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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Raúl Zurita on PennSound

Posted 7/24/2021

We bring this week to a close by shining a spotlight on recordings from Chilean poet Raúl Zurita that you can find in our archives.

One clear highlight of our Zurita author page is his performance at the 2019 Rotterdam Poetry Festival. In this brief clip, he reads excerpts from his iconic Canto a Su Amor Desaparecido (Song for His Disappeared Love) in Spanish, while translations provided by Anna Deeny Morales are projected on the screen behind him (along with the original text). Originally published in 1985 in the midst of Pinochet's horrendous reign, Song for His Disappeared Love was published by the venerable Action Books in a 2010 bilingual edition with translation by Daniel Borzutzky. As Steven Karl notes in his review of that volume, Zurita envisioned the poem as a "[response] to the terror with a poetry that was just as powerful as the pain being delivered by the state." As an Academy of American Poets appraisal of the book acknowledges, the poet knew these atrocities all too well: "Zurita was arrested by the Chilean government and persecuted for being a possibly 'suspicious' poet, and his first volume of poems was tossed into the sea." Karl continues: 
Throughout the poem, Zurita examines and questions the binary opposition of life and death, often conflating the two into a sense of sameness. What does it mean to 'live' when your liberty has been confiscated, when you are silenced either by fear or force? How 'alive' are the oppressed when family has been kidnapped, beaten, abused, or murdered? How does one live a 'life' when the very idea of what constitutes 'life' is defined by a political ideology opposite our own?" 
Sadly, these questions every bit as pressing now as they were decades ago. 

Central to this archive are a half-dozen episodes of Leonard Schwartz's indispensable radio show, Cross Cultural Poetics. Four programs feature Zúrita reading his own work: in episode #219 he reads from Purgatory and Anteparadise (both translated by Anna Deeny and published by University of California Press), in episode #234 he reads from Inre (Marick Press), in episode #245 he reads from the aforementioned Song For His Disappeared Love, and finally in episode #271, he reads from Dreams for Kurosawa (also translated by Deeny and published by Arrow as Aarow).  The remaining two episodes feature other poets discussing Zúrita and his work — Isabel Cadenas Canon discusses translating his work into Basque in program #273, while episode #287 is wholly dedicated to Zúrita and features appraisals by poet and translator Forrest Gander and journalist Magdelena Edwards.

Wrapping things up, we have a quartet of VideoPoesia films made by Ernesto Livon Grosman as part of his 2009 "Sur & North" series: "Canto," "Desierto de Atacama," "Pastoral de Chile," and "Me Llamo ... Raquel," and "Inscripcion 15" — recorded in 2002 and presented as part of Rattapallax — rounds out the collection. Taken together, these recordings represent a generous introduction to the work of an important and uncompromising poet. Click here to start exploring.

Congratulations to Arts Molson Prize Winner M. NourbeSe Philip

Posted 7/21/2021

We send our congratulations to the one and only M. NourbeSe Philip, who was recently announced as one of two winners of the 2021 Arts Molson Prize

The $50,000 lifetime achievement award, granted annually by the Canada Council for the Arts and subsidized by the brewing magnate, recognizes the author's "invaluable contributions to literature." In lieu of formal commendations, the Canada Council has opted for brief interviews with the recipients. Philip offers this compelling advice to emerging writers: "Learn how to trust their gut instincts about their own work — sometimes the critics are wrong; be willing to risk — failure or success; and have someone in your life who loves what you do and will critique your work honestly." You can read more about the Arts Molson Prize and Philip here.

As is frequently the case, good news like this gives us the perfect opportunity to revisit that author's work, or for the uninitiated to get to know her a little better. Towards that end we direct you towards PennSound's M. NourbeSe Philip author page, where you'll find a dozen recordings from 1995 to the present, including two visits to our own Kelly Writers House. You'll hear Philip read from and discuss her work at venues throughout the US and Canada along with radio interviews, conference presentations, and a PoemTalk podcast addressing her poetry. Click here to start listening.

In Memoriam: George-Thérèse Dickenson (1951–2021)

Posted 7/20/2021

We start this week on a sad note with news that poet, editor, and activist George-Thérèse Dickenson passed away on June 15th in New York City from a brain hemorrhage. She was sixty-nine years old. 

A member of New York's Language Poetry circles, Dickenson was co-editor (with Will Bennett) of Assassin and the author of two books of poetry: Striations (Good Gay Poets, 1976) and Transducing (Segue Foundation, 1986). Her brother John contacted us so that we could share the tragic news with our listeners. He also passed along this brief biographical note:

George-Thérèse Dickenson was born Oct. 23, 1951 in Napa, CA, daugher of Howard George Dickinson, a lawyer and Joanne DePuy (maiden name Cardiff), a wine and travel entrepreneur from Altadena, CA.  Dickinson was a graduate of Wellesely College. She moved to Boston in the late 1960s, where she became involved with the anarchist circle around Murray Bookshin. She also became involved with a group of poets in Boston. She then moved to lower Manhattan.  In the 1980s, in New York, Dickenson was closely involved with Larry Estridge and Peter Seaton. For the last decades she was living in Stockton, NJ. She is survived by her mother and her brothers John and Chuck and her long-time partner Bobby Astarita.

Our Charles Bernstein has posted a memorial note on his Jacket2 commentary page that's currently a work in progress. He welcomes friends and fans to share any further information or photos they might have. As he notes, we are proud to host a total of four Segue Series readings by Dickensen — the first three taking place at the Ear Inn in 1984, 1986, and 1988, with a fourth recorded at Zinc Bar in 2015. Dickensen can also be heard as a respondent during numerous events in the 1984 New York Talk series. We've created a new author page for Dickenson to house all of these recordings in one place and send our sincere condolences to Dickenson's family, friends, and colleagues.

Want to read more? Visit the PennSound Daily archive.