Featured resources

From "Down To Write You This Poem Sat" at the Oakville Gallery

Contemporary
  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
Historical
  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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Jake Marmer Interviews Jerry Rothenberg and David Antin, 2015

Posted 7/6/2022

Today we're highlighting a formidable meeting of the minds that took places back in 2015, when Jake Marmer interviewed two poetic titans: Jerome Rothenberg and David Antin. Recorded in San Diego on December 23, 2015, this sprawling interview runs more than ninety-minutes and has recently been broken up into fifteen discrete tracks by topic or theme.

In a 2016 Jacket2 commentary post, Al Filreis reprinted Marmer's introduction to the interview, which there was dubbed "Imagining a Poetry That We Might Find: Conversation with Jerome Rothenberg and David Antin." A few paragraphs in, he offers a simple summation of his intentions: "Rothenberg and Antin have been friends for nearly sixty-five years, and for the past decades have been living within a short drive from one another. It is clear that this friendship has been formative for both poets. I wanted to experience what the discourse between the two of them might be like. I also wanted to understand the source of mutual concern, given how vastly different – one might be compelled to say, incompatible – their poetry is."

Appropriately enough, the discussion starts with the two poets talking about how they first met. This segues into more foundational information on each, including how each got started in writing and when they first encountered avant-garde poetry. Rothenberg and Antin also discuss translation and their initial inspirations before moving into questions of recognizing poetry and poetry in performance. They then talk about Rothenberg's "COKBOY," which spurs them to consider both the past in poetry as well as the poetic imagination. Antin then addresses the concept of "dissemblage," central to his own poetics, which was inspired in part by Rothenberg's work as both a poet and anthologist, and this leads into a discussion of how to remove the self from poetry and shadow cast by Cage upon their practice. Questions of retrospection lead into the last phase of the interview, with a brief stop for critiques of Harold Bloom before closing with a very apropos topic: poetry and friendship.

If you're familiar with both of these iconic and iconoclastic poets, then you know that you don't want to miss this illuminating conversation between them. Click here to start listening.


Barbara Henning Reads from 'Ferne, a Detroit Story' in Detroit, 2022

Posted 7/5/2022

We recently showcased a launch event for Barbara Henning's latest, Ferne, a Detroit Story from back in March, and today we're back with another recent reading from the same book, this time taking place (fittingly enough) at Detroit's Pages Bookshop this past June 14th.

John Hartigan, Jr. has hailed Ferne, a Detroit Story as "a time capsule of mid-century Detroit, a city poised to explode." He continues, "Its sounds, scents, and sights spill forth, as vividly experienced by a vibrant young woman whose life would end too soon. Ferne joyously curates her own life; that’s the heart of this book. But we also encounter her through the fervent eyes of her daughter, poet and novelist Barbara Henning, who lyrically fills in and fleshes out the social contours and details of the ghostly presence that haunts these pages." He concludes, "Through her daughter's skilled hands, Ferne comes to life again on these pages, bringing with her glimpses of the city she loved so deeply."

Likewise, Anne Waldman calls Henning "an indomitable writer, thinker, traveler and a stalwart weaver of the threads through the heart centers and margins of her own existence." To Waldman, Ferne is "a daughter's complicated love story of a mother and a city and a time before we knew more than we thought to know," "[a] poignant tribute of what haunts the premises in all the fractures and layers in the souls of America," and "[a] brilliant—and in a strange way—a most timely intervention."

You can sample Ferne yourself by tuning in to this event on our Barbara Henning author page.


Robert and Bobbie Creeley Perform "Listen" (1972)

Posted 7/2/2022

Our PennSound author page for Robert Creeley (edited by Steve McLaughlin) can be daunting for listeners to navigate, given that it has well over a thousand individual files spanning a half-century. Today we're highlighting one of the more interesting tracks you'll find there: Listen, a radio play performed by the poet and his then-wife, Bobbie Creeley. Originally broadcast by West Germany's Westdeutscher Rundfunk on December 1, 1971 (in a translation by Klaus Reichert), it was later released by Black Sparrow in 1972, both in book and cassette formats, the latter serving as the source for PennSound's recording.

In text-form, Listen is comprised of an extended back-and-forth between two narrators: a HE and a SHE. While listeners are likely to read the dialogue through the frame of the Creeleys' marriage — and here their words embody a broad range of nupital emotions, from acrimony to romance, new love and old love — the two occupy a number of varied discursive relationships, from mother to child, suitor to quarry, interrogator to interrogator, writer to actress. In his essay, "Meaning: I Hear You" (linked on Creeley's page), Kyle Schlesinger notes, "it quickly becomes evident that this conversation can't converge. It isn't quite like two ships passing in the night, but more like a submarine passing below the Mayflower; two vessels vacillating between irreconcilable pasts. Where the constitution of one was once affirmed by its ability to address the other, they now share shards of a language they can never reinhabit together." This disjointed effect is augmented by HE's extended meta-notations on the performance at hand — some of the radio play's most enjoyable moments — which range from suggestions as to sound effects to be (but not to be) added later, to questions (posed to the audience-as-producer) regarding how much of a given song should be shared with the listeners (another delight: Bob Creeley's tender and vulnerable croon).

Schlesinger concludes his essay by noting, "It is here, in the atmosphere of Listen that the reader watches it all through a transparent revolving door; "listening out" for the signal, "listening in" on another conversation as it continues to turn. Tune in. Turn on. You hear." This eliptical effect is one of the radio play's most lasting sensations — in the abrupt aftermath of Creeley's final words, listeners will most certainly want to push "play" again to take another spin. Click here to start listening.

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.