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)

PennSound Daily

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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.

In Memoriam: Stephen Rodefer (1940-2015)

Posted 8/24/2015

This past weekend brought the sad news of the passing of poet and translator Stephen Rodefer, who died in Paris the age of 74.

"Consensus among poets tends to be that though a complicated, self-destructive, and often infuriating person, Rodefer was a great poet," Jennifer Moxley writes in a vivid and intimate remembrance of her "old teacher and sometime friend." That admiration is shared in a number of online tributes that have emerged over the past several days, often using Rodefer's own words to toast him.

With that purpose in mind, we respectfully direct our listeners to PennSound's Stephen Rodefer author page, which brings together seven recordings of the poet — most of them entire readings running from thirty to eighty minutes — made between 1979 (an appearance on KPFA's In the American Tree) and 2009 (a filmed recording from the Double Change archives). There are also several Segue Series readings from the the Ear Inn, Double Happiness, and the Bowery Poetry Club, and a 2004 reading from SUNY-Buffalo's Wednesdays@4+ series. Listeners can also visit Alan Bernheimer's author page to listen to a 1982 production of his Particle Arms, for which Rodefer was a cast member.

PennSound Daily is written by Michael S. Hennessey.

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