PennSound

PennSound is an online archive of recordings of modern and contemporary poets housed at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Truth and the Sun

A fragment of the page, Gwendolyn Brooks' "Truth"

 Gwendolyn Brooks' poem "Truth" is an early poem - probably written in the late 1940s, perhaps 1949. She mentions this poem in the introduction she gave to Etheridge Knight before Knight's reading on February 26, 1986. The recording of that introduction is available on PennSound's Etheridge Knight page. Here is a copy of the text of Brooks' poem.

Northernmost PennSound listening

Michael Nardone and I have been corresponding about his interest in PennSound. He's currently spending a few months on Vancouver Island, but typically he and his wife live in a cabin on the east arm of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. (If you want to check this out on Google Maps, look for the town of Yellowknife and move about 150 km eastward.)

What is the northernmost listening to PennSound? It seems likely that Michael holds that record. "Probable northernmost Pennsound listening," he writes, "took place during a week up in Resolute. I remember listening to David Antin's war talk with a few arctic scientists stationed there."

Top PennSound poets for January 2010

Most oft-visited PennSound author pages in the past month: 1) Ginsberg, 2) Pound, 3) WC Williams, 4) AshberyMost oft-visited PennSound author pages in the past month: 1) Ginsberg, 2) Pound, 3) WC Williams, 4) Ashbery, 5) Creeley, 6) Olson, 7) Howe, 8) Baraka, 9) Christian Bok, 10) Spicer, 11) Reznikoff Holocaust page, 12) Berrigan, 13) C. Bernstein [60-Second Lecture page].

This last item is the video recording of a 60-second lecture given by Charles Bernstein on the topic, "What Makes a Poem a Poem?" It has a punchline ending, so be sure to watch.

Jacket moves

from the front page of Jacket #17 (2002)

Tonight John Tranter and I are sending out the following announcement:

Dear friends:

We are writing with news of a transition we both deem very exciting.

By the end of 2010, John Tranter and Pam Brown will have put out 40 issues of Jacket (jacketmagazine.com). It began in what John recalls as "a rash moment" in 1997 - an early all-online magazine, one of the earliest in the world of poetry and poetics, and quite rare for its consistency over the years. "The design is beautiful, the contents awesomely voluminous, the slant international modernist and experimental." (So said _The Guardian_.)

After issue 40, John will retire from thirteen years of intense every-single-day involvement with Jacket, and the entire archive of thousands of web pages will move intact to servers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where it will of course be available on the internet to everyone, for free, as always. But the magazine is not ceasing publication: quite the opposite.

Starting with the first issue in 2011, Jacket will have a new home, extra staff and a vigorous future as Jacket2. Jacket and its continuation, Jacket2, will be hosted by the Kelly Writers House and PennSound at the University of Pennsylvania.

The connection with PennSound, a vast and growing archive of audio recordings of poetry performance, discussion and criticism, is seen as a valuable additional facet of the new magazine, as is the relationship with busy Kelly Writers House, a lively venue for day-to-day poetic interchange of all kinds. The synergy in this three-way relationship has great potential.

Al will become Publisher and Jessica Lowenthal, Director of the Writers House, will be Associate Publisher. The new Editors will be Michael S. Hennessey (currently Managing Editor of PennSound) and Julia Bloch. John will be available as Founding Editor, and Pam will continue as Associate Editor.More news about Jacket2 in the weeks and months to come. Meantime, the Jacket2 folks extend gratitude -- as many in the world of poetics do -- to John and to Pam Brown for the extraordinary work they've done. And John, for his part, is mightily pleased that Jacket will be preserved and will continue and grow in a somewhat new mode but with a continuous mission and approach.

writing through imagism

Here's H.D.'s "Sea Poppies" (1916):

Amber husk
fluted with gold,
fruit on the sand
marked with a rich grain,

treasure
spilled near the shrub-pines
to bleach on the boulders:

your stalk has caught root
among wet pebbles
and drift flung by the sea
and grated shells
and split conch-shells.

Beautiful, wide-spread,
fire upon leaf,
what meadow yields
so fragrant a leaf
as your bright leaf?

18th-century poetry sound anthology

John Richetti

My dear old friend John Richetti has been recording an anthology of restoration and 18th-century poetry for several months - for PennSound. And today we are announcing the completion of this new sound anthology, hoping that (among others) teachers are able to use it to bring the poems to life and to present an easy-to-access (and free, of course) set of downloadable files. This is the first of its kind for this body of writing, so far as we know.

Six poets each teach a poem

A few weeks ago I wrote about having invited six poets each to teach a short poem to high-school student. I commented in particular about teaching the constraints of the haiku and its possible special connection to high-school kids’ understanding of poetry today — what with their sense of extreme limits (texting, Twitter’s 140 characters, etc.).

Jennifer Scappettone

New at PennSound

We at PennSound are pleased to announce our newest author page: that of Jennifer Scappet

Blockbuster Zukofsky

Today PennSound proudly unveils the new Louis Zukofsky page, edited by Danny Snelson and done with the permission of Paul Zukofsky.

Courses using PennSound

University of Pennsylvania: PENNsound, writing.upenn.edu/pennsound and Kelly Writers House webcasts. A stellar project at Penn, PENNsound is “committed to producing new audio recordings and preserving existing audio archives.” Here you can listen to readings from 1950s to today and often find great extras and links to other exciting websites.

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