Sarah Manguso on 'Between the Covers,' 2015

Posted 4/2/2015 (link)

In our recent posts on Claudia Rankine, we've made repeated mentions of her wonderful hour-long appearance on Between the Covers, a literary radio program hosted by David Naimon and broadcast on Portland, Oregon's KBOO-FM.

We've now created a proper PennSound series page for Between the Covers, which we inaugurate with a new program, released today, featuring poet and memoirist Sarah Manguso. In her latest book, Ongoingness: the End of a Diary, "Manguso confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for 25 years," bringing each day to a close with "a record of everything that had ever happened." However, after having a child, her "terror that she might miss something important" clashes with "an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time." Naimon describes the program as follows: "We talk about memory and language, the failures of both, we touch on Lydia Davis and Proust, Elizabeth Bishop and Leslie Jamison, on motherhood, amnesia, and graphomania, on being a writer versus a 'woman writer,' and much more."

Additionally, listeners can follow a link to the Between the Covers homepage, where, in addition to interviews with Rankine and Manguso, a wide array of programs featuring authors like David Mitchell, Lorrie Moore, Jonathan Lethem, Karen Russell, Junot Diaz, and many more can be found. We're very happy to welcome Naimon and Between the Covers to the PennSound archives, and look forward to more shows in the future.

Basil King Reads "The White Tablecloth," 2014

Posted 4/6/2015 (link)

Here's a new addition to the PennSound author page of British-born Brooklynite poet and painter Basil King: a reading of "The White Tablecloth" recorded as part of a November 6, 2014 at New York's Sidewalk Café as part of the Prose Pros series.

This new track joins several other recent audio and video recordings, including a 2012 reading at the St. Mark's Poetry Project, and two other Prose Pros series recordings from 2010 and 2009 — in which he reads from Twin Towers : Learning to Draw / A History and Warp Spasm respectively. There's also footage from "Basil's Arc: A Celebration of the Paintings and Poetics of Basil King," held at Anthology Film Archives in 2012, with contributions from Mitch Highfill, Joe Elliot, Hettie Jones, Martha King, Michael Mann, and Kim Lyons.

Interested listeners should also be sure to check out Madeline Tiger's ambitious hybrid piece, "Reactions to Basil King's Work," which was published in Jacket2 last July.

New at PennSound: Jonathan Skinner's Steel Bar Reading Series

Posted 4/8/2015 (link)

The week continues with an astounding new collection of recordings made by Jonathan Skinner, who curated the Steel Bar reading series, in collaboration with his partner Isabelle Pelissier (whose sculpture studio provided the venue), during his time as a grad student at SUNY-Buffalo in the early oughts. While we've opted to catalogue the overall collection under that name, there are recordings from numerous other Buffalo venues — Rust Belt Books, the Just Buffalo Literary Center, the Albright-Knox Gallery, The Poetry Collection at UB, classes taught by Dennis Tedlock, and even the city's sidewalks — along with events held in Paris, Toronto, and New York City, recorded between 2000–2008.

Poets who participated in these readings include Alice Notley, Steve McCaffery, Brenda Coultas, Caroline Bergvall, Fiona Templeton, Julia Patton, Bruce Andrews, Paul Dutton, Christian Bök, Tom Raworth, Robert Grenier, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Bernadette Mayer, Stephen Rodefer, Cecilia Vicuña, Michael Basinski, Charles Alexander, Barbara Cole, and Peter Culley, among many others. We're especially grateful to Kristen Hewitt and Katherine Zeltner for crucial help in preparing these recordings.

To start listening, click here to visit our Steel Bar series page.

Charles Bernstein at the Poetry Project, 1990

Posted 4/10/2015 (link)

As Charles Bernstein notes in a new Jacket2 commentary posted yesterday, it was almost exactly twenty-five years ago that he read at the St. Mark's Poetry Project. We added audio of this reading to our archives last summer, and now it's joined by video footage of the set shot by Mitch Corber and made available courtesy of his Thin Air Video.

Bernstein's reading is, as he notes, largely drawn from his 1994 Sun & Moon collection, Dark City — including the poems "Debris of Shock / Shock of Debris," "Sunsickness," "Virtual Reality," and "How I Painted Certain of My Pictures (for John Ashbery)" — with "The Ballad of the Blue-Green Plate," which would be published in his next collection, 2001's With Strings, the sole outlier. A link to a PDF version of Dark City (available for free from Green Integer (Sun & Moon's successor) can also be found in Bernstein's post, along with a Google Books link to "The Ballad of the Blue-Green Plate."

In Memoriam: Peter Culley (1958-2015)

Posted 4/13/2015 (link)

We're very sad to report the passing of Canadian poet Peter Culley this weekend. It's been quite touching, if painful, to read the many heartfelt remembrances from members of our poetic community as word of Culley's death spread over the past few days, suggesting not only that he was beloved to a great many people, and that his sudden passing interrupted a life that was very much in-progress.

We've quickly put together a Peter Culley author page with four recordings already present in our archives — a 2009 reading as part of Oakland's New Reading Series (courtesy of A Voice Box), Segue Series sets from 2008 at the Bowery Poetry Club and 1999 at Double Happiness, and a 2003 reading at the Just Buffalo Literary Center (just added courtesy of Jonathan Skinner's Steel Bar collection). You'll also find a link to Culley's page at the Electronic Poetry Center. We hope to be able to add more recordings in the near future.

Bob Holman Discusses 'Language Matters,' 2015

Posted 4/15/2015 (link)

Here's an interesting new addition to the PennSound archives: a discussion between Al Filreis and Bob Holman, the host of Language Matters, David Grubin's documentary series that premiered on PBS stations earlier this year. "There are over 6000 languages in the whole world," the film's synopsis begins, "We lose one every two weeks. Hundreds will be lost within the next generation. By the end of this century, half of the world's languages will have vanished. What do we lose when a language dies? What does it take to save a language?"

This thirty-six minute recording was made on February 19th at our own Kelly Writers House after a special screening of Language Matters, which brought out a very diverse audience of Philadelphians, from literary scholars to historians to language specialists, who offer their comments on the film and pose questions to Holman. What's perhaps most fascinating here is how balanced the dialogue is here, with audience members making considerable contributions to the discussion from their own experience and disciplines, alongside Holman's "language activist" perspective and Filreis' guidance.

You can watch this video on PennSound's Bob Holman author page, along with recordings going back to two Public Access Poetry programs from the late 70s, several appearances on Cross Cultural Poetics, and Holman's album In With the Out Crowd, produced by the legendary Hal Willner.

Hiromi Ito: New Author Page

Posted 4/17/2015 (link)

Our newest author page is for Hiromi Itō, one of the most prominent women writers of contemporary Japan, with more than a dozen collections of poetry, several works of prose, numerous books of essays, and several major literary prizes to her name. After her sensational debut in the late 1970s, she emerged as the foremost voice of the wave of "women's poetry" that swept Japan in the 1980s. She has won many important Japanese literary prizes, including the Takami Jun Prize, the Hagiwara Sakutaro Prize, and the Izumi Shikibu Prize.

Itō (center in the photo above) read last week at the Kelly Writers House, alongside Lucas de Lima (left) and her translator, Jeffrey Angles (right) as part of the Writers Without Borders series. You can listen to and watch video footage of her half-hour set on her author page, along with a forty-five minute conversation between the evening's three readers recorded earlier in the day at KWH's new Wexler Studio. There's also audio and video of a 2010 reading as part of the Mills College Contemporary Writers Series, and a 1999 audio recording of Itō reading "I am Anjuhimeko" from Masters of Modern Japanese Poetry.

Cross Cultural Poetics: New Episodes Part 1 (315-321)

Posted 4/20/2015 (link)

It wouldn't be the end of another academic semester without a batch of new episodes from Leonard Schwartz's groundbreaking radio program, Cross Cultural Poetics, and this time the batch is quite a formidable one, with fourteen new episodes. Because of the massive amount of new recordings, we'll discuss the first half in this PennSound Daily and the remainder in our next post.

We begin with episode #315, "Tosca," from January 13, 2015, in which Stage Director Jose Maria Condemi talks about his work at Seattle Opera on Puccini's Tosca. That's followed by episode #316, "Special Characters," broadcast on the same day, featuring Larissa Shmailo, discussing her latest, #special characters (Unlikely Books) and Schwartz reading from Elliot Weinberger's translations of The Poems of Octavio Paz (New Directions).

The first of two episodes from January 20th is #317, "Ardor," where Roberto Calasso talks about his FSG book of the same name, which is concerned with Vedic myth, ritual, and text. Calasso also appears in the next program, "The Italian Friend," reading from his book alongside Amaranth Borsuk and Andy Fitch, who read from their collaborative book As We Know (Subito).

Jumping forward to the January 27th broadcasts, we have episode #319, "Bees," where Scottish poet Alec Finley reads from and discusses his book Global Oracle, as well as his Beeble Project, and episode #320, "Talisman 43," with Galician poet Yolanda Castano and Russian poet Alexander Ulanov reading their contributions to the latest issue of the journal Talisman.

Finally, from February 3, 2015, we have episode #321, "Argentine Poetics," in which Jason Weiss discusses and reads from his translations of Silvina Ocampo, from her Selected Poems (NYRB Poets), and Yvette Siegert discusses and reads from her translations of Alejandra Pizarnik, taken from A Musical Hell (New Directions).

To start listening to these programs, and many more, click on the title above to visit PennSound's Cross Cultural Poetics series page. As promised, we'll detail the last seven new episodes in our next PennSound Daily post.

Cross Cultural Poetics: New Episodes Part 2 (322-328)

Posted 4/22/2015 (link)

Last time, we discussed the first eight of fourteen new Cross Cultural Poetics programs that had just been added to our archives. Today, we'll detail the last seven.

We begin with two shows initially aired on February 17, 2015: first, episode #322, "322 Poetry in Motion," which starts off with Alice Quinn, Executive Director of The Poetry Society of America, discussing her "Poetry in Motion" collaboration with the MTA and the NYC subway system, and concludes with Edwin Frank reads his poem "In The Dark." That's followed by #323, "Semele," in which Tomer Zvulun, director of Seattle Opera's new production of Handel's Semele, and General and Artistic Director of Atlanta Opera, talks about his work, and host Leonard Schwartz reads from Roberto Bolano's poetry collection, The Unknown University (New Directions).

Next up, two episodes from February 24, 2015, starting with episode #324, "Modiano's Suspended Sentences," in which translator Mark Polizzotti talks about and reads from his work on Nobel Prize winning fiction writer Patrick Modiano's Suspended Sentences (Yale University Press). Episode #325, 'Beethoven & Cubism," is next, with Edwin Frank, the Publisher of NYRB Classics Series, talking about Sanford Friedman's posthumously published novel Conversations with Beethoven, and a return visit from Mark Polizzotti — this time in his role as Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Metropolitan Museum of Arts publishing wing — to talk about his ideas on the making of art books, with a focus on the recent Cubism: the Leonard Lauder Collection, co-edited by Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow.

We proceed into March with a trio of single programs. From March 3, 2015 there's episode #326, "Angels of The Americlypse," in which Co-editor Carmen Gimenez-Smith discusses her new anthology Angels of The Americlypse: An Anthology of New Latin@ Writing (Counterpath Press). Next, from March 5, 2015, episode #327, "Climate Justice and the Framing of Nature," featuring political ecologist and TESC faculty member Shangrila Joshi talking about her former work as environmental reporter for The Himalyan Times in her native country, Nepal, as well as her current scholarship on the political ecology of the Atmospheric Commons. Finally, from March 10, 2015, we have episode #328, "Berlin," in which Peter Wortsman talks about and reads from his memoir of Berlin, Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray (Traveler's Tales).

You can listen to all of these episodes of Leonard Schwartz's long-running radio program on PennSound's Cross Cultural Poetics series page, and don't forget to check out the astounding archive of previous programs from 2003 to the present.

PoemTalk 87: Two by Emily Dickinson

Posted 4/24/2015 (link)

Earlier this week, we released the eighty-seventh program in the PoemTalk Podcast series, which focuses on two poems by Emily Dickinson — "She rose to His Requirement" and "Wild Nights — Wild Nights!" — read by Susan Leites and Jan Heller Levi respectively, as part of a 1979 celebration of Dickinson's birthday held at the St. Mark's Poetry Project. This time around, host Al Filreis is joined by a panel that includes Michelle Taransky, Cecilia Corrigan, and Lily Applebaum.

Filreis' write-up on the PoemTalk blog starts by considering the broad scope of the panelists' discussion, which "ranged across many related topics, among them the intentional re-engineering of the gendered pronoun; the excitement of wanting Dickinson's poems to be complicated; the tossing out of the tools that get you to safe harbor and the conception of writing as being at sea; linguistic constraint as sexiness; the power of unidiomatic language; marriage as disabling awe; the unsaying or un-mentioning of hidden amplitude; the poem as itself work; metrical irregularity as a form of 'busting' social requirement; resistance to poetic distribution as triumph and not gender tragedy; and mooring as a form of sexuality." You can read more about the program on Jacket2.

PoemTalk is a co-production of PennSound, the Kelly Writers House, Jacket2 and the Poetry Foundation. If you're interested in more information on the series or want to hear our archives of previous episodes, please visit the PoemTalk blog, and don't forget that you can subscribe to the series through the iTunes music store.

John Richetti Reads Victorian Dramatic Monologues, 2015

Posted 4/27/2015 (link)

The one and only John Richetti is back with another stellar set of recordings for our PennSound Classics page — this time, a variety of Victorian dramatic monologues, which were recorded at the Wexler Studio at our own Kelly Writers House on April 13, 2015.

Richetti begins with several pieces by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, including "Ulysses," "Tithonus," "Locksley Hall," and "Crossing the Bar," as well as twenty minutes of selections from In Memoriam. That's followed by five poems by Robert Browning — "A Toccata of Galuppi's," "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxed's Church," "Fra Lippo Lippi," "Andrea del Sarto," and "My Last Duchess" — along with Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point." Next up is Matthew Arnold, with "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse," "Dover Beach," "Thyrsis," and "The Scholar-Gipsy," before Richetti's session ends with single poems by John Swinburne ("Hymn to Proserpine") and Edgar Allan Poe ("The Raven").

As is always the case with these sessions — which we've has been graced with us with for ten whole years — the listener benefits not only from Richetti's expertise and thoughtful selections, but also his robust reading voice. You'll find his renditions of poems by William Blake, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Donne, John Dryden, George Herbert, Ben Jonson, John Keats, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, Alexander Pope, William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jonathan Swift, and William Wordsworth, on the PennSound Classics homepage, along with Richetti's PennSound Anthology of Restoration and 18th-Century Verse and 106 Favorite Poems, Good for Memorizing.

John Yau at the Kelly Writers House, 2015

Posted 4/29/2015 (link)

One of the latest additions to our archives is a pair of recordings from John Yau's recent visit to our own Kelly Writers House last Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

We have both audio and video from Yau's evening reading in the Arts Cafe, which begins with brief opening comments by Charles Bernstein and a formal introduction by Ashley Chang, a UPenn doctoral student, who frames her observations through Yau's poem, "Further Adventures in Monochrome," noting that his work "does not deal in stable oppositions, but situates itself, instead, at the ever-shifting delineation between what appears to be a given and what is unexpected." She continues, "His use of sound respond to a history of American Orientalism, to a particular mode of visually representing the Asiatic other: one that plays off fears and tropes of the other as alternately inscrutable menace or bumbling subservient." Yau's set, which runs slightly less than an hour, features selections from Borrowed Love Poems (2002), Ing Grish (2005), and his latest collection, Further Adventures in Monochrome (2012), along with newer poems. In addition to Yau's reading, we also have audio from his visit — earlier in the day — to Bernstein's ENG 288 class, where he discusses his work with the students.