Featured resources

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

  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
  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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In Memoriam: Gary Lenhart (1947–2021)

Posted 5/3/2021

We're a little late hearing about the passing of poet, editor, and teacher Gary Lenhart, who succumbed to cancer on March 31st, but didn't want to miss the opportunity to commemorate his life and work. A thoughtful obituary in Valley News notes that "Ever attentive to his craft, he was working on poems and a book review the last morning of his life." It continues:

To his devoted wife and daughter he was the fine mind that enlivened theirs, the wry wit that brightened their days, and the heart so true they never felt alone. He lived with deep personal integrity and unfailing courtesy to all. He was, in the words of one friend, the best of men. His broad knowledge and inventive attention to thought and language combined with a profound love of poetry to inform the rich body of work he left behind.

PennSound listeners might best be acquainted with Lenhart through his work as (co-)editor of the journals Mag City and Transfer or as part of the group behind the groundbreaking Public Access Poetry, and while the videos on our PAP series page are currently unavailable due to the absence of Adobe Flash, we're currently working to make them — and our other video holdings — available as soon as possible. Lenhart appeared a total of three times on the program, reading on July 14, 1977; February 14, 1978; and July 27, 1978. We also enthusiastically direct our listeners towards "'Readers of the Future' Would Be Interested," at Jacket2, an astounding interview with Lenhart conducted by Ben Olin, which provides a lot of inside information on the development and history of Public Access Poetry

In a remembrance posted last month, Michael Lally recalls that Lenhart "was always a calm but radiant presence on the downtown scene and I admired him a lot." Certainly, many others felt the same, and we send our condolences to Lenhart's friends, family, colleagues, and fans, as well as thank him for his visionary work with poetry and media, prefiguring projects like our own.

PoemTalk #159: Two by bpNichol

Posted 4/28/2021

Last week we released episode #159 in the PoemTalk Podcast series, which addresses two poems by the legendary bpNichol: "Dada Lama" and "A Small Song That Is His." For this program, host Al Filreis assembled a virtual panel that included "Tracie Morris, Douglas Kearney, and Derek Beaulieu, from Brooklyn, Minneapolis, and Banff, respectively."

Filreis starts off his PoemTalk blog post announcing the new episode by establishing the complex provenance of both poems and recordings under discussion: 
The two pieces we discuss are “Dada Lama” of 1966 (recorded in 1969) and “A Small Song That Is His” of 1974. “Dada Lama” was published by Cavan McCarthy in an edition of three hundred copies and is available from bpNichol.ca as a PDF. A recording was included in Journeying and the Returns (Coach House Press, 1967). “A Small Song That Is His” has long been part of PennSound’s extensive bpNichol page. It has been segmented from a rare sixty-minute cassette published in 1971 by High Barnet Company in Toronto. “A Small Song” is performed on that tape along with “Love Poem for Gertrude Stein,” “Beast (for Hugo Ball),” and other bpNichol favorites. The text of “A Small Song” later appeared in Love: A Book of Remembances, published by Talonbooks in 1974.
From there, the discussion begins with Beaulieu providing some context for this work: "Derek notes of 'Dada Lama” that it's an early piece in which bpNichol's clearly working through his influences. At that point the sound poem was 'really new to the Canadian conversation.' It echoes Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara. By the time you get to 'A Small Song' there's more confidence in bpNichol’s grasp of the sound poem, such that he can begin to 'come up with a poetics of the letter.'" He continues, "'And poems are not made of feelings,' Derek reminds us. 'Poems are made of letters.'"

You can learn more about this latest program, read both poems, and listen to the podcast here. PoemTalk is a joint production of PennSound and the Poetry Foundation, aided by the generous support of Nathan and Elizabeth Leight. You can browse the full PoemTalk archives, spanning more than a decade, by clicking here.

Join KWH Fellow Gabrielle Hamilton Tonight and Tomorrow

Posted 4/26/2021

Here's a reminder that our final Kelly Writers House Fellow of 2021 — chef, memoirist, and food writer Gabrielle Hamilton — will be joining us for two events starting this evening. On April 26th at 6:30PM EDT there will be a discussion of her life and writing, with readings from her work. Then on April 27th at 11:00AM EDT, Hamilton will return for a conversation and Q&A session moderated by Al Filreis. Both events will stream live over the KWH YouTube channel and the Q&A will be archived for later viewing afterwards. RSVPs are not required, but we look forward to you joining us.

Hamilton is the chef and owner of the acclaimed Prune restaurant in New York City’s East Village, and the author of Prune, the cookbook. Hamilton has won four James Beard awards over her career, perhaps most notably for her New York Times bestselling memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef (Random House, 2011). Her other James Beard awards were for Best Chef in New York City in 2011, an award for journalism in 2015 for her essay “Into the Vines” for Afar magazine, and Outstanding Chef in 2018.

Her work has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York TimesGQBon AppetitSaveur, and Food & Wine. She is an Eat columnist in The New York Times Magazine contributing regularly, and most recently wrote the widely praised essay "My Restaurant Was My Life For 20 Years. Does The World Need It Anymore?" for the April 26, 2020 issue, just a month or so into the 2020 Coronavirus epidemic, about closing her restaurant and the state of the industry generally. Her writing has also been collected several times in the annually published Best Food Writing, and was a featured subject of season 4 of the PBS docuseries Mind of a Chef in 2015. Hamilton received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan and a BA from Hampshire College. She lives in New York City.

Funded by a grant from Paul Kelly, the Kelly Writers House Fellows program enables us to realize two unusual goals. We want to make it possible for the youngest writers and writer-critics to have sustained contact with authors of great accomplishment in an informal atmosphere. We also want to resist the time-honored distinction — more honored in practice than in theory — between working with eminent writers on the one hand and studying literature on the other.

You can read more about the program and browse through past Fellows going back to the program's start in 1999 by clicking here.

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