Commentaries

Erin Moure at the Kootenay School of Writing, 2007 — now segmented at PennSound

Thanks to the careful work of PennSound staffer Luisa Healey, Erin Moure's PennSound page now includes a segmented (by poem and discussion topic) audio recording of Erin's 2007 reading at the Kootenay School of Writing in Vancouver. Here, for instance, is a 6-minute segment on noise & access.

    1. Introduction to O Cidadan (3:01): MP3
    2. Document 15 [from O Cidadan] (2:55): MP3
    3. Document 16 [from O Cidadan] (1:10): MP3
    4. Hazard Non [from O Cidadan] (0:56): MP3
    5. Georgette [from O Cidadan] (0:31): MP3
    6. Document 17 [from O Cidadan] (1:22): MP3
    7. Discussion of O Cidadan and its relation to the discourse of terrorism (3:38): MP3
    8. Introduction to Little Theatres (1:26):MP3

Toward a poetry and poetics of the Americas: Two poems by José Asunción Silva

Two poems by José Anunción Silva

“Nocturno III” comes from an unusual extension of voice that even visually creates an unseen pattern of lines. One can sense in Silva’s “night” the process of contacting his underworld and the intermittent flow and rupture derived from this contact. It is a chant to the night and to the obscure unity of a mysterious duality that does not lead to death, but is death itself. This poem in particular possesses a structure that would reappear (reinvented) in some of Neruda’s pieces, for example, but most importantly it deals with an alliance to obscurity and a dialect of rhythm and breakage, sound and visual play, that is still haunting.

Translations from Spanish by Jerome Rothenberg

 

Nocturne III

 

A night,

A night thick with perfumes, with whispers and music, with wings,

A night

Do you have an extra cigarette?

image of a long road that fades into the distance taken from inside a car
long road

Have you ever heard Aram Saroyan read his poem “Biography”?[1] It is a poem in which he recites every year from his birth to the current year in his usual steady, calm cadence. I’m a bit fascinated with this poem; I seem to bring it up often. It really can’t be beat. It’s a pure poem. I heard him read it in 2007 (I think) at Poet’s House in New York. There are a hundred things to say about the poem, how the simplicity of it belies the fact that it describes something huge, i.e.

Test of Poetry: Five translations

Charles Bernstein, Norbert Lange, Ernesto Livon-Grosman, Collective à Royaumont, Haroldo de Campos,  and Leevi Lehto

A Test of Poetry

“A Test of Poetry” was written in 1992 and published in My Way: Speeches and Poems (University of Chicago Press, 1999). The poem is based on a letter from the Chinese scholar Ziquing Zhang, who translated poems from Rough Trades and The Sophist for Selected Language Poems (Chengdu, China: Sichuan Literature and Art Publishing House, 1993); quotations from the poems are italicized.  It seemed to me that Ziquing Zhang’s questions provided both an incisive commentary on my poems and also raised a set of imponderble yet giddy, not to say fundamental, translation issues. Several  poets have take up the task of translating this poem, and we here compile the results: Norbert Lange into German, Ernesto Livon-Grosman into Spanish, Collective à Royaumont dans le cadre de l’Atelier Cosmopolite into French (originally published as a pamphlet by Format Américain), Haroldo de Campos into Portuguese, and Levi Lehto into Finnish.

Monastiraki in Montreal

One of the real delights of my recent visit to Montreal: visiting Monastiraki and meeting Billy Mavreas. Above is a photo of Billy in the shop. The offer fine prints, art and gig posters, small press, zines, and art objects by some of Montreal’s most unique artists. Overflowing with paper ephemera and vintage found treasures, the space is an assemblage of things Billy and his colleagues love. The shop has been very supportive of the community of experimental poets.