John Ashbery reads from "Europe," 2015

Posted 4/1/2016 (link)

We'll close out the week as we began, with an exciting new recording from John Ashbery. This time, it's a reading of the first twenty-five sections (out of one hundred and eleven total) of his influential poem "Europe" (from 1962's The Tennis Court Oath). Dating from a November 19, 2015 launch event for Olivier Brossard's translation of that important collection, this brief track (only eight minutes and fifteen seconds) marks the first appearance of "Europe" within the PennSound archives.

"Europe" is a clear antecedent to Ashbery's magnum opus, "The Skaters" from his next collection, Rivers and Mountains (1966), however that relationship shouldn't diminish our appreciation of the poem on its own merits. Upon first reading it, Frank O'Hara hailed it as "the most striking thing since 'The Waste Land,'" while Nicholas Jenkins, writing in The New York Times, praised "Europe" as "a veritable babel of different voices" that "seems to describe some kind of revolutionary or artistic insurrection." Here's how Ashbery described the poem and other contemporaneous experiments in a 1988 interview with John Tranter:

These were... experiments which I thought would perhaps lead to something, but I didn't really intend them to be finished poems. I didn't at that point know how to write a finished poem in the way that I felt I had done so before, at least in the new way that I wanted to write. And quite unexpectedly I had an opportunity to publish another volume. So I used what I had.

My intention was to be after... kind of... taking language apart so I could look at the pieces that made it up. I would eventually get around to putting them back together again, and would then have more of a knowledge of how they worked, together.

To listen to this important recording click the title above to be taken to our John Ashbery author page

Patrick Rosal: New Author Page

Posted 4/4/2016 (link)

Here's a brand new PennSound author page for poet Patrick Rosal, which showcases work recorded at our own Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House on March 28, 2016.

Altogether there are seven poems in the set: "An Instance of an Island," "Broke Heart Just Like That," "Children Walk on Chairs to Cross a Flooded School Yard," "Halo Halo Man: An Anthem," "Poem," "Typhoon Poem," and "Uptown Ode That Ends on an Ode to the Machete."

Rosal lives in Philadelphia and teaches at Rutgers University-Camden. A 2009 Fulbright Senior Research Fellow in the Philippines, he's published three books — Boneshepherds (2011); My American Kundiman (2006), and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive (2003) — with a fourth, Brooklyn Antediluvian coming out next month. You can listen to the complete set here.

Congratulations to Guggenheim Fellowship Winners Moten, Roberson, and Burt

Posted 4/6/2016 (link)

Yesterday brought word of this year's winners of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships with nearly a dozen awards (out of 175 total) being awarded to poets. Among them were three authors we're proud to have as part of our PennSound archives: Fred Moten, Ed Roberson, and Stephen Burt.

Our Fred Moten author page is home to an extensive collection of recordings, both creative and critical, spanning nearly a decade, including a two-day visit to our own Kelly Writers House in 2008. The most recent reading is Moten's set as part of the Lute & Drum Reading Series event at the 2015 Louisville Conference.

On our Ed Roberson author page you'll find a trio of readings (from 1993, 1999, and 2011) along with the poet's contribution to a 2006 Segue Eco-Panel at the Bowery Poetry Club, a 2010 appearance on Cross Cultural Poetics, and "Scattered Images," a 2006 collaboration with the Ways & Means Trio.

Finally, while Stephen Burt doesn't have a PennSound author page of his own, you can hear his contributions to a pair of recent Modernist Studies Association group readings on our Heatstrings series page as well as Burt's talk "Controlled Experiment" as part of a 2014 Rutgers conference with Charles Bernstein on Bernstein's Talks page.

We send our congratulations to all of these worthy winners.

Anne Tardos: KWH Multilingual Poetics Reading, 2016

Posted 4/8/2016 (link)

We recently posted audio and video from Ann Tardos' March 15th appearance at our own Kelly Writers House as part of the Multilingual Poetics Series, and now that recording has been segmented into individual MP3 files.

The reading was curated by Ariel Resnikoff, who offers up a lavish introduction to Tardos' life and work. Tardos' set begins by framing her own development and evolution into a poet who "grew up in four languages" — English, French, German, and Hungarian — and the geographical changes that influenced that process. She envisions the talk as a tour of her writing over the course of her life, with explications along the way.

Some of the pieces she reads: "Ami Minden," "SeptemberDichtung WorldSprache," "Efnogla 1," "Uxudo," "Boomerang Suntan," "Four Plus One K," "Considerations," "It's So Quiet Somehow," "The Masculine Sleep," "The Formless of Nine," and the unpublished work, "It Changes." These titles are interspersed with thematicly-named tracks of commentary. You can explore the complete reading here.

In Memoriam: Tony Conrad (1940-2016)

Posted 4/11/2016 (link)

This weekend brought the sad news that pioneering filmmaker and composer Tony Conrad had died of prostate cancer on April 9th at the age of 76.

It's been astounding to see the outpouring of tributes and memorials over the past few days, and I can understand completely, having first had my eyes opened by Conrad's infamous 1966 film The Flicker at a 2004 program of "Three Short Films About Nothing" at Philadelphia's International House. Our own Charles Bernstein, who posted the photo to the left and recalled that "Tony was there when we started [the Poetics program] and he was always a friend. He had a deep connection to Buffalo and to UB and was the last member of the astonishing group of UB Media Study pioneers including Hollis Frampton and Paul Sharits." While Bernstein and many other members of the extended Poetics family were in Buffalo this weekend to celebrate the program's 25th anniversary, they thought back to Conrad's presence at the EPC@20 Celebration from the fall of 2014.

His contribution to that two-day conference, "Act of Will and This piece is its name" — available as both audio and video (via the EPC's Vimeo account) — is one of the two recordings you'll find on a new PennSound author page we've put together for Conrad. The other is a Segue Series reading from the Bowery Poetry Club recorded on January 10, 2009. You can listen to both here.

PoemTalk 99: four by William Bronk

Posted 4/13/2016 (link)

We get closer and closer to PoemTalk's landmark 100th episode. Yesterday saw the release of the ninety-ninth episode in the series, in which a panel including Julia Bloch, Joseph Massey, and Michelle Gil-Montero joined host Al Filreis to discuss four brief poems by William Bronk.

As noted in his introduction on the PoemTalk blog, Filreis begins the conversation by asking Massey, an poet greatly shaped by Bronk, whether "the inability to write fictively ('Make believe') in 'The Inability' corresponds to an inability to relate, to touch, to love as presented in 'On Being Together.' In his response, Massey "describ[es] Bronk's utter rejection of the pathetic fallacy. The world is unabettably bleak, and that desolation will not be lessened by the writer's act of 'compar[ing] trees to what it means to be human.'"You can read more about how the discussion unfolds from there on Jacket2.

PoemTalk is a co-production of PennSound, the Kelly Writers House, Jacket2 and the Poetry Foundation. If you're interested in more information on the series or want to hear our archives of previous episodes, please visit the PoemTalk blog, and don't forget that you can subscribe to the series through the iTunes music store.

Hoa Nguyen: St. Bonaventure Reading and New Author Page

Posted 4/15/2016 (link)

We recently created a new author page for poet Hoa Nguyen, with a newly-added recording from the St. Bonaventure Visiting Poets Series front and center.

The March 22, 2016 reading was introduced by Kaplan Harris, curator of the St. Bonaventure series, who traces her peripatetic upbringing and pays homage to the fact that she fosters "poetry writing happening outside of official university structures" through a series of home-based writing workshops, before sharing some of the revelations about her own inspirations that came out during her visit to his class. Her half hour set is comprised of selections from Red Juice.

Beside this new reading, you'll also find four individual tracks from PoetryPolitic (a project undertaken by Wave Books in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential election) — "Ronald McDonald," "The Earth Is in Me," "The News Pictures the Beheaded," and "Up Nursing" — as well as a 2010 reading as part of the Chapter and Verse Series in Philadelphia.

Naomi Replansky: Close Listening, 2016

Posted 4/18/2016 (link)

It's been a great pleasure to share the work of poet Naomi Replansky over the past year or so (with thanks to Richard Swigg for his assistance in procuring several recent readings). Today we have another exciting addition to her PennSound author page: an hour-long Close Listening program featuring Replansky in conversation with PennSound co-directors Charles Bernstein and Al Filreis (shown at left), recorded on April 1st.

Here's Bernstein's description of the program from his Jacket2 commentary post announcing the show: "Naomi Replansky discusses hearing Gertrude Stein as a teenager, her friendship with Bertolt Brecht, the tension between her Communist affiliations and her poetry, her early publication and subsequent review in Poetry magazine, her life as a poet on the margins of the poetry world, and her reaction to the changes she has seen living 98 years." He continues with a brief bio of the august poet: "Naomi Replansky was born in 1918 in the Bronx. Her first publication was in 1934 in Poetry magazine. Her 1952 book Ring Song (Scribners, 1952) collected work from the 30s and 40s, poems written at a time she was also a factory worker. Subsequent books include Twenty-One Poems, Old and New (1988), The Dangerous World: New and Selected Poems, 1934-1994 (1994), and Collected Poems (Black Sparrow Press/Godine, 2012). She lives on the upper west side of Manhattan." To start listening, click the title above.

Listen to Pulitzer Winner Balakian, Finalist Willis

Posted 4/20/2016 (link)

We send our congratulations to the winner and finalists for this year's Pulitzer Prize in poetry, announced yesterday. Here's where you can listen to two of the three poets on PennSound:

— Winner Peter Balakian, whose collection Ozone Journal (University of Chicago) was hailed as "poems that bear witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty," was a member of the panel for PoemTalk Podcast #57 from 2012 (along with John Timpane and Jamie-Lee Josselyn) joining host Al Filreis to discuss Greg Djanikian's "Immigrant Picnic." You can listen to that program here.

— On finalist Elizabeth Willis' PennSound author page you'll find a treasure trove of recordings spanning nearly a quarter of a century, including many of the poems included in her nominated volume, Alive: New and Selected Poems (NYRB), praised for being "a book worthy of its title in which the poet calls readers to look deep within themselves and regard anew the struggle to live."

Congratulations are also in order for Diane Seuss, author of the other Pulitzer finalist, Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press), "a richly improvisational poetry collection that leads readers through a gallery of incisive and beguiling portraits and landscapes."

David Wallace: New Recordings for PennSound Classics

Posted 4/22/2016 (link)

Here's an exciting new addition to the PennSound Classics page and our author page for UPenn professor David Wallace: a short set of readings and commentaries on the work of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Produced at our own Wexler Studios at the Kelly Writers House by Chris Mustazza on April 12, 2016 (with engineering by Zach Carduner), this session includes Wallace reading the first eighteen lines of The Canterbury Tales' prologue, as well as the poems "Trouthe" and "Complain of Chaucer to His Purse," as well as a commentary on the first. Then Mustazza and Wallace discuss performance of Chaucer's work in the 1930s, accompanied by recordings of Harry Morgan Ayers, W. Cabell Greet, and CS Baldwin, three Columbia professors, who recorded the poet's work as part of the Speech Lab Recordings project.

This new set is a wonderful complement to our earlier Studio 111 Session of Wallace reading Chaucer — a useful classroom resource I've used time and time again — as well as the three BBC documentaries featuring Wallace that you can find on our David Wallace author page.

Patricia Spears Jones on Close Listening, 2016

Posted 4/25/2016 (link)

Charles Bernstein continues to roll on through a spring full of new Close Listening programs. Today, he released a new thirty-eight minute show featuring Patricia Spears Jones.

Jones grew up in Arkansas but has been living in New York City since the mid-1970s. She is author of the poetry collections Painkiller and Femme du Monde from Tia Chucha Press and The Weather That Kills from Coffee House Press. Her fourth full collection of poetry, A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems, is just out from White Pine Press. Jones has been an art activist, including a sting as Program Coordinator at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church and New Works Program director at the Massachusetts Council of Arts and Humanities, and as Director of Planning and Development at The New Museum of Contemporary Art (1994-96). She curates WORDS SUNDAY, a literary and performance series focused on Brooklyn based writers and artists. Jones teaches at the City University of New York.

Here's a succinct summary of the new program from Bernstein's Jacket2 write-up of the show: "Patricia Spears Jones talks with Charles Bernstein about her new selected poems, the influence of the blues and the penticostal church (and sonnets) on her poems, her conversation with popular songs, her sense of communities and ideal readers, the performance of her work, her 'contrarian' broadsides on politics and culture, and her persistent commitment to beauty."

You can listen here, and don't miss out on the two 2007 readings archived on her PennSound author page. You can browse the archives of the Close ListeningClose Listening series, which includes 143 programs in total, Close Listeninghere.

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague: New Author Page

Posted 4/27/2016 (link)

One of our latest author pages is for poet Gabriel Ojeda-Sague. At its heart are a number of selections from his debut collection, Oil and Candle (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015).

The first of two release parties for the book took place at DIESEL Books in Oakland on March 5, 2016. In addition to a twenty-three minute reading by Ojeda-Sague, the event featured sets by Hugo Garciá Manríquez, Cheena Marie Lo, and Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo. That was followed by a release party in Philadelphia at L'Etage on March 29, 2016. Replicating the Oakland set-up, this event featured a headlining set from Ojeda-Sague with brief sets by Camara Brown, Oki Sogumi, and Connie Yu beforehand. Both video and audio footage of this reading are available.

Earlier this month, Ojeda-Sague sat down for a recording session at our own Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House, reading four poems from Oil and Candle: "Limpias," "Poem for "Eleguá," "Any," and "Abrecaminos." You'll find that, in addition to his appearance on PoemTalk #94 (on the work of CAConrad) and PennSound Podcast #50 (his interview with Emji Spero) on on his new PennSound author page.

Grzegorz Wroblewski in Sweden, 2016

Posted 4/29/2016 (link)

Fans of Polish poet Grzegorz Wroblewski will be excited for this new addition to his PennSound author page: a March 12, 2016 appearance at the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators in Visby, Sweden, where he was accompanied by his translator, Piotr Gwiazda. Featuring selections from Kopenhaga (2013) and the forthcoming Zero Visibility (2017), the reading is nearly a half-hour in length.

Those looking to further explore Wroblewski's work will want to check out his PennSound author page, which includes a pair of 2014 readings in London and a pair of musical settings of his work. Over at Jacket2 you'll find contributions to last year's "(Polish) Poetry after Różewicz" feature from both Wroblewski and Gwiazda, along with "The Passenger Syndrome," a 2014 interview between the two.