When Mandelstam wrote, “I never write. I alone in Russia work from the voice,” he was being literal. Here is how Viktor Shklovsky, Mandelstam’s neighbor for a time in the early 1920s, described him: “With his head thrown back, Osip Mandelstam walks around the house. He recites line after line for days on end. The poems are born heavy. Each line separately.” And here is how Sergey Rudakov, a young philologist and poet who visited Mandelstam in exile in Voronezh, described him in 1935: “Mandelstam has a wild way of working… I am standing in front of a working mechanism (or maybe organism, that is more precise) of poetry… The man no longer exists; what exists is – Michelangelo. He sees and remembers nothing. He walks around mumbling: ‘Like a black fern on a green night.’ For four lines, four hundred are uttered, literally… He does not remember his own poems. He repeats himself and, separating out the repetitions, writes what is new.”
Some new PennSound singles, via Robert Creeley tapes.
Peter Schjeldahl Two readings from the New Yorker art critic, from before he was an art critic. Both readings are from around 1973 and are about 15 minutes each MP3 MP3
Warren Tallman Two essay by the Vancouver critic and key figure for New American Poetry and Tish: September: A Necessary Politics of Stan Persky, introduction by Robin Blaser (1978) (1 hour): MP3 Treatise on Alcohol (1979) (2 hours): MP3
Fielding Dawson Three readings by the Black Mountain-associated fiction writer on a new PennSound page
Last year City Lights published a new edition of McClure's 1964 Ghost Tantras. This early work of McClure's is composed in a partially invented vocabulary that he calls "best language" (guttaral, expressive), which brings to mind Khlebnikov's zaum "Incantation by Laughter" (McCure references Mayakovsky). McClure wanted to find a level of language that invoked our animality and the recordings he made with lions in 1964 and 1966 remain powerful poetic documents.
This mp3 is a 1964 reading of "Tantra" 49 from that book; the recording was made by Bruce Conner. (4:07): MP3 The better known video, also a reading of "Tantra" 49, is an excerpt from a 1966 episode of Richard O. Moore’s television series U.S.A. Poetry.