Commentaries - November 2012

Murat Nemet-Nejat: From 'Questions of Accent' ('What Is Then Accented Writing?')

[NOTE. The following was originally published in The Exquisite Corpse in 1993 & again in Thus Spake The Corpse (An Exquisite Corpse Reader, 1988-1999). Brought into the present context its central argument – as presented here – has much to say about the nature of language & identity beyond more orthodox ideas of nativism & foreignness. The emphasis on American & Jewish writings rhymes as well with matters of concern to the present editor & touched on from different perspectives in previous postings on Poems and Poetics. It is also an acknowledgement of the role played by major figures in our recent poetry & literature who have come into English writing as a second or even a third language, but in the extract cited here goes well beyond that. A complete version of Nemet-Nejat’s once controversial essay can be found elsewhere on the web. (J.R.)]

 I speak no language like a native. Though I have lived in the States since 1959, my accent still sounds foreign. I was born in Turkey, but I am not Turkish. I am Jewish. In the fifties most Jews in Turkey were Sephardim and spoke Ladino Spanish.

NY Reading & other announcements

Charles Bernstein & Annie Paradis
Lungfill series at Zinc Bar
Sunday, Nov. 18, at 5:30pm
82 West 3rd Street between Sullivan & Thompson
in New York's Greenwich Village.

Jerome Rothenberg: From 'A CRUEL NIRVANA: Two Narratives from The Lives of the Caesars'

I. Augustus

Caesar of ribald songs & nose & blemishes
of seven birthmarks on his stomach
ringworm
gravel in his urine
negligent of personal appearance when granted
an audience with the Great Bear
& on dropping off in summer
slept with the bedroom door open
to protect himself
especially by not bathing with an oil rub
after which he took a douche of water
(sulfur water)
on a wooden bath seat
ended
with a sharp sprint in the company of little boys
regarding them as freaks

Translation as facticity

(Curiosity and melancholy too)

archive notebook
O leixaprén

“There is a certain curiosity in it that exceeds melancholy.” I took this quote out of a notebook of mine, my “Praha” Moleskine that has never seen Prague, for I translate a “Praha” out of wherever I am, going to Prague by simply writing always in the pages of Praha, even when I am elsewhere, knitting these elsewheres together into Prague or Praha. At times I even take out the map of the city and use it to find where I am, though I am nowhere near Prague.

What does Prague and a notebook I bought on The Danforth in Toronto (a reject)—and have no right to use—have to do with translation, you ask? Perhaps all translation has to do with curiosity and melancholy, I respond.

I open the notebook two pages further on and find a quote from Giorgio Agamben scribbled there, from page 340 of his Puissance de la pensée: “La facticité est la condition de ce qui demeure caché dans son ouverture, de ce qui est exposé par son retrait même.”

Joanne Kyger feature in Jacket 11

Edited by Linda Russo

Joanne Kyger, photo by Bill Berkson, Angel Hair, 1970
Joanne Kyger, photo by Bill Berkson, Angel Hair, 1970

"Peter Orlofsky locks himself in the bathroom all night and smokes opium and then vomits all the next morning so we travel slowly."

Linda Russo: Introduction
Joanne Kyger — poem — “Man” from Man/Women
Kevin Killian — The “Carola Letters"
Charlie Vermont — “Form/id/able” and Joanne Kyger
Linda Russo — an interview with Joanne Kyger