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The Poetry Free Music Store (1975)

Recorded live, in 1975, a rebroadcast of a series of eight esteemed poets reading their work. As a group, they do not define one school of focus, but nevertheless represent the dynamism of American poetry in the later half of the 20th Century. They include: Charles Reznikoff, Rochelle Owens, Muriel Rukeyser, Quincy Troupe, Joel Oppenheimer, Paul Metcalf, Russell Edson, and Armand Schwerner. Just as all of their poetic styles are equally eclectic, so is their approaches to their performances. While some read primarily old material, others read works that they had yet had published and were still in the process of crafting.

Eric Salzman founded and organized the Free Music Store in 1962. It was a weekly concert series that were performed before a live audience and recorded for WBAI listeners. The acts included folk singers, chamber musicians, electronic composers, Brazilian percussionists, and poets.The performances were free of charge, however, donations were accepted and used as compensation for the acts and refreshments. The FMS took place at a deconstructed church on East 62nd Street, in New York City. Ira Weitzman took over as director after Salzman left the radio station in 1971.

This program has been restored by the Clocktower Radio, with assistance of Charles Ruas, and by agreement with the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library, home to the historic audio of Charles Ruas.


Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas


An unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas, and featuring Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others.