hubbell continuing on Jakobson
Greg Steirer and Sarah Kerman on "Noise"

Feb. 26, 7pm, Kelly  Writers House
Reading by seminar participants: Shonni Enelow, Julia Bloch, Jason Zuzga, Caroline Whitbeck, & Dottie Lasky

Tuesday, 2/27
Fred Moten
6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe: Theorizing presents a lecture by Fred Moten.

8. (March 1) Close Listening

•Close Listening: Bernstein, Stewart, Andrews, and Piombino
•Close Listening introduction with vox machina: MP3 (long version) or MP3 (short version);
•Sound States: Morris's introduction and essay and Garrett Stewart
Garrett Stewart, Reading Voices (pdf)
Prynne, J.H., "Stars, Tigers, and The Shape of Words" (pdf)
See bibliography of Close Listening: eg Brathwaite, "History of the Voice" now collected in Roots; Henry Sayre
Martina Pfeiler, Sound of Poetry: Contemporary American Performance Poets  (Tübingen: Gunter Marr Verlag Tübinben, 2003): pdf at UBU

We will begin just where we left off last week & some of the responses posted and presented, and then go on to
William Bleuer on Benjamin's "Doctrine of the Similar"
Sueyeun Juliette Lee on Myung Mi Kim (an introduction; see below))
Caroline Whitbeck on Gregory Nagy [see section 2.01 above]

RESPONSES highlighted

Weds., 3/14
Myung Mi Kim
6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

a discussion will follow the reading

9. (March 15)  Wallace Stevens / Al Filreis seminar visit
Stevens poems:
The Woman That had More Babies than That,
The Snow Man, The Plot against the Giant, The Man with the Blue Guitar (all 33 cantos), The Men That Are, Falling, Mozart 1935, Yellow Afternoon, The Auroras of Autumn, The Plain Sense of Things, The World as Meditation, Long and Sluggish Lines, A Quiet Normal Life, Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself, The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain
Note: Recommended edition of Stevens: Library of America; Stevens's poems also available via LION
Audio: Stevens, "Idea of Order at Key West" (or RA via Academy of American Poets Stevens page) and "Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself" ; video with Steven's voice of "The Snow Man." See also Jim Andrews's fantasia on the Stevens's audio.
More Stevens audio
Filreis, chapter 3 of Wallace Stevens and the Actual World
Filreis, preface to Modernisms from Right to Left
Al Filreis's Wallace Stevens page
MAPS Stevens page
Filreis: Wallace Stevens and the Actual World  (Reserve)
Filreis, Modernism from Right to Left: Wallace Stevens, the Thirties, and Literary Radicalism (Reserve)

Wednesday, 3/21
7 PM in Studio 111 (3803 Walnut): a reading and conversation with Sergey Gandlevsky. I will be recording two Close Listening radio shows with the Russian poet.

Thursday, 3/22 5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe:
EMERGENCY presents a reading and discussion with writers Dodie Bellamy and Julia Bloch.

10. (March 22) The Poetry Reading
•Close Listening: Perelman, Quartermain, Rasula, Middleton, Thomas, Damon, Schultz, Silliman
•Sound States
: Perloff, Conner, Miller & McHoul, Hayles, Davidson, Rasula
Peter Middleton and Nickey Marsh, 'Blasts of Language': Changes in Oral Poetics in Britain Since 1965 (2006) Repondent: Brenda Haak
Middleton, How to Read a Reading of a Written Poem (2005) Respondent: Dottie Lasky
Michael Davidson, 'By ear, he sd': Audio-Tapes and Contemporary Criticism (1981)
PennSound: selected audio files
Peter Middleton, Distant Reading (University of Alabama Press, 2005); see review by Brian McHale in Contemporary Literature 47:3 (2006) via Project Muse.
Jerome Rothenberg, "How We Came into Performance"

March 24, 6pm: reading launch for EOAGH:  A Journal of the Arts, Issue Three: Queering Language  ROBIN'S BOOKSTORE 108 S. 13th St.  Philadelphia. Readers include:Dodie Bellamy, Kyle Conner, CAConrad, Jim Cory, Sarah Dowling, Maria Fama, Chris Gullo, hassen, Mytili Jagannathan, Anne Kaier, Candace Kaucher, Erica Kaufman, Kevin Killian, Janet Mason, Cathleen Miller, Ashraf Osman, Tim Peterson, Stephen Potter, Sina Queyras, Jason Zuzga

11 (March 29) Sound Reproduction and Performance Study
Bernstein, "Making Audio Visible" (link to Frank Lambert Talking Clock discussed  in essay)
____, "Hearing Voices" (2006 MLA lecture)
Tedlock, Ch. 7 of The Spoken Word (pdf, psswed req.)
Ken Sherwood, Elaborate Versionings: Characteristics of Emergent Performance in Three Print/Oral/ Aural Poet
Case study: Stein's "If I Told Him" in line-segmented mark-up (under construction)
Waveform Prosody
Steve Evans, Lipstick of Noise: see, especially, his waveform analyses of Bromige, Robertson, Rich, Mac Low, & Lyons  Respondent: Steve McLaughlin
Tsur, from Kubla Khan’ – Poetic Structure, Hypnotic Quality, and Cognitive (short excerpt)
More Tsur:
Please also quickly scan, if time does not permit close study, so that you get a sense of Tsur's project:
Tsur, Phonetic Cues and Dramatic Function Artistic Recitation of Metered Speech (alt. site for same essay)
Tsur, Poetic Rhythm: Structure and Performance (note link to full book below)
Style (Amsterdam/Philadelphia ; John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2006), pp. 39-44

PennSound: selected audio files

Benjamn, "The Work of Art in the Age of Technological Reproduction"(1935-1938) ["Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit" (Harry Zohn translation from Illuminations); alternate pdf file of essay; recommended: new translation of 2nd version of the essay in Harvard edition, vol. 3
______ "The Task of the Translator"
Reuven Tsur on the web
Tsur, Poetic Rhythm: Structure and Performance — An Empirical Study in Cognitive Poetics (full book)
Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter
Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction  (Duke, 2003)
Douglas Kahn and Gregory Whitehead, ed., Wireless Imagination: sound, radio and the avant-garde (MIT Press, 1992).
Allen S. Weiss, Experimental Sound and Radio (MIT, 2000)
Yopie Prins, "Voice Inverse, Victorian Poetry" 42.1 (2004) (via Project Muse)

Temple University series
Weds., April 4, 3:00-4:30, Weigley Room, 9th floor Gladfelter
Part of POETRY COMPLEX: Cross-Genre Writing, co-sponsored by Temple-Penn Poetics Drucker's lecture the next day, on the book as a writing space, conflicts with the seminar.

12. (April 5) Sound Poetry
Steve McCaffery in Close Listening
Sound Works:
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), ""Ur Sonata": both sound file and score
Dada Souinds  
Respondent: Shonni Enelow on Artaud, theater and/or Dada.
Bob Cobbing: on UBU, RadioRadio program 7 and 16 ; audio files from Penn exhibition, if available. Respondent: Matthew Abess
Steve McCaffery: Cappucino (2:01) (ra file); from Carnival, Panel 2 (5:36) (Carnivocal, 1999) (plus: Carnival text at Coach House); Carnival, Panel 1 (21:33) (Buffalo, 1997)
Four Hourseman Respondent: Sarah Dowling (& on Canadian Sound poetry)
Bernard Heidseick, for example "Canal Street"
Christian Bok -- Studio 111 performance, esp. 1, 4, 6, 7 (including another Hugo Ball)
Caroline Bergvall's "About Face" & Chaucer etc
Henri Chopin, Fresque de l'Impalapable voix (1990)
François Dufrêne, "Batteries vocales, Crirythme" (1958)
Tracie Morris
Christian Prigent, "Orgasm" (1998)
bp Nichol
Enrst Jandl; also on UBU.
Tomomi Adachi
Further Recommended Listening:
Ubuweb Sound
Radio Radio
EPC Sound Poetry Index:
Further Reading:
Steve McCaffery, "Sound Poetry -- A Survey" & the nichol and McCaffery Sound Poetry: A Catalog
Douglas Kahn, Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT, 2001)
Gerald Bruns, The Material of Poetry: Sketches for a Philosophical Poetics ( The University of Georgia Press, 2004)
Kurt Schwitters, Poems, performance pieces, proses, plays, poetics; edited & translated by Jerome Rothenberg & Pierre Joris

For these two sessions, participants are asked to revisit one of the readings or raise a question for discussion, bring up a related but unexplored topic, present a close listening to a specific sound work, or (most likely) sketch their current plans for a final project (paper, web site, recording, essay, exhibition, performance).
An earlier version of ths seminar was given in 2000 with composer and scholar Jeffrey Stadelman. That syllbus has many citations that focus on musical settings of poetry and  other related musical issues.

(April 12)
Matt Abess
William Blueher
Jana Schmidt
Thomas Patteson
Adrian Khactu
Jason Zuzga
Jennifer Jahner

(April 19) Last Class
Robbie Wood
Eric Baus
Brenda Haak
Steve Mclaughlin
Matt Hubbell
Caroline Whitbeck
Adam Tabor
Greg Steirer
Julia Bloch
Sarah Kerman
Sarah Dowling
Shonni Enelow
Juliette Lee
Dottie Lasky

These sessions are left open to schedule participant presentations (esp.) and to resechedule discussions for which there was  inadequate time. It had been my plan to do some close listenings to Harreyette Mullen, Louis Zukofsky, Hugh MacDiarmid, Basil Bunting, Mina Loy, Robert Creeley, Amiri Baraka, Charles Olson, Leslie Scalapino, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, H.D., Woody Guithrie's "talking" pieces, David Antin, and others. Perhaps these suggestions might be taken up in final projects.


from Pitch of Poetry:

11. (April 7) Sound

Respondents: Chris Mustazza and Danny Snelson, who will each post additional material to view before the seminar, They will be adding their own set of readings, this set will be background reading.

Mustazza's List:

Waveforms and optional collaborative exercise
Charles reading "1 to 100"
Filreis on Charles Bernstein's "1 to 100"
Mustazza on using ARLO
Perloff - "To Give a Design": Williams and the Visualization of Poetry
Mustazza - "The William Carlos Williams Band"
Jaap Blonk - "What the President Will Say and Do"
Vachel Lindsay, particularly "The Congo" -
Mustazza - "Sound as an Extension of Form and Content: A Phonotextual Analysis of William Carlos Williams' "To Elsie"

Snelson's List:
Jonathan Sterne, “The mp3 as cultural artifact” (condensed article form, see also (optional) MP3: The Meaning of a Format here) and “The Preservation Paradox in Digital Audio” (as part of the Sound Souvenirs collection)
Patrick Feaster, “Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio 980-1980” (important! for highlights, see Feaster’s YouTube lecture)
Charles Bernstein, “Making Audio Visible: The Lessons of Visual Language for the Textualization of Soun
Craig Dworkin, “A Handbook of Protocols for Literary Listening
Peter Middleton, “How to Read the Reading of a Written Poem
William Carlos Williams, “The Defective Record” (text)
Tan Lin, “Eleven Minute Painting
Gregory Laynor, “The Making of Americans
Cassandra Gillig, “put me in charge of poetry magazine and i will fuck this country up
Henri Chopin, “Civilisation de papier
Timothy Leonido, “Callhome Corpus” and “Ingroup-signal (request)
[Further resources: Sound Poetry Effects Catalog and The St.Claire Prof.Anon Micro-Library]

my list: further reading on sound ---
Susan Stewart, "Letter on Sound"(from Close Listening)
Reuven Tsur, What Mkes Sound Paterns Expressive (from on-line book sellers)
Andrew Welsh, Roots of the Lyric: available as an ebook via Penn
Stein and Waveforms, Tanya Clement
more Tsur:
Kubla Khan’ – Poetic Structure, Hypnotic Quality, and Cognitive (short excerpt)
Tsur, Phonetic Cues and Dramatic Function Artistic Recitation of Metered Speech (alt. site for same essay)
Tsur, Poetic Rhythm: Structure and Performance (note link to full book below)
Tracie Morris: PennSound: Close Listening, &:
"Chain Gang" , "From Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful, "It All Started" (last of the segmented videos) & her article in boundary 2: American Poetry after 1975

Charles Bernstein: Close Listening intro
See Sound syllabus
Garrett Steward: Reading Voices: Literature and the Phonotext (free ebook)
Donald Wessling, Chances of Rhyme (free ebook)
Marjorie Perloff / Craig Dworkin, The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound


note these pdfs in protected file:

Simon Ortiz, Song, Poetry and Language-Expression ane Perception