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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M.C. Richards on PennSound

Posted 7/10/2024

We might all aspire to lead lives as rich as that of M.C. Richards, the poet, potter, and translator whose eighty-five years 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 Stony Point's "the Land" (along with John Cage, David Tudor and others), and friendships with Jackson Mac LowCharles Olson, Paul Williams, Robert Rauschenberg and Franz Kline. Her vivacity undimmed by the passage of time, she devoted her later years to working with the developmentally disabled at the Camphill Village in Kimberton, PA.

On PennSound's M.C. Richards author page you'll find a 1997 recording made at Indre Studios in Philadelphia, which 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.

In Memoriam: Norman MacAfee

Posted 7/9/2024

We start this week off with the tragic news that poet, visual artist, translator, and librettist Norman MacAfee passed away on July 2nd after a brief illness. While we do not have a PennSound author page for MacAfee, his "Sixteen Drawings for Helen Adam's San Francisco's Burning" (published by Jacket2 in 2013) is a marvelous complement to the 1977 radio play staging of the drama by Charles Ruas and the Audio-Experimental Theatre, which you'll find on PennSound's Helen Adam author page

MacAfee starts off his introductory notes to the gallery by explaining how he first made Adam's acquaintance: "My first poet friend in New York was William Leo Coakley. He and his lover, the actor and writer Robin Prising, lived on the Upper West Side, and they introduced me to Helen Adam in the early 1980s. I spent several jolly Victorian Christmas dinners at Robin and Willie's, with Helen and her sister, Pat, and others of the hosts' friends." He then goes on to explain how these remarkable drawings came to be, explaining, "One evening in the fall of 1983, Helen, Bob Holman, and I read our poems at a reading organized by Chris Kadison at No Se No Cafe on the Lower East Side. Over the next months Bob, Helen, and I began planning a production of San Francisco's Burning." He continues, "Helen gave us photocopies of the libretto manuscript and score. One afternoon in March of 1984, I made twenty color production drawings and planned more. Around the same time Bob directed a video of Helen, in costume as the Worm Queen, singing songs from the piece. We asked the composer Raphael Mostel to be music director, and he made an audiotape of himself singing and playing the openings of each of the opera's songs." While the production never came to pass, we are still left with MacAfee's stylish and charming artwork, which he was kind enough to share with Jacket2

You'll find that piece here, and MacAfee's Jacket2 contributor page also includes links to two earlier publications in Jacket Magazine. We send our condolences to MacAfee's spouse, Miguel Cervantes-Cervantes, and his friends and family at this time.

'How to Be European' by Anya Lewin (2007)

Posted 7/5/2024

We'll wrap up the week with another offering from PennSound Cinema in honor of today's auspicious news from across the pond: How to Be European, by Anya Lewin.

Created during a three-month residency at InterSpace in Sofia, Bulgaria (as part of 2007's At Home in Europe Project, which also included artists' residencies in Norway, Latvia, and the UK), How to Be European was inspired by Lewin's lessons in Bulgarian with Boris Angelov. "The lessons question who learns and who teaches and whether European identity exists for anyone but Americans?," she explains. "The work uses a mixed methodology of pre-written Socratic dialogues, bad acting, experimental visual techniques, educational television, obscure references and poetic news reading and covers concepts such as time, language, economics, flow and mobility, dog watching, and cultural presentation."

Lewin then considers the broader implications of these ideas: "Imagine a school where one learns how to be European in a changing Europe. Migration flows from East to West to East again. The EU is growing, yet doesn't include every 'European' country. It is getting more and more complicated to understand what European is and most importantly how to act European? In 1974 the sociologist Erving Goffman published his book Frame Analysis, which examined the way behaviour changes depending on the context. In a classroom we know how to act as teacher and student; can we extend this idea to Europe? When countries enter the frame of the EU do they become European?"

You can watch How to Be European on Lewin's PennSound author page, where you'll also find a number of supplemental links, including her homepage, where more of her work is on display.

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