PostedDecember 04, 2006
Based out of the University of Pennsylvania, PennSound is a free online gallery, archive and radio show rolled into one. The site features a wealth of recordings culled from poetry readings over the past several decades, and continues to grow with new recordings and programming each year. Visitors to PennSound can sample a seasonal menu of featured mp3s, subscribe to a regular podcast, or browse the site's extensive archive of recordings.
PennSound's bountiful collection features both emerging and canonical poets with an emphasis on the experimental and adventurous. Unlike many poetry audio archives, PennSound's collection is organized into "singles"—individual poems rather than larger, harder-to-download recordings of complete readings. In addition to readings, PennSound features a collection of lectures, interviews and talk shows hosted by Charles Bernstein, one of the site's two directors along with Al Filreis. Streaming video of recent poetry readings and events from around the region are also showcased.
A "PennSound Manifesto," published on the site, declares the project's commitment to regularly produce free, downloadable poetry recordings, in universal formats, with as much bibliographical and archival information as possible. As an archive, PennSound is committed to providing dates and documentation for all of its recordings, to further enrich listeners with the history and context surrounding each reading. Featured poets include Barbara Guest, Rae Armantrout, Charles Reznikoff, Robert Creeley, Yusef Komunyakaa and Kenneth Koch.