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Charles Reznikoff Memorial Reading

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 82 min
Event Type: Spoken Word Program Origin: KPFA

A veritable who’s who of American poets, many hailing from New York City, read their favorite poems by Charles Reznikoff and others, during a memorial for the late Jewish American poet, author, and playwright. Those marking the passing of the first of the Objectivist poets included, Allen Ginsberg, Ron Padgett, Joel Oppenheimer, Anne Waldman, Armand Schwerner, Charles North, and many others. The poems they selected represent the incredible range of Reznikoff’s writings; from one line mediations on a bridge, to excerpts from book length poems about Jewish history and the Holocaust. Written in the clear, plain language that was a hallmark of the Objectivist poets, this reading serves as a fitting memorial to a quintessential American poet of the 20th century, whose brightness now “dwindles into stars.”

Note: All poems by Reznikoff except where noted. The attribution of these poems is based on the 2005 edition of “The Poems of Charles Reznikoff” edited by Seamus Cooney. Certain poems have been renumbered from their original publication and this has been indicated when possible.

Part 1 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Depression [”Separate Way No. 8”] (2:07) -- Kaddish [”Separate Way No. 13”] (2:09) -- Boris Pasternak (2:14) / Anna Andreevna Akhmatova [trans. by Stanley Kunitz] -- “My hair was caught in the wheels of a clock” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 63”] (0:08) -- “Amelia was just fourteen and out of the orphan asylum; at her first job” [”Testimony II,” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (1:11) -- “The highway I was walking on” [“The Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 7”] (3:45) -- “I was walking along Forty-Second Street as night was falling” [”The Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 25”] (0:57) -- [excerpt of a letter to Harvey Shapiro from Marie Syrkin (wife of Charles Reznikoff)] (0:56) -- “Whenever my sister used to practice” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 3”] (0:29) -- “The windows opened on blank walls” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 4”] (0:38) -- Death of an Insect [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 13”] (0:17) -- “To early in the morning” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 17”] (0:52) -- Heat Wave: Third Day [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 25”] (0:21) -- “The princess” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 32”] (0:07) -- “The petty officer of a ship, ruddy cheeks and casklike chest and belly” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 19”, from original 1969 edition and later omitted] (0:24) -- Lesson in Homer [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 39”] (0:20) -- “You must not suppose” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 11”] (0:11) -- “The prodding of ‘get me’ and ‘give me’” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 28” from original 1969 edition and later omitted] (0:06) -- “You would crack my bones” [”The Well of Living and Seeing I, No. 48”] (0:15) -- “Head sunken, eyes closed” [”Kaddish VI,” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:42) -- “Her heavy braids, the long hair of which she had been proud” [”Kaddish VII,” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:17) -- “My mother leaned above me” [”Kaddish VIII,” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:19) -- Stele [”Kaddish IX,” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:30) -- “We looked at the light burning slowly before the picture” [”Kaddish X,” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:18) -- “I know you do not mind” [”Kaddish XI,” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:18) -- Elegy for the Old Language (3:02) / Walter Lowenfels -- “The shopgirls leave their work” [”Rhythms No. 9”, also found in the 1927 edition of “A Fifth Group of Verse”] (0:13) -- “My work done, I lean on the window-sill” [”Rhythms No. 19”] (0:14) -- “The winter afternoon darkens” [”Rhythms II No. 5”] (0:14) -- Scrubwoman [”Rhythms II, No. 7”] (0:20) -- “The peddler who goes from shop to shop” [”Poems, No. 4”] (0:13) -- Ghetto Funeral [”Poems, No. 8”] (0:27) -- “Showing a torn sleeve, with stiff and shaking fingers the old man” [”Poems, No. 9”] (0:14) -- She sat by the window opening into the airshaft” [”Poems, No. 11”] (0:45) -- “He showed me the album...” [”A Fourth Group of Verse, No. 19”] (0:41) -- “The shoemaker sat in the cellar’s dusk...” [”A Fourth Group of Verse, No. 48”] (1:10) -- “How miserly this bush is” [”A Fifth Group of Verse, No. 7”] (0:09) -- A Citizen [”A Fifth Group of Verse, No. 10”] (0:17) -- A Sunny Day [”A Fifth Group of Verse, No. 12”] (0:38) -- Building Boom [”A Fifth Group of Verse, No. 13”] (0:29) -- Holocaust [excerpt, from the book length poem] (2:00) -- “Now it is cold: where the snow was melting” [”Autobiography: New York, VI” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (1:05) -- “On a seat in the subway, staring out of the window at” [”A Short History of Israel; Notes and Glosses, VII” from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (0:34) -- “I was wearing a belt buckle” [”The Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 20”] (0:18) -- Te Deum [”Inscriptions No. 22”] (0:21) -- “I will be down in a few days” [”Social Life, No. 1” from “Testimony: The United States 1885-1915”] (0:11) -- “For thirty-five years they had lived together” [from “Testimony: The United States 1885-1915”] (0:59) -- “He was a married man in the forties” [from “Testimony: The United States 1885-1915”] (0:31) -- “When they told her husband” [from “Testimony: The United States 1885-1915”] (0:08) -- For Charles Reznikoff 1894-1976 (0:15) / Joel Oppenheimer -- Psalm (0:41) / George Oppen -- “During the Second World War, I was going home one night” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 28”] (1:45) -- Would I write a letter for him?” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 3”] (2:16) -- “I was sick” (0:31) / Martha Appenzeller (sp?) [7th grade student] -- “I remember my little friend Dede” (0:36) / Alexander Misuris (sp?) [7th grade student] -- “Down on Broadway” (0:38) / [anonymous]
Performers:  David Ignatow, reader
Stanley Kunitz , reader
Ron Padgett, reader
Harvey Shapiro, reader
Walter Lowenfels, reader
Allen Ginsberg, reader
Peter Orlovsky, reader
Susan Howe, reader
Joel Oppenheimer, reader
Alice Notley, reader
Bill Zavatsky, reader
Genre:  Poetry
Subject:  Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976; Poetry
People:  Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976; Akhmatova, Anna Andreevna, 1889-1966 ; Syrkin, Marie, 1899-1989; Lowenfels, Walter, 1897-1976; Oppenheimer, Joel ; Oppen, George; Ignatow, David, 1914-1997 ; Kunitz, Stanley, 1905-2006 ; Padgett, Ron, 1942- ; Shapiro, Harvey, 1924- ; Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 ; Orlovsky, Peter, 1933- ; Howe, Susan, 1937- ; Notley, Alice, 1945- ; Zavatsky, Bill
Recording Date:  3/20/1976
First Broadcast Date:  3/29/1976
 
Part 2 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  “The new janitor is a Puerto Rican” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 10”] (1:19) -- "The Chinese girl in the waiting-room" [”By the Well of Living and Seeing II, No. 11”] (0:19) -- “ A cold wind was blowing down the street in gusts” [”By the Well of Living and Seeing No. 31”] (0:29) -- Heroics [”Autobiography: Hollywood XXVI”, from “Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down”] (1:28) -- “The stars are hidden” [“Rhythms, No. 1”] (0:35) -- “The dead are walking silently” [“Rhythms, No. 2”] (0:11) -- “So one day, tired of the sky and hosts of stars” [“Rhythms, No. 3”] (0:07) -- “I step into the fishy pool” [“Rhythms, No. 4”] (0:09) -- “The dead man lies in the street” [“Rhythms, No. 5”] (0:15) -- “They dug her grave so deep” [“Rhythms, No. 6”] (0:11) -- “On Brooklyn Bridge I saw a man drop dead” [“Rhythms, No. 7”] (0:12) -- “I met in a merchant’s place” [“Rhythms, No. 8”] (0:09) -- “The shop girls leave their work” [“Rhythms, No. 9”] (0:14) -- “Hair and faces glossy with sweat in August” [“Rhythms, No. 10”] (0:28) -- “I walked through the lonely marsh” [“Rhythms, No. 11”] (0:17) -- “Wringing, wringing his pierced hands” [“Rhythms, No. 12”] (0:34) -- Romance [“Rhythms, No. 13”] (0:19) -- “How shall we mourn you who are killed and wasted” [“Rhythms, No. 14”] (0:12) -- “Her kindliness is like the sun” [“Rhythms, No. 15”] (0:11) -- “The fingers of your thoughts” [“Rhythms, No. 16”] (0:10) -- “When you sang moving your body proudly” [“Rhythms, No. 17”] (0:07) -- “The sea’s white teeth” [“Rhythms, No. 18”] (0:12) -- Deportation [excerpt, from “Holocaust”] (0:41) -- Day of Atonement [”Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays II” from “Inscriptions No. 13”] (1:25) -- “Fraser, I think, tells of a Roman” [“Inscriptions No. 45”] (0:15) -- “I have neither the time nor the weaving skill, perhaps” [“Inscriptions No. 21”] (0:20) -- “Scrap of paper” [”Inscriptions No. 24”] (0:07) -- Episode in Iceland [”Inscriptions No. 26”] (0:42) -- Sightseeing Tour: New York [”Inscriptions No. 44”] (1:10) -- “I had been bothered by a secret weariness” [excerpt, from ”Early History of a Writer No. 17”] (3:10) -- In a month they would be married” [”A Fourth Group of Verse No. 36”, also from “Uriel Acosta: A Play, No. 32”] (0:30) -- Bright upon your birthday” [”Autobiography: New York, No. 8”, also found in “By the Well of Living and Seeing, Autobiography: New York, No. 73”] (0:13) -- “I am afraid” [”Autobiography: New York, No. 9”, also found in “By the Well of Living and Seeing, Autobiography: New York, No. 74”] (0:19) -- The Bridge [”Autobiography: New York, No. 14”, also found in “By the Well of Living and Seeing, Autobiography: New York, No. 75”] (0:04) -- “Permit me to warn you” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 42”] (0:06) -- “This smoky winter morning” [”Jerusalem the Golden No. 48”] (0:08)
Performers:  Anne Waldman, reader
Armand Schwerner, reader
Rochelle Kraut, reader
Charles North, reader
Ted Greenwald, reader
Tom Savage, reader
Maureen Owen, reader
Genre:  Poetry
Subject:  Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976; Poetry
People:  Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976; Waldman, Anne, 1945- ; Schwerner, Armand; Kraut, Rochelle ; North, Charles, 1941- ; Greenwald, Ted; Savage, Tom; Owen, Maureen, 1943-
Recording Date:  3/29/1976
 
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