A Dozen New Segue Series Readings

Posted 6/2/2008 (link)

Last week, we added a dozen new Segue Series Readings from the Bowery Poetry Club, mostly from last January and February. Click on the title above to listen to recordings of Linda Russo and Jennifer Firestone (January 5th), Tisa Bryant and Robert Kocik (January 12th), Gilbert Adair and P. Inman (February 2nd), Martha Oatis and Larry Price (February 9th), and Marianne Shaneen and John Godfrey (February 23rd). We've also added a straggler from last October, featuring Flarfists Rob Fitterman and Mel Nichols. These readings speak to the broad scope of the Segue Reading Series, which brings together voices both old and new, from all points of the poetic spectrum. Now in its thirty-first year (and sixth at its present home, the Bowery Poetry Club), the Segue Series has been host to the cream of the crop of American (and international) writers — take a look through the dozens of readings on PennSound's "Segue at the Bowery Poetry Club" page, along with our pages for the series' earlier incarnations at the Ear Inn and Double Happiness, and you're bound to find many of your favorite poets.

This summer, we'll continue to post readings from Segue's spring series, and keep an eye on the Segue Series blog to find out who'll be reading this fall.

(pictured, clockwise from top left: Tisa Bryant, Rob Fitterman, Marianne Shaneen and Jennifer Firestone)

PoemTalk #7: Jerome Rothenberg's "A Paradise of Poets"

Posted 6/4/2008 (link)

Yesterday, the latest installment of the PoemTalk Podcast Series was released — a discussion of Jerome Rothenberg's "A Paradise of Poets." For this episode, PoemTalk host and PennSound co-director Al Filreis, is joined by Bob Holman, poet and proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club, along with perennial PoemTalk panelists Randall Crouch and Jessica Lowenthal.

Holman sees Rothenberg's poem as a solipsistic defense of the poet's autonomy over her own work, a conscious jab at Wimsatt and Beardsley's intentional fallacy, citing Ted Berrigan's "People of the Future" ("while you are reading these poems, remember / you didn't write them, / I did.") as a parallel sentiment, while Crouch reads it through the frame of Dante's Divine Comedy as "a great gesture of colonization . . . a caution to the writers of poetic manifestos," concluding, "it's a mistake for anyone to be so historically naive as to conceive that poetry is not a community across time and across cultures, and he should not be separating himself in this way."

From there, the discussion follows this idea to consider poetic communities — both a living, breathing culture of poets, as well as the various aesthetic lineages which are an ever-present part of contemporary poetics — notions which have analogues in, respectively, Holman's thriving Bowery Poetry Club, and Rothenberg's extensive work as a critic, editor and poetic anthropologist (through works like Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, [Europe], & Oceania; Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americas and the Poems for the Millennium series). Holman recalls Allen Ginsberg's assertion that, through his fostering of overlooked poetries, Rothenberg "saved us all twenty years," or, in his own words, "He was Google before there was Google."

Of course, if you haven't yet listened to Rothenberg's marvelous reading and conversation with Filreis from this past April, as part of his visit as one of the 2008 Kelly Writers House Fellows, you need to do so right away — it's one of many readings on PennSound's Rothenberg author page spanning the past four decades. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a future episode of the PoemTalk series addressing one of Gertrude Stein's portraits, featuring Rothenberg, along with Al Filreis, Lee Ann Brown and Bob Perelman.

Newly Segmented Segue Series Readings by Myles, Scalapino, Elmslie

Posted 6/5/2008 (link)

As we continue to post new Segue Series Readings fromthe Bowery Poetry Club, we've also recently added a trio of newly segmented recordings from the 2006 and 2007 series.

Recorded last May, Eileen Myles' reading features a number of poems from her latest collection, Sorry, Tree (2007, Wave Books), including "Lodovico," "Home, "Culture," "Movie" and "Cigarette Girl." It's one of three recordings available on her new PennSound author page.

Kenward Elmslie's reading, recorded a month earlier, showcases a wide array of incantatory pieces, such as "The Air I Subsist On," "The Whores Behind the Doors," "Easter" and "Winter Site Probe." PennSound also has recordings of Elmslie's 2000 reading as part of the Line Reading Series, along with "Snippets: A Gathering of Songs, Visual Collaborations, and Poems," a November 2003 celebration at the Kelly Writers House.

Finally, yesterday, we added Leslie Scalapino's 2006 reading, which consists of two extended selections from The Forest is in the Euphrates River and Delay Rose. On her PennSound author page, you'll also find Scalapino's 2007 UPenn reading, plus two 1991 readings from Reed College and the Naropa Institute, appearances on LINEbreak, Close Listening and the compilations, Kenning and Live at the Ear.

Charles Bernstein and Barrett Watten at the Grand Piano, 1979

Posted 6/6/2008 (link)

This wonderful pair of recordings comes to us courtesy of Ron Silliman, and is the first of many historic readings we'll be posting from his tape archives this summer. Recorded at the Grand Piano on February 20, 1979, it features the formidable pairing of Charles Bernstein and Barrett Watten — at the time, not only two young and promising poets, but also the co-editors of two of the most influential journals of what would come to be known as Language poetry: L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E (edited by Bernstein and Bruce Andrews), and This (edited by Watten and Robert Grenier).

Watten's reading is available on his PennSound author page, along with readings as part of the Line Reading Series and the Segue Series at the Bowery Poetry Club, plus a reading at the Kelly Writers House and an appearance on PhillyTalks, both products of his November 1999 visit to UPenn.

Bernstein's reading is available as individual files, on a special page for this reading. We've also recently added another early reading from New York City's West End Bar in 1978.

All of these recordings are excellent opportunities to hear formative performances by two voices which have shaped of contemporary poetry and thanks to Ron Silliman's archives, we'll be able to add a number of additional readings in the near future.

New Series: Ceptuetics Radio, Hosted by Kareem Estefan

Posted 6/11/2008 (link)

Hosted by recently-graduated NYU student, Kareem Estefan, Ceptuetics Radio is one of the most exciting new poetry programs, and comes to PennSound highly recommended by Kenneth Goldsmith, who appeared on the show's twelfth episode. Altogether, there are twenty episodes so far, recorded between October 2007 and May 2008, combining readings and conversations with the likes of Rodrigo Toscano, Anne Tardos, Bruce Andrews, Rod Smith, Rob Fitterman and Anselm Berrigan, among many others.

While the roster poetic luminaries is impressive enough, it's Estefans' insightful and inquisitive contributions which make the program. Drawing upon a solid knowledge of 20th Century poetry and poetics, he guides his guests through compelling conversations about their work and its relation to broader issues, touching on topics as diverse as genre and gender, war and censorship, MySpace and the Wikipedia, tourism and constraint. We're very glad to be able to host Ceptuetics and will be posting new episodes on a regular basis (most likely once a month).

Also, for more fantastic poetry interviews and readings, be sure to check out other ongoing series hosted on PennSound, including Close Listening, PoemTalk, Cross-Cultural Poetics and LA-Lit.

Four Newly Segmented Programs from the Radio Readings Project

Posted 6/12/2008 (link)

Today, we've added newly-segmented files for four programs from the Radio Readings Project featuring Hannah Weiner, Susan Howe, Johanna Drucker and Charles Bernstein.

Hosted by Ernesto Livon-Grosman, and a precursor of sorts to Ceptuetics Radio (which we launched yesterday), the Radio Readings Project was produced by Livon-Grosman and Rosanne Limoncelli, and originated at WNYU's studios in the late-1990s. A decade later, in the age of microscopic podcasts and shorter attention spans, the programs sound positively luxurious, their fifty-five minute run-times allowing for both deeply engrossing conversations and lengthy poems — listen to, for example, Bernstein's twenty-two minute "Emotions of Normal People," Weiner's thirteen-minute "Remembered Teachers" or the combined seventeen-minute reading of Howe's "Thorow," including a generous introduction.

Livon-Grosman envisioned the Radio Readings Project as "a public extension of some of the exchanges that are still so prevalent today," and notes, "[t]oday, presented as a whole in a new digital format as part of the PennSound archives, these readings and interviews lay out a network of artists that in some cases never met each other beyond this site yet they all share an interest in discussing what a poetics of the Americas might be." Altogether, there are eleven programs, including hours with Robert Creeley, Jackson Mac Low, Jorge Santiago Perednik, Cecilia Vicuña, Jerome Rothenberg Arturo Carrera, and Bruce Andrews. Click on the title above to start listening.

Andrew Levy at the St. Mark's Poetry Project, 2007

Posted 6/16/2008 (link)

We recently added a marvelous reading by Andrew Levy reading at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in March 2007. A member of the President of the United Hearts collective, Levy begins the reading with excerpts from their 2007 collection, The Big Melt, noting "I only take responsibility for those parts for which I'm responsible, and I only take partial authorship for these pages." While The Big Melt can be performed to dazzling effect in a multi-vocal setting — as the recording on PennSound's President of the United Hearts page attests — the material works well here with a solo reader, making up for what it loses in heterogeneity with a greater intimacy.

The second half of the reading kicks off with excerpts from a longer work, entitled "After Such Knowledge," which was composed for a special issue of the journal EOAGH honoring Jackson Mac Low. This is followed by "Scratch Space," a piece written contemporaneously with the President of the United Hearts material.

We're grateful to Stacy Szymaszek and the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church for allowing us to share this recording, and to Joel Kuszai for his assistance with processing it. Also be sure to visit Levy's PennSound author page for fifteen years' worth of recordings, including readings froom SUNY Buffalo, the Kelly Writers House and the Bowery Poetry Club. Likewise, check out our President of the United Hearts page for a group recording featuring Claude Copeland, Elizabeth English, Belle Gironda and Robert Kocik, along with Levy, recorded as part of the Segue Series last October.

Cross-Cultural Poetics: Numerous New Episodes Posted

Posted 6/18/2008 (link)

One of the most consistently interesting and entertaining series hosted by PennSound is Cross-Cultural Poetics, hosted by Leonard Schwartz, and produced at the studios of KAOS-FM at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. Over the past five years, and nearly 170 programs, Schwartz has showcased contemporary poetry in all of its myriad guises — from some of the most influential poets at work today to new and emerging voices, and has made sure to make his focus truly international (as evidenced by show titles such as "New York, New Zealand, Japan, O'Hara," "Sydney/New York = Cairo/Seattle" and "Russian/American Poetics").

We've recently added several dozen new programs from the 2007 and 2008 seasons, including shows featuring (among many others) Amiri Baraka, Rachel Zolf, Caroline Bergvall, Forrest Gander, Peter Gizzi, Eugene Oshashevsky, Robert Kelly, Zhang Er, Bill Berkson, Steve McCaffery, Pierre Joris and Linh Dinh. The work of Paul Celan, Roberto Bolano, Daniil Kharms, Tristan Tzara, Paul Eluard, Jaime Saenz, Taslima Nasrin, Inger Christenson and Gustaf Sobin also appears in translation, along with discussions with their translators.

PennSound is proud to be able to host this vital and ambitious program, and will continue to add new episodes as they become available. In the meantime, click on the title above for many hours of listening enjoyment.

Kenneth Koch at the Kelly Writers House, 1998

Posted 6/20/2008 (link)

Today's PennSound Daily comes to you from Cincinnati, OH, a city notable — among other things — for being the birthplace of the New York School's master of comedy and empathy, Kenneth Koch, and so we're highlighting a wonderful recording of the late poet available on the site. Dating from April 15, 1998 at the Kelly Writers House, this reading begins with ten songs from Koch's plays, including "This Dancing Man Was Once the Pope" from Easter in the Vatican, "They Say Prince Hamlet" from Shakespeare Amended and "Allegheny Menaces" from New Times, New World, along with a lengthy selection of micro-dramas from 1988's collected One Thousand Avant-Garde Plays. He concludes with a pair of longer poems — first, his great ars poetica, "My Olivetti Speaks" (from 1998's Straights) and finally, the title poem from 1994's One Train, a fantastic work which goes to ridiculous lengths to prove a simple, yet evocative point: "Pause to let the first one pass. / You think, Now it is safe to cross and you are hit by the next one. It / can be important / To have waited at least a moment to see what was already there."

Kenneth Koch is but one of many members of the New York School whose work is featured on PennSound — in addition to John Ashbery, Barbara Guest and James Schuyler, you'll find second-generation stalwarts like Anne Waldman, Alice Notley, Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, Lewis Warsh and Kenward Elmslie, along with a great many poets carrying that aesthetic lineage on into a third generation.

LEGEND on PennSound

Posted 6/24/2008 (link)

We were very glad to have recently uncovered a recording of Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Ray DiPalma, Steve McCaffery and Ron Silliman's 1980 collection, LEGEND. The sole title published under the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E imprint, this ambitious volume featured solo pieces by each of the poets, along with collaborations in myriad combinations, culminating with "And / much clouds spun," a work attributed to all five.

Recorded March 10, 1981 in Andrews' New York City apartment, this reading includes four of the five poets (McCaffery is absent) performing six selections from the book, including "FLUKE JoY," "Chronology" and "An Incident in the Usual Daydream . . .," along with the aforementioned "And / much clouds spun." The relaxed, intimate setting benefits the readers, and in addition to the pieces themselves, listeners will enjoy the snippets of conversations bookending the recordings, which address the recording process itself, as well as how to properly present this multivocal material. This new audio is a marvelous complement to the text itself, and barring a performance at Jackson Mac Low's 60th birthday celebration (when all five poets performed together), the largest gathering of the LEGEND authors to perform excerpts from the book. We've also included comprehensive outlinks to a digitized version of the volume at Eclipse, including individual links to the six pieces presented here.

Fans of LEGEND and this recording might also want to check out PennSound's page for Six Fillious, a very different, yet equally compelling collaboration (between bpNichol, Robert Filliou, Steve McCaffery, George Brecht, Dick Higgins and Dieter Roth), which was performed — by Higgins and McCaffery, along with Charles Bernstein, Allison Knowles, Paul Dutton and Rafael Barreto-Rivera — as a Segue Series event at the Ear Inn in 1979.

PennSound Welcomes POG Sound

Posted 6/25/2008 (link)

A joint venture of Chax Press and POG — a Tucson, AZ-based non-profit organization delivering poetics and other cultural programming to the community — the POG Sound archives include more than three dozen recordings from 2006-2008.

Chax Press-related readings include book launches for book launches for Karen Mac Cormack and Steve McCaffery, along with Cushing Street Reading Series events featuring Stephen Vincent, Laynie Brown and Arpine Grenier. POG readings available as part of the collection include Rodrigo Toscano, Charles Alexander, Pierre Joris, Leslie Scalapino, Tyrone Williams, Maureen Owen and Lewis Warsh. Finally, there's an October 2007 Chax/POG reading at the "Z" Mansion, showcasing David Meltzer and Michael Rothenberg.

We're glad to be able to add these POG Sound resources to the PennSound collection, and will look forward to more wonderful readings from the Tucson area in the future.

New Author Pages for Brenda Coultas, Tyrone Williams

Posted 6/26/2008 (link)

We've recently added new PennSound author pages for poets Brenda Coultas and Tyrone Williams, which showcase recent Segue Series readings at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Coultas' PennSound author page starts with her March 15, 2008 Segue Series reading, drawing heavily from her latest collection, The Marvelous Bones of Time (2007, Coffee House Press), she also performs a tribute to recently-deceased journalist and activist Brad Will. There's another Segue Series reading, also from the Bowery Poetry Club, dating from May, 2004, along with a 2002 recording from the Line Reading Series, and a single for Coultas' "Opening the Cabinet" from a 2005 issue of the journal Rattapallax.

Williams' PennSound author page features his December 1, 2007 Segue Series reading, in which he reads exclusively from his latest, On Spec (2008, Omnidawn Publishing), including poems inspired by the noir classics, The Last Weekend and Sunset Boulevard. You'll also find a 2007 POG Sound reading from Tucson's Stone Ave. Gallery, and Williams' contributions from the marathon 2006 and 2007 MLA Offsite Readings in Philadelphia and Chicago, respectively.

Many more Segue Series readings from this past spring have recently been added. click here to check out recent recordings of Austin Publicover, Brenda Iijima, Wayne Koestenbaum, Thomas Fink and Barbara Jane Reyes, among others.

George Oppen: Corrected Recordings from SFSU

Posted 6/27/2008 (link)

We've recently made dramatic changes to our George Oppen author page, correcting an error concerning the poet's two readings at The Poetry Center at the San Francisco State University in 1963 and 1973. Originally grouped together with no division between readings, and with the 1963 reading misattributed as being in 1966, these recordings were first posted last December. Steve Dickison, Executive Director of The Poetry Center noticed that their master recordings did not match our holdings, and was kind enough to provide PennSound with proper recordings of each reading, which we've now added to the Oppen page.

This turn of events is illustrative of two different, and very interesting, phenomena. First, it reminds us of the perilous state of recorded poetry in an era prior to resources like PennSound, when tapes such as the source of these Oppen readings were lovingly traded back and forth as bootlegs between a small community of those in the know, simultaneously proving Benjamin's hopes and fears regarding the consequences of mechanically reproducable media — while magnetic tape enables those who weren't present at a reading to experience it as if they were, there's also the potential for errors in transmission (whether intentional or accidental) to become accepted as fact. However, this Oppen episode also reminds us of the power of communication within an open-source community such as ours. As we strive to make these important recordings available to a wider audience, we're grateful for feedback from our listening audience — especially when they catch mistakes such as this, effectively setting the record straight.

Of course, while we're very happy to be presenting the correct and full recordings from The Poetry Center, there's still the matter of the remaining poems which didn't belong to either the 1963 or 1973 readings: altogether, there are nearly thirty, including a long excerpt from "Of Being Numerous," as well as titles such as "And Their Winter and Night in Disguise," "The Speech at Soli," "The Transparent Mechanics" and "Song, the Winds of Downhill." Currently, we're listing these poems as "Location and Date Unknown," however given the recent resurgance in critical and popular interest in Oppen and his work — as evidenced by this spring's centennial celebrations at the Kelly Writers House and New York City's Poets House, along with events at SUNY Buffalo and The Poetry Center at the San Francisco State University — we're optimistic that we'll be able to identify some of these recordings in the near future. In the meantime, they still serve, along with the many other recordings available on PennSound's George Oppen author page, as a wonderful introduction to his work.