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George Oppen


Photo © Michael West


Page edited by Richard Swigg

Reading at the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University, February 19, 1963

  1. Image of the Engine (3:58): MP3
  2. Song (0:58): MP3
  3. From a Photograph (0:48): MP3
  4. The Undertaking in New Jersey (1:17): MP3
  5. Solution (0:57): MP3
  6. Chartres (0:38): MP3
  7. The Source (0:33): MP3
  8. Daedalus: The Dirge (0:38): MP3
  9. Poem on the Elders (0:48): MP3
  10. Population (0:50): MP3
  11. Survival: Infantry (0:53): MP3
  12. Tourist Eye: Section Four (1:25): MP3
  13. Resort (0:43): MP3
  14. Flight (0:55): MP3
  • complete recording (20:30): MP3

With thanks to the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University, for their archival work on this and other recordings by George Oppen

Reading for the Academy of American Poets, Guggenheim Museum, New York, April 9, 1964

Oppen introducing William Bronk and Diane Wakowski, Academy of American Poets, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1966

Reading at Long Island University, February 15, 1966

Reading at SUNY Buffalo, November 30, 1966

  1. Of Being Numerous (22:53): MP3
  2. Parenthesis (0:22): MP3
  3. Historic Pun (1:19): MP3
  4. Epigram (0:44): MP3
  5. Ballad (1:24): MP3
  6. Power the Enchanted World (2:03): MP3
  7. Route (11:13): MP3
  • complete recording (41:02): MP3

(This recording was originally made available to the Slought Foundation by Fred Wah. PennSound publication made with thanks to Slought and with the permission of Fred Wah and the Oppen Estate)

Reading at the 92nd Street Y, February 1967

  • Introduction by Armand Schwerner, and reading from various poems including Of Being Numerous

Reading at SUNYBuffalo, February 17, 1967 - a Wednesdays @ 4 Plus event

  1. Of Being Numerous (19:47): MP3
  2. A Preface (0:31): MP3
  3. Historic Pun (1:06): MP3
  4. Epigram (0:39): MP3
  5. Ballad (1:12): MP3
  6. Power, The Enchanted World (1:47): MP3
  7. Route (6:15): MP3
  • complete recording (31:25): MP3

Reading at KPFA Berkeley, broadcast August 22, 1968

  1. Route (13:30): MP3
  2. Of Being Numerous (23:27): MP3

Reading at San Francisco State University, May 3, 1972, broadcast by KPFA Berkeley, June 2, 1972

  1. Introduction (2:36): MP3
  2. Song, The Winds of Downhill (0:46): MP3
  3. From a Phrase of Simone Weil's and Some Words of Hegel's (1:17): MP3
  4. The Speech at Soli (2:17): MP3

  5. From Some San Francisco Poems:
  6. Section 2: A Morality Play: Preface (1:48): MP3
  7. Section 3: And Their Winter and Night in Disguise (2:08): MP3
  8. Section 4: Anniversary Poem (1:20): MP3
  9. Section 5: The Translucent Mechanics (0:54): MP3
  10. Section 6: Silver as / The needle's eye (1:00): MP3
  11. Section 7: O withering seas (0:55): MP3
  12. Section 8: The Taste (0:58): MP3
  13. Section 9: The Impossible Poem (0:56): MP3
  14. Section 10: But So As By Fire (0:56): MP3

  15. Of Hours (2:42): MP3
  16. Inlet (0:48): MP3
  17. The Occurrences (1:05): MP3
  18. West (1:37): MP3
  19. Animula (1:25): MP3
  20. The Hegelian Bell (0:55): MP3
  21. Exodus (1:40): MP3

complete recording (28:37): MP3

Reading at the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University, February 22, 1973

  1. Song, The Winds of Downhill (4:53): MP3
  2. Section 4: Anniversary Poem (2:27): MP3
  3. Section 6: Silver as / The needle's eye (2:58): MP3
  4. Section 10: But So As By Fire (4:00): MP3
  • complete recording (14:38): MP3

Reading at University of California, San Diego, March 7, 1973

  • Selections from The Book of Job and a Draft of a Poem to Praise the Paths of Living, From a Phrase of Simone Weil's, West, Of Hours, Route, and Ballad.

Reading at the Modern American Poets Conference, Polytechnic of Central London, May 25 - 27, 1973

Reading and Interview at the University of East Anglia, England, May 7, 1973

  1. Anniversary Poem (from Some San Francisco Poems (1:37): MP3
  2. Of Hours (2:14): MP3
  3. Of Being Numerous (excerpts) (5:39): MP3
  4. Song, the Winds of Downhill (2:28): MP3
  5. The Forms of Love (0:51): MP3
  6. Discussion with Eric Homberger (20:38):
  7. transcript of interview
  • complete recording (29:57): mp3

Reading at Shippensburg University, September 17, 1974

  1. Five Poems about Poetry (3:09): MP3
  2. The Forms of Love (0:47): MP3
  3. The Book of Job and Draft of a Poem to Praise the Paths of Living (6:18): MP3
  4. Myth of the Blaze (2:16): MP3
  5. Confession (0:52): MP3
  6. The Little Pin: Fragment (1:39): MP3
  7. Guest Room (2:42): MP3
  8. Exodus (0:38): MP3

Reading from Primitive (1978), La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, December 11, 1978

recording courtesy Mandeville Special Collection, University of California, San Diego
  1. A Political Poem (0:39): MP3
  2. Disasters (1:53): MP3
  3. The Poem (0:55): MP3
  4. To Make Much (1:16): MP3
  5. Waking Who Knows (0:19): MP3
  6. If It All Went Up in Smoke (0:38): MP3
  7. The Tongues (0:20): MP3
  8. Populist (1:54): MP3
  9. Gold on Oak Leaves (0:44): MP3
  10. The Natural (0:22): MP3
  11. Strange are the Products (0:49): MP3
  12. Til Other Voices Wake Us (1:41): MP3
complete recording: (12:09) MP3

Selected Readings for Watershed Tapes, April 25 and April 29, 1979, recorded at the home of Harvey Shapiro, Brooklyn, New York

  1. Of Being Numerous (Sec. 1-22) (10:30): MP3
  2. Historic Pun (1:06): MP3
  3. Ballad (1:18): MP3
  4. From a Phrase of Simone Weil's and Some Words of Hegel's (0:58): MP3
  5. The Occurrences (1:01): MP3
  6. Animula (1:03): MP3
  7. West (1:34): MP3
  8. Song, Winds of Downhill (0:32): MP3

  9. From Some San Francisco Poems:
  10. Section 2: A Morality Play: Preface (1:30): MP3
  11. Section 5: The Translucent Mechanics (0:52): MP3
  12. Section 6: Silver as / The needle's eye (0:56): MP3
  13. Section 7: O withering seas (0:51): MP3
  14. Section 8: The Taste (0:56): MP3
  15. Section 9: The Impossible Poem (0:50): MP3
  16. Section 10: But So As By Fire (0:53): MP3

  17. Exodus (0:42): MP3
  18. Latitude, Longitude (0:33): MP3
  19. The Speech at Soli (1:18): MP3
  20. Primitive (13:27): MP3

Poems Formerly (and Incorrectly) Attributed to the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University
(Location and Date Unknown)

  1. Disasters (3:35): MP3
  2. The Dream (0:28): MP3
  3. Strange are the Products (1:16): MP3
  4. Song, the Winds of Downhill (2:34): MP3
  5. Wives, Husbands being killed: section 1 of The Lever the Die the Cam (from The Book of Job): original version of section 1, The Book of Job and A Draft of A poem to Praise the Paths of the Living (2:37): MP3
  6. Route (13:36): MP3
  7. From a Phrase of Simon Weil's and Some Words of Hegel's (1:20): MP3
  8. The Speech at Soli (2:20): MP3

  9. From Some San Francisco Poems:
  10. Section 2: A Morality Play (1:56): MP3
  11. Section 3: And Their Winter and Night in Disguise (6:28): MP3
  12. Section 5: Transparent Mechanics (2:10): MP3
  13. Section 8: O withering seas (1:02): MP3
  14. Section 9: The Impossible Poem (1:57): MP3
  15. Section 10: But So As By Fire (1:27): MP3

  16. The Book of Hours (2:51): MP3
  17. Inlet (0:50): MP3
  18. The Occurrences (1:09): MP3
  19. West (1:43): MP3
  20. Animula (1:33): MP3
  21. The Hegelian Bell (0:58): MP3
  22. Exodus (0:59): MP3
  23. Psalm (0:50): MP3
  24. Stranger's Child (0:22): MP3
  25. A Narrative (0:49): MP3
  26. Leviathan (1:03): MP3
  27. Of Being Numerous (9:33): MP3
  • complete recording (1:33:33): MP3

George Oppen reading from This In Which, Date and Location Unknown


PoemTalk Podcast #3, discussing Oppen's "Ballad," Kelly Writers House, February 2, 2008

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

Also of Interest:


George Oppen on PennSound Daily


The work of George Oppen is available in two editions:

George Oppen: Selected Poems, edited by Robert Creeley (New Directions, 2003)
New Collected Poems (New Directions, 2008), edited by Michael Davidson, with a CD of Oppen's readings.

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to Linda Oppen for the Estate of George Oppen. © 2004-2008 Linda Oppen. Used with permission of Linda Oppen. Distributed by PennSound.