PennSound

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

Five Recordings of "This Is Just To Say"

William Carlos Williams

I hope readers of this blog can forgive me for gushing about PENNsound's William Carlos Williams page. There you'll find links to every recording of Williams that has been found so far. For the moment, most of the poetry readings he gave are available in single recordings (not broken up by poem), but we have been able to clip the longer files and produce five versions of WCW reading "This Is Just to Say." Each is a downloadable mp3, so click away and enjoy: 1 2 3 4 5. And here is the text of that famous poem.

Jack Spicer on Wallace Stevens, 1965


In one of Jack Spicer's now-famous lectures in Vancouver, 1965, he discusses (and commends) the "serial poem." After a while he takes questions, and someone asks him whether Wallace Stevens didn't indeed write serial poems--perhaps "Notes toward a Supreme Fiction" is one? Spicer's response is fascinating. I've taken the long audio recording of the whole lecture, and selected just the discussion about Stevens. The whole lecture can be found on Spicer's PENNsound page and the excerpt (3:27) can be heard here: mp3.

Recordings of Jackson Mac Low

Newly Segmented at PennSound

Jackson Mac Low at PennSound
A screenshot of Jackson Mac Low's PennSound author page.

Thanks to the efforts of Anna Zalokostas, we at PennSound have now segmented every one of the readings by Jackson Mac Low for which we have recordings. Through this work we re-discover that Jackson read four sections of Forties at the Ear Inn in '92; that in 1995 at a Little Magazine seesion he read "This Occasion, a Poem for John Cage after his 79th birthday"; that at a Radio Reading Series Project session in 1998, he explained Forties and discussed how he applied the diastic method to Pound's Cantos; that he read "Baltimore Porches" at the Ear Inn in '82...and much more. Have a look at our newly revised Jackson Mac Low author page.

Reading by Charles Olson from the Maximus Poems

Newly Segmented Recording at PennSound

Charles Olson at a blackboardWe at PennSound are pleased to say that Charles Olson's reading from the Maximus poems at Beloit College has now been segmented. He read for 50 minutes total from many sections of the long work. Here is your link.

PennSound on YouTube

In this video clip, watch and hear Juliana Spahr read from her work, "The Incinerator." The clip is 8 minutes long and was prepared for our PennSound YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/pennsound. There are now 118 videos uploaded to PennSound on YouTube.

Video Introduction to PennSound

Cole Swenson on Gardens

New at PennSound

Cole Swenson was a guest on Leonard Schwartz's radio program, "Cross-Cultural Poetics," back in January. Thanks to Henry Steinberg, now PennSound offers a segmented recording of the reading and discussion. Swensen offers a reading of "A Garden Is a Start" and then takes a few minutes to talk about the style of that poem. She reads "If a Garden of Numbers" but we are also treated to her discussion of the geometry of Le Notre gardens, of gardens taking dominion over nature, of fountains as a public commodity. (The readings were from her recent book, Ours.) It's all here--available as of just yesterday. By the way, I'm happy to say that Leonard Schwartz was here at the Writers House this fall (9/23/10) - and was also a guest on PoemTalk.

Anne Waldman Is in a Rogue State of Mind

A 2002 Reading in PennSound

from the Anne Waldman page at PennSound

Anne Waldman gave a reading at Belladonna on April 26, 2002. She read five poems. Thanks for our friends at Belladonna, we at PennSound have the recording. Yesterday we segmented the recording into singles, which include the powerful anti-George Bush chant, "Rogue State" (PennSound now has several recordings of this), and Waldman's singing of William Blake's "The Garden of Love." The latter is an arrangement that Allen Ginsberg composed for his album of Blake songs. One of PennSound's most popular pages, in fact, is the Ginsberg/Blake page. Here is Ginsberg singing "The Garden of Love," and here is an episode of PoemTalk featuring a 25-minute discussion of it.

Speaking of Political Poetry

Carl Rakosi

Carl Rakosi, younger and older

Speaking of the 1930s: Carl Rakosi was a member of the communist party and, when he was merely 99 years old, several of us at the Writers House asked him to talk about the problems and possibilities of writing a politically radical poetry. He gave a halting but very thoughtful response. Keep in mind that he was speaking in 2002 about the period 1938-41. It's hard to see clearly through the fog of warring politico-poesis. Many thanks to Henry Steinberg for editing this segment. The questioner is Thomas Devaney. The whole interview with the 99-year-old Rakosi can be found here.

Emergence Implied in the Unsaid

Myung Mi Kim

Myung Mi Kim at the Kelly Writers House

On March 15, 2007, Penn students and Charles Bernstein interviewed Myung Mi Kim as part of Bernstein's "Close Listening" series. Michael Nardone has now transcribed the entire discussion, for publication, later, in Jacket2. Meantime, here is an excerpt:

STUDENT:
You mentioned yesterday how each reading is different and how you would have other people come up and read your work. If you could just elaborate on that and how would someone who doesn’t speak another language experience repercussions while reading?

KIM:
Let me start with the second part of your question first, because I think it dovetails nicely with what I’ve just been saying about what are the demands on sense and sense-making that are politically and socially and culturally driven. So, when you ask that question about, well, what about a person who doesn’t speak, you know, another language, and what kind of condition would be produced for that reader, my question always, whether out loud or implicitly, is can you produce an approximation of the condition of language again unhooked from the demands of communication and communicability and transparency, and can you somehow suggest/evoke/amplify/proliferate different ways of being inside and listening to and activating the space that we call language, which doesn’t belong to any one language group, doesn’t belong to any one particular idea of how basic things that benchmarks of language like rhythm, syntax, intonation, inflection, taking all those things as resources for meaning, as resources for experience. So, in other words, even if there were no identifiable thing called the second language, there’s something produced about an experience of language, and I think everyone has access to that.

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