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Pennsound, launched in 2005, “is a Web-based archive for noncommercial distribution of the largest collection of poetry sound files on the Internet.” It is both an archive of poets reading their own poems and recordings of discussions about poetics.

Funding for the project comes from private donors to the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, which sponsors the project.

When I plugged the word “haiku” into the search engine, the only poet who came up that had been recorded reading their own haiku was Linh Dinh.

Of late, Linh Dinh has been a contributor to both the Poem Talk series (a blog mentioned previously in this posting) and The New York Times. Dinh’s personal blog is Detainees.

The piece is entitled “Biblical Haikus” (from the collection Borderless Bodies [Factory School, 2005]) and is a recording of Dinh reading 13 haiku poems. Like many poets who don’t normally compose haiku, his verses “mimic,” as William J. Higginson has noted elsewhere, “a naive understanding of haiku: five, seven, five, syllables in three successive lines.” And, like Jack Kerouac (who does not have a page on Pennsound), he calls them “haikus” with an “s” instead of just “haiku.” Dinh’s exploration into haiku produces some interesting and experimental results though (understandably not everyone’s cup of tea), with little obvious padding, on a topic that has much depth in western art and literature. Three examples from the recording:

The first three men roll
with the first woman to launch
a nation of ants.

The male addendum
made no sense whatsoever
before the spare rib.

Steal from the ants, slugs.
They got gas but no weapons
of mass destruction.

Pennsound is a tremendous source for poets, scholars and teachers. Just type a poet’s name in the search engine and something is sure to pop up. It would be great if more haiku poets’ works were available, particularly, for example, the sound recordings of Nicholas A. Virgilio, as well as the recordings recently found of Cor van den Heuvel, Anita Virgil, Alan Pizzarelli, Penny Harter and William J. Higginson by Alan Pizzarelli (Haiku Chronicles, Episode 1).

What are some ways we can get more recordings of haiku read by their authors, past and present, into this unique and very special resource?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. To Claire Richardot: What a total surprise to see this comment! Some of my wisdom you would like?
    Well, what didja have in mind? Perhaps my many essays would keep you busy for a long time. Some are in in Red Moon Anthologies, in Haiku Reality online from Serbia, or in Simply Haiku Archives. There also you will find the majority of my work since 2004: haiku, senryu, tanka, essays, book reviews of my books and an interview of me. Most recently “GARDEN” in August 2009. Haiku Chronicles is currently featuring me on podcasts #8 and #9 soon online, and more of my work will appear in later episodes . . . my haiku, tanka, haibun . . . That’s enough wisdom stuff to choke a horse! Many thanks for your ever so kind comment.

  2. I am excited the name Anita Virgil comes to this blog. What I ask Ms Virgil is that she bring some of her wisdom to some place in this blog. She is after all the person who said

    not seeing
    the room is white
    until that red apple

    A very honed perception.

    By the way, I hope I am allowed to say that the connection on my own red name will show you my birth city, Montpellier in France.

  3. If you want to hear me reading my work, both haiku and senryu, it is on the CD “summer thunder” available directly from me. (2004, Peaks Press) with music and photography. $15 USD

    Also, there is a brief introductory comment by me as editor of the CD “muddy shoes candy heart ” (2003, Peaks Press ) , the work of Sasa Vazic, Serbian poet. This CD has music of the Balkans, photographs of Serbian scenes, and a short film version of the entire “book.”
    All of her poems are read by her in English.
    This is also available directly from me. $20 USD

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