(September 17) It’s William Carlos Williams‘ birthday today.
We draw your attention (as we have in the past) to Richard Swigg’s extraordinary gathering of audio recordings, originally compiled and published in 1992 and 1993 at Keele University, England, and now available on-line at the incomparable PennSound
The earliest of these recordings is a reading given for the National Council of Teachers of English and Columbia University Press, January 9, 1942, featuring Williams reading eight poems – “The Red Wheelbarrow”, “Tract”, “The Defective Record”, “To a Poor Old Woman”, “A Coronal”, “To Elsie”, “The Wind Increases” and “A Classic Scene”
The background (the provenance) is of great interest. Chris Mustazza writes about it extensively here, noting that the NCTE/Columbia University Press Contemporary Poetry Series, “marks one of the earliest cases of the use of technology and poetics pedagogy – the concept that a phonotext provides unique insight into a poem.” – the poetry reading as instruction, an anticipation of one of the singular platforms of PennSounds intention.
Some previous Ginsberg-Williams birthday postings: