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An In-Studio Reading by Charles Reznikoff, May 1975

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 25 min
Event Type: Spoken Word Program Origin: WBAI

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. Intelligent, clear, and not overly metaphorical, Reznikoff’s poems are often personal depictions of New York City life and the experiences of immigrants in the United States. Often very brief, but never boring or overly sentimental, the poems heard here are prime examples of his personal style of poetry, as opposed to his longer works which deal with historical and religious themes.

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:  Fable [”Inscriptions No. 50”] (0:28) -- “One of my sentinels, a tree” [”Inscriptions No. 3”] (0:11) -- “I have not even been in the fields” [”Rhythms II No. 1”] (0:10) -- “Blurred sight and trembling fingers” [”Inscriptions No. 48”] (0:17) -- Heart and Clock [excerpt, from “Separate Way No. 1”] (0:57) -- “Our nightingale, the clock” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 61”] (0:11) -- “The clock” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 62”] (0:12) -- “My hair was caught in the wheels of a clock” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 63”] (0:07) -- “Hardly a breath of wind” [”Inscriptions No. 12”] (0:17) -- “After I had worked all day at what I earn my living” [”A Fifth Group of Verse No. 19”] (0: 21) -- Te Deum [”Inscriptions No. 22”] (0:22) -- “The dogs that walk with me are now and here” [”Inscriptions No. 38”] (0:18) -- “God saw Adam in a town” [”A Fifth Group of Verse No. 17”] (0:16) -- “Look triumphantly” [from the original edition, “Rhythms No. 7”] (0:13) -- “It was in my heart to give her wine and dainties” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 57”] (0:31) -- “The new janitor is a Puerto Rican” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 10”] (1:28) -- “This Puerto Rican, just an ordinary laborer” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 22”] (0:10) -- “During the Second World War, I was going home one night” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 28”] (1:41) -- “Most of the stock in the hardware store” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 13”] (2:01) -- "The Chinese girl in the waiting-room" [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 11”] (0:23) -- “Would I write a letter for him?” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 3”] (1:52) -- “The company had advertised for men to unload a steamer across” [”Testimony I”] (1:48) -- “Amelia was just fourteen and out of the orphan asylum; at her first job” [”Testimony II”] (1:19) -- Land of Refuge [excerpt, from “New Nation” from “Separate Way No. 11”] (0:38) -- Brief History [excerpt, from “New Nation” from “Separate Way No. 11”] (0:35) -- Brief History [excerpt, from “New Nation” from “Separate Way No. 11”] (0:28) -- A Citizen [”A Fifth Group of Verse No. 10”] (0:20) -- You are young and contemptuous” [”inscriptions No. 5”] (0:11) -- “A well-phrased eulogy, a low-itched dirge” [”Inscriptions No. 25”] (0:31) -- “How grey you are! No, white!” [”Inscriptions No. 49”] (0:21) -- “Now it is cold: where the snow was melting” [”Autobiography: New York VI” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (1:12)
Genre:  Poetry
Subject:  Poetry
People:  Howe, Susan, 1937- ; Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976
Recording Date:  5/13/1975
 
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