Featured resources

  1. Charles Bernstein -
    St. McC. MP3
  2. Amiri Baraka -
    Against Bourgeois Art MP3
  3. Michael Palmer -
    Lies of the Poem MP3
  4. Henry Hills -
    Money MOV
  5. Barrett Watten -
    "I dreamed of a group of sociable foxes in the basement" MP3
  6. Steve McCaffery -
    The Baker Transformation MP3
  7. Bruce Andrews -
    Feature MP3
  8. Jackson Mac Low -
    Feeling Down Clementi Felt Imposed Upon From Every Direction (HSCH 10) MP3
  9. Ron Silliman -
    Quindecagon MP3
  10. Rod Smith -
    This is Such Total Bullshit MP3
  11. Rachel Blau Duplessis -
    Draft 72: Nanifesto MP3
  12. K. Silem Mohammad -
    Sonnet 154: The little love god lying once asleep MP3

Selected by Brian Ang (read more about his choices here)

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On Hurricane Katrina's 10th Anniversary: 'Professional Human Beings'

Posted 8/29/2015

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made landfall at New Orleans, breaching the levees in more than fifty places and leaving much of the city deluged with as much as fifteen feet of flood water. Today, on the tenth anniversary of those calamitous events, we'd like to remind our listeners of a wonderful radio documentary added to our archives in April 2010, which explores poetry, politics, locality and resilience in the aftermath of disaster: Professional Human Beings.

In the words of producer Pauline Cavillot, Professional Human Beings, "is about the essential role played by the arts in the recovery of post-Katrina New Orleans, expressed by New Orleans people: poets, an art therapist, a theatre producer." Some of the poets involved in Professional Human Beings include Michael Ford (whose collection, Carbon, records life before and after Hurricane Katrina), Dave Brinks (author of The Caveat Onus and proprietor of The Gold Mine Saloon), Bill Lavender (whose imprint, Lavender Ink, publishes work by New Orleans poets, as well as non-local authors like Hank Lazer and Randy Prunty), and Brett Evans and Frank Sherlock (co-authors of Ready-to-Eat Individual, a haunting collaborative portrait of "New Orleans, USA, the year 1 AK"). Also included in the program are Holly Wherry, an art therapist who worked with the children of New Orleans post-Katrina, and Barbara Motley, founder of Théâtre Cabaret Le Chat Noir. We've provided individual segments for each speaker, and you can also stream or download the entire forty-five minute documentary on our Professional Human Beings homepage, where you'll also find links to a photo gallery.

Those who'd like to hear more from Ready-to-Eat Individual can find several recordings of excerpts from the book on our Frank Sherlock author page.




In Memoriam: Charles Tomlinson (1927-2015)

Posted 8/28/2015

We're very sad to share the news that Charles Tomlinson, CBE, passed away on August 22nd. His life was celebrated by The Guardian, whose Michael Schmidt noted that the "poet and translator who bridged the cultural gap between old and new worlds ... has died aged 88, at the Gloucestershire cottage where he had lived since 1958." "It is significant," he continues, "that this major English modernist and internationalist should have rooted himself for half a century in a quintessentially rural corner of England."

The University of Bristol, where Tomlinson was Professor Emeritus, has also published a loving tribute that not only recounts his life story and many achievements, but also the day-to-day impact he made upon his colleagues and students. One particularly charming passage notes that "Charles was a very special colleague and friend. Though one of the most distinguished and respected literary intellectuals of his day, he was entirely without pretention or misplaced vanity. One sometimes forgot that one had someone so famous in one's midst. The inevitably rather trivial and myopic business of department meetings was, however, always freshened with a new blast of reality when one realised that across the table was someone who had met Ezra Pound, had read The Waste Land aloud in the presence of TS Eliot's widow, and had perhaps just returned from a weekend with his close friend, the Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, or a rendezvous with the Nobel Prizewinner, Octavio Paz."

There's, perhaps, no better person to appraise Tomlinson's life and work, however, than Richard Swigg and so the last word belongs to him. Having worked closely with Richard over the past several years on two impressively-massive projectsPennSound's Charles Tomlinson author page (which brings together hundreds of individual tracks recorded over five decades), and the Jacket2 feature, Addressing One's Peers: The letters of Charles Tomlinson and George Oppen, 1963–1981" — I reached out to him as soon as I heard the news of Tomlinson's passing, asking if he'd like to share an appreciation. I reprint his thoughtful reply in its entirety below:

Charles Tomlinson was the supreme international poet of his generation. Crossing borders, yet thereby attaining his own distinctive English voice, he showed the adventurous versatility which in the 1950s rejected the surreal romanticism of Dylan Thomas and the anti-romantic reaction of Philip Larkin and the Movement poets. The way forward, by contrast, lay in grasping the possibilities offered by the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore and, most crucially, William Carlos Williams. Later still the Englishman who often felt alienated from the townscapes and literary life of his own country would also come to know America itself, with a closeness that nourished so much of the poetry from the 1960s onward. As partly shown by his 1981 memoir, Some Americans (and more fully revealed by his unpublished letters I am now editing), his personal engagement with American poets themselves — with Williams, Moore, James Laughlin, Robert Creeley, George Oppen, Louis Zukofsky, William Bronk and Gustaf Sobin — was exceptional in its range, warmth and personal encouragement, particularly in his efforts to secure British publication for several of them. It was the same generosity of spirit, and openness toward writing often so different from his, which was inextricably linked to a major concern in his own poetry: a regard for all that lies outside the self in the circumambient universe, not to be imposed upon but realized afresh by its metamorphosis into words. The change was also manifest in the life of the poet himself: the transformation via America and its people that enabled him to "re-measure," as he said, his own country. To quote the title of a book he published in 1974, including poems on his Midlands birthplace, Stoke-on-Trent, he had found, by means of a transatlantic route that also took in the Italy of Ungaretti and the Spain of Machado, The Way In. But then it must be said that it is the poetry as a whole, from The Necklace (1955) to the last book, Cracks in the Universe (2006), which has secured our way in to the energies, shapes, and processes of a physical world which only this poet could celebrate so triumphantly. That, in the end, is Charles Tomlinson's enduring, unforgettable achievement.






Congratulations to Janus Pannonius Grand Prize Winner Charles Bernstein

Posted 8/26/2015

We couldn't be more proud of our colleague, Charles Bernstein, who was recently awarded the 2015 Janus Pannonius Grand Prize for Poetry along with Italian author and critic Giuseppe Conte. Hailed by The New York Times as "the Nobel Prize for Poetry," the Pannonius Prize was inaugurated in 2012 by PEN International's Hungarian Centre and aims "to honour and reward those poets who can be considered heirs to human spirituality and culture, the grand chain of values, accumulated over millennia." "We wish to honour those contemporary artists who have done the most to advance the representation and enrichment of forms of consciousness in harmony with the reflection and interpretation of the world today," they explain, noting that "the prize has been named after Janus Pannonius, the first known and celebrated Hungarian poet." Previous honorees include Adonis (Syria), Yves Bonnefoy (France), and Simin Behbahani (Iran).

You can read more about the Prize, including details of the celebrations taking place this week in both Milan and Pécs, Hungary (the birthplace of Pannonius), which will include the presentation of a co-authored, bilingual volume — Tutto il whiskey in cielo/Tutto il meraviglioso in terra (All the Whiskey in Heaven/All the Wonder of the World) — in this recent Jacket2 commentary post by Bernstein.




PennSound Daily is written by Michael S. Hennessey.

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