The deep relationship between baseball and language has been remarked many times, but rarely if ever has it been enacted in the writing itself. Kevin Varrone’s Box Score is that enactment. Moment by moment, innings (as it were) of prose poems throw the ultimate linguistic eephus. Play by play wordplay struck by bits of ash verbal industry. No open-field poem can find the strike zone. It must go awry and in doing so presents a perfect game—rare but imaginable, and worth staying ‘til the end.
Translations from Japanese by Jerome Rothenberg & Yasuhiro Yotsumoto
[The project to translate Nakahara Chuya into English continued recently (July 2014) with a meeting in Yamaguchi, Japan, of a number of interested poets & translators – plans to be announced. My own collaborative work with Yasuhiro Yotsumoto will hopefully continue from this point onward, for which the following poems & comments are only a beginning. (J.R.)]
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On March 20, 2007 I moderated a public conversation with Jamaica Kincaid. Most of the questions I asked her — and my comments about her writing, after I'd read everything she’d written — were about the convergence of a quasi-cubist idea about sentences (almost Steinian in places, although not quite) on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a specifically postmodern postcolonialist conception of her Caribbean origins. A "trying not to get it quite right," as she and I agreed during the discussion.
Last week I began with the installed environment, moved on to surfaces (painted or printed), and emerged into “ambiance.” This week I will consider how chance is deployed to install some essential attribute of the outside, inside of a work. Since visual prosody is the theme of these commentaries, “a work” refers equally to a poem or an image. The environment tailored to resemble itself there is given a voice by an artist who avoids using their own. Essential attributes of the artist’s material should reveal its relation to an outside, and a politics of visual or verbal relation beheld there. My examples are the Asymmetries and Forties by poet Jackson Mac Low and two iterations of the Colors series by painter Gerhard Richter. Mac Low and Richter are equally motivated to exhaust the forces named by “chance” and its cognates so as to question received critical values and to essentialize aesthetic values of their media.