Lit Geek Heaven: Pennsound Audio Archive

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Pennsound's mission is to collect, and make available to the public free of charge, recordings of contemporary authors and poets reading their own work, as well as to preserve recordings of authors from the past.

The collection is weighted heavily towards the poetry side of literature and toward avant garde/academic rather than popular writers. So, you won’t find Billy Collins, Nicholas Sparks and Mary Oliver here, but you will find such contemporary heavyweights as John Ashbery, Paul Auster  and Adrienne Rich, as well as bold-faced names from the past like F. Scott Fitzgerald reading Keats, Louis Zukofsky reading his own stuff along with some Catullus, and Gertrude Stein reading Gertrude Stein, but also being Gertrude Stein in that particular way that only she can.Screenshot from Pennsound

Other features you’ll find on Pennsound:

  • a wide selection from the Electronic Poetry Center including facsimiles with cover art and illustrations of rare books by Djuna Barnes, Stephane Mallarmé and others.
  • Reproductions of selections from the seminal Vorticist magazine, Blast..
  • Live from The Ear Inn – recordings of live performances from the home of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry that span the years 1978 - 1994.
  • Performances from the Kelly Writers’ House and other important spoken word venues.
  • podcasts, webcasts and short subject video.

I don't feel I can let you go without a warning. it is very easy to get lost in Pennsound. In fact, I'm pretty sure that while researching this post I stumbled onto a weird temporal rift. One minute I would be diligently clicking away, and the next I would find myself at my desk with two or three hours missing that I could not account for. Eerie.

If you know of other entertaining and educational websites that would be appropriate for this space, please drop us a line. As always corrections, rebuttals, invective and suggestions for future posts are gratefully accepted. Thanks for reading.