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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PoemTalk #152: on Wallace Stevens' "The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain"

Posted 9/25/2020

Today we release the newest episode in the PoemTalk Podcast series, its 152nd program in total, which addresses Wallace Stevens' "The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain." This show is doubly special in that a) it's the second PoemTalk episode dedicated to "this gnarly poem" (as host Al Filreis describes it) and b) it was recorded in conjunction with a panel at last year's MLA conference on contemporary poetic responses to Stevens' work, with the same formidable panel — Kate Colby, Tyrone Wiilliams, Mónica de la Torre, and Aldon Nielsen — participating in both conversations.

Filreis' PoemTalk blog post on this new program starts with a summation of what's at stake in Stevens' poem and how the panelists approach it: "The group collaborates on an enumeration of possibilities for understanding the poet's current ruminative state as a retrospective view of his previous poems and old ideas about poetry. Past perfect and conditional language — had needed, would be right, would discover, could lie — make us doubt that there is or ever was such a thing as a 'there' in 'There it was.' There what was? The words? The new words of this poem? The old words on previous poems about the uphill climb of poetic career? The new poem about such old poems re-presents the word-for-word mountain and never really means, it seems, to stand in for the thing itself." "This isn't mere exhaustion," he concludes, "It's a final development of theory."

You can read more about this latest show, read Stevens poem, and choose between unedited video footage of the conversation or the polished podcast version here. Filreis has also made arrangements with the MLA to present video of the aforementioned conference panel available on our site. The full PoemTalk archives, spanning more than a decade, can be found here.

Kevin Killian: Four Newly Segmented Readings

Posted 9/24/2020

It's been more than a year since the death of poet Kevin Killian and his absence is still acutely felt within the poetry community. In the aftermath of his passing we were grateful to Andrew Kenower of A Voice Box who very generously shared a half-dozen recordings of Killian made in the Bay Area between 2009 and 2013. Today, we're happy to announce that we've segmented three of these readings, as well as a favorite NYC reading from our archives.

The most recent of these readings is Killian's June 2011 set as part of the Condensary Series at Oakland's The Speakeasy. Following short introductory comments, Killian reads a total of sixteen poems, including "Better Than Today," "Overcoming Shame," "Anagrams," "Wuthering Heights," "Violets in the Snow," and "Nude Valentine." Next, from the New Reading Series at Oakland's 21 Grand we have a forty-three minute set that includes nine poems in total, among them "Hey Day," "I Lost Me to Meth," "Skull With Jewels on It," "Cannot Exist," and "American Idol." Also from 2009, we have Killian's undated recording from San Francisco's Canessa Park, however this set consists of just one piece, "Hot Lights," with brief opening comments. Finally, Killian's contribution to the 2007 launch event for EOAGH Issue 3: Queering Language from the Bowery Poetry Club, which includes "Norwegian Wood" and "Is It All Over My Face?"

These newly-segmented readings are only part of what you'll find on our Kevin Killian author page, including a 1997 Kelly Writers House event with Killian and his wife Dodie Bellamy in conversation, a 1991 talk on Spicer at the Kootenay School of Writing, a 2009 reading at Oakland's Studio One, a 2015 reading from the Frank O'Hara's Last Lover series with CAConrad and Jennifer Moxley, and two 2013 events from Berkeley's Woolsey Heights: a reading from November of that year, and Killian's talk "Activism, Gay Poetry, AIDS in the 1980s," originally delivered at the National Poetry Foundation's "Poetry of the Eighties" conference at the University of Maine at Orono in 2012, which was recorded in February. Click here to start browsing.

Bob Perelman Reads Live, Sept. 23rd at 6PM

Posted 9/21/2020

We couldn't be more happy to welcome UPenn emeritus professor Bob Perelman back to the Kelly Writers House for a virtual reading this Wednesday, September 23rd at 6:00PM EDT. Perelman will be reading from his latest collection, Jack and Jill in Troy (Roof Books, 2019), which "makes use of the rapid clarity of Homer and the elemental incantations of nursery talk to create a compelling array of poems that speak to our present moment with tragic humor and urgent, skeptical directness." "A rather R-rated version of Jack and Jill appear in some poems," the back cover blurb continues, "as if a worldly-wise Mother Goose is addressing young and old in the same breath. In other poems the world of the Iliad appears — permanent war economy, never-finished gender negotiations, continual power disputes, absolute hierarchies arbitrarily enforced — but both these nursery matters and the ancient epic trappings are brought forward to provide a wide-angle frame onto our own situation."

KWH faculty director and PennSound co-director Al Filreis will moderate a Q&A with the audience after Perelman reads. This event will stream live over the KWH YouTube channel, and will eventually be archived on Perelman's PennSound author page, where you'll find a wide selection of recordings from the late 1970s to the present. You can learn more about this event here.

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.