September 27, 2003

Charles Bernstein and PENNsound

by Nick Montfort · , 3:02 pm

On Thursday I went to a great poetry reading at the Kelly Writers House, an event that also served as a welcome. Charles Bernstein was reading; he has recently joined the faculty here at Penn. He is undertaking a project, PENNsound, to create a large, free archive of digital recordings of poets reading poetry. He’s working with Al Filreis and others here at Penn on this venture. Bernstein has written a very nice manifesto for the project, which requires that the per-poem recordings be available in a format that is as useful and non-proprietary as possible, that they be of high enough quality, and that they be indexed and carry bibliographic information with them. The manifesto auspiciously begins “It must be free.”

But, back to the reading: It was great, featuring many amusing phrases and language in many artful shapes. Bernstein read from his recent chapbook Let’s Just Say and from World on Fire. He read one work that was written on index cards, which he shuffled before the reading. These held aphorisms, perverbs, and one long, repudiating list which was written on a card that folded out to greater length. I wish some of you in the Grand Text Auto gang and some of my remote poetry friends could have been there; fortunately, MP3s of his reading are already online.

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4 Responses to “Charles Bernstein and PENNsound”

  1. Matt K. Says:

    I heard CB give a talk about this at last spring’s Society for Textual Scholarship. “We are all Nipper now,” he proclaimed. (Nipper is the name of the dog peering into the phonograph in the famous RCA Victor ads.) Anyway, PENNsound (what a glorious name) is a brilliant and timely project, especially now that I have a 30GB player to fill up.

  2. nick Says:

    I should’ve officially mentioned it: PENNSound officially launched, on January 1. There’s an article about the project in City Paper, a Philadelphia weekly.

  3. nick Says:

    Here’s another article about PENNsound, in the Penn Current.

  4. nick Says:

    There’s now a new look for PennSound, “featured MP3s” selected by Al Filreis, and a bevy of new recorded poems from Bernadette Mayer, H.D., Lydia Davis, Jennifer Moxley, Gil Ott, Vachel Lindsay, Paul Auster, Kit Robinson, Rodrigo Toscano, and Ann Waldman, among others. Check it out!

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