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Caroline Bergvall

Photo credit: Whitechapel Gallery, London

Appearing on Close Listening with Charles Bernstein, June 11, 2015

Program One: Reading

  1. Cogs and Fats from Goan Atom (6:45): MP3
  2. More Pets (1:51): MP3
  3. Flèsh (4:06): MP3
  4. Figs 1-4 from 8 Figs (6:45): MP3
  5. Gong (3:22): MP3

Program Two: Conversation

  • Complete conversation (41:15): MP3

Appearing on Cross Cultural Poetics, Episode #331, "Drift," with host Leonard Schwartz, April 2, 2015

Complete recording (28:56): MP3

Appearing on Cross Cultural Poetics, Episode #330, "Address," with host Leonard Schwartz, April 2, 2015

Bergvall reads from Drift (Nightboat Books): Full reading (10:37): MP3

Appearing on Cross Cultural Poetics, Episode #143, "Sound, System, Performance," with host Leonard Schwartz, June 10, 2007

  1. Introduction (0:43): MP3
  2. The problematics of text and performance (3:26): MP3
  3. Negotiating the contradiction between the silence of the text and the performative function (2:41): MP3
  4. Reading from Cropper (4:00): MP3
  5. Working with and reading a text constructed out of several languages (3:37): MP3
  6. The relationship between bodily presence and language (3:13): MP3
  7. Bergvall discussing her writing practice (3:16): MP3
  8. On Fig (1:08): MP3
  9. Reading Fig 1 (1:30): MP3
  10. The internet as a possibility for the dissemination and production of poetry (2:03): MP3
  11. Upcoming projects, teaching at Bard, and closing comments (2:05): MP3

Complete recording (29:18): MP3

PoemTalk Podcast #64, discussing Caroline Bergvall's "VIA"

Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

In conversation with David Wallace and Orchid Tierney, Kelly Writers House, November 4, 2014

  1. Introduction (1:53): MP3
  2. Connecting the contemporary and the medieval (4:46): MP3
  3. Transformations in the English language (3:06): MP3
  4. Importance of language history (3:06): MP3
  5. The drift of language (3:53): MP3
  6. Voyaging into Old English (2:40): MP3
  7. Gender and desingularizing voices (5:04): MP3
  8. On how museums inform practice (3:02): MP3
  9. Fascination with the letter H and phonetics (1:19): MP3
  10. Anonymity and voicing (3:57): MP3
  11. On her "Chaucer Tales" (11:22): MP3
  12. Apocalyptic nature of medieval times (3:56): MP3
  13. On the artistic next steps (6:40): MP3

Complete Recording (52:57): MP3

Visit to Charles Bernstein's experimental writing seminar, University of Pennsylvania, April 16, 2012

  1. Transcription, off page environments, and chains of processes (6:56): MP3
  2. "Ghost Cargo" and working with the unit of the letter (2:40): MP3
  3. Working with Old and Middle English and graphic misunderstandings (5:58): MP3
  4. Scholarliness in Meddle English, cultural investment in readership, and accessing historical material through creative poetic forms (8:34): MP3
  5. "One DJ Too Many" and thinking about memory as a literary event (5:15): MP3
  6. Deformance, history in relation to material, and using Hans Bellmer's drawings to think about identity and bilingualism (5:35): MP3
  7. The relation of the female body in Bellmer and in Bergvall's own work (2:33): MP3
  8. Transitioning between Contemporary and Middle English in the Chaucer Tales (4:35): MP3
  9. Translation in relation to cultural traffic between languages (7:20): MP3
  10. Rethinking identity in relation to language (5:59): MP3
  11. Developing projects through invitation and association (4:37): MP3
  12. Hearing particular stresses and utilizing different mediums (1:38): MP3
  13. The sounding and performance of Middle English (2:10): MP3
  14. Bergvall on her editing process (3:14): MP3
  15. Off page textual practice and the way one relates to writing (5:52): MP3
  16. Misunderstanding signs, the shibboleth, and blocked understanding (9:20): MP3
  17. Bergvall discussing her project (4:03): MP3
  18. Typography as spatial work (4:25): MP3
  19. Structure and the nature of invention in Bergvall's work (4:40): MP3

Complete recording (1:35:47): MP3

Reading with Cia Rinne and Charles Bernstein, Gyldendal, Copenhagen, May 8, 2011

  • Complete reading (19:04): MP3

Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, February 12, 2011

  1. Introduction (2:30): MP3
  2. On Meddle English (1:39): MP3
  3. From "Middling English" (1:40): MP3
  4. Roberta Flack can clean your soul — out! (3:52): MP3
  5. Abodys a corps (1:23): MP3
  6. Ambient Fish (1:25): MP3
  7. Fried Tale (5:18): MP3
  8. Crop (4:07): MP3
  9. One DJ Too Many (6:14): MP3

Complete reading (29:21): MP3

Reading for Double Change, Paris, April 14, 2010

Reading as a part of The Other Room, The Old Abbey Inn, Manchester UK, October 1, 2008

(with David Annwn and Joy As Tiresome Vandalism)

PhonoFemme Festival of Sound Art, Vienna, April 2009

Invocation (after Ingeborg Bachmann) [with Zahra Mani] (4:23): MP3

Appearing on Ceptuetics Radio, hosted by Kareem Estefan, June 4, 2008

  1. Introduction (0:57): MP3
  2. Reading "The Summer Tale" (2:59): MP3
  3. Wrking with Chaucer's language and reappropriation in relation to the tales (3:59): MP3
  4. Slippages in and between languages and the governmental pressure to be monolingual (3:53): MP3
  5. Reading Fig 5-7 (4:02): MP3
  6. The translation of live performance to text (3:03): MP3
  7. The relationship between performance writing and conceptualism (4:52): MP3
  8. Constraint-based writing and Eclat (2:07): MP3
  9. Discussing the conceptual poetry conference at the University of Arizona, the citationality of literature, and appropriation (4:12): MP3

Complete Reading (30:52): MP3

Reading for Double Change, Paris, May 23, 2007

From Audioei 1 / OEI #26, 2006

Ride (4:38): MP3

MLA Offsite Series Reading in Philadelphia, December 26, 2006

  • "when you write again..." (1:09): MP3

From Charles Bernstein's Portraits Series: Caroline's Norwegian Speakin', November 12, 2006

Caroline Bergvall
In June, 2005, I was invited to read at poetry festival in Norway. I couldn't go, but I urged the organizers to invite Caroline, who grew up, at least partly, in Norway, but nobody there (at least among the poets I know) were aware of that. But they sure are now.
(mp4, 32 seconds, 4.3 mb)

Contemporary Experimental Women's Poetry Festival, Cambridge University, October 6-8, 2006

  1. Fig 4 (from 8 Figs) (1:18): MP3
  2. Fuses (after Carolee Schneeman) (5:46): MP3
  3. Fig 1 (from 8 Figs) (1:19): MP3
  4. Fig 7 (from 8 Figs) (1:18): MP3
  5. The Franker Tale (from Shorter Chaucer Tales) (4:55): MP3
  6. The Host's Tale (from Shorter Chaucer Tales) (5:22): MP3
  7. The Not Tale (from Shorter Chaucer Tales) (1:18): MP3
  8. The Summer Tale (from Shorter Chaucer Tales) (2:48): MP3

Special thanks to Archive of the Now for providing these recordings.


These four pieces by Caroline Bergvall use the rich and entertaining setting of Chaucer’s medieval pilgrimage of The Canterbury Tales for pointed or humourous commentaries on aspects of today’s corruptions, pleasures, and blindspots. The texts are written in a mix of languages and feast on a weird and ill-assorted Euro-lingo: contemporary English co-exists with French, Middle English, some lost Latin, some altogether untraceable words, while direct quotes from Chaucer interrupt the BBC and other sources.

  1. Party on: "The Host's Tale": MP3 (5:06)
  2. Banned in Poland: "The Summer Tale (deus hic, 1)": MP3 (2:52) Text published in Jacket #31 (Oct. 06)
  3. The Pope addresses women: "The Franker Tale (deus hic, 2)": MP3 (5:41) Text published in Jacket #32; see also note on text, from same issue.
  4. Love song: "The Not Tale (funeral)": MP3 (1:32)

Invited by Charles Bernstein and David Wallace and premiered at Fifteenth Annual Conference of the New Chaucer Society, Lincoln Center, NY, 28 July 2006. Co-sponsored by Poets House.

This recording: London, 22 Sept 2006.

These four pieces are the first four of an ongoing journey and other pieces are in preparation.

The Summer Tale, printed text, Jacket #31 (Oct. 06)

Rockdrill 8

  • Via: Poems 1994-2004
  • Rockdrill CD #8
  • Published by the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Opic Nerve for Birkbeck College, 2005.
  • Produced by Colin Still. Used with the permission of Colin Still.
  1. Ambient Fish (1:43): MP3
  2. Doll (5:58): MP3
  3. About Face (8:19): MP3
  4. GOING (4:08): MP3
  5. 8 Figs (11:10): MP3
  6. VIA (10:02): MP3
  7. RIDE (4:38): MP3
  8. Rapid Eye Movement, Part 2 (6:19): MP3

"VIA" is also featured on PoemTalk Episode 64.

Reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Mont Blanc," from Romantic Circles Web, 2005

(Accompanied with music by Mario Diaz de Leon, "Pervaded with that Ceaseless Motion")

Complete Reading (13:25): MP3

from Frequency Audio Journal, First Issue, 2004

Ambient Fish (2:52): MP3

A reading of About Face at the 2nd Anderson Festival, Devon, United Kingom, 2004

Complete Reading (10:17): MP3

Text of part of the poem at Electronic Poetry Review

This text started as a performance for the Liminal Institute Festival in Berlin in 1999. I had just had a painful tooth pulled out and could read neither very clearly nor very fast. Tape players with German and English conversations on the text were circulated among the audience. It took 45 minutes to perform the materials. For its 2nd showing at Bard College, I speeded up the tapes, transcribed the snaps of half-heard materials, and integrated these to the performing voice. The reading was curated by Nicholas Johnson. By now, it took 10 minutes to read.

Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, Nov. 9, 2002

  1. Introduction (3:22): MP3
  2. About Face (10:55): MP3
  3. Abodys a corps (8:25): MP3
  4. In Situ (5:56): MP3
Complete Reading (28:40): MP3(note: recording cuts off prematurely at the end)

A recording of Via with Ciáran Maher, Summer 2000

Complete Recording (10:00): MP3

Via (48 Dante variations) is a compiled list of translations into English of Dante's opening lines as archived in the British Library up until May 2000, 700 years after the date set for the start of the journey into Hell. The Journey was timed to start and end in 1300. And Dante's 35th year or so-called point of mid-life. The full text has been featured in CHAIN's "Transluccinacion" issue (Autumn 2003).

Segue Series Reading at the Double Happiness, November 18, 2000

  1. Introduction (1:13): MP3
  2. On Goan Atom (1:26): MP3
  3. From Via (2:53): MP3
  4. Well who struck a match (6:29): MP3
  5. Cogs (4:07): MP3
  6. Gas (7:04): MP3
  7. Flèsh a Coeur (4:09): MP3
Complete Reading (27:44): MP3

Reading at Steel Bar, November 11, 2000

  • Complete Reading (30:55): MP3
  1. Introduction (4:29): MP3
  2. Part 1: Goan atom preface (3:45): MP3
  3. Part 2: Well who struck a match... (3:01): MP3
  4. Part 3: Set out... (3:14): MP3
  5. Part 4: Enters... (4:17): MP3
  6. Part 5: House unica... (2:49): MP3
  7. Part 6 (4:13): MP3
  8. Part 7: And a cluck cluck... (1:24): MP3
  9. Part 8: Ambient fish (2:41): MP3
  10. Outro (1:07): MP3

Reading at the Kootenay School of Writing in Vancouver, 1997

  1. October 4, 1997 Part 1 (16:43): MP3
  2. October 4, 1997 Part 2 (15:49): MP3

Caroline Bergvall on PennSound Daily

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author. © 2015 Caroline Bergvall. Studio 111 conversation © 2015 Caroline Bergvall/Charles Bernstein. Used with permission of Caroline Bergvall. Distributed by PennSound.