Featured resources

From "Down To Write You This Poem Sat" at the Oakville Gallery

  1. Charles Bernstein, "Phone Poem" (2011) (1:30): MP3
  2. Caroline Bergvall, "Love song: 'The Not Tale (funeral)' from Shorter Caucer Tales (2006): MP3
  3. Christian Bôk, excerpt from Eunoia, from Chapter "I" for Dick Higgins (2009) (1:38):  MP3
  4. Tonya Foster, Nocturne II (0:40) (2010) MP3
  5. Ted Greenwald, "The Pears are the Pears" (2005) (0:29): MP3
  6. Susan Howe, Thorow, III (3:13) (1998):  MP3
  7. Tan Lin, "¼ : 1 foot" (2005) (1:16): MP3
  8. Steve McCaffery, "Cappuccino" (1995) (2:35): MP3
  9. Tracie Morris, From "Slave Sho to Video aka Black but Beautiful" (2002) (3:40): MP3
  10. Julie Patton, "Scribbling thru the Times" (2016) (5:12): MP3
  11. Tom Raworth, "Errory" (c. 1975) (2:08): MP3
  12. Jerome Rothenberg, from "The First Horse Song of Frank Mitchell: 4-Voice Version" (c. 1975) (3:30): MP3
  13. Cecilia Vicuna, "When This Language Disappeared" (2009) (1:30): MP3
  1. Guillaume Apollinaire, "Le Pont Mirabeau" (1913) (1:14): MP3
  2. Amiri Baraka, "Black Dada Nihilismus" (1964) (4:02):  MP3
  3. Louise Bennett, "Colonization in Reverse" (1983) (1:09): MP3
  4. Sterling Brown, "Old Lem " (c. 1950s) (2:06):  MP3
  5. John Clare, "Vowelless Letter" (1849) performed by Charles Bernstein (2:54): MP3
  6. Velimir Khlebnikov, "Incantation by Laughter" (1910), tr. and performed by Bernstein (:28)  MP3
  7. Harry Partch, from Barstow (part 1), performed by Bernstein (1968) (1:11): MP3
  8. Leslie Scalapino, "Can’t’ is ‘Night’" (2007) (3:19): MP3
  9. Kurt Schwitters, "Ur Sonata: Largo" performed by Ernst Scwhitter (1922-1932) ( (3:12): MP3
  10. Gertrude Stein, If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (1934-35) (3:42): MP3
  11. William Carlos Willliams, "The Defective Record" (1942) (0:28): MP3
  12. Hannah Weiner, from Clairvoyant Journal, performed by Weiner, Sharon Mattlin & Rochelle Kraut (2001) (6:12): MP3

Selected by Charles Bernstein (read more about his choices here)

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Congratulations to Griffin Prize Short-Lister Hoa Nguyen

Posted 4/11/2017

Today, the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry announced the international and Canadian shortlists for the 2017 Griffin Prize and among the very worthy nominees was PennSound poet How Nguyen for her Wave Books release Violet Energy Ingots. Here's the judges' citation in full:

"Hoa Nguyen's poems tread delicately but firmly between the linear demands of narrative and syntax on the one hand and between registers of speech and forms of address on the other. There are spaces for breath, and asides hovering in parentheses. There are also the slippages in language, in the slide from, say 'staring' through 'starving' and 'starring' to 'scarring'. Everything is at once tangential yet surprisingly direct. This is where the pleasure and depth reside: in the off balancing of the language and its pure, uncalculated tone. What are the poems about? Many things, often simple and direct, like food, or sex, or rivers, or sickness. The poems are packed with fine precisions and particulars. But there is politics too, sometimes startlingly straight as in the poem about Andrew Jackson or sharp-edged as in 'Screaming'. Violet Energy Ingots is a fully mature work in that it is confident of both its voice and its readers' alertness. It makes its own space. It demands it and holds it."

You can listen to a sampling of Nguyen's poetry on her PennSound author page, which is home to a 2016 reading from the St. Bonaventure Visiting Poets Series showcasing selections from Red Juice, four individual tracks from PoetryPolitic (a project undertaken by Wave Books in the lead-up to the 2008 presidential election), and a 2010 reading as part of the Chapter and Verse Series in Philadelphia.

Fatemeh Shams: New Author Page

Posted 4/5/2017

Our latest author page is for Persian poet, translator, and scholar Fatemeh Shams, who recently joined the UPenn faculty as Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

On March 2nd of this year she and translator Dick Davis took part in a lunchtime event at our own Kelly Writers House on Persian Literature in Translation, which is available in video and audio form. Later that day, the two stepped into the Wexler Studio for a bilingual reading, with Shams reading in Farsi and Davis sharing his translations in English. In total, the pair read ten poems including "Mashhad," "Three Years Later," "Never to Fall Asleep," "Ash and Mist," "In Search of a Homeland," "Home," and "Persecution."

You can listen to both of these recordings on PennSound's Fatemeh Shams author page, and we look forward to hosting more work from our colleague in the future.

In Memoriam: Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1932-2017)

Posted 4/1/2017

It's a rare occurrence to have a poet's death officially verified by a governmental news agency, but then again Yevgeny Yevtushenko was an uncommon talent. The Russian new agency TASS confirmed with close friend Mikhail Morgulis that Yevtushenko passed away earlier today in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he taught for many years at the University of Tulsa. He was eighty-four.

The New York Times' obituary hailed Yevtushenko as "an internationally acclaimed poet with the charisma of an actor and the instincts of a politician whose defiant verse inspired a generation of young Russians in their fight against Stalinism during the Cold War." Meanwhile, the Guardian's memorial recalls the early work that brought him renown outside of the Soviet Union: "He gained international acclaim as a young revolutionary with "Babi Yar," an unflinching 1961 poem that told of the slaughter of nearly 34,000 Jews by the Nazis and denounced the antisemitism that had spread throughout the Soviet Union."

Fortunately, we only recently added a wonderful recording of Yevtushenko to our site — via George Drury's amazing "Word of Mouth" archive — produced by Drury and Lois Baum and recorded on April 3, 1987 at the Chicago Cultural Center. The program's introduction provides a wonderful encapsulation of his life and career up to the mid-1980s (where he was still battling with the powers that be, challenging the openness of Gorbachev's glasnost policies) and from the very start, the qualities of his work, both on the page and in performance, are evident.

PennSound Daily is written by Michael S. Hennessey.

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