Featured resources

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

Contemporary
  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
Historical
  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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Charles Reznikoff Reads from 'Holocaust,' 1975

Posted 4/19/2019

In late 2009, we were fortunate enough to be contacted by filmmaker Abraham Ravett, who offered us a treasure trove of rare recordings he'd made of poet Charles Reznikoff reading from his final collection, Holocaust, along with a number of photographs. Recorded December 21, 1975, these eighteen tracks — which include a number of retakes and an audio check — were originally recorded for inclusion in the soundtrack to the recently-graduated director's debut film, Thirty Years Later, which he describes as an autobiographical document of "the emotional and psychological impact of the Holocaust on two survivors and the influence this experience has had on their relationship with the filmmaker — their only surviving child."

In addition to the recordings themselves, Ravett graciously shared his recollections of that day — noting, "Mr. Reznikoff's West End apartment was located within a high-rise apartment complex reminiscent of where I grew up during my teens in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, N.Y. He was very kind and gracious to a rather nervous young filmmaker fumbling with his Nagra tape recorder and Sennheiser microphone who hoped that everything would work as planned" — along with a series of eight photographs of the poet, including the stunning image at right.

While Holocaust, as a text alone, serves as a viscerally pointed indictment of Nazi atrocities during the Second World War, not to mention a marvelous example of documentary poetics, in these selections, the auratic resonance of these appropriated testimonies are amplified dramatically, particularly when framed by the frail yet determined voice of the seventy-nine year old poet — who would pass away a month and a day from the date of this recording session — lending the work a gravid anger, a grand sense of monumental enormity.

You can listen to these tracks by clicking here, where you'll also find a link to a separate page housing Ravett's photographs, and don't forget to visit Reznikoff's main PennSound author page, where you can listen to the poet's 1974 reading at the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University (where he was famously introduced by his Objectivist compatriot, George Oppen) and his 1975 appearance on Susan Howe's Pacifica Radio program, "Poetry Today," among other recordings.

Congratulations to Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Forrest Gander

Posted 4/16/2019

Monday afternoon was a bright one for this year's crop of journalists, authors, artists, and composers who've been awarded Pulitzer Prizes for 2019. Among them is Forrest Gander, who won the prize for poetry for his 2018 New Directions book, Be With.  In their citation, the Pulitzer judges hailed the book as "a collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed."

The publisher's details the volume's contents as follows: "Drawing from his experience as a translator, Forrest Gander includes in the first, powerfully elegiac section a version of a poem by the Spanish mystical poet St. John of the Cross. He continues with a long multilingual poem examining the syncretic geological and cultural history of the U.S. border with Mexico. The poems of the third section — a moving transcription of Gander's efforts to address his mother dying of Alzheimer's — rise from the page like hymns, transforming slowly from reverence to revelation." They continue, "Gander has been called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and, as one critic noted, 'the most eclectic diction since Hart Crane.'"

Our Forrest Gander author page is home to eleven full-length recordings, including readings from 1992 to 2011 at The Ear Inn, the New Coast Festival, San Francisco State University, the Key West Literary Seminar, Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Boise State MFA Reading Series, and our own Kelly Writers House, along with two appearances on Leonard Schwartz's Cross Cultural Poetics program.  You can browse those holdings by clicking here. We send our congratulations to Gander and his many fans, and hope to be able to showcase more recent recordings of his work soon.










M.C. Richards on PennSound

Posted 4/15/2019

We're starting this week off by highlighting our author page for the late M.C. Richards, a poet, potter and translator whose astounding life included a stint teaching at the fabled Black Mountain College (where she also participated in the first happening), an early experiment in communal living at "the Land," in Stony Point, NY (along with John Cage, David Tudor and others), and friendships with Jackson Mac Low, Charles Olson, Paul Williams, Robert Rauschenberg and Franz Kline. She devoted her later years to working with the developmentally disabled at the Camphill Village in Kimberton, PA.

Our Richards author page is anchored by a 1997 recording made at Indre Studios in Philadelphia and comes to us courtesy of a close friend, Jasper Brinton, who provided us with a little background to the session. "She made this tape essentially under some strain: she did not live to see it published to any degree; but understood its importance for her legacy," he notes. "The quality of the recording is excellent. Her voice strong. Earlier in 1991 Station Hill Press published Imagine Inventing Yellow: New and Collected Poems of M.C. Richards. The tape includes a few of these poems but also later work she saw fit to preserve."

We're very glad to be a part of that preservation process. You can listen to the seventy-five minute recording, consisting of nearly two dozen poems — including "March," "Strawberry," "Imagine Inventing Yellow," "Morning Prayer," "How to Rake Water," "Sweet Corn," and "For John Cage on His 75th Birthday" — along with plentiful fascinating asides and remarks by the author, by clicking here.

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.