PennSound

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

Segmented audio from performances of Maggie Nelson's 'Bluets'

Thanks to the efforts of PennSound staff editor Luisa Healey, we are now able to make available segmented audio recordings of the numbered sections (propositions) of Bluets as performaed by Maggie Nelson at two readings.

I. from LA-Lit #21, March 11, 2007:

  • #52. (1:11): MP3
  • #53. (0:26): MP3
  • #54. (1:17): MP3
  • #55. (0:19): MP3
  • #56. (0:10): MP3
  • #57. (0:30): MP3
  • #58. (0:11): MP3
  • #59. (1:14): MP3

I. from the MFA Reading Series at Boise State University, April 26, 2013:

  • Opening Remarks (1:44):MP3
  • #204. (0:45): MP3
  • #205. (2:03): MP3
  • #206. (0:42): MP3
  • #207. (0:23): MP3

David Bromige: two new readings

David Bromiges reading for A. L. Nielsen’s Incognito Lounge, at UC Berkeley, on May 23, 1989, has now been segmented (by PennSound staff editor Luisa Healey). Here is the whole recording, and here are the segments:

Rodney Koeneke's 2004 Segue reading

Thanks to the efforts of PennSound staffer Luisa Healey, we are now making available segmented (poem-by-poem) recordings of Rodney Koeneke’s Segue Series reading, given at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City on November 6, 2004. 

  1. Introduction (5:27): MP3
  2. Opening Remarks (3:35): MP3
  3. #16 “Excavate the Mexican game-show host …” from Rouge State (1:45): MP3
  4. #17 “Eric the red on kickapoo juice …” from Rouge State (1:17): MP3
  5. #2 “Caravansaries cavorting invite too-hot desires … from Rouge State (2:37): MP3
  6. How to find safe passage …” from Rouge State (2:08): MP3
  7. “Space then is time …” from Rouge State (1:32): MP3
  8. Save it for the Clam from On the Clamways (1:54): MP3
  9. Houston, We Have a Clam Problem from On the Clamways (0:31): MP3

Wai Chee Dimock, 'Education Populism'

Wai Chee Dimock, editor of PMLA, published her editor’s comment during fall 2017 on the “education populism” she discerned in several affiliated projects hosted at the Kelly Writers House — among them, PennSound, PoemTalk, ModPo, and the programs offered in the old house at 3805 Locust Walk itself. A PDF copy of the article is available HERE.

John Ashbery in conversation with Bruce Kawin, WKCR radio, May 5, 1966

Transcription by Gregory Dunne

For years I have been listening to an interview on WKCR radio, recorded on May 5, 1966, in which John Ashbery did something he rarely did — a close reading or "explanation" of a poem. In this rare instance, it was "These Lacustrine Cities." The whole interview lasts 27 1/2 minutes, but toward the beginning Ashbery reads the poem for interviewer/host Bruce Kawin, after which the poet discusses it for 13 minutes. I am compiling this note during the weekend of John Ashbery's death. I found myself pondering this portion of the poet’s disarming talk about his poem:

“Whose disappointment broke into a rainbow of tears.” Well again, you have two conflicting things, three really: disappointment and tears, kind of combining to make something rather beautiful and pleasant to look at, like a rainbow. In other words, a final contradiction, which is one of many, which this poem is made up of, and which life and history are made up of.

For years I have been listening to an interview on WKCR radio, recorded on May 5, 1966, in which John Ashbery did something he rarely did — a close reading or “explanation” of a poem. In this rare instance, it was “These Lacustrine Cities.” The whole interview lasts 27 1/2 minutes, but toward the beginning Ashbery reads the poem for interviewer/host Bruce Kawin, after which the poet discusses it for 13 minutes, after which the poem is recited again.

I am compiling this note during the weekend of John Ashbery’s death. I found myself pondering this portion of the poet’s disarming talk about his poem:

“Whose disappointment broke into a rainbow of tears.” Well again, you have two conflicting things, three really: disappointment and tears, kind of combining to make something rather beautiful and pleasant to look at, like a rainbow. In other words, a final contradiction, which is one of many, which this poem is made up of, and which life and history are made up of.

Richard Tuttle on Sanskrit and Islam — at Naropa University, Summer 2016

New at PennSound

“What Sanskrit Means to Me”

An indexical lyric

Print of ‘Lyric Poetry’ by H. D. Walker, a mural in the Library of Congress, which appears as a Detroit Publishing Company postcard. Via Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Those interested in theorizing lyric must tread lightly these days, for a great deal of recent critical energy has been invested in sounding the interpretive contours of this “super-sized” modern genre. Much of this work seeks to disrobe lyric of its transhistorical pretensions, revealing by way of materialist critique that what we took for an enduring genre is actually a product of deeply codified reading practices.

Those interested in theorizing lyric must tread lightly these days, for a great deal of recent critical energy has been invested in sounding the historical and interpretive contours of this “super-sized” modern genre.[1] Much of this work seeks to disrobe lyric of its transhistorical pretensions, revealing by way of materialist critique that what we took for an enduring genre is actually a product of deeply codified — and distinctly post-Romantic — reading practices.

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.

Michael Magee, 'Morning Constitutional'

In the Kensington section of Philadelphia, 2004.

Thanks to PennSound staffer Hannah Judd, a November 2001 reading of Morning Constitutional Michael Magee gave at the Kelly Writers House — with Louis Cabri — has been segmented. Magee's book Morning Constitutional was published in 2001. Publisher's Weekly observed: “A breadcrumb trail of juiced urban monologues, phrasal runs somewhere between Dolphy and Sun Ra, rope-a-dope reports from a guarded ordering bordering on an underdog corner restoration and definitional clarity (a slush fund is dirty money) mark these ante-meridian outings, exercising our rights and outlining the space between our laws.” Magee walked Philadelphia in the mornings and these poems densely record his observations, debris-like.

Michael Magee's book Morning Constitutional was published in 2001. Publisher's Weekly observed: “A breadcrumb trail of juiced urban monologues, phrasal runs somewhere between Dolphy and Sun Ra, rope-a-dope reports from a guarded ordering bordering on an underdog corner restoration and definitional clarity (a slush fund is dirty money) mark these ante-meridian outings, exercising our rights and outlining the space between our laws.” Magee walked Philadelphia in the mornings and these poems densely record his observations, debris-like. The book is still available for purchase. Philip Metres wrote about it for Jacket in May 2003.

Now, thanks to PennSound staffer Hannah Judd, a November 2001 reading Magee gave at the Kelly Writers House — with Louis Cabri — has been segmented.

New at PennSound: Eileen Myles's Segue Series reading, April 2010

Eileen Myles (courtesy: Book Forum)

Newly segmented at PennSound: Eileen Myles’s Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club, April 10, 2010:

  1. Introduction (4:28): MP3
  2. Your Name (2:00): MP3
  3. Mitten (1:04): MP3
  4. The Weather (1:18): MP3
  5. November 11th (0:24): MP3
  6. 2008, For Emma (0:12): MP3
  7. The Nervous Entertainment, For Cathy (1:39): MP3
  8. Driving At Night (0:20): MP3
  9. My Box (1:11): MP3
  10. "A Poet" from Inferno (a Poet's Novel) (3:07): MP3
  11. "Marge Piercy" from Inferno (a Poet's Novel) (12:48): MP3
  12. "Hart Crane" from Inferno (a Poet's Novel) (8:31): MP3
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