Commentaries - June 2016

Aimé Césaire: From 'Ferrements,' 'Tombeau de Paul Eluard' (1960)

Translation from French by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman

 

Blazon of blows on the shattered body of dreams

                         first snowy morning

'Teke Heart' by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven at MoMA


For the opening of  Dadaglobe Reconstucted last night at the Museum of Modern Art (NY), I performed “Teke Heart” by Else Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven (as she bills herself on the holograph ms) (1874–1927). I performed it in the gallery next to the ms of the 1921 poem, sent to Tristan Tzara for his never-published anthology Dadaglobe.

Mustazza named PennSound associate director

PennSound is pleased to welcome Chris Mustazza as our new Associate Director. Chris has served as our technical director since the founding of the PennSound project in 2005. He brings to our work extraordinary technical expertise in digital sound analysis and audio preservation. His appointment marks the inauguration of PennSound 2.0. Over the past decade PennSound has worked to digitize and make accessible many thousands of sound files by hundreds of poets. With PennSound 2.0, we are enabling computational analysis of our vast sound archive, allowing for both “distant listening” — the analysis of our aggregated files — as well as “close listening” to individual files, including specific features of the initial recordings conditions. Chris will also ensure that the PennSound keeps up with best archival practices, including upgrades and interfaces.

Mustazza joins co-founders and co-directors Charles Bernstein and Al Filreis, Editor Michael Hennessey, and Technical Director Chris Martin.

C: A journal of poetry

A collage

C cover by Joe Brainard
“C” cover by Joe Brainard, courtesy of Fales Library Avant Garde Archive

C: A Journal of Poetry  first appeared in May of 1963, edited by Ted Berrigan and published by Lorenz Gude. It became an influential showcase for the work of New York School poets and artists — like Berrigan himself, along with Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, John Ashbery, Dick Gallup, David Shapiro, and others — it was a predominantly male list, though Barbara Guest and a few others (including Alice B. Toklas!) made appearances. The Fales Library has only a partial collection of the journal; all of the images included below are from that archive. To match the scattershot nature of the image collection, this commentary will be a collage of quotes from friends and fellow poets of Berrigan's in Nice to See You: Homage to Ted Berrigan, edited and introduced by Anne Waldman for Coffee House Press in 1991.  

Introducing simple open-source tools for performative speech analysis: Gentle and Drift

Marit MacArthur

When we listen to a poetry reading — recorded or live — we constantly, half-consciously assess how well the poet captures and keeps our attention. I do not need to tell poets, and those who study poetry, that the words of a poem are only half of the equation, sometimes less. Pitch and pitch range, intonation patterns, volume/intensity, speaking rate/tempo, rhythm,  stress/emphasis, vocal timbre — such paralinguistic features affect our experience and interpretation of a performed poem. I say performed, rather than read, because every poetry reading is a performance — even if Poets & Writers’ Funding for Readings & Workshops application would have us think otherwise. Among paralinguistic features, intonation patterns — the rise and fall of vocal pitch — interest poets a great deal. The poetics of Robert Frost, for one, hinge on the “tone of meaning … without the words” (“Never Again Would Bird’s Song Be the Same”). 

When we listen to a poetry reading — recorded or live — we constantly, half-consciously assess how well the poet captures and keeps our attention. I do not need to tell poets, and those who study poetry, that the words of a poem are only half of the equation, sometimes less. Pitch and pitch range, intonation patterns, volume/intensity, speaking rate/tempo, rhythm,  stress/emphasis, vocal timbre — such paralinguistic features affect our experience and interpretation of a performed poem.