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)

PennSound Daily

Subscribe in a reader Viewing entries

Congratulations to 2019 Prix Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou Winner Cia Rinne

Posted 10/11/2019

We send our heartiest congratulations to Finnish sound poet Cia Rinne, who was awarded the 2019 Prix Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou by Fondazione Bonotto last month. The prize, for "non-book literature," was previously won by Caroline Bergvall and Fia Backström.

Writing up the accompanying festival, Extra! for the Best American Poetry blog, Tracy Danison observes that "Rinne has linguistic feet in Sweden, Finland and Germany, as well as in her translingual poetry, which, she told me, was suggested by ordinary conversation in the multilingual household where she grew up. Just as Nina Santes' work reverberates with energies inherited from happenings, Rinne's work winds around and binds together concepts exemplified by sound-tech poet pioneers such as Laurie Anderson and traditional, page-visual-Ogden-Nash-book-of -practical-cats-style poetry formats."

Our Cia Rinne author page is anchored by a 2014 Close Listening program hosted by PennSound co-director Charles Bernstein in which she reads recent work and discusses her creative processes. From the same year, we have Rinne's participation in the Convergence on Poetics panel "INTERVAL: LANGUAGE + PRESENCE" alongside Aeron Bergman, Alejandra Salinas, and Lisa Radon. We have a trio of reading videos from 2013: two collective performances with Berlin Sound Poets Quoi Tête in Ausland and Altes Finanzamt, and a Berlin reading as part of "a night of text / sound / video" #3. Next there's 2012's Nonstop Action Poetry at Kiasma Theatre, Helsinki, Finland (with Leevi Lehto and Tomomi Adachi) and "notes for soloists" for the Quiet Cue Intermedia and Cooperation in Berlin as well as a performance of "sounds for soloists" with sound design by Sebastian Eskildsen from the same year. To round things out, we have another performance of the same piece (also with sound design by Eskildsen) from 2011 and a reading with Charles Bernstein and Caroline Bergvall at Gyldendal, Copenhagen from the same year. You can listen to all of these recordings by clicking here.

New at the PEPC Library: Poets on Stage: The Some Symposium on Poetry Readings

Posted 10/10/2019

This week saw an exciting new addition to our PEPC Library, Poets on Stage: The Some Symposium on Poetry Readings, edited by Alan Ziegler and originally co-issued by the journal Some (as its ninth issue) and and its book publishing arm Release Press in 1978. The volume's origins are explained in an introductory note by Ziegler:
One night the three editors of Some were discussing possibilities for forthcoming issues. One of the editors didn't have his mind in the sessions; he was thinking about a poetry reading he was to give the next day. He had given readings before but hadn't thought much about them. But now, as he drifted away from the work at hand, he thought about the fact that the next afternoon he would be reading his poems to an audience. Some of his poems would reveal to strangers and friends alike things he had not told anyone. (Of course, these secrets would be presented on a "wall of literature," and he could remain behind that wall). There was also material that was mostly incarnated from the imagination — images that had emerged excitedly yet silently onto the page. How comfortable would they be wearing sound? 
These musings interested him, and since the major criterion for Some is interesting material (and he was feeling guilty about not contributing to the meeting), he suggested: why not an issue of Some devoted to poetry readings? The meeting was transformed into a tentative discussion of the new project.
What emerged from that suggestion is a trailblazing document in the field of poetry in performance that draws its responses from fascinating cross-section of the contemporary poetry world, with contributions from (in order of appearance) Alan Dugan,  Jack Anderson, Colette Inez, John Love, Stephen Stepanchev, Marge Piercy, David lgnatow, Janet Sternburg, June Fortess, Mark Weiss, Phillip Lopate, Joe Brainard, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Haseloff, John Wieners, Gerard Malanga, Audre Lorde, Virginia R. Terris, Hugh Seidman, Paul Hannigan, Terry Stokes, Armand Schwerner, Rochelle Ratner, Denise Levertov, David Meltzer, Margaret Atwood, Dick Gallup, Anne Waldman, and James Dickey.

The responses, as you might imagine, are as diverse as the authors interviewed. Dugan offers this practical advice: "The first time I recited, at a college, I had forgotten how over-heated academic interiors can be and sweated because I was wearing a jacket and was too nervous to take it off, and therefore performed badly. The students and teachers were good to me, saying, roughly, 'Well, it's over, it's your first time, you'll do better next time,' which I did." Brainard's handwritten response, "On Reading," starts by observing "Both my aim and my desire is to please." Malanga shares that "I know I've made people feel I'm having just as good a time reading as they are listening, because of the response I've received at the end of the reading. I include the audience in what I'm feeling in every instant in my poems when I read aloud. I've attended readings by many poets who literally drove their work into the ground and knew it, too, although they probably didn't mean to. The worst feeling in the world is when you and your audience both know you're bad. When an audience loves you, there is no greater exhilaration." Finally, Audre Lorde confesses that "I find [readings] both leech-like & rewarding, alternately and together, so approach them always with great excitement & terror." 

You can read and/or download Poets on Stage: The Some Symposium on Poetry Readings in PDF format by clicking here.

Happy 85th Birthday to Amiri Baraka

Posted 10/7/2019

Today would have been the eighty-fifth birthday of legendary poet and provocateur Amiri Baraka, born LeRoi Jones in Newark, NJ in 1934. That means that it's a great time to revisit the recordings housed on our Amiri Baraka author page.

The earliest two recordings found there — the first from the Asilomar Negro Writers Conference in Pacific Grove, CA, which took place in early August 1964; the second from March 1965 at San Francisco State University — are particularly interesting because they show the author in flux, still LeRoi Jones but quickly being pushed by current events (most notably the assassination of Malcolm X in early 1965) towards his rebirth in Harlem. These sets include a number of notable poems, including "A Poem for Speculative Hipsters," "Short Speech to My Friends," "Black Dada Nihilismus," "A Poem Some People Will Have to Understand," "Kenyatta Listening to Mozart," and "Black Bourgeoisie."

We take a massive leap forward to a pair of Buffalo recordings from the archives of Robert Creeley: a short set from 1978 accompanying a much larger reading by Ed Dorn at the Just Buffalo Literary Center, and a two-part performance from 1985 at the Allentown Community Center. We owe Chris Funkhouser a debt of gratitude for several full-length recordings — from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2000, a home recording for Kenning in 2001, the Newark Public Library in 2002, and the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival, also in 2002 — along with many miscellaneous recordings presented without date or location information. Our final major recording is a 2007 appearance on Leonard Schwartz's Cross Cultural Poetics program, where he read his work and discussed a number of topics including the recent controversy over "Somebody Blew Up America." There are also, as mentioned before, a healthy collection of miscellaneous audio recordings, joined by a fine selection of video clips made by Optic Nerve. Finally, Baraka's work has served as the subject for not one, but two episodes in the PoemTalk Podcast Series: episode #20 on "Kenyatta Listening to Mozart" and episode #126 on "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)." Click here to access all of the aforementioned recordings and more.

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.