Featured resources

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

  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
  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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Ted Joans on PennSound

Posted 9/24/2021

We close out this week by taking a look at our holdings from legendary poet Ted Joans.

First, thanks to the S Press Collection, we have Joans' Jazz Poems, tape #72 in the series, which was recorded in Germany in November 1979 and released the following year. Running nearly seventy minutes, this album sees Joans run through fourteen poems in total — "The Truth," "Jazz Is My Religion," "Bed," "Ouagadougou Ouagadougou," "I Am The Lover," "Nine Month Blues," "Africa," and "Long Gone Lover Blues" among them — with laid-back accompaniment from a combo that included Uli Espenlaub on keys, Andreas Leep on bass, Dietrich Rauschtenberger behind the drums, and Ralf Falk guitar. Jazz Poems is a substantial addition to our collection of Joans recordings, and a welcome one given his influence upon multiple generations of poets.

For those interested in learning more about Joans, there's no better place to start than Wow! Ted Joans Lives!, the 2010 documentary by Kurt Hemmer and Tom Knoff that we've been proud to share with our listeners for the past five years. Envisoned as "a visual and aural collage," the film "examin[es] the life and works of the legendary, tri-continental poet Ted Joans, who was born in Cairo, Illinois on 4 July 1928 and went on to become one of the significant poets of his generation performing his work in the United States, Europe, and Africa." Hemmer and Knoff continue, "The film has the sound of jazz and the flavor of surrealism. As Ted Joans declared, 'Jazz is my religion and Surrealism is my point of view.'" You'll find the complete award-winning documentary here, along with a short clip of Joans reading in Amsterdam in 1964 — taken from Louis van Gasteren's film, Jazz & Poetry — and the aforementioned S Press cassette.

Apply to Be Philadelphia's Next Poet Laureate

Posted 9/21/2021

The City of Philadelphia is currently accepting applications for its next Poet Laureate! 

The Free Library of Philadelphia — which administers the program with guidance from "a governing committee composed of local poets, educators, arts-organization professionals, and Free Library staff members" — has information on how you can apply on their website. Per their invitation, they're looking for candidates who "will demonstrate a commitment to the power of poetry to inspire people throughout Philadelphia's neighborhoods," and over the course of their two year term (running from 2022–2023), they will "mentor two Youth Poet Laureates ... and engage with the city through readings, events, and a signature project of their choosing."

Candidates must be current residents of Philadelphia and will need to meet other eligibility requirements. The deadline for applying is by 5:00PM on Friday, October 15, 2021. The application form can be found here, and those in need of more information can write PoetLaureate@freelibrary.org.

Rachel Zolf: 'No One's Witness: A Monstrous Poetics' Launch at KWH

Posted 9/20/2021

This new week starts off with a brand new recording from our own Kelly Writers House: the September 9, 2021 launch event for Rachel Zolf's new book, No One's Witness: A Monstrous Poetics.  Here's our preview blurb for the event from the KWH calendar:
In No One's Witness, Zolf activates the last three lines of a poem by Jewish Nazi holocaust survivor Paul Celan—"No one / bears witness for the / witness"—to theorize the poetics and im/possibility of witnessing. Drawing on black studies, continental philosophy, queer theory, experimental poetics, and work by several writers and artists, Zolf asks what it means to witness from the excessive, incalculable position of No One. In a fragmentary and recursive style that enacts the monstrous speech it pursues, No One's Witness demonstrates the necessity of confronting the Nazi holocaust in relation to transatlantic slavery and its afterlives. Thinking along with black feminist theory's notions of entangled swarm, field, plenum, chorus, No One's Witness interrogates the limits and thresholds of witnessing.

Judith Butler says No One's Witness "shows in brilliant and moving ways how language must change to come close to registering the living aftermath of destruction," and John Keene has described the book as "a critical-theoretical intervention and a lyric prose artifact that will appeal not only to theorists and critics, but also to poets, professors, and students."
For this special event, Airea D. Matthews served as host and interlocutor for the conversation that followed the reading. UPenn undergrad Sofia Sears also makes a guest appearance reading their poetry. Click here to start listening to this event on PennSound's Rachel Zolf author page, where you'll also find a wide array of readings, talks, and performances spanning the last fifteen years.

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