A Pair of New Recordings from Jackson Mac Low

Posted 11/3/2008 (link)

Today, we're proud to announce two new recordings by the influential poet and performer Jackson Mac Low, recorded as part of the Segue Series at the Ear Inn in 1982 and 1995.

The first reading draws heavily from his 1982 Sun and Moon collection, From Pearl Harbor Day to FDR's Birthday, and is anchored by that volume's four suites of seven linked poems: "Hereford Bosons 1-7," "Inkling Allegretti 1-7," Regular Clerestories 1-7 and "Baltimore Porches 1-7." He concludes with a number of shorter poems, including "Megrose Trinity Sixfold," "Sermon Quail," 'White Tara" and "Filial Simples."

Mac Low's 1995 reading is centered around a selection of his "Forties" poems, including "Forties 105 - Linguistic Relatives" and "Forties 64 - Who Builds White Clock Billowing Walls," "Forties 104 - Huddled Nature," "Forties 85 - Our Time Disposal Close." He also reads an excerpt from "Happy 60th Birthday to Sten Hanson," occasioned by the Swedish sound poet's recent birthday. This recording is nicely complemented by Mac Low's appearance on Charles Bernstein's LINEbreak program that same year, on which he also reads "Linguistic Relatives," along with some of his work on Pound's Cantos, and discusses the place of chance and limitation in his compositional practices.

On Mac Low's PennSound author page you'll find that LINEbreak program and many more recordings, including numerous Segue Series readings, recordings from the Radio Readings Project and the Line Reading Series and a 1997 recording from SUNY Buffalo. There are also a number of Mac Low's collaborations with his partner, Anne Tardos, and a marvelous recording from last January celebrating the release of the late poet's Thing of Beauty: New and Selected Works, which features performances and remembrances by Tardos, Bernstein, Joan Retallack, Drew Gardner and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, among others. Click on the title above to start listening.

Presidential Poems from Lowenfels, Blackburn, Acker, Dorn and More

Posted 11/5/2008 (link)

In honor of US President-Elect Barack Obama, and following the lead of The New York Times, who asked a quintet of poets (including John Ashbery and August Kleinzahler) to respond to the presidential election in verse, we're proud to present this selection of presidential poems from the PennSound archives. Today, as new poems are being written to commemorate this historic moment, take a few minutes to enjoy these recordings from Jaap Blonk, Ed Dorn, Paul Blackburn, Kathy Acker and Walter Lowenfels, among others, which remember, critique, lampoon and sympathetically address presidents past including Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, William McKinley and both George H.W. and George W. Bush:

Walter Lowenfels — "Mr. President" (12:23): MP3

Paul Blackburn — "The Assassination of President McKinley" (3:04): MP3

Kathy Acker — "President Bush" (5:15): MP3

CAConrad — "Dear Mister President there was Egg Shell under Your Desk Last Night in My Dream!" (3:26): MP3

Gary Sullivan — "That a Hamster Could be President" (0:20): MP3

Jaap Blonk — "What the President Will Say and Do" (1:30): MP3

Tracie Morris — "My Great Grand Aunt Meets a Bush Supporter" (2:01): MP3

Ed Dorn — "Paralyzing Affability: an Analysis of the Reagan Voice" (0:28): MP3

President of the United Hearts — from The Big Melt (16:39): MP3

Tina Darragh — "Bill Clinton Plane Ride Dream" (2:07): MP3

Brendan Downing — "GWB" (1:41): MP3 and "GWB" (1:12): MP3

Brian Boyles — "Ulysses Clinton" (1:10): MP3

Ceptuetics Radio: Seven New Episodes

Posted 11/6/2008 (link)

Today, we've added seven new episodes of Ceptuetics Radio — Kareem Estefans' poetry program (broadcast weekly over WNYU and iTunes) which ably captures the pulse of contemporary poetry and poetics.

We begin with Episode #26, featuring Jen Bervin, who reads from and discusses the process guiding the composition of her latest collection, The Desert. Juliana Spahr shares a new poem, "The Incinerator," in Episode #27, and discusses the role of place and class in autobiographical writing. That conversation leads neatly into Tracie Morris' discussion (in Episode #28) of politics and language, specifically within the context of the US Presidential election — she also reads from collaborations with Charles Bernstein and Elliott Sharp.

Episode #29 showcases Tan Lin's Plagiarism/Outsource, a document of actor Heath Ledger's death rendered through SMS messages and RSS feeds, which leads into a consideration of the ways in which technology augments the potential for myriad subjectivities within his work. Brad Fils also explores the role of historical events within his work, and the pursuit of "ethically responsible" poetry in Episode #30. In Episode #31, Estefans interviews the team behind For Godot — Gregory Laynor, Stephen McLaughlin and Vladimir Zykov — and discusses their most recent project, ISSUE ONE, which featured poems generated by Jim Carpenter's Erika T. Carter program and attributed to more than three thousand contemporary poets. Finally, in Episode #32, Craig Dworkin reads from his latest, Parse, and explains some of the editorial choices behind two recent anthologies, Against Expression and The UbuWeb Anthology of Conceptual Writing.

You'll also want to check out the show's first 25 episodes, which include readings and conversations with Chris Funkhouser, Caroline Bergvall, Kenneth Goldsmith, Anselm Berrigan and Rodrigo Toscano, among others. Click on the title above to start listening.

Spahr and Giscombe at Double Happiness, 2000

Posted 11/10/2008 (link)

One of our latest additions from the Segue Series' illustrious history is this December 16, 2000 pairing of Juliana Spahr and C.S. Giscombe, recorded at Double Happiness — the series' location between its beginnings at the Ear Inn and its current home, the Bowery Poetry Club.

Spahr's set begins with a lengthy prose piece, which is followed by a series of recursive sonnets, inspired by the work of Bernadette Mayer, including "Give Over," along with "New World Sonnet," a comment on colonialism constructed via the Babelfish translation engine. On Spahr's PennSound author page, you'll find a wide array of recordings, including recordings from Mills College, the Line Reading Series, SUNY Buffalo and New York's WKCR, as well as her recent appearance on Ceptuetics Radio which we announced on Friday.

C.S. Giscombe's reading draws largely from his collections Giscome Road (1998) and Into and Out of Dislocation (2000), before concluding with a few poems from his latest manuscript-in-progress. We've just put together a new Giscombe author page, where, in addition to this reading, you'll find his 2001 appearance on PhillyTalks, his 2002 reading as part of the Line Reading Series and a reading and interview segment on Cross-Cultural Poetics. Click on the title above to start listening.

Fall 2008 PennSound Featured Resources, Selected by Stephen McLaughlin

Posted 11/12/2008 (link)

Today, we're proud to announce PennSound's Fall 2008 Featured Resources, selected by PennSound and UbuWeb contributing editor, and PoemTalk producer Stephen McLaughlin. Steve's chosen a dozen poets largely rooted in the New American Poetry and Language Poetry traditions with some interesting outliers.

His playlist begins with a pair of historic recordings from Charles Olson ("In Cold Hell, In Thicket") and Vachel Lindsay ("The Mysterious Cat"), before switching gears with David Antin's October 9, 1992 Talk. This is followed by Robert Duncan's "Structure of Rime 10," taken from the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, and Kenneth Koch's lengthy reading of excerpts from his 1,000 Avant-Garde Plays, recorded during his April 1998 visit to the Kelly Writers House.

A quartet of shorter works by Jed Rasula ("Repeat if Necessary"), Tan Lin ("1:1"), Bruce Andrews ("jjj") and bpNichol ("A Hum for Stevie Winwood") lead into Vladimir Mayakovsky's "An Extraordinary Adventure Which Happened to Me, Vladimir Mayakovsky, One Summer in the Country." The playlist ends with a pair of recordings from Robert Creeley: "As Real as Thinking" and "Histoire de Florida" — an appropriate choice, as McLaughlin is the editor for PennSound's Robert Creeley page.

Click on the title above to start listening, or keep an eye on the left-hand sidebar on our front page through the fall and winter. Also be sure to check out Danny Snelson's Spring 2008 Featured Resources and the rest of our archive of past selections from Eric Baus, Tom Devaney, Marjorie Perloff, Steve Evans and PennSound co-director, Al Filreis.

PoemTalk 12: Ezra Pound's "Cantico del Sole"

Posted 11/14/2008 (link)

Listeners eagerly awaiting the latest installment of the PoemTalk podcast series need wait no longer — host Al Filreis is back with a new episode, the twelfth in the series. Joining Filreis this time, for a discussion of Ezra Pound's "Cantico del Sole," are his PennSound co-director, Charles Bernstein, Rachel Levitsky (this year's CPCW Fellow in Poetics and Poetic Practice) and Joshua Schuster (a longtime member of the UPenn community and an architect of the Kelly Writers House).

Bernstein begins by citing the differences in tone between the two recordings presented in the program — while the 1939 version is introspective, the 1958 rendition plays up the poem's satirical edge — a distinction Levitsky elides to depict the speaker's ambivalence. Filreis recalls that Pound studied the classics at UPenn, and that the poet translated Francis of Assisi's "Hymn of the Sun," which gives Pound's poem its name, as part of his masters thesis. This fact, taken together with a contemporary legal decision that the classics should be exempted from obscenity laws, since (as Pound reprints in the essay originally accompanying the poem) they "usually appeal to a comparatively limited number of readers," forms the context for the poem as both a lament for America's disinterest in classical (or any serious) literature, and also a glimpse towards a society in which the opposite were true.

Schuster is quick to point out that it's not a staid pedagogy rooted solely in the past that Pound is aiming for, but rather the "24-hour experimental poet world that the classics kinda suggest were in existence back then." Indeed, a society as receptive to the classics would be equally receptive to the contemporary avant-garde, and Schuster notes that, in Pound's time, certain notions of the avant-garde were precisely tied to revisiting the classics (H.D., for example).

Bernstein makes another connection, to the Canticle of Simeon (a devout Jew who was promised he'd live to see the coming savior), which raises the issue of the poem's sacrilegious tone as well as Pound's later anti-Semitism, and how one navigates that facet of his history in light of his work overall. He also points out how incompletely the allusions to both Assisi and Simeon are integrated within the multi-vocal palimpsest, which adds to both the poem's tensions — including the contradictions between its anti-Phillistine and elitist voices.

Filreis brings the conversation to a close by introducing the writings of Peter Wilson, who discusses the differences between the avant-garde's relation to mainstream society in the contemporary era (in which poets can more easily find an audience) versus Pound's time (where the Modernist ideal trended towards isolation and exclusivity). Schuster expands this notion to consider implications of medium and availability, suggesting that in the present, the avant-garde is not rereading the classics, but rather fully embracing and exploiting technological means to develop and share new ideas, a rubric into which sites such as this one neatly fit (and be sure to listen through to the end, where Bernstein parodies Pound's parody, by sharing how "the thought of what America would be like if PennSound had a wide circulation" troubles his sleep).

PoemTalk's next episode will see the show go on the road, to New York City, where Filreis, along with Bernstein, Nada Gordon and Lawrence Joseph will discuss a late poem by Wallace Stevens. In the meantime, be sure to visit PoemTalk's homepage, where you can download the first dozen episodes and find more information about the poems and panelists, along with listener comments.

Also, stay tuned to PennSound Daily for the launch of a very exciting new author page on Monday — a monumental archive of recordings on par with some of our biggest additions to date, including PennSound's Pound, Williams, Duncan and Ashbery collections.

Louis Zukofsky: New Author Page

Posted 11/17/2008 (link)

Today, we're extremely proud to announce PennSound's newest addition: an extensive author page for the highly-influential American Objectivist, Louis Zukofsky. Nearly six months in the making, this page brings together nearly twenty full-length recordings by the poet, including important readings, conversations and lectures, along with supplementary materials responding to Zukofsky's work.

The earliest of the seventeen readings contained in our Zukofsky archives is a 1954 appearance on Berkeley's KPFA Radio, which includes a number of excerpts from 1946's Anew, as well as "A"-11 and the second half of "A"-9. Selections from Anew and 1941's 55 Poems comprise much of the setlist from his 1958 reading at the Poetry Center at the San Francisco State University, as well as a historic 80-minute homemade tape for the Library of Congress, recorded in November 1960, which also features lengthy samplings from Some Time, Songs of Degrees, Catullus and Barely and Widely. Another homemade tape from the following year includes Catullus 1-46 (save 18 & 19).

Other historic recordings include a 1961 reading at Les Deux Megots (precursor to the St. Mark's Poetry Project), recorded by reading organizer Paul Blackburn and broadcast on WBAI-FM; a two-hour 1962 session at New York City's A&R Recording Company, which includes a broad survey of his work from "A," After I's, Catullus, Some Time, Barely and Widely, Anew and 55 Poems; a 1971 recording of Autobiography taken from Lincoln Center; 1972 readings at Temple University, Glassboro State College and Bard College; and a 1975 recording by Hugh Kenner of a reading at Johns Hopkins University featuring selections from "A" and 80 Flowers, plus "A Foin Lass Bodders," Zukofsky's Brooklynese rendering of Cavalcanti's "Donna Me Prega."

In addition to these recordings, you'll also find a 1961 conversation between Zukofsky and Robert Creeley, a 1971 lecture on Wallace Stevens at the University of Connecticut and a handful of broadcast appearances. These resources are augmented by a number of recordings of contemporary poets performing and interpreting Zukofsky's work, including Charles Bernstein's take on "A Foin Lass Bodders," Guy Davenport's comparisons of Zukofsky's Catullus poems and the original Latin texts, and a pair of marvelous performances of "A"-24, recorded in the Bay Area in 1978, which feature Steve Benson, Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian, Kit Robinson and Bob Perelman (on piano). There are also links to videos from 2004's Zukofsky Centennial Conference at Columbia University & Barnard College, featuring Perelman, Creeley, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Norman Finkelstein and Mark Scroggins, among others. Those interested in further Objectivist listening will also want to check out PennSound's author pages for Charles Reznikoff and Carl Rakosi.

PennSound is immeasurably grateful to Paul Zukofsky for his gracious permission to share these many recordings of his father's work with a worldwide audience. Archives such as this do not materialize overnight, and so we'd like to thank Danny Snelson, our Zukofsky page editor for his tireless efforts. Peter Quartermain, Mark Scroggins and Ron Silliman also deserve thanks for both editorial input and access to recordings from their collections. Richard Sieburth and Jeff Twitchell-Waas also provided helpful feedback on the collection, and Mollie Braverman, Kareem Estefan and Jenny Lesser spent countless hours digitizing and editing recordings. It's our sincere hope that this Zukofsky page will be an indispensable resource for fans and scholars of the poet, and an avenue for those not familiar with his work to begin their acquaintance. Click on the title above to start listening.

Stephen Ratcliffe: New Author Page

Posted 11/21/2008 (link)

We've just created a new author page for Stephen Ratcliffe, anchored by a twelve-hour document of his magnum opus, human/nature recorded at UC Davis this past June.

A thousand-page poem, written in one thousand consecutive days (from October 19, 2002 to July 14, 2005), human/nature seeks to "explore collaborative work in a variety of mediums." Moreover, when the written text is performed in an open art environment, the poem further "extends [Ratcliffe's] investigations into the integration/interaction of human beings and natural landscape," or, in the poet's own words, "the relation between things seen/observed in the natural world and how such things might be made (transcribed/transformed) as works of written (or visual) art." During its run at UC Davis, human/nature's cast — including Ratcliffe, Dylan Bolles, Keith Evans, Michael Meyers, Edward Schocker, Zachary Watkins, and others — was accompanied by sound, light, movement and sculpture, and the audience was encouraged to enter into dialogue with the performers. To accompany the four-part recording, we've included the flyer announcing the event, and a series of photographs by Michael Meyers, including the one you see above.

In addition to human/nature, you'll find three other readings spanning two decades of Ratcliffe's work, from a 1991 recording at the Central Park Grill in Buffalo, NY to a 1999 reading in San Diego. There's also Ratcliffe's reading at San Francisco's Canessa Gallery, recorded a little over a month ago, and a brief video of a reading at Point Éphémere in Paris. Clicking on the title above takes you directly there.

A Celebration of Hannah Weiner's Open House

Posted 11/24/2008 (link)

Today, we're very happy to announce a new page containing audio and video recordings from last November's launch party for Hannah Weiner's Open House at the St. Mark's Poetry Project. Edited by Patrick F. Durgin, the career-spanning collection of work by the late Hannah Weiner was one of last year's most celebrated reissues.

Filmed by James Kalm, the three-part video begins with introductions by Stacy Szymaszek and Durgin, who states that his inspirations for the project lay in "the conviction that the vitality of Hannah Weiner's work is at this time equal to the degree to which its historical importance has been under-appreciated." From there, the evening kicks into high gear with Rodrigo Toscano, Laura Elrich and Kaplan Harris' imaginative performance of the hilariously bawdy "Romeo and Juliet" from The Code Poems, complete with walkie-talkie interplay between the fated lovers.

The second segment begins with John Perrault's discussion of Weiner's early street works, sharing memories of the poet's hiring two Coast Guard flag semaphore officers to perform excerpts from The Code Poems outside her NYC apartment, which he follows with his own semaphore performance of a brief poem, using flags constructed from kitchen towels and mop handles. Carolee Schneeman is next, with a slideshow piece, "Looking for Hannah's Photo," which celebrates their friendship and the broader community of poets and artists to which they belonged. The final video, featuring the Bernstein family — Charles, Susan Bee and daughter Emma — performing an excerpt from Clairvoyant Journal, their contrapuntal voices undercutting and stacking upon one another in a worthy rendition of Weiner's complicated palimpsest.

You'll also want to visit PennSound's Hannah Weiner author page, a rich treasury of recordings from the late 70s (following Angel Hair Press' publication of Clairvoyant Journal) through to the end of her life, which includes a number of multivocal renditions of that signature text, featuring the likes of Rochelle Kraut, Sharon Mattlin, Peggy De Coursey, Regina Beck, James Sherry and Charles Bernstein. There's also a link to Weiner's EPC author page, where you'll find many full texts in electronic format

New PennSound Podcasts Featuring Sieburth, Rich, Wershler-Henry

Posted 11/26/2008 (link)

When not hosting the critically-acclaimed PoemTalk podcast series, or the Kelly Writers House Podcasts (the latest of which showcases the musical marriage of the Beatles and leprosy), PennSound co-director Al Filreis also produces a series of PennSound Podcasts, highlighting and commenting upon select holdings from our massive multimedia holdings. The three latest episodes speak to both the broad scope of that archive, and the equally open and democratic aesthetics of the Kelly Writers House's cultural programming.

We begin with episode #10, a 16 minute excerpt from Filreis' longer interview with translator and scholar Richard Sieburth, specifically concerning his work collecting Ezra Pound's complete recorded output, which you can listen to on PennSound's Pound author page. There, you can also hear their complete conversation and read Sieburth's authoritative essay, "The Sound of Pound: a Listener's Guide." You can also hear an engaging discussion of Pound's "Cantico del Sole," featuring Charles Bernstein, Joshua Schuster and Rachel Levitsky on the latest episode of the PoemTalk podcast series.

PennSound Podcast #11 showcases a 22 minute excerpt of Filreis' conversation with Adrienne Rich, recorded April 19, 2005, on the second day of her visit to UPenn as one of that year's Kelly Writers House Fellows, joining the ranks of June Jordan, John Ashbery, Lyn Hejinian, Donald Hall and most recently, Jerome Rothenberg. You can hear their complete conversation, as well as Rich's reading from the previous evening, on Rich's PennSound author page, where you'll also find readings from 2000 and 1985 at SUNY Buffalo and Cornell, respectively.

Finally, the latest PennSound Podcast, episode 12, is a conversation between Filreis, Darren Wershler-Henry, Kenneth Goldsmith and KWH Gallery Curator Kaegan Sparks, occasioned by last Thursday's opening of Tapeworm, a collaborative student art show inspired and guided by Wershler-Henry's 2000 book, The Tapeworm Foundry: andor the dangerous prevalence of imagination. You can find more information on the event plus photos from opening on the Kelly Writers House site, and read Filreis' discussion of the podcast and the show on his blog.

Be sure to visit the PennSound Podcasts homepage, where you'll find all twelve episodes, including programs featuring Robert Creeley, Jena Osman and Flarf, among many others, as well as a particularly useful conversation of the pedagogical applications of recorded poetry. You can also subscribe to PennSound podcast by going to the ITunes Music Store and searching for "PennSound."

Introducing the PennSound Daily Archive

Posted 11/28/2008 (link)

We received an early Thanksgiving present from PennSound's Managing Director and tech guru, Mark P. Lindsay, when he unveiled the new PennSound Daily archive, which brings together the nearly 200 entries which have appeared in this space over the past fourteen months. Now, you can easily find more information on select PennSound recordings, along with historical contexts, reading details, quotations from the poets and links to related recordings.

More importantly, this new archive also contains permalinks to the individual entries, which will facilitate use of materials from PennSound Daily on blogs, website and syllabi. Want to read our entry on Mark Van Doren which ran a year ago today, or our announcement of a newly revamped Robert Duncan author page? It's easy. Need links to our entry on John Ashbery and Ann Lauterbach's stereophonic reading of the former's "Litany" and Lauterbach's essay on the recording process? They're just a click away.

Entries are organized month-by-month, and in the near future, we'll work to integrate this material with the individual author and event pages, however, we didn't want to delay our release of this resource to our listeners. Click here to start browsing through the best of PennSound's recent additions, and stay tuned to PennSound Daily for announcements of many more new and exciting recordings.