Commentaries - December 2013

Toward a Poetry & Poetics of the Americas (2): Aimé Césaire, from the original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land

Translation from French by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman

[J.R.’s note.  Earlier this year I began with Heriberto Yépez the exploration of a possible assemblage of a newly reconsidered “poetry of the Americas.”  The driving idea was to imagine a multilingual/multinational/multipoetic juxtaposition of poetries drawn from the work of poets engaged as natives and strangers in the creation of a new & necessarily experimental poetry & poetics.  Coincident with that has been the publication of Aimé Césaire’s original 1939 version of Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (Wesleyan University Press), in a new English translation by A. James Arnold & Clayton Eshleman.  The poem in that sense places Césaire in Martinique, a département of France but a coincidental part of the Americas all the same, and links him & us to the emergent negritude for which it was, among other things, an early declaration, and he its major spokesman.  The merging of all of that or their crude juxtaposition, for what we may finally make of it, is a key part of the assemblage we hope to compose.  The following strophes, with their sense of “this impossibly delicate tenuity separating one America from the other,” speak ineluctably to that vision.

     The reader should also check an earlier posting on Poems and Poetics -- here and here -- which includes in another context Arnold's & Eshleman's excellent note on the nature & context of the original Notebook.]



34

     Your last triumph, tenacious crow of Treason.

 What is mine, these few thousand deathbearers who mill in the calabash of an island and mine too the archipelago arched with an anguished desire to negate itself, as if from maternal anxiety to protect this impossibly delicate tenuity separating one America from the other; and these loins which secrete for Europe the hearty liquor of a Gulf Stream, and one of the two slopes of incandescence between which the Equator tightropewalks toward Africa. And my nonclosure island, its brave audacity standing at the stern of this Polynesia, before it, Guadeloupe split in two down its dorsal line and equal in poverty to us, Haiti where negritude rose for the first time* and stated that it believed in its humanity and the funny little tail of Florida where the strangulation of a nigger is being completed, and Africa gigantically caterpillaring up to the Hispanic foot of Europe, its nakedness where Death scythes widely.*


35

     And I say to myself Bordeaux and Nantes and Liverpool

and New York and San Francisco*

not an inch of this world devoid of my fingerprint and my

    calcaneus on                         

the spines of skyscrapers and my filth in the glitter of gems!

Who can boast of being better off than I?

Virginia. Tennessee. Georgia. Alabama.

Monstrous putrefactions of revolts stymied,

marshes of putrid blood

trumpets absurdly muted

Land red, sanguineous, consanguineous land

 

36

    What is also mine: a little cell in the Jura,* a little cell, the snow line

it with white bars

the snow is a white jailer mounting guard before a prison

What is mine

a lone man imprisoned in whiteness

a lone man defying the white screams of white death

(toussaint, toussaint louverture)

a man who mesmerizes the white sparrow hawk of white death

a man alone in the sterile sea of white sand

an old black man standing up to the waters of the sky

Death traces a shining circle above this man

death stars softly above his head

death breathes in the ripened cane of his arms

death gallops in the prison like a white horse

death gleams in the dark like the eyes of a cat

death hiccups like water under the Keys*

death is a struck bird

death wanes

death vacillates

death is a shy patyura*

death expires in a white pool of silence.

 

37 

      Swellings of night in the four corners of this first light

convulsions of congealed death

tenacious fate

screams erect from mute earth

the splendor of this blood will it not blast forth?

 

 

38

       And now a last raspberry:

to the sun (Not strong enough to inebriate my very tough head)

to the mealy night with its golden hatchings of erratic fireflies  

to the chevelure trembling at the very top of the cliff,

where the wind leaps in bursts of salty cavalries

clearly I read in my pulse that for me exoticism is no provender.

 

 

39

      Leaving Europe utterly twisted with screams

silent currents of despair

leaving timid Europe which collects and proudly overrates itself

I summon this beautiful egotism that ventures forth

and my ploughing reminds me of an implacable cutwater.

 

 

40

So much blood in my memory! In my memory are lagoons. They are

covered with death’s-heads. They are not covered with water lilies.

In my memory are lagoons. No women’s loin-cloths spread out on their

shores.

My memory is encircled with blood. My memory has a belt of corpses!

 

 

41

and machine gun fire of rum barrels brilliantly sprinkling

our ignominious revolts, amorous glances swooning

from having swigged too much ferocious freedom

Outside & Subterranean Poems, a Mini-Anthology in Progress (60): Empedocles of Akragas, “On Nature,” Fragments 1-10

1

 

Listen, Pausanias,

                        son of Ankhitos the Sage:

 

2

 

Our bodies are tunneled

                        with myopic sense organs,

stimuli bombard us, pain

                        blunts the mind’s edge.

We glimpse our momentary share of existence

 

and with lightning doom

                        drift up like smoke and disperse

 

each one believing

                        only what he’s met in his random encounters

and proudly imagining to have found

 

                        the Whole.

 

Well, it can’t be seen

                        not in this way

            can’t be heard

cannot be grasped by the human mind.

 

And you, on this retreat, will learn

no more than human thought can attain

 

3

 

but shelter it in a silent heart.

 

4

 

They’re mad, O gods,

                        keep their madness from my tongue!

Siphon a pure spring

                        through my sanctified lips,

                                    And you

white-armed virgin whom many would marry

                                    Muse of all

that is lawful for mortals to hear:

Drive me in your chariot with its delicate reins

as far as is lawful from Piety’s side.

Fame’s deathly blossoms

                        could never tempt

                                    you, Goddess,

                        to pluck these flowers

            say out of boldness more than what’s right

or enthrone yourself upon Wisdom’s peaks.

 

And now: Start using every faculty

                        to see how each thing is clear.

            You have sight, but don’t trust it

                        more than your ears,

            nor booming sound

                        more than the probe of your tongue,

            Don’t check any of your body’s means of perception

            But take constant notice of the clarity of things.

 

5

 

And although inferiors mistrust their masters profoundly

you must attain the knowledge

                                    our Muse attests to and orders

But first

            sift these words through the guts of your being.

 

6

 

Learn first the four roots of all that is:

ZEUS (a white flickering)

                        life-breathing HERA

AIDONEUS (unseen)

                        and NESTIS

            whose tears form mortality’s pool

 

7

 

                        uncreated

 

8

 

And I will tell you this:

There is no self-nature

            in anything mortal

            nor any finality

                        in death’s deconstruction

There is only

                        the merging, change

                                    and exchange

            of things that have merged

and their self-nature is only

                        a matter of words

 

9

 

The elements combine and merge

                        from human beast bush or bird

emerging into brilliant air

                        but ‘originate’ is only a word.

And when the elements unsift themselves

                        we speak of ‘death’ and ‘sad fate’,

language not in accordance with Nature, merely

                        a convention, but useful as such, and so

 

10

 

            : Death             the avenger

 

Translation from Greek by Stanley Lombardo

COMMENTARY
                   from Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Assemblage of Outside & Subterranean Poetry                           to be published by Black Widow Press in 2014

SOURCE: Stanley Lombardo, Parmenides and Empedocles: The Fragments in Verse Translation, Grey Fox Press, San Francisco, 1979.

“All art should become science and all science art; poetry and philosophy should be made one.” Friedrich Schlegel

(1)  If it’s Plato who hawks the ancient quarrel between philosophy & poetry, there’s no doubt either that his great predecessors among the “pre-Socratics” (Parmendies & Empedocles in particular) were themselves poets of note as much as philosophers & protoscientists, or that the “ancient quarrel” & separation simply didn’t hold – not then, not now.  And while their works survive only in fragments, culled from citations by others, their power as poets was well known & acclaimed as such within their lifetimes.

            Much more than that in fact.  Empedocles’ perceptions & visions carry forward what has been fairly described as a shamanic tradition & a linkup on the future end with an emerging philosophical poetry as a natural fusion of both philosophy & poetry.  Situated in Sicily for most of his life, Empedocles suffered like others for his political actions – anti-authoritarian & democratic by most accounts – that made him for a time (he wrote) “an exile from the gods and a wanderer.”  Writes Stanley Lombardo in the introduction to his workings from Empedocles’s surviving fragments: “Politically active (to the point of exile) in his native city Akragas, he was in touch with the philosophical and religious movements percolating through the larger Greek world and in particular those that emanated from southern Italy, home to Pythagoras and Parmenides and a center of mystic religious activity.  He lived during the Golden Age of Pericles, but spiritually he belonged to an earlier generation; and although he never visited Athens, his reputation as a philosopher-shaman was pan-Hellenic.”  The legend of his death by leaping into the volcanic crater of Mount Etna only adds to his mystique.

(2) Philosophical poetry, as a distinct & fully developed genre in ancient Greece, has been obscured by the lack of complete texts without which the full range & force of the poetry is lost to us.  In the case of Empedocles the score stands at some 150-odd fragments as the remnants of at least two major 3000-line poems, entitled post-facto On Nature and The Purifications.  That these fragments, when numbered & arranged as what Robin Blaser & Jack Spicer once spoke of as “serial poems,” carry a great force into the present, is a testament to the power of word & mind to cross the boundaries set by time & language.  Says Empedocles, addressing a presumed disciple Pausanius, in an accounting of his powers:

            Press these things into
                                                the pit of your stomach
            as you meditate with pure
                                              and compassionate mind ….
            and they will be with you the rest of your life,
            and from them much more, for they grow of themselves
            into the essence,
                                    into the core of each person’s being.
            But if your appetite is for all those other things
            that generate suffering
                                                and blunt human minds
            these powers will leave you in the turning of time
            and out of love for their own
                                                return to the Source.
            For this you must know:
 
            All things have intelligence, and a share of thought.

A word about holes

by elena minor

PALABRA, Image and Design by Randy Nakamura
PALABRA, Image and Design by Randy Nakamura

Language is a tricky business.  A lot of people can’t speak it. - Wilma Ponce

It was timed seven years ago and there was made to exist somewhere on white space a WordHole that got smaller&larger depending on the weather, but it didn’t fully close. Located near to the revolved Universe of Putative Dissimilarity but not overly close, it eschewed xas the normative case and instead offered w, e and pas a locus for the business of its business – UPPER CASE palabra. 

RighteousPeople with “things on their mind” and animals in their souls reached out, took the opportunity to throw words — big and small, common and esoteric — into it. They weren’t at all sure what would happen to their preciously honed and crafted gems and who was at the bottom [to catch them], but they poured them blindly into the WordHole anyway, testing to see whether or not the WHole’s founding digger & known crew member [Kit B. S.] would hurl them back up, an action social\political\literary known to occur more often than not.   

PALABRA READING at REDCAT Lounge, Image by Michael Sedano

This HoleWoman sat in the hole, perched on a wobbly ledge as close to the bottom as possible. Her job was to catch the words that were thrown in and arrange them light-like on pages then into PrimerBooks so that they almost made sense to nonreaders and s/low readers alike.  She thought of herself as a juggler; but so many words thrown into the WHole that she couldn’t keep them in the air simultaneously.  Despite of her best efforts, many of them broke up and scattered into letters only, or they fell further down the hole and were lost, and so never found their way to the page, much less the PrimerBook. 

It was perhaps for the better.  Perhaps.  Often the words were misshapen, red, sartorial, contentious, debased, farmed, framed, derivative, memorial.  Or so it seemed.  Terror wound its way through and around the letters.  Also dry spit and cursing.  Existentialism thrown in to boot sometimes.  Not always.  No palabra exists without consequences.  Still, notices were issued over and over again and the caps LOCK key was pounded and toggled furiously.  The struggle continued time within time and produced a few wins here, a few misses there, mostly draws.  How many angels can dance …  mambo?

All sorts of words were bandied about.  About what, though, was always a likely question, on occasion seeming to be the only question since the response was all too predictable, familiar, all too encased.  Push.  Push.  Push.  Pull.  Pull.  Pull.  But the words the HoleWoman caught in the hole, the words that had fallen to the bottom, the words that were still in the air, the words she was certain were to come, came and came.  And brought their makers with them. 

Carribean Fragoza at PALABRA Reading at REDCAT Lounge, image by Michael Sedano

The HoleWoman had no choice but to take on all comers.  She was in the WHole - juggling, juggling, ever juggling.  Her arms had grown muscled and tight.  She had cut her work out widely and there was light above the WHole and m/ore words – words that sped through weight, crossed above sound – and they arrived desperately, longingly, impatiently, aching for their place in the PrimerBook. They hid in plein sight.  They danced.  They roped green wine grapes.  They trudged their way up the steep, ironized climb to a BunkeredHill renée, little realizing …  No matter. They brought their constructions with them, and they were going to do what they were going to do.  Others better than some.  And never once enough. 

In the beginning there was the WordHole.  It begat begetting words, begotten words.  They multiplied.  There was Testament.  

PALABRA Issue 1

PALABRA Issue 6

First reading of Rae Armantrout's 'Spin' (3)

Dee Morris

Dee Morris’s short essay on Rae Armantrout’s “Spin” is the third of five first readings of that poem we will publish in this new series. Jennifer Ashton’s was the first, Katie Price’s the second. The series page can be found here. — Brian Reed, Craig Dworkin, and Al Filreis

* * *

Spin Points

The little fish swim
around and around
and away. (True 19)

Rae Armantrout, first grader, wrote this poem for Miss Sampluski, who had her students “sit in a circle on the floor and make up poems which she would mimeograph and bind in a little magazine” (True 19).  The paragraphs that follow take the fishes’ trajectory—“around and around / and away” — as a way to describe a mind, mine, slipping into and out of the force field of Armantrout’s “Spin.”

It’s not necessary to have to have a name that ends in “-trout” to take the noun-verb “fish”— the state of being a fish, the act of trying to catch a fish—as an ideogram for thought.  H.D. did it — “I cover you with my net. / What are you, banded one?” she asks in “The Pool.”  Pound did it in ABC of Reading, invoking Agassiz, who presented his post-graduate with a little fish and asked him to describe it.  “That’s only a sunfish,” the hapless student said, then, worse, “Icthus Heliodiplodius” (17).  Nouns.  What is wanted is the flash, the spin, the “around and around / and away.”

around: . . . in the round, in a circumference, in a circle
The liveliest words in the first of this poem’s three parts are the noun-verbs point and spin.  A hypothesis — “That we are composed / of dimensionless points” — is elaborated, as H.D. and Agassiz might advise, not categorically or abstractly but, borrowing Pound’s description of Agassiz’s METHOD, through “careful first-hand examination of the matter” (17).  As if looking through a microscope, jotting in a lab book, Armantrout describes dimensionless points as entities that propagate through space.  Spreading across the page in parallel clauses, these are points

which nonetheless spin,

which nonetheless exist
in space,

which is a mapping

of dimensions.

A dimensionless point is a category breaker: a Cheshire cat, Schrödlinger’s cat, part of the both-and quantum field Money Shot evokes in such phrases as “absolute velocity” (6), “time travel paradox” (7), and “quirks and quarks” (13).

Logic — to be precise, Newton’s logic, in which points by definition occupy space and can be measured — can’t go there; a poem, however, might, like quantum physics, gesture in that direction.  Invoking Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle,” Armantrout’s poem “Human” gives the rule: “the more clearly we understand //  (waves)      (particles) // the less clearly / we see” (39).   In quantum physics, the line “(waves)      (particles)” is a spin-flip: a jump from one state to another.  To understand, think both actual and potential.  The Miss Sampluski of Money Shot sets the task in the volume’s first poem: “Define possible” (1).  Think, that is, around; think “nonetheless.”

around: all about, at random, as in to fool around
Extending his description of Agassiz’s METHOD, Pound adds a second step: “continual COMPARISON of one ‘slide’ or specimen with another” (17).  Armantrout gives the poem a second part:

The pundit says
the candidate’s speech
hit
“all the right points,”

hit “fed-up” but “not bitter,”
hit “not hearkening back.”

For the pundit, the politician’s points are “right” not because they’re clear but because they blur the matter at hand.  To  logic, add rhetoric: hot air, Icthus Heliodiplodius, something fishy. 

Money Shot swarms with spin.  Its world is the bubble Peter Sloterdijk calls “the world interior of capital”: a “self-pampering endosphere” (196), an artificial construct of “luxury and chronic overabundance,” Ponzi schemes (23), astroturf calls (23), and “custom content feeds” (29) in which money talks, deals are sealed, values swell and collapse.  Even if the candidate “hits all the right points,” everything, soggy dough to dicks, “under- / perform[s] in heavy / trading” (47).  Nothing “hearkens back.”

To hearken back — “now only,” the OED says, “poet.” — is “to pay attention.”

and away: . . . a way

Light strikes our eyes
and we say, “Look there!”

The third section’s point is an act of pointing.  Like the poem in which it is embedded, it has three sections: there’s something — call it “light” — outside the bubble of language; that something comes to our attention; using language — sparely, carefully — we pass in on.  “We say,” minimally but nonetheless “’Look there!’”

So?

Call me a spindoctor, if you will, but I want to believe it’s possible to discriminate among speech acts.  Now and again, a poem — or so we may think — is not an advertisement, a fraud, a con, or a spectacle but an event: “an experience,” as Badiou puts it, “whereby a certain kind of truth is constructed” (19).  Catching (and releasing), “Look, there!”

METHOD:

Q:  “What do you do when you first read a new or unfamiliar poem?  What are the processes and procedures that precede a settled ‘take’ or a considered evaluation or an elaborated critical argument?

A:

1.  I read the poem, I read it again; I read it again.  I say, “What?”

2. I read the volume through, then I pick up Armantrout’s True.  Trying not to think like a post-graduate, I spot her first-grade poem, which ends “around and around / and away.”

3. A flash: to read “Spin,” I will follow that formula —

  • around: the first section’s “dimensionless point” throws us from a Euclidean into a quantum world.  This is good, I think.
  • around: the second section’s pundit praises a politician for round-about speech.  This is bad, I think, especially amidst the political, financial, and erotic chicanery that is the world of Money Shot.
  • a way — risking a settled take, I shift away to a way and name that way a “poem.”  I pin down “Spin” as a poem that points, an objectivist poem that makes its point by pointing . . . and spinning.

4.  Test:  If this works, the spin that spun me now pins you, at least for a moment.  Poet to critic to reader: “look there!”

WORKS CITED

Armantrout, Rae.  Money Shot.  Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011.

------.  True.  Berkeley, CA: Atelos, 1998.

Badiou, Alain, with Nicolas Truong.  In Praise of Love.  Trans. Peter Bush.  London: Serpent’s Tail, 2012.

H.D., “The Pool.”  Collected Poems 1912-1944.  New York: New Directions, 1984.

Pound, Ezra. ABC of Reading.  New York: New Directions, 1934.

Sloterdijk, Peter.  In the World Interior of Capital.  Trans. Wieland Hoban,  Maldon, MA: Polity Press, 2013.

* * *

Rae Armantrout, “Spin”

That we are composed
of dimensionless points

which nonetheless spin,

which nonetheless exist
in space,

which is a mapping
of dimensions.

*

The pundit says
the candidate's speech
hit
“all the right points,”

hit “fed-up” but “not bitter,”
hit “not hearkening back.”

*

Light strikes our eyes
and we say, “Look there!”

* * *

Dee Morris is Professor Emerita at the University of Iowa, where she has taught courses in the expanded field of modern and contemporary poetics, including sound art, documentary, and the digital. She is most recently the author of How to Live/What to Do: H.D.’s Cultural Poetics (University of Illinois, 2003); an edited collection of essays, Sound States: Innovative Poetics and Acoustical Technologies; and a coedited collection, New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories (MIT, 2006). Her essays include “Minding Machines/Machining Minds: Writing (at) the Human-Machine Interface,” in The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, and “Ticking Differently: H.D.’s Time in Philadelphia,” in MLA Approaches to Teaching H.D.’s Poetry and Prose.

Jerome Rothenberg: From EYE OF WITNESS: the Table of Contents

[In composing a gathering of my own work over the last half-century or so, I’ve tried to construct it, with the collaboration of Heriberto Yépez, as an assemblage on the model of earlier works of mine like Technicians of the Sacred & Poems for the Millennium.  The experiment in this case was how to turn a “reader” into something more than a chronological work stringing together selections from  previous books of poetry & poetics.  It’s my hope that the table of contents which follows will give some sense of what we were doing &, without claiming too much I hope, how it can serve as a model for yet another kind of “grand collage,” as Robert Duncan named them, not only for myself but for others whose work has attempted to cross over boundaries & genres.  The proof however is in the work itself, published a couple of months ago by Black Widow Press & currently open for inspection.]

 

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION BY HERIBERTO YéPEZ

 

Pre-face by Jerome Rothenberg

 

GALLERY ONE: PROLEGOMENA TO A POETICS

                        “A Little Boy Lost”

                        The Night the Moon Was a Spider

                        Why Deep Image?

                        Invincible Flowers

                        A Poem for the President

                        A Small Poem

                        The Stationmaster’s Lament

                        The Real Revolution Is Tragic

                        A Conciliation

                        Image & Mode: A Letter, 1960, to Robert Creeley

                        The Lightbulb & the Cockeyed Queen of Poland

                        How Tragic It Is To Be a King & Live in a Palace

                                    & Never Have Time To Be Gay

                        A First Manifesto 1960

                        A Death Fugue, after Paul Celan

                        Walkin’ Around, after Pablo Neruda

                        A Side of Beef

                        The Counter-Dances of Darkness

                        Image & Melos: A Letter, 1960, to Robert Duncan

                        The Journey Between Summers

                        The Deep Image Is the Threatened Image

                        A Canticle for Suicides

                        Found Poems from “The Emergence Notebooks”

                        From The Seven Hells of the Jigoku Zoshi

                             The First Hell: of Measures

                             The Second Hell: of Thieves

                             The Fifth Hell: of Unclean Food

                             The Seventh Hell: of Smoke

                             A Bodhisattva Undoes Hell

                        From The Gorky Poems

                                    The Pirate (II)

                                    The Diary of a Seducer

                                    The Water of the Flowery Mill (II)

                                    Child of an Idumean Night

                                    Portrait of Myself with Arshile Gorky &

                                          Gertrude Stein

                        A Commentary on The Gorky Poems

                        From a Shaman’s Notebook

                                    An Invocation to the Rain

                                    The Seven

                                    Ghosts and Shadows

                                    The Killer

                                    A Poison Arrow

                                    The Dead Hunter Speaks through the

                                          Voice of a Shaman

                                    The Stars          

                        From Sightings

                                    Sightings IV

                                    Sightings V

                                    Sightings VI

                                    Sightings IX

                        A Note on the Measure of Sightings

                        Further Sightings

                                     The Old King

                                     “Hell”

                                     The Witnesses

                        From Conversations: Three Poems

                        A Second Manifesto 1964

                        A Reconsideration 2010

 

A BOOK OF OTHERINGS

                        A Paradise of Poets

                        From Pre-Face to Writing Through: Translations

                              & Variations
                        Marpa: The Annunciation (Tibet, 11th Century)
                        From 15 Flower World Variations (Yaqui)
                        The Flight of Quetzalcoatl (Aztec)
                        Isaac Luria: A Poem for the Small Face (Aramaic)
                        Isaac Luria: A Poem for the Shekinah on the Feast of the
                              Sabbath (Aramaic)
                        “The Round Dance of Jesus” (Coptic)
                        25 Gematria (traditional)
                        A Commentary on Gematria
                        From Lorca’s Suites
                                    Night: A Suite for Piano & Poet’s Voice
                                    A Newton Suite
                        From The Lorca Variations: “Newton”
                        A Commentary on Lorca
                        From 50 Caprichos after Goya
                                      In Goya’s World
                        Three Variations on Octavio Paz’s “Blanco”
                        Pablo Picasso: The Dream & Lie of Franco
                        A Commentary on Picasso
                        Tristan Tzara:  Two Dada Poems
                                      Metal Coughdrops
                                      Maison Aragon
                        Tristan Tzara, Dada, & Ethnopoetics
                        Kurt Schwitters: Five Merz Poems
                                      Desire
                                      “Thou”
                                      The Meadow
                                      Roses Abloom like Daisy Blossoms
                                      From the Back & from the Front to Start
                        A Commentary on Kurt Schwitters
                        Nakahara Chuya: Two Poems
                                      “A Bone”
                                      Poem: Sad Morning
                        A Commentary on Nakahara Chuya
                        Vitezslav Nezval: Shirt
                        A Commentary on Nezval
                        Eugen Gomringer: Four Concrete Poems
                                    From a Letter to Eugen Gomringer 9th November 1967
                                    In Memoriam Jackson Mac Low
                                    A Commentary on Jackson Mac Low
                        The First Horse Song of Frank Mitchell (Blue)
                        From “Je Est un Autre: A Talk & Talk-Poem”

POETICS & POLEMICS 1: TOWARD AN ETHNOPOETICS

            The Poetics of the Sacred: A Range of Topics for a

                  Keynote Speech

            On Ethnopoetics: A Collage

            Primitive & Modern: Intersections & Analogies

            Poets & Tricksters: Innovation & Disruption in

                  Ritual & Myth

            Total Translation: An Experiment in the Translation

                  of American Indian Poetry

            From “New Models, New Visions”: The Poetics of

                  Performance

 

GALLERY TWO: THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

            A Third Manifesto 1968

            A Seneca Memory

            The Dream from A Big Jewish Book

            From Poland/1931

                        Poland/1931: The Wedding

                        The Beadle’s Testimony

                        The Student’s Testimony

                        Portrait of a Jew Old Country Style

                        The Murder Inc. Sutra

                        Esther K. Comes to America: 1931

                        Galician Nights, or a Novel in Progress

                        Cokboy

            From a Letter to Gary Pacernick 12/14/81

            From A Seneca Journal

                        I became a beaver in 1968

                        Salamanca a Prophecy

                        Seneca Journal 1: A Poem of Beavers

            (Song # 1): Old Man Beaver’s Blessing Song

            Seneca Journal 7: The Dreamers

                        The Others    Hunters in the North    the Cree

             A Pre-Face for María Sabina

            The Little Saint of Huautla

            The Nature Theater of Oklahoma

            From That Dada Strain

                        A Pre-Face

                        That Dada Strain

                        The History of Dada as My Muse

                        A Glass Tube Ecstasy, for Hugo Ball

                        A Merz Sonata, for Kurt Schwitters

                        A Poem in Yellow after Tristan Tzara

                        The Holy Words of Tristan Tzara

            Hunger

            Pain

            Vienna Blood

            A Commentary on Vienna Blood

            The Chicago Poem

            Seedings

            From Khurbn

                        Pre-face to Khurbn

                        In the Dark Word, Khurbn

                        Dos Oysleydikn (The Emptying)

                        Dos Geshray (The Scream)

                        Dibbukim (Dibbiks)

                        Der Gilgul (The Possessed)

                        Nokh Aushvitz (after Auschwitz)

                        Di toyte Kloles (The Maledictions)

                   Peroration for a Lost Town

 

A BOOK OF EXTENSIONS 

            From Songs from the Society of the Mystic Animals

            “Two Songs about a Dead Person or a Mole – Which-

                 ever It Was” (with Richard  Johnny John & Ian

                       Tyson)

            The Directions (with Tom Phillips)

            From The Burning Babe (with Susan Bee)

                       “A Babe Sits Placidly in Schwitters’ Bau”

            From 14 Stations (with Arie Galles)

                       The Ninth Station: Ravensbruck

            From Gematria Complete

                       Fourth Gematria: “In the Shadow”

            The Leonardo Project 10 + 2

            From The Pound Project: Three Poems & Images

            Esther K Comes to America: 5 Images (with Larry Fink)

            Events & Rituals

                              Lily Events

                              Garbage Event

                              Beard Event

                              Gift Event

                              Naming Events

                              Vision Events, I, II, III

            Doings & Happenings: Notes on a Performance of the

                  Seneca Indian Eagle Dance, with the Scenario for

                  Gift Event III, Based on Its Orders

            From That Dada Strain: A Hörspiel

            Abraham Abulafia Visits the Pope, a Fragment of a

                  Steinian Opera

            The Thirteenth Horse Song of Frank Mitchell (White)

            A Letter to David McAllester, 1968, on the Beginnings

                  of Total Translation

 

POETICS & POLEMICS 2: EYE OF WITNESS

            Prologomena to a Poetics

            From the Sibila Interview: The Poem as an Act of Witness

            Khurbn & Holocaust: “After Auschwitz There Is Only Poetry”

            Harold Bloom: The Critic as Exterminating Angel

            “Secular Jewish Culture / Radical Poetic Practice”

            The Poet As Native: An Aspect of Contemporary Poetry

                   & Art

            From A Book of Witness: “i-Songs Exist”

            Postscript to A Book of Witness

 

GALLERY THREE: A CRUEL NIRVANA

            Twentieth Century Unlimited

            Pre-face to 14 Stations

            From “14 Stations”

                        The First Station: Auschwitz-Burkina

                        The Third Station: Buchenwald

                        The Sixth Station: Gross-Rosen

                        The Eleventh Station: Maidanek

                        The Twelfth Station: Sobibor

                        The Fourteenth Station: Stutthof

            From The Lorca Variations

                        Lorca’s Spain: A Homage

                        Water Jets 

                        The Return

                        Second New York Poem

                        Coda: The Final Lorca Variation

            First Night Poem, for Jackson Mac Low

            Three Paris Elegies

            A Poem for the Cruel Majority

            At Tsukiji Market Tokyo

            From China Notes

                        Tibetan Boogie

                        The Poet at Chin’s Mausoleum

                        The Poet in a Field of Tombs

                        The Treasures of Dunhuang (performance version)

            A Commentary on China Notes

            From An Oracle for Delfi

                        The Stones of Delfi,  I and II

                        At Mykines

                        The Silver Trade

                        Spetses in Winter

            From A Book of Witness

                        The Case for Memory

                        A Cruel Nirvana

                        A Real Man

                        I Can’t Say Who I Am

                        I Come into the New World

                        Eager to Break through Language

                        I Am That I Am

            From 50 Caprichos, after Goya

                        The Sleep of Reason

                        The World a Masquerade

                        The Company of Men

                        Tight Stockings

                        All Who Will Fall

                        To Speak as Who You Are

                        That Which We See in Goya

                        A Donkey & a Monkey

            A Commentary for Concealments & Caprichos

            From A Book of Concealments

                        The Times Are Never Right

                        A Man in Love with Death

                        The Mystery of Evil

                        Oceanside Pier: Among the Fishers

                        The Sorry Mystics

                        A Double Schism

                        A Deep Romantic Chasm

                        Romantic Dadas

                        The Persistence of the Lyric Voice

                        In the Book of Concealments

                        Postscript to A Book of Concealments

 

POETICS & POLEMICS 3: TOWARD AN OMNIPOETICS

            The Book Spiritual Instrument

            The Anthology as a Manifesto & as an Epic Including Poetry

            Poems for the Millennium: A First Pre-Face (with Pierre Joris)

            Reconfiguring Romanticism: The Fancy as Duende & Capricho

            A Round of Renshi & the Poet as Other: An Experiment in Poesis

            From The Medusa Interview: Toward an Omnipoetics

 

NEW POEMS: DIVAGATIONS & AUTOVARIATIONS

            From Divagations

                        Divagations (I): The Birth of Time

                        Divagations (2): A Field on Mars

                        Divagations (14): The Sound of Water

                        Divagations (16): Where Memory & Dream Are One

                        Divagations (20): The Final Word Is Desecration

            From The Jigoku Zoshi Hells: A Book of Autovariations

                        Variations on the Hell of Measures

                        Variations on the Hell of Thieves

                        Variations on the Hell of Grieving Women

                        Variations on  the Hell of Smoke

            A Commentary on the Jigoku Zoshi Hells

            A Poem of Miracles

 

A Chronology & Memoir 2012