Ezra Pound Poetry Recordings on PennSound: Digital Archive

University of Pennsylvania Almanac - April 24, 2007, Volume 53, No. 31, P. 9

MP3 sound files of rare poetry recordings of Ezra Pound, as well as a set of his previously unknown private recordings made in 1962-1972, are now available for download on PennSound, writing.upenn.edu/pennsound.  Based at the University of Pennsylvania, PennSound is the largest archive of digital poetry recordings online.  

The PennSound Ezra Pound page, edited by leading translator and author Richard Sieburth, is at writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Pound.html.

Sieburth provides a detailed essay to accompany the recordings, which cover Pound's two major recording sessions, at Harvard in 1939 and in Washington in 1958.  The recordings also include Pound's 1942 reading of Canto XLVI, broadcast on Italian radio as part of his radio speeches; his reading at Spoleto in 1967; his reading of his "Confucian Odes" in Spoleto in 1970; and a private recording of three Cantos from the early 1970s.

"We are grateful to New Directions Publishing Corporation and the heirs of Ezra Pound for making these recordings available for noncommercial and educational use," said Charles Bernstein, a professor of English at Penn, who with Penn English Professor Al Filreis launched PennSound in January 2005.  

"More than eight million individual sound files have been downloaded in the past year," Filreis said.  "Through PennSound we want nothing less than to change the listening habits of the MP3 player/iPod generation."

PennSound also hosts two poetry radio programs," Close Listening" with Bernstein and "Cross-Cultural Poetics" with Leonard Schwartz.  A monthly PennSound podcast is hosted by Filreis.

With approximately 8,000 MP3 poetry sound files available for download, PennSound offers a variety of digital recordings of poems, mostly as song-length singles.  Recent additions to PennSound include the complete recordings of William Carlos Williams and extensive collections of recordings by Jackson Mac Low, Susan Howe, Anne Tardos, Anne Waldman, Myung Mi Kim, Charles Reznikofff, Alan Davies, Tracie Morris, Bruce Andrews, Barbara Guest, Nicole Brossard, Robin Blaser, Amiri Baraka, Bern Porter, Robert Grenier, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Allen Ginsberg, Brian Kim Stefans, Kenneth Goldsmith and many others.