Jerome Rothenberg: A Gematria Sampler

[In response to questions about my use of traditional gematria as a means of poetic composition, the following sampler draws poems from two books of mine previously published and still, I believe, in circulation: Gematria, Sun & Moon Press, 1994, and Gematria Complete, Marick Press, 2009.  That the works were part of an ongoing dialogue between myself and Jackson Mac Low may also be worth noting.]


Reading by Don Mee Choi

'My tongue, your tongue is already an aggregate.'

Don Mee Choi and her brother, from Hardly War

About sixty people gathered in Bennington College’s Tishman Lecture Hall on the evening of November 28, 2018 for Don Mee Choi’s reading for the Poetry at Bennington series, mostly professors, students, and local artists and poets including Mary Ruefle and the painter and collagist Mary Lum.

A poem in Arabic, not an Arabic Poem

Unsi al-Hajj (image from

This is an Arabic prose poem from the Lebanese poet Unsi al-Hajj’s (1935–2014) collection The Severed Head (1963). Many will take issue with calling it a prose poem in the first place. In its form and layout on the page, it does not correspond to what we know the prose poem to be in English or French. Nevertheless, it is an Arabic prose poem for two reasons: it claims and insists on being a “poem” and it is written without any metrical consideration whatsoever.

Sherry Bernstein: Funeral Program

Riverside Memorial Chapel, New York, 11am, Nov. 2, 2018
Charles Bernstein, officiating

Sherry Bernstein (Feb. 2, 1921–Oct. 27, 2017): obituary (Jacket2, October 28, 2018)

Into-an-empty-swimming-pool-diving in love

a photograph of branches twisted into the shape of a person in an alcove
Ana Mendieta, Untitled from Silueta Series, Mexico, 1973-77

I am falling in love with a person. Isn’t falling in love one of the weirdest feelings you’ve ever had? I can’t say that it is pure joy. I mean we say FALLING in love for a reason. And, as you get older, falling is no joke. Forty-two-year-olds fall down and can break their body. But love falling is so much riskier! We really should call it plummeting in love. We really should call it into-an-empty-swimming-pool-diving in love. It feels like my realities are at stake. My sense of self. The view of my life from this angle — forty-two-year-old white mother poet lady.