A 40th Anniversary Celebration of Technicians of the Sacred

Posted 10/1/2008 (link)

A few weeks back when we announced the addition of segmented recordings from Jerome Rothenberg's recent visit as one of the 2008 Kelly Writers House Fellows, we mentioned an upcoming reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, honoring the 40th anniversary of Technicians of the Sacred — Rothenberg's groundbreaking 1968 anthology of poems, songs and rituals from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania, which serves as the ur-document in the field of ethnopoetics. Today, we're proud to launch a new page containing both the full audio and select video excerpts from that event.

Running nearly two hours long, the recording features an all-star roster of poets and performers — including Bob Holman, Charles Bernstein, Pierre Joris, Cecelia Vicuña, Nicole Peyrafitte, Carolee Schneeman and Charlie Morrow, along with Jerome and Diane Rothenberg — who share their favorite selections from the collection, sing songs, dance, improvise upon the texts, and give testimony to both the significance of Technicians of the Sacred as well as the greatness of its editor. One is reminded of Bob Holman's evocation, during PoemTalk #7, of the late Allen Ginsberg, who proclaimed that Rothenberg's fostering editorial presence, "saved us all twenty years," in discovering indigenous poetries that would have otherwise been neglected.

Clicking on the title above takes you directly to our new page for this event, where you can listen to and download the entire reading (split into two parts) or individual files for each performer. Thanks to Pierre Joris, there are also videos of Rothenberg, Bernstein and Peyrafitte, and we hope to add two more (of Vicuña and Schneeman) in the near future.

Alan Bernheimer: New Author Page, Plus Particle Arms

Posted 10/3/2008 (link)

Today, we're very excited to launch a new PennSound author page for Alan Bernheimer, which showcases a recently-digitized recording of his play, Particle Arms. Performed November 21, 1982 as part of the Poets Theatre at Studio Eremos in San Francisco, Particle Arms features a vertible who's who of Bay Area poetics, including castmembers Steve Benson, Tom Mandel, Kit Robinson, Eileen Corder and Steven Rodefer, set designer Johanna Drucker, and even Lyn Hejinian, who wrote the play's program.

The play lives up to its description, as "tracing the trajectory of two men and a woman over an Edward Hopper hotelscape, peopled by psychological misfits, to an economy dependent on stunt work," dabbling in noir delights and failed romance with hilarious results, however Particle Arms is not just great entertainment, but also an evocative time capsule of a close-knit community of friends and artists — as evidenced by the recent "experiment in collective autobiography," The Grand Piano, which features many of these poets and their contemporaries.

Bernheimer's PennSound author page also features links to twenty episodes of the influential radio program, In the American Tree, hosted by the poet during the show's 1979-1980 season — including interviews with Ted Greenwald, Erica Hunt and Bill Berkson, among others — as well as his own November 10, 1978 appearance on the show, as Hejinian and Robinson's guest. Listeners might also want to check out Bernheimer's collection of photos and documents from the production of Particle Arms, which is linked on the page as well.

Poem Talk 11: Erica Hunt's "The Voice of No"

Posted 10/7/2008 (link)

Yesterday, we released the latest episode of the PoemTalk Podcast Series (a joint-production of the Poetry Foundation, the Kelly Writers House and PennSound) — a discussion of Erica Hunt's poem, "The Voice of No," from her 1996 collection, Arcade. Joining host Al Filreis and regular panelist Jessica Lowenthal for this program are a duo of first-time PoemTalkers: poets Julia Bloch and Elizabeth Willis.

Filreis begins by assessing the repeated nos at the beginning of the poem. Lowenthal reads this as a litany of disenfranchisement, which, as Bloch notes, gives way from a "maternal no" to more open vocalizations as the poem progresses. Willis then contextualizes this mother's as being in dialogue with the child's, seeing it as moving "between the power of refusal and the abjection on the other side of that."

This notion is then expanded from the child learning her place within the family to the citizen being interpellated as a member of a larger society — neatly navigating Hunt's role as both mother and president of the 21st Century Foundation a philanthropic group addressing issues in the African-American community. Within this society envisioned by Hunt, there are both divisive forces and mending ones, and the panelists spend a good amount of time exploring both forces, particularly in light of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy (which seems eerily prefigured by the poem's imagery), and the various institutional and social responses to it, reaching deeper for a robust political reading of the poem, which also touches upon the poet's 1988 lecture, "Notes Towards an Oppositional Poetics," (also available on Hunt's PennSound author page).

If you enjoyed this latest program, you'll want to stay tuned for future episodes showcasing the work of Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens and Kathleen Fraser, as well as a discussion of Lyn Hejinian's "constant change figures," featuring panelists Tom Mandel, Bob Perelman and Thomas Devaney — a recording session which you could've watched live earlier this afternoon over KWH-TV, which streams live content from the Kelly Writers House over the web. Click here to read more about this very exciting new program, as well as forthcoming KWH-TV offerings, directly from Filreis himself on his blog.

Amy King: Two New Readings

Posted 10/9/2008 (link)

Today, we're happy to announce the addition of two new readings from Amy King — poet, and editor of both the Poetics List and MiPOesias, two integral parts of the contemporary poetics community.

We begin with King's September 5th, 2008 reading at New York City's KGB Bar as part of a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society — an event which also included David Lehman, Meghan Punschke and Ana Bozicevic. King read four pieces altogether, starting with "Lidia Dimkovska Has Made a Bomb of My Eyes," "A Hole in My Name" and "I Hear Like Falling Names" before closing with the long-form poem, "This Opera of Peace."

One week later, on September 12th, King appeared at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn — a reading which largely showcased poems from her new manuscript, I Want to Make You Safe, including "The Destiny You Choose is the One You Live Through," "Two If By Land, I Do," A Bruise That Stains the Teeth" and "Some Pink in Your Color." She also read "Mildly Free," from her 2007 collection, I'm the Man Who Loves You.

Both of these exciting recordings are now available on King's PennSound author page, where you'll also find readings from the 2007 "Queering Language" Reading Launch, and miPOradio. You'll also want to check out PennSound's miPOradio page, for dozens of readings and interviews with some of the most influential voices working in poetry today.

PennSound and the EPC are Now on Facebook

Posted 10/10/2008 (link)

Thanks to Jack Krick, we're proud to announce that both PennSound and the Electronic Poetry Center have brand-new fanpages on Facebook. Get updates on new additions and communicate with other fans of these two sites by signing up through the links below:

the Electronic Poetry Center

The EPC page boasted more than a hundred fans within its first three days in existence, and now has almost twice as many. PennSound's page has had nearly a hundred additions within its first 24 hours. From Facebook to PennSound Daily, to our xml newsfeed, there are many ways for you to keep on top of the newest and most exciting additions to PennSound.

PennSound Recordings Featured on PoetryPolitic

Posted 10/13/2008 (link)

The looming specter of the upcoming presidential election has been a nervous yet hopeful preoccupation for many Americans as of late, and also a source of tremendous inspiration (cf. Charles Bernstein's McCain-Palin "Audacity of Mendacity" placard collection).

A new and exciting voice that's recently joined the feverish discourse is PoetryPolitic, a fifty-day blog, running from September 15th through election day, which is guided by William Carlos Williams' assertion, in "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower," that "It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there." In its editors' words, PoetryPolitic seeks to explore the interstitial space between these two fields, "offer[ing] a spectrum of critical and imaginative thinking, through which we — as citizens and as readers — might be brought into a field of greater and more urgent awareness."

The website also serves as a companion-piece to Wave Books' State of the Union: 50 Political Poems — a new collection of inspired verse from many PennSound favorites, including John Ashbery, Anselm Berrigan, Peter Gizzi, Fanny Howe, Eileen Myles, James Tate and John Yau.

The work of three other Philadelphia-based poets involved with the project — CAConrad, Frank Sherlock and Linh Dinh — was recently featured on the blog, alongside recordings of the poems taken from PennSound's Studio 111 Sessions. Check out PoetryPolitic to read and hear Conrad's "Dear Mr. President There Was Egg Shell under Your Desk Last Night in My Dream!," Sherlock's "Over Here," and Dinh's "Eating Fried Chicken", and then swing over to their PennSound author pages to listen to the complete sessions.

Eight New Segue Series Readings from the Bowery Poetry Club

Posted 10/15/2008 (link)

Yesterday, we added eight new readings from the Segue Series, recorded at the Bowery Poetry Club last May.

We begin with the May 3rd reading, featuring Ted Greenwald (co-founder of the series, with Charles Bernstein, in 1977) and Miles Champion. That's followed by a May 10th reading by Renee Gladman and Rachel Levitsky (who was recently named UPenn's 2009 CPCW Fellow in Poetics and Poetic Practice, following in the footsteps of Tracie Morris, Linh Dinh, Erica Hunt and Kenneth Goldsmith). The readings continue on May 17th with Samuel "Chip" Delaney and Paolo Javier, and conclude for the season on May 31st with the pairing of Matthew Rotando and Simone White.

Stay tuned to PennSound Daily for news on further additions from the Segue Series, both new and old, and be sure to check out our pages housing recordings from each of Segue's three incarnations at the Ear Inn, Double Happiness and the Bowery Poetry Club. With hundreds of recordings spanning the past thirty years, you're bound to find many of your favorite poets.

Schlesinger, Richard and Seldess at Unnameable Books

Posted 10/17/2008 (link)

Earlier this week, we added a new recording of a September 4th reading by the formidable trio of Kyle Schlesinger, Frances Richard and Jesse Seldess at Brooklyn's Unnameable Books — an event curated by Brenda Iijima and recorded by Trace Peterson (editor of EOAGH).

Schlesinger's reading draws heavily from his latest Kenning Editions chapbook, The Pink, including the poems "Macrosemantic Liturgy," "The Future Continues on the Next Page," "Shabbat Saloon," "Hey Nancy" and "Shedding," which is dedicated to Thom Donovan. Richard begins with "Always Already Hunky Dory," the introductory poem from her 2003 collection, See Through, which is followed by a number of new pieces, including "The Separatrix," "Gravitropic" and "Magnetic Strip." Seldess concludes the evening with two long poems: an excerpt from "ode on the ground," and "Present Surround," from Who Opens.

In addition to this reading, we've created new PennSound author pages for both Schlesinger and Richard (the latter also containing a pair of Segue Series readings from 2004 and 2007). You'll also want to take a look at Seldess' author page, which contains his 2004 Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, and a 2003 rendition of "Hum With," recorded in Chicago.

Vintage Talks Curated By Bob Perelman

Posted 10/20/2008 (link)

PennSound Daily's been abuzz as of late with posts highlighting new recordings from a number of poets who formed the core of San Francisco's vital and vibrant poetry scene in the 1970s and 80s, including Alan Bernheimer, Tom Mandel, Ron Silliman, Carla Harryman and Steve Benson. We're now happy to announce several new additions to that already-impressive body of work, with a handful of talks recorded as part of Bob Perelman's late-70s and early-80s series, which would eventually serve as the foundations for his influential 1985 volume, Writing/Talks.

We begin with Rae Armantrout's 1983 talk on "Silence", which is paired with a half-hour reading recorded the same day. From there, we move on to Bill Berkson's 1978 talk on "Talking", Fanny Howe's 1979 talk on "Justice" and and a pair of recordings from Lyn Henjinian 1979 San Francisco Art Institute talk on "Lines" along with her 1983 talk, "The Rejection of Closure."

We also have several classic talks from Perelman himself: an undated talk at Intersection in which he discusses L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetics and literary history, a 1978 talk on "Style" from 80 Langton Street, a 1979 talk on "Pronouns" as part of the Grand Piano series and a 1985 talk on the topic, "Good and Bad / Good and Evil." All of these vintage recordings are nicely complemented by a pair of contemporaneous lectures we posted this summer, which came to us courtesy of Ron Silliman: Tom Mandel's 1979 talk, "Spinoza: Philosophy and Poetry", and Barrett Watten's talk on the Russian Formalists, recorded the same year. Click on the individual links above to start listening.

Eleni Sikelianos: New Author Page and Interview

Posted 10/22/2008 (link)

Earlier this week, we created a PennSound author page for noted poet and translator, Eleni Sikelianos, which is anchored by a lengthy interview with Amy King, occasioned by the publication of her latest Coffee House Press collection, Body Clock. Recorded October 15, 2008 at New York's Cloister Cafe, their conversation is over an hour long, and divided into two parts.

On the new page, you'll find Sikelianos' 2004 Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, which draws upon her two publications from the same year — The Book of Jon and The California Poem — and features her performance, accompanied by her brother Joe, of "Sleep Sleepwalker." You can also listen to her 2006 appearance on Cross-Cultural Poetics, episode #115, "Around the Country." On that program, she chats with host Leonard Schwartz and shares a new poem, still in manuscript, "Notes Towards the Township of Cause of Trouble," which appears in Body Clock under the title, "Township of Cause of Trouble."

If you're craving even more, you'll also want to check out Anne Waldman's PennSound author page, where you can hear a number of Sikelianos' vocal collaborations with the poet, recorded during her tenure in Boulder as a professor at both Naropa and the University of Denver. Click on the title above to start listening.

Key West Literary Seminar Readings by Wright, Gander, Nelson

Posted 10/24/2008 (link)

Last month, we announced the initial batch of recordings from the Key West Literary Seminar and its excellent podcast series (and blog), Littoral, including John Ashbery, James Tate, Meghan O'Rourke and Charles Simic. Today, we added three more recordings, featuring C.D. Wright, Forrest Gander and Maggie Nelson.

C.D. Wright's 2003 KWLS reading is from that year's One Big Self: An Investigation, her collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster, which ruminates upon the lives of inmates in three Louisiana penitentiaries. You can also hear a much longer selection from the volume on her PennSound author page, along with many other recordings from the poet.

Forrest Gander was also part of the 2003 session, titled The Beautiful Changes, and his recording showcases his work as both poet and translator, with a handful of his own poems (from his collections Science & Steepleflower and Torn Awake), as well as his rendition of Bolivian poet Jamie Sáenz's "Someone Must Be Called Twilight." This selection is nicely complemented by Gander's 2004 reading at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book Room and Manuscript Library — available on his PennSound author page — which also weaves together Sáenz's work and his own.

Finally, we conclude with Maggie Nelson's 2008 reading as part of this past January's seminar, New Voices (from which O'Rourke's reading was also taken). She reads two long poems from her latest collection, Something Bright, Then Holes: "The Mute Story of November" and "The Halo Over the Hospital." You can also check out her 2007 appearance on the poetry program, LA-Lit, where she read and discussed her poetry with hosts Mathew Timmons and Stephanie Rioux.

Stay tuned for more offerings from the Key West Literary Seminars, and in the meantime, take another listen to all seven of these marvelous poets on PennSound's KWLS page.

Four Late 1970s Recordings from the Ear Inn

Posted 10/27/2008 (link)

Last week, we added four vintage recordings from the earliest years of the Segue Series' tenure at New York City landmark, the Ear Inn.

We begin with the April 14, 1979 pairing of Bernard Welt and Rae Armantrout — a recording which is now the earliest recording of Armantrout available on PennSound, eclipsing the 1983 reading and talk on "Silence" we announced last week. She begins with a selection of poems from her 1979 Tuumba collection, The Invention of Hunger, including "Natural History," "You Float" and "Relief," among others, and also reads a number of works in progress. Welt's poems include "On the Bus," as well as his "Great Metaphor Series," which includes "Many Metaphors" (dedicated to Steve Benson), "What is Metaphor?" and "Words."

From there, we move forward two weeks to the April 28, 1979 reading by Paul Violi and Carolee Schneemann. Violi begins with "First Poem in a Long Time," and his set also includes "Moving Sequel," "A List for Charles North" and "Dry Spells" (which, he tells us, he finished in his car just prior to the reading). Schneemann discusses her collection, More Than Meat Joy: Performance Works and Selected Writings released the same year after numerous delays caused when her first and second printers threatened to censor the text, and reads a pair of pieces not included in the book: "Accident" and an excerpt from "Home Run Muse."

You can listen to more of Schneemann on her new PennSound author page, including a second Segue Series reading, recorded twenty-five years later at the Bowery Poetry Club, and her contribution to last month's tribute to Jerome Rothenberg's Technicians of the Sacred's 40th Anniversary".

Stay tuned to PennSound Daily for more new recordings from the Segue Series' early years of the at the Ear Inn.

"Race and Poetry: Integrating the Experimental," Moderated by Amy King

Posted 10/29/2008 (link)

Recorded September 21, 2008 as part of this year's BOOG City Festival, "Race and Poetry: Integrating the Experimental" is a panel discussion organized and moderated by Amy King, featuring Tisa Bryant, Jennifer Firestone, Timothy Liu, Mendi Obadike, Meghan Punschke, Christopher Stackhouse and Mathias Svalina.

The conversation begins with opening statements by King, Svalina, Obadike and Punschke, which are followed by further commentary by King, Firestone and Liu. Liu's comments on the late Reginald Shepherd's take on the marriage of race and aesthetics, and the conjunctions of homoeroticism and race, provoke a round of responses from the panelists, which is followed by comments by Tisa Bryant. From there, the discussion moves into a number of thematic topics, including "the Question of Difference," "Buying into Whiteness," "Destabilizing Whiteness" and "Disfunctioning Color." The hour-and-forty-minute recording concludes with a lengthy question-and-answer period.

It's worth remembering that while PennSound strives to bring its listeners the latest poetry recordings, along with treasures with the archives, there's a lot more than poetry on the site. In panel discussions and podcasts such as "Race and Poetry: Integrating the Experimental" and PoemTalk, or classics like the Kelly Writers House Celebration of George Oppen's Centennial, "Finding the Words: Responses to Crisis from the Marianne Moore Papers & Philadelphia Poets", "Radical Jewish Poetry/Secular Jewish Practice" and "Nine Contemporary Poets Read Themselves Through Modernism", we see thoughtful considerations of the works of poets past, and present controversies in the field of poetics. Click on the title above to listen to this wonderful discussion, and click here to visit PennSound's Anthologies/Collections/Groups Page, where you'll find even more impressive recordings.

Frank Sherlock Studio 111 Recordings on Oxford American

Posted 10/31/2008 (link)

Two weeks ago, we highlighted a trio of Studio 111 Session recordings from Frank Sherlock, CAConrad and Linh Dinh which were featured on PoetryPolitic — Wave Books' blog exploring the interstices of poetics and politics in the lead-up to the 2008 US Presidential Elections.

Today, we're proud to announce another PennSound recording that's being shared on a worldwide stage, as part of Oxford American's latest issue, "3 Years After: New Orleans & the Gulf Coast — In Their Own Words." Katy Hendriksen's article "Poems Ready-To-Eat," showcases Ready-To-Eat Individual, a collaboration between Frank Sherlock and Brett Evans (right and left, respectively), as well as Sherlock's recordings of the poem recorded last fall as part of his Studio 111 Session at the PennSound studios. On Sherlock's PennSound author page, you can hear those three excerpts, as well as another recording from his January 2007 Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club. You can also hear Sherlock read from his collections, Over Here, Spring Diet of Flowers at Night, Wounds in an Imaginary Nature Show, and his forthcoming collaboration with CAConrad, The City Real and Imagined: Philadelphia Poems, plus much, much more.