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Poetry podcasts, online resources, oh and introducing Canada a wee bit more
There may not be much poetry to read on my iPod, but there is a lot of poetry to listen to. So, if you’re a gym rat, you can take a variety of poetic journeys ranging from recorded readings, to discussions of poetry, to lectures. This is the upside to all of our technological upheaval. At least one of them. I’ll offer a few of my favourite regular podcasts, and highlights.
Poem Talk with Al Filreis can be very good, and sometimes for rising one’s blood pressure as you want to argue with readings the guests offer (or how they offer). Among my favourites, a discussion of one of Stein’s Portrait’s got my blood boiling (and apparently Marjorie Perloff’s blood boiling as well as she wrote a recent essay titled “Abstraction and ‘Unreadability’ in Gertrude Stein’s Portraits: The Case of Christian Bérard”). How can you say this is “not a portrait”? How can you say the portraits are simply portraits of Stein? If that’s the case every portrait is simply a portrait of the portrait taker given that they choose the how and why of the creation of the portrait… But yes, there have been very good discussions, particularly of Rae Armantrout. You can subscribe to it via iTunes.
Avant-Garde All the Time with Kenneth Goldsmith is chock full of amazing finds. Particularly the two recent “women of the avant-garde” with offerings such as “Turtle Dreams” from Meredith Monk, a Lydia Lunch flashback, a young, young, Patti Smith, balladeer Helen Adam. Some excellent new finds for me include Judy Dunaway, a woman who composes for the rubber balloon (I’m serious, see photo of Dunaway above). Louise Lawler’s bird calls using the names of male artists as she walked home in the New York of the 1970s. Very funny and haunting. Strange sound poetry including recordings of sounds you probably never want to hear (Lauren Lesko). You probably have heard of Laurie Anderson, of course you’ve heard of Yoko Ono, but have you heard of Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad? Goldsmith’s podcasts are total discoveries. More extensive archives can be found on ubu.web of course.
BookWorm KCRW with Michael Silverblatt: there are great interviews in this archive, both fiction and poetry, including Frank Bidart, John Ashbery, Rae Armantrout, Ron Padgett and this week, Patti Smith. Silverblatt is a generous and engaging interviewer with quite a diverse range of guests–and lots of poetry!
Speaking of poetry–did you know that the Dodge Festival has its own youtube channel? Jane Hirshfield, Sharon Olds, Lucille Clifton, CD Wright, Jorie Graham…a huge resource.
Penn Sound is an even more amazing resource if you don’t already have that bookmarked. They have some excellent series to download including a fabulous discussion from the Philly Talks series between Steve McCaffery and Lisa Robertson. Other highlights include a recording of Alice Notley’s reading in November 2006 (among other audio resources, amazing). And Ron Silliman–yes we read his blog, but have you read his poetry lately? Or heard him read? (I have been making my way through The Alphabet and am quite astonished and wondering why we aren’t hearing more about his work.)
I wish I could offer you similar Canadian resources but we are not quite up to speed with our online presence north of the border. You can find Canadian poets on PennSound though–and I highly recommend listening to NourbeSe Philip, Susan Holbrook, Nicole Brossard, and of course, Christian Bok. There is an audio file featuring Erin Moure from the recent IN(TER)VENTIONS: Literary Practice At The Edge conference at the Banff Centre for the Arts*.
Rattling Books has some very good audio files that you can buy, including readings of Don McKay, Mary Dalton and John Steffler. There is also a must-have audio version of Mavis Gallant’s Montreal Stories that will transport you to a very specific and compelling version of Montreal, the stories lasting all the way from Montreal to Toronto and back.
The Griffin Poetry Prize site is gathering an archive of brief readings of all the poets (Canadian and International) that have read over the years including Robert Bringhurst, Ken Babstock, Kevin Connolly, Dionne Brand, and a rare reading by Margaret Avison. These aren’t podcasts, but you can hear/see them read.
CBC, the mothercorp here in Canada, has a great digital archive available on line. You can find interviews from people such as Jane Jacobs, Joan Crawford, Yoko and John’s bed-in, Alice Munro, young and green Iggy Popp and a fiery interview with Larry Zolf and Germaine Greer.
CBC offers one major literary show in Writers & Company, but while the weekly show has had some strong interviews over the years, it features international, and usually very well known writers, rather than Canadian writers, and includes little innovative work and almost no poetry whatsoever unless the poet has written a novel (as in the case of the incredible Sherman Alexie and Dionne Brand). The lack of diversity in the line-up is disappointing: Canada is a country with a thriving diverse poetics and at a national arts programs level, we seem to do little to introduce these excellent and diverse voices to audiences… There are several excellent CBC podcasts (Ideas, As it Happens) though sadly, not for poetry.
For the iPhone Canada’s National Film Board app is a must. You can download films–and there are many, many shorts worth seeing here–for free.
It’s a grassroots effort then in Canada. In Vancouver the Kootenay School of Writing is building quite an online resource too. No podcasts yet, but there is an audio file page under development, and in Ottawa, Arc Poetry Magazine is developing podcasts. A new program out of Vancouver called Booksontheradio has appeared on the scene and John Herbert Cunningham in Winnipeg has been interviewing poets on his show “Speaking of Poets” on CKUW, a local radio station. He has archived the interviews online and they can be downloaded too.
Of course once I hit publish I’ll remember another resource–or you will. I hope you’ll add those below.
* For those who don’t know about the Banff Centre, and for some reason musicians and artists seem to be more familiar with it outside of Canada, the Writing Studio has become an essential step in the career of literary writers and is open to international applicants. Highly. Recommended. Particularly this one.