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An In-Studio Reading by Charles Reznikoff, March 1975

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 26 min
Event Type: Spoken Word Program Origin: KPFA

Charles Reznikoff reads a selection of his poetry in a program originally recorded at the studio of WBAI in New York and produced by Susan Howe. Reznikoff, who died in January of 1976, was an American Jewish poet, playwright, and author, and the first poet to be called an Objectivist. Unlike many of the great poets of the past, such as William Wordsworth, William Butler Yeats, and even Robert Frost, who looked to the natural world for their inspiration, Reznikoff often used city life as his main theme. Other topics of interest in Reznikoff’s work include Judaism and the history of the Jewish people as well as the experience of American immigrants. As this reading will show, Reznikoff remains one of the great authentic voices in modern American poetry.

Note: The attribution of these poems is based on the 2005 edition of “The Poems of Charles Reznikoff” edited by Seamus Cooney except where noted.

Musical Selections:  Samuel [”A Fifth Group of Verse No. 20”] (1:20) -- Hanukkah [”Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays IV” from “Inscriptions No. 13”] (1:47) -- New Year’s [”Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays I” from “Inscriptions No. 13”] (2:14) -- Day of Atonement [”Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays II” from “Inscriptions No. 13”] (1:40) -- “Salmon and red wine” [”Inscriptions No. 23”] (0:40) -- “I have neither the time nor the weaving skill, perhaps” [”Inscriptions No. 21”] (0:52) -- “When the sky is blue, the water over the sandy bottom is green” [”Jerusalem is Golden No. 71”] (0:18) -- Building Boom [”A Fifth Group of Verse No. 13”] (0:28) -- “The house-wreckers have left the door and a staircase” [”Poems No. 7”] (0:09) -- “Among the heaps of brick and plaster lies” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 69”] (0:09) -- “These days the papers in the street” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 10”] (0:18) -- “Scrap of paper” [”Inscriptions No. 24”] (0:09) -- “The birds sing” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 5”] (0:29) -- “Of course we must die” [”Inscriptions No. 41”] (0:12) -- “Rails in the subway” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 17”] (0:11) -- “This subway station” [”Autobiography: New York XVIII”, from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:16) -- “What are you doing in our street among the automobiles” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 39”] (0:11) -- “Permit me to warn you” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 42”] (0:08) -- Similes [excerpt, ”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 45”] (0:07) -- “As I was wandering with my unhappy thoughts” [”Inscriptions No. 20”] (0:31) -- “On a Sunday, when the place was closed” [””Autobiography: New York XXVII”, from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:18) -- Neighbors [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 10”] (0:17) -- “Horsefly” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 14”] (0:08) -- “The victorious Greeks before Troy, according to Homer” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 40”] (0:17) -- “A row of brownstone buildings” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 27”] (0:35) -- “Ah the drill” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 15”] (0:11) -- “In the street, nine stories below, the horn of an automobile out of order” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II No. 29”] (0:50) -- “Fraser, I think, tells of a Roman” [“Inscriptions No. 45”] (0:17) -- “On this beach the waves are never high” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 13”] (0:37) -- Rhetoric [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 30”] (0:14) -- “Rooted among roofs, their smoke among the clouds” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 40”] (0:10) -- Scrubwoman [”Rhythms II No. 7”] (0:17) -- “The elevator man, working long hours” [”Autobiography: New York XVII”, from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:15) -- “Showing a torn sleeve, with stiff and shaking fingers the old man” [”Poems No. 9”] (0:16) -- “The young fellow walks about” [”Autobiography: New York XXV”, from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:30) -- “The shopgirls leave their work” [”Rhythms No. 9”] (0:13) -- Cooper Union Library [”Autobiography: New York XXIII”, from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:11) -- Depression [excerpt, from “Separate Way No. 8”] (0:31) -- Depression [excerpt, from “Separate Way No. 8”] (0:30) -- “You must not suppose” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I No. 11”] (0:11) -- “Two girls of twelve or so at a table” [”Inscriptions No. 7”] (0:41) -- “I am always surprised to meet, after ten or twenty years” [”Autobiography: New York XXVI”, from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:22)
Genre:  Poetry
Subject:  Poetry
People:  Howe, Susan, 1937- ; Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976
Recording Date:  3/27/1975
 
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