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PoemTalk #159, Discussing bpNichol's "Dada Lama" and "A Small Song That Is His," feat. Tracie Morris, Douglas Kearney, and Derek Beaulieu

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

Paté de Voix, 1990

The following poems were recorded by bpNichol in Torino, Italy, April 1987, and were released as a cassette tape in 1990 as part of Paté de Voix 4 (an imprint of Offerta Speciale, published by Carla Bertola and Alberto Vitacchio). The voices of Carla Bertola and Alberto Vitacchio appear in “And this is what it means when meaning’s over” and, as Bertola and Vitacchio put it, “are there to remember our friendship and love for him.”

  1. senza titolo (1987) (1:47):MP3
  2. senza titolo (1987) (2:32):MP3
  3. And this is what it means when meaning’s over (1987, 1990) (6:50):MP3

Zygal: A Book of Mysteries and Translations, 1985

The following pieces were read by bpNichol during the launch in Toronto of Zygal: A Book of Mysteries and Translations (Coach House Press, 1985) on February 20th, 1986.

  1. Introduction (1:35):MP3
  2. Emblems (2:38):MP3
  3. Blizzard (0:47):MP3
  4. For Steve (1:46):MP3
  5. from Catullus XXVIII (1:39)MP3
  6. from Catullus LI (1:09):MP3
  7. Lament (1:30):MP3

First Screening, 1984

"First Screening" is a 1984 "computer poem": this streaming Quicktime version is a screen capture of the Applewin emulator version of "First Screening." Freeze-frames from the Quicktime do not always reflect the structure of bpNichol's code. For more information about, and other versions of, this work go to ViSPO. The .mov version was realized in 2007 by Jim Andrews, Geof Huth, Lionel Kearns, Marko Niemi, and Dan Waber. Used with the permission of VISPO.

Watch on -bpNichol, Toronto, January 1982

  1. Dada Lama (1966) (2:12):MP3
  2. Pome Poem (1972) (2:34):MP3
  3. 060173 (1973) (1:06):MP3
  4. Eight Part Suite (1972) (2:11):MP3
  5. Cosmic Piece for Orchestra & Chorus (1969) (1:58):MP3
  6. Art in Upheaval (begun 1979), (5:36):MP3
  7. Generations Generated (1977) (9:32):MP3
  8. Afternoon Attentions (1973) (1:44) MP3
  9. meeln (1973) (0:23):MP3
  10. Acres Rare Meet (1977) (7:01):MP3
  11. Ballads of the Restless Are (1967) (8:49):MP3
  12. White Text Sure: Version I (1978) (5:29):MP3
  13. Outsize Reference (1973) (1982):MP3
  14. Translating Translating Apollinaire (1978) (3:50):MP3
  15. The Alphabet Game (1972) (5:23):MP3
  16. Interrupted Nap (1976-80) (1:55):MP3

Ear Rational: Sound Poems 1966-1980, 1982

The following are all of the poems from the 60-minute cassette Ear Rational: Sound Poems 1966-1980, published in 1982 by Membrane Press New Fire Tapes (Milwaukee). Note that beside each poem-title is the year in which Nichol composed the piece. Making brief appearances are the voices of Michael Dean, Paul Dutton, Steve McCaffery, David Penhale, Steven Smith (now Steven Ross Smith), and Richard Truhlar (see jwcurry’s “Notes toward a beepliography,” Open Letter 6 th series, No. 5-6: Summer-Fall 1986: 249-270.) Nichol also included a brief statement inside the 5-panel offset lead for the cassette:

“Dada Lama” was recorded at CBC Studios (Toronto) circa 1969. “The Alphabet Game” was recorded at CBC Studios (Toronto) circa 1972. “Acres Rare Meet” was recorded live in Toronto, October 1977. All others were recorded at the studios of T.R.G. January 10, 1982.

“Cosmic Piece for Orchestra & Chorus” is performed by Steve McCaffery (voice & vocorder) & bpNichol (voice & cheap cassette). “Acres Rare Meet” is performed by Michael Dean, Paul Dutton, Steve McCaffery, David Penhale, Steven Smith & Richard Truhlar. The woman's voice on “The Alphabet Game” is that of a friend of the producer who, unfortunately, i have lost all record of. All other voices are my own.

Ear Rational: Sound Poems 1966-1980 contains all the single voice pieces i composed in the years 1970 thru 1980 other than sections of The Martyrology Bk V & a part of the May Day Book. In addition i have included: a live recording of the only seven voice piece i've done, “Acres Rare Meet”; an alternate version of “Dada Lama,” previously unreleased; the first adequate realization of my composition “Cosmic Piece for Orchestra & Chorus”; & the only remaining unrecorded single voice text from the 60's – “Ballads Of The Restless Are.” In the seventies i put the bulk of my energy in sound into composing for & with the Four Horsemen. In the single voice pieces the interest began to shift toward the more narrative & prose-based concerns evident in the most recent compositions on this tape, “Interrupted Nap” & “Art in Upheaval.” This cassette is dedicated to Steve McCaffery, my partner in the Crimes in both the Toronto Research Group & the Four Horsemen.

Appendix, 1978

The following are all of the poems from the split 7” single Appendix published in 1978 by Black Moss Press (BM 101) (Windsor, Ontario); this was issued as part of Sean O’Huigin’s POE TREE: A Simple Introduction to Experimental Poetry. Recording by R. Hindley-Smith and Starborne Productions.

  1. The Child in Me (0:28):MP3
  2. Winwood’s Hum (0:28):MP3
  3. Flower Eyes (1:06):MP3
  4. M.L.’s Dream (1:09):MP3
  5. War & Peace (0:17):MP3
  6. I’d love just once to see you in the nude (with trumpet concerto) (3:19):MP3
  7. A Hum for Reub on his 22nd (0:56):MP3

Solo perfomances

The following poems are live solo performances by bpNichol. This material comes from the archives of The Four Horsemen, courtesy Paul Dutton.

Probable Systems #8, November 10, 1978

This first piece was performed with The Four Horsemen during the 99¢ Floating Theatre Festival at the Frick Fine Arts Building, University of Pittsburgh, on November 10th, 1978 (Day 2 of 3).

Probable Systems #8, from The Four Horsemen Archives (8:53):MP3

Four Lives, November 10, 1978

The following piece was performed with The Four Horsemen at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, on March 5th, 1980.

Four Lives, from The Four Horsemen Archives (7:17):MP3

bp Nichol, 1971

The following are all of the poems from the rare 60-minute cassette bp Nichol, published in 1971 by High Barnet Company (Toronto, Ontario).

  1. Love Poem for Gertrude Stein (2:13):MP3
  2. Flower Eyes (1:37):MP3
  3. Son of Sonnet (2:52):MP3
  4. Clouds / Auguries / Sons and Divinations (22:41):MP3
  5. Friends as Footnotes (13:59):MP3
  6. Music (0:49):MP3
  7. A Small Song that is His (0:42):Mp3
  8. Clover (5:16):MP3
  9. A Hum for Reub (1:05):MP3
  10. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1:36):MP3
  11. Beast (for Hugo Ball) (6:05):MP3

Motherlove, 1968

The following poems come from the first side of the phonodisc Motherlove, published in 1968 by Allied Record Corporation (Toronto, Ontario).

  1. The Incest Song (2:31):MP3
  2. Bill Bissett’s Lullaby (1:08):MP3
  3. A Hum for Stevie Winwood (0:46):MP3
  4. M.L.’s Dream (1:12): MP3
  5. Historical Implications of Turnips (0:29):MP3
  6. Pleasure Sweets (4:35):MP3

Martyrology, 1967-1988

The following section is divided into eight recordings encompassing three different readings bpNichol gave of The Martyrology (Coach House Press, Toronto). Martyrology is an unfinished long poem written over more than 20 years, from 1967-1988.

Except for the last reading, all others were held at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. They were public readings, though connected to English Professor Roy Miki's classes.

  1. Reading at Simon Fraser University, July 8, 1983

    Nichol talks about the origins of Martyrology and reads from Books One through Six

    (Recorded by Roy Miki)

    1. from Books One and Two (43:19):MP3
    2. from Books Two and Three (44:38):MP3
    3. from Book Three: Parts V, VI, VII, VIII and Coda (36:14):MP3
    4. from Book Four (41:29):MP3
    5. from Book Five: Chains 1, 2 and 7 (44:01):MP3
    6. from Books Five and Six: Book of Hours (27:20):MP3 Bowering, Thesen and Miki also discuss the connection between bpNichol’s work and the idea of family and the sacred.

  2. Reading, Simon Fraser University, July 2, 1987

    bpNichol reads from Book Six: “The Grace of the Moment;” explains the structure of Books Six, Seven, and Eight; and reads from Book Six, Book Ten: "St. Anzas," and Book Seven (Recorded by Roy Miki and Kurtis Vanel, SFU Sound Technician)

    1. from Books Six, Seven, and Ten (44:41)

  3. Reading at R2B2 Books in Vancouver, BC, June 30, 1987.

    bpNichol reads from Book Six (Recorded by Roy Miki)

    1. Reading "The Hips" from Book Six: Book of Hours (44:39)
    2. Reading, Pt. II (18:53)

borders, February 1967

The following poems come from the 7 ¼ floppy recordborders included in the boxbp, published in February 1967 by Coach House Press (Toronto, Ontario). Also included in the box are Journeying & the Returns, a flip-book WILD THING, and Letters Home (14 leaves and a pamphlet in an envelope).

  1. Not What the Siren Sang but What the Frag Ment (1:27): MP3
  2. One Sing (0:18):MP3
  3. Cycle No. 17(0:20):MP3

Interview by Phillis Webb with bill bissett, Impact, CBC, 1967

Media.SAS mirror URL: MP4

Also of Interest an online public archive of the works of bpNichol and his collaborators. Here you will find digitized print materials, photographs, links and eventually video,critical articles and curated exhibitions.

Four Horsemen: tracks from Canadada & Live in the West
Six Fillious Reading at the Ear Inn, February 7, 1979

—bpNichol PennSound page edited by Lori Emerson
Thanks to Dennis Tedlock, James H. McNulty Chair, Department of English, University at Buffalo, for assistance with this project

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the author's estate. © 2010 Eleanor Nichol for bpNichol. Used with the permission of Eleanor Nichol. Distributed by PennSound.