Saturday, August 31, 2013

Charles Reznikoff's Birthday

[Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976) - Photograph by Abraham Ravett, 1975]

It's Charles Reznikoff 's birthday today. We've featured him here before, with great pleasure, quite extensively. 

Previous "Rezzy" postings on the Ginsberg Project:  here - here, here, here and here here and here.

Today, the recording of a memorial gathering held for him at St Mark's Poetry Project, March 20, 1976.

Audio notes from the Internet Archive, via Other Minds:  

"A veritable who’s who of American poets, many hailing from New York, 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 include, Allen Ginsberg, Ron Padgett, Joel Oppenheimer, Anne Waldman, Armand Schwerner, Charles North, and many others. The poems they have selected represent the incredible range of Reznikoff’s writings, from one-line mediations on a bridge to excerpts from book-length poems about the Jewish 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 dwindles into stars.”

Note: All poems are by (Charles) 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."

Allen can be heard reading from "Five Groups of Verse" (from 1927), approximately thirty-four minutes in. He is followed by Peter Orlovsky reading a brief section from "Holocaust".    


  1. Fiercely quiet, quick smile, piercing intelligence. When Charles read at the National Poetry Festival (1973?), he brought me to tears. I found my own voice as a poet through his approach to writing poems, and when Allen praised my first chapbook, Stars, I asked for Rezi's address so that I could send it to him. Allen wrote back, "Alas Reznikoff died about 2 months ago—82 years old. I'd supped with him in Lincoln Towers middleaged apartments Westside Manhattan ago—winter nite stars over the city + cars passing by West Side streets 12 floors below." David Cope

    1. thats a good story with so much in it for a great poem in the very tradition you enjoy