George Oppen

George Oppen in conversation with Eric Homberger at the University of East Anglia, May 7, 1973

Thanks to Richard Swigg, PennSound is pleased to make available a recording of George Oppen reading poems and talking with Eric Homberger at the University of East Anglia, May 7, 1973. Swigg also provided us with this transcript.     

(20:38): mp3 

George Oppen at San Francisco State, 1972

We at PennSound are pleased to present a segmented recording of George ’s May 3, 1972, reading at San Francisco State University. The recording was then broadcast on KPFA (Berkeley) on June 2, 1972. Follow this link to PennSound’s George Oppen author page. The readings are presented in chronological order, beginning with our earliest recording dated 1963.

Don't know how to say (PoemTalk #3)

George Oppen, 'Ballad'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Joined this time by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, the PoemTalkers wasted no time grappling with George Oppen’s grappling with the real. The rock of the island he’s visiting — its locatedness to be cherished — “outlived the classicists.” Is this anti-academic? Yes, we agreed. On an island in Maine, he meets a lobsterman and his wife and finds them super-articulate and at the same time admirably, wonderfully halting in their speech (like Oppen himself here). Oppen: “Difficult to know what one means.” The lobsterman’s wife: “I don't know how to say.” We are all in this real together. Jessica was just back from Vegas, Linh from Iceland, Rachel from teaching a class on the other side of town. Which instruments — archaic and etymologically historical or local, broken-toothed and ready-at-hand — are the tools that will help us understand where exactly we are? “Geo-positioning” seemed to be the word of the day.

Don't know how to say (PoemTalk #3)

George Oppen, "Ballad"

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Joined this time by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, the PoemTalkers wasted no time grappling with George Oppen's grappling with the real. The rock of the island he's visiting - its locatedness to be cherished - "outlived the classicists." Is this anti-academic? Yes, we agreed. On an island in Maine, he meets a lobsterman and his wife and finds them super-articulate and at the same time admirably, wonderfully halting in their speech (like Oppen himself here). Oppen: "Difficult to know what one means." The lobsterman's wife: "I don't know how to say." We are all in this real together. Jessica was just back from Vegas, Linh from Iceland, Rachel from teaching a class on the other side of town. Which instruments - archaic and etymologically historical or local, broken-toothed and ready-at-hand - are the tools that will help us understand where exactly we are? "Geo-positioning" seemed to be the word of the day.

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