The Emergency Reading Series

Posted 11/1/2007 (link)

Billed as "Poets in dialogue about emergence, influence, and community," the Emergency Reading Series at the Kelly Writers House seeks to explore the ever-changing cultural currency of poetry and the poet's role in American society, placing special emphasis on new voices. Over the past year, the series has showcased poets including Jena Osman, Thomas Devaney and Joanna Fuhrman. Clicking on the title above takes you directly there.

PennSound remains committed to presenting the global as well as the local, the historical alongside the contemporary. Stay tuned this week for selections highlighting the best of Philadelphia's poetry scene, plus new material from some of the 20th Century's most influential poets.

Charles Olson's 1962 Reading in Boston

Posted 11/2/2007 (link)

Our latest addition is a 1962 reading by Charles Olson in Boston—one of several recordings taken from reel-to-reel tapes belonging to the late Robert Creeley. Newly digitized and restored, these tapes offer rare glimpses of poets including Olson, Ed Dorn and John Wieners from the 60s and 70s. PennSound will be posting more material from the collection in the weeks to come.

PennSound remains committed to presenting the global as well as the local, the historical alongside the contemporary. Stay tuned this week for selections highlighting the best of Philadelphia's poetry scene, plus new material from some of the 20th Century's most influential poets.

Helen Adam's San Francisco's Burning

Posted 11/5/2007 (link)

PennSound is very proud to be able to present Helen Adam's sprawling masterpiece, San Francisco's Burning, in its entirety. Produced by Charles Ruas, for "the Audio Experimental Theatre," the lyric drama was first broadcast on New York City's WBAI FM on July 17th, 1977. Clicking on the title above takes you directly there.

In addition to the three-part radio play, Adam's PennSound author page also contains extensive notes on the performance by Kristin Prevallet, editor of A Helen Adam Reader, along with Adam's appearance on Susan Howe's WBAI poetry program where she performed and discussed her work with Howe and Ruas.

kari edwards Memorial Reading in NYC

Posted 11/6/2007 (link)

Recorded at New York's Zinc Bar on June 24, 2007, this tribute to the life and work of poet, artist and activist kari edwards—who died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 52 in December, 2006—features remembrances from Julian Brolaski, Tracy Grinnell, Erica Kaufman and Stacy Szymaszek, among others. Rachel Levitsky and Jim Behrle hosted the reading, which was recorded by Austin Publicover. For more information, visit PennSound's page for this event, or click on the title above.

Launch Party for Tom Devaney's A Series of Small Boxes

Posted 11/7/2007 (link)

Given his long association with the University of Pennsylvania (as program coordinator of the Kelly Writers House, and now, a Senior Writing Fellow in the Department of English), it's only fitting that Tom Devaney would celebrate the publication of his latest book with Penn's writing community. Click on the title above to visit his PennSound author page where you can listen in on the launch party for A Series of Small Boxes, held September 26, 2007. On the same page, you'll also find a number of additional readings, including a generous selection of poems from Devaney's 1999 debut, The American Pragmatist Fell in Love.

Benefit Reading for Will Alexander at the Bowery Poetry Club

Posted 11/8/2007 (link)

When it was revealed that poet and artist Will Alexander was battling cancer, and without health insurance, poets from all over the country were quick to respond, staging this benefit reading, held November, 1st at the Bowery Poetry Club. To listen to the recording—which features, among others, Anne Waldman, Bob Perelman, Jerome Rothenberg, Joel Kuszai and Rodrigo Toscano—and for more information on how you can donate to Will's medical fund, click on the title above to visit our special page for this event. Also, be sure to visit Alexander's PennSound author page for two Segue Series readings from 2004 and this past March, also recorded at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Charles Bernstein at the CUE Art Foundation

Posted 11/9/2007 (link)

This reading, recorded January 16th at the CUE Art Foundation in New York City, features PennSound Co-Director Charles Bernstein reading poems from his latest books, Girly Man (2006) and Shadowtime (2005), including "Hashish in Marseilles," "Beauty in the Sound" and "Let's Just Say." Click on the title above to listen to the reading, or watch it as a Quicktime video.

While PennSound's primary mission is making audio recordings of poetry accessible to a wider audience, you might be surprised to discover that we also have a small, but growing number of video holdings. Visit our Video page to find films by poets, films of poets and scholarly discussions, including the Louis Zukofsky Centennial Conference and "Secular Jewish Culture/Radical Poetic Practice".

Bernadette Mayer and Lee Ann Brown at UPenn

Posted 11/12/2007 (link)

This September 13th reading, featuring Bernadette Mayer and Lee Ann Brown, was a definite highlight of the fall season at the Kelly Writers House. The poets read side-by-side, alternating poems from their latest books—Scarlet Tanager and The Sleep That Changed Everything, respectively—along with older favorites, and begin with "You'll Be Hearing From Me," a new collaboration written specifically for this event. Clicking on the title above takes you directly to the special page for this event, where you can listen to the complete reading and also find links to two Close Listening conversations between Charles Bernstein and the poets.

Also be sure to visit Pennsound's author pages for both Bernadette Mayer and Lee Ann Brown to find many more recordings, including a 1988 Segue reading at the the Ear Inn featuring the two.

Leslie Scalapino Reading at the Kelly Writers House Tonight (11/13/07)

Posted 11/13/2007 (link)

Influential poet, critic and publisher Leslie Scalapino will be reading at the Kelly Writers House this evening, and in anticipation of her visit, we're highlighting recordings from PennSound's collection. Click on the title above to visit Scalapino's PennSound author page, where you'll discover a number of recent recordings—including a Close Listening reading from this past May featuring poems from her latest book, Day Ocean State of Stars' Night, and a 2006 Segue Series event at the Bowery Poetry Club—along with two 1991 readings at Reed College and the Naropa Institute. On the same page, you'll also find selections from the Live at the Ear and Kenning CDs, and a link to a LINEbreak broadcast from 1995.

Of course, Scalapino's reading tonight will also be recorded and added to her PennSound author page in the near future. For more information on the reading, click here.

New William Carlos Williams Singles Added

Posted 11/14/2007 (link)

PennSound's William Carlos Williams page is one of our proudest achievements, building upon the scholarship of Dr. Richard Swigg to present (to our knowledge) every existing recording of the poet. Because we wanted to make the materials available as soon as possible, we launched the page earlier this year as a collection of complete readings, hoping to be able to break these large files down into individual poems as time permitted. Now, we are happy to announce that the first five recordings have been split into singles and added to the Williams page. Clicking the title above takes you directly there.

Spanning the years 1945-1950, these newly-segmented readings (including a marathon session at The Library of Congress Recording Studios), feature poems such as "To Elsie," "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "The Dance ('in Brueghel's great picture')," as well as several excerpts from Paterson. The new singles wonderfully complement the multiple versions of "This is Just to Say" and "Between Walls" available at the bottom of the page, the latter compiled for the inaugural broadcast of Al Filreis's new podcast series, PoemTalk.

Ted Berrigan on "In the American Tree," 1978

Posted 11/15/2007 (link)

On what would've been his 73rd birthday, we're highlighting a recent addition from the poet Ted Berrigan—a 1978 appearance on KPFA's "In the American Tree," hosted by Lyn Hejinian and Kit Robinson. The poet reads selections from his Easter Monday manuscript (which was spread throughout several mid-70s books and eventually reassembled in 2005's Collected Poems), including "Chicago Morning," "The End," and his powerful paean to New York City, "Whitman in Black." In conversation with Hejinian and Robinson, Berrigan describes the process used to shape that collection, and discusses his poetic techniques, including the use of collage and spatial concerns. He also shares a few contemporary works such as "Crystal" and "Buddha on the Bounty," along with "Personal Poem #9"— an homage to Frank O'Hara, and one of his best-known works, which appears in The Sonnets as "XXXVI."

Pennsound's Berrigan author page also includes a complete recording of his masterpiece, The Sonnets, recorded at San Francisco's New Langton Arts Center in June, 1981, as well as an excerpt from Memorial Day, a book-length collaboration with Anne Waldman, and a 1982 reading of "Red Shift" (recorded less than a year before the poet's death). In that late poem, a weary Berrigan asks, "I am 43. When will I die?," defiantly answering, "I will never die, I will live / to be 110, & I will never go away ..." A quarter of a century later, facilitated by the intimacy of these recordings, he never will.

John Wieners Reading and Lecture, Harvard 1972

Posted 11/16/2007 (link)

Another treasure from Robert Creeley's personal reel-to-reel collection, these recordings come from the summer of 1972 when he was teaching at Harvard University and invited John Wieners to visit his ENG-1670 class. Running nearly three hours long, these two files (recorded August 15th and 17th) feature selections from Wieners' Selected Poems (1972) and Ace of Pentacles (1964) (he notes that these were the only two volumes of his available at the Harvard Co-op) and explainations of the origins and inspirations of some of his most famous poems. The readings are followed by informal question and answer sessions with Creeley and his students, candid and casual conversations which offer a very different perspective on two of the biggest figures in 20th Century American Poetics. Clicking on the title above takes you directly there

While you're on Wieners' PennSound author page, you'll also want to check out "For the Voices: A John Wieners Anthology," a collection of 44 poems, starting with the Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965, and ending with a 1999 reading at the Guggenheim Museum.

Recent Readings at the Kelly Writers House Added

Posted 11/19/2007 (link)

Last Tuesday's reading by Leslie Scalapino at the the Kelly Writers House has now been posted. In addition sharing to a selection of poems from her latest book, Day Ocean State of Stars? Night: Poems and Writings 1989 & 1999-2006, the poet also participated in a ninety-minute discussion with UPenn students, along with Charles Bernstein, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Jena Osman and Bob Perelman. You can hear both recordings by visiting Scalapino's PennSound author page.

On Thursday evening, the final Emergency Series event, featuring Reb Livingston and erica kaufman, was held. Individual MP3s for each reading, along with a conversation between the two poets and their audience, have been added to PennSound's Emergency Reading Series page. Listen in to hear Livingston and kaufman's thoughts on censorship, marketing small press poetry, and how the Poetry Foundation should allocate its funds.

Two Clark Coolidge Readings Available As Singles

Posted 11/20/2007 (link)

PennSound is glad to announce two newly segmented recordings from Clark Coolidge, yielding more than seventy new singles. The first is a Segue Series Reading at the Ear Inn from March 30, 1979, featuring a number of poems from Own Face (1978), such as "A Note," "Album — A Runthru" and "At the Poem." The second reading, recorded at SUNY Buffalo on April 26, 2000, draws heavily from On the Nameways (2000) and Far Out West (2001). including "Buddha Had to Train Him on Me," and "This is No Time for Lemonade." Clicking on the title above takes you directly there.

PennSound's Coolidge author page features a number of other recordings by the poet, including a complete reading of Polaroid (1976), selections from Mine: The One That Enters the Stories (1982) recorded at UC San Diego, and a 2000 reading at UC Santa Cruz, along with a number of individual poems.

Kenneth Goldsmith's Traffic and The Weather

Posted 11/20/2007 (link)

On the busiest travel day of the year, when most Americans are glued to their televisions and radios for the traffic and weather report, you can remain tuned in to PennSound for Kenneth Goldsmith's Traffic (2006) and The Weather (2005).

This imposing pair of book-length poems (transcriptions of a year's worth of traffic and weather reports, respectively, from New York's 1010 WINS radio) plays tricks with listeners' perceptions and attention spans over the course of the three or four hours it takes to listen to them from beginning to end. Goldsmith's soothing tone, an amalgam of John Cage's confident narration and a well-oiled radio baritone, threatens to lull us into distraction, with only the transcribed (and deliberately pronounced) ers, ahs and ums breaking through the narcotic flow of narration—the vital, yet ubiquitous information which fills our daily lives becomes background noise, while the syntactical glitches command our attention. However, with repeated careful listening, this transmutation is reversed as the seemingly ephemeral events (Hurricane Isabel, Game 1 of the World Series, a run of bad grammar puns celebrating "Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month") begin to recur, along with the rather limited parlance of the reports themselves, giving the poems a sense of continuity, of design through iteration.

Highly conceptual? Yes, but also eminently engaging and listenable. Click on the title above to visit Goldsmith's PennSound author page, where you'll find both Traffic and The Weather, complete with links to the complete text of both books, and much, much more.

Four New Segue Series Readings Added

Posted 11/22/2007 (link)

Four early Segue Series Readings from the Ear Inn have just been added. Click on the link above to visit the PennSound home page, where you'll find links to hear Kit Robinson and John Godfrey reading in December, 1978; Peter Seaton and Michael Gottlieb from September, 1981; Kit Robinson and Peter Seaton's performance from July, 1982; and finally, John Godfrey and Susan Howe, recorded in October, 1983.

Of course, these new postings are only a small portion of the available recordings from thirty years of Segue Series readings, held at the Ear Inn, Double Happiness and its current home, the Bowery Poetry Club. Altogether, PennSound has well over a hundred recordings available for download, including recent readings by CAConrad with Kenward Elmslie, Susan Bee and Johanna Drucker, Jack Kimball with Eileen Myles, and Jennifer Moxley with Maggie O'Sullivan.

John Ashbery's The Songs We Know Best

Posted 11/26/2007 (link)

Building upon the recordings which launched our John Ashbery page earlier this fall, we are glad to announce the addition of The Songs We Know Best, comprised of a pair of Washington, D.C. readings (at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress Recording Lab, respectively) from 1973 and 1988.

What sets these recordings apart from the rest of our library is the content itself: Ashbery's readings tend to be very contemporary in their subject matter, sticking exclusively to poems from his latest release(s), however, The Songs We Know Best serves as a "greatest hits" collection of sorts, highlighting some of Ashbery's best and best known works. Click on the title above to hear poems including "The Instruction Manual," "Far Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape," "And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name" and "How Much Longer Will I Be Able to Inhabit the Divine Sepulcher...," among others, along with the rest of our Ashbery collection.

PennSound also features recordings from first generation New York School poets such as Kenneth Koch, Barbara Guest and James Schuyler.

Jesse Glass Reading in Shin Urayasu, Japan

Posted 11/27/2007 (link)

We've just added a new reading by poet and folklorist Jesse Glass, recorded in Shin Urayasu (a suburb of Tokyo) this past August. Broken into two sets, the recordings feature poems including "Action at a Distance," ""Winter Story," "Refuse the Void" and "O Japanese Po!etz," which is also in the latest issue of Jacket.

This reading joins a 2005 recording, also from Shin Urayasu, on Glass' PennSound author page, consisting of poems from The Passion of Phineas Gage & Selected Poems (2006).

Mark Van Doren on PennSound

Posted 11/28/2007 (link)

This recording of Mark Van Doren reading from his Collected and New Poems, originally added to PennSound a few months back, merits a second listen.

Recorded by Smithsonian Folkways in 1967, just five years before the poet's death, these twelve tracks capture Van Doren in fine form—his strong yet hoary voice giving greater emotional weight to poems such as "The First Snow of the Year," "When the World Ends" and "Farewell and Thanksgiving." Taken together, these thirty-two poems give us a broad survey of Van Doren's career output, demonstrating how the highly-influential poet could just as easily serve as a mentor to John Berryman as Allen Ginsberg. Click on the title above to listen.

John Richetti Reads Pope and Swift

Posted 11/29/2007 (link)

In 2005, UPenn professor John Richetti recorded a selection of poems by Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift for our PennSound Classics page, giving a rich and vivid voice to these centuries-old works. We were lucky enough to convince Dr. Richetti to return to Studio 111 for another session earlier this month, yielding ten new recordings, which include Swift's "The Progress of Poetry" and "A Description of a City Shower," along with a masterful reading of Pope's "Windsor Forest"—readings which not only illuminate the beauty and wit of the poets' words, but also serve as a fitting tribute to the recently-retired professor. Click on the title above to listen.

Besides Richetti's readings of Pope and Swift, you'll find a recent performance of excerpts from William Langland's Piers Plowman at the Kelly Writers House on our PennSound Classics page, along with Caroline Bergvall reading Chaucer, Allen Ginsberg's landmark performance of Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, and much more.

Experimental Short Films by Henry Hills

Posted 11/30/2007 (link)

Today we're highlighting three short films by Henry Hills — Radio Adios (1982), Money (1985) and A New Life (1989) — available through PennSound's video page.

Guided by a cut-and-paste aesthetic, these frantic montages dazzle viewers with their synthesis of language, movement and noise. The rapid-fire edits reduce voice and text to pure sound, divorced from syntactical constraints, transmute choreography to disembodied motion, and music to potent bursts of aleatory din. Featuring casts which include poets Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, Jackson Mac Low, Ron Silliman, Hannah Weiner, Alan Davies and Susan Timmons, along with dancers Sally Silvers and Pooh Kaye, and a wide array of musicians, such as Arto Lindsay, Christian Marclay, Ikue Mori, John Zorn and Rashied Ali, these films also serve as valuable documents of New York's downtown avant-garde in the 1980s. Indeed, they're evidence of a city which no longer exists — a still-dirty, still-dangerous pre-gentrification metropolis.

One can see a clear progression from film to film: the fragmentary nature of Radio Adios reaching its frenetic apex, and most sustained execution, in Money, followed by the afterglow dénouement of A New Life, which retains familiar tropes yet moves from pure expressionism to intimacy through the candor and length of its conversations. Despite the percolating sound and visuals, what is perhaps most surprising is the amount of narrative — albeit abstract narrative — and characterization which are conveyed here. Reducing the fifteen-minute time limit of Warhol's Screen Tests to a microscopic extreme, Hills' portraits are equally effective in revealing the personalities of their subjects, who emerge as nervous, sexy, sympathetic, hilarious, and above all, endearing.

You'll find these three films, and several others by Hills, on his PennSound author page. Clicking on the title above takes you directly there.