Even before I listen to it, I rush [like a fool??? ha-ha!] to congratulate you, Tom Colket, for your very worthy & laudable enterprise.
A great gift to the list, indeed, on St. Valentine's Day.
Three cheers !!!
And with my best regards,
--- On Sun, 2/14/10, Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> From: Tom Colket <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Valentine's gift to the TSE list: MP3 recording of Eliot reading "Fragment of an Agon"
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Sunday, February 14, 2010, 1:18 AM
> Eliot List:
> Happy Valentine's Day!
> My Valentine's Day gift to the List is, attached to
> this email, a hard-to-get copy of Eliot himself reading
> "Fragment of an Agon" from "Sweeney
> Agonistes". The attachment is a 5MB "MP3"
> file which everyone on the list should be able to hear on
> their computers.
> Before I go any further, per instructions from the
> copyright holder and from Harvard, I must call your
> attention to the "important notice" below:
> Important Notice:
> Attached to this post you are receiving, free of charge to
> you, an MP3 recording of T.S. Eliot reading "Fragment
> of an Agon" from "Sweeney Agonistes". Each
> member of the T. S. Eliot list is receiving this recording
> to listen to privately because a license fee has been
> negotiated and paid to Faber and Faber. It must be
> understood that you do NOT have any commercial rights to
> this recording and you do NOT have the rights to post it
> anywhere. If you wish to post this recording or any excerpt
> from this recording you must separately negotiate your own
> license fee with Faber and Faber
> ([log in to unmask]).
> This recording of T. S. Eliot reading "Fragment of an
> Agon" is provided courtesy of Woodberry Poetry Room,
> Harvard University.
> I think you may be interested in the history of this
> While doing some reading on "Sweeney Agonistes",
> I came across a footnote in a book that mentioned Eliot made
> a recording of "Agon" that was released on
> cassette tape in 1978 by Harvard as part of a six-cassette
> package called "The Poet's Voice". I
> tried to find a copy of the package and was able to locate
> only two copies, both of which claimed to be in good
> condition. However, when the tapes arrived they were
> unplayable until I did some "surgery" on the
> cassettes. The tapes and the cassette housings, over 30
> years old, were quite fragile and it was only a matter of
> time before they became permanently unusable. It was clear
> that it would be a good idea to transfer them to a digital
> format. I used some equipment I have to make a digitized
> copy of "Agon" (which was over 36 MB), then ran it
> through some software to get an "MP3" version that
> was only 5MB (and sounds almost as good as the 36 MB
> The original recording was made by Eliot in 1948 as part of
> the collection of poets' recordings made at the
> Woodberry Reading Room in Harvard.
> In the 1920s, Professor George Woodberry at Harvard got the
> idea to record poets reading their own work. In those days
> recording equipment was extremely expensive, essentially
> requiring a recording studio to produce the recordings.
> Professor Woodberry was unable to get funding for his
> project. A year after he died the funding was obtained and
> Harvard named the room in his honor in 1931. There are now
> over 6,000 recordings by various artists at Woodberry. The
> room is open to the public, although you are not allowed to
> make copies of the recordings that you hear. From time to
> time Harvard has released some of the recordings for sale to
> the general public, originally on vinyl records and then on
> cassette tape. The six-cassette package called "The
> Poet's Voice" was one such release of material done
> in 1978.
> As soon as I heard the tape and made the MP3 file, I
> immediately wanted to post it to the List, but I knew I
> needed legal permission. I wrote to the current curator of
> Woodberry (Ms. Christina Davis) who told me:
> a) Harvard would grant me permission to post the
> b) I also needed permission from Faber and Faber.
> I immediately wrote to Faber, and it has taken 3 months to
> obtain their permission. Some of their letters are included
> at the end of this email, as is a comment on
> "Agon" from the previous Woodberry curator, Don
> Share. I blanked out only a few items from the Faber letter,
> such as the amount of the license fee Faber requested, as my
> momma taught me it is bad manners to discuss the dollars (or
> pounds) involved when giving a gift!
> By the way, Faber understands that the TSE listserver
> automatically archives all posts and attachments. This means
> that, under the current license, a future TSE list member
> will be able to access the archives and legally download a
> copy of the Eliot recording for their private listening.
> They will NOT have any commercial rights and will NOT have
> any reposting rights without negotiating a separate
> agreement with Faber. In other words, all current and future
> TSE list members can legally obtain a copy of the MP3
> recording with the same listening rights.
> I think everyone on the list will greatly enjoy this
> recording. In addition to hearing the jazz rhythm of the
> dialogue as Eliot envisioned it, you'll get to hear the
> tunes of "Under the Bamboo Tree", "My Little
> Island Girl", as well as the tune behind the chorus at
> the end ("cream of a nightmare dream . . .", which
> I didn't even know _had_ a tune). I found listening to
> this to be great fun.
> -- Tom --
> P.S. If you do not receive the MP3 attachment from the
> Eliot Listserver, send me an email and I will email your
> copy directly to you. To keep everything within the license
> terms, please state in your email that you are a member of
> the T. S. Eliot List.
> My email address is:
> [log in to unmask]
> Christina Davis
> [log in to unmask]
> Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 9:53 AM
> In order to grant you permission to receive a copy of
> Eliot's "Fragment of an Agon" and put it
> online, you would need to contact Eliot's publishing
> company, Faber & Faber, in the UK. We would need to
> receive a copy of their written permission. Once that
> occurs, we are more than happy to provide you with the
> Please let me know if you have any additional questions,
> and best of luck with your worthy undertaking.
> Yours sincerely,
> Christina Davis
> Wed, 27 Jan 2010
> Thank you for your email, and apologies for the delay in
> getting back to you. As Christina Davis says, this is a very
> worthy undertaking.
> We do not usually allow any online uses of Eliot's
> works, in line with the wishes of his Estate. With any of
> our other poets, for whom we do allow online use, we would
> normally charge an annual fee for the inclusion of the work
> on the site. However, given that this would be restricted to
> list members only, I think we could relax our policy in this
> instance. I would suggest a one-off fee of "XXX",
> provided that, as you say, a notice was included that
> members would need to seek permission from Faber to use the
> extract in any commercial way (or to post it elsewhere).
> I hope this is of some help to you, and once again,
> apologies for the delay in response.
> With best wishes,
> xxxxx xxxxx
> Permissions Controller
> Faber and Faber Ltd
> Info on the Woodberry Reading Room at Harvard
> In 2005, Don Share was Curator of the Poetry Room at
> Harvard University, where he teaches. This is an excerpt
> from an interview he did where he mentions
> Interviewer. You currently are Curator of Poetry for the
> Woodberry Poetry Room at the Lamont Library at Harvard
> University. When did you take over as Curator.
> What are some of the gems you discovered there?
> Don> I became Curator of the Poetry Room in 2000.
> There are countless gems in the collection-books,
> manuscripts, artwork by all the great modern poets-and so
> many talismans and touchstones for poets. But the ones
> I adore most of all are the amazing sound recordings of
> poets in our archive. My favorites are Eliot's
> almost rap performance of "Fragment of an Agon,"
> Pound's hilarious recording in 1931 of "Cantico del
> Sole" ("The thought of what America would be like
> / If the Classics had a wide circulation / Troubles my
> sleep...), and Patrick Kavanagh's singing, possibly
> under the influence, "On Raglan Road" to the tune
> of the old air, "The Dawning of The Day."
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