Commentaries - December 2014

From the archive (1990): Mike Freakman on the culture wars, with special reference to Dick Cheney

Like Big Dick "Don't-Pull-My" Cheney said in a briefing a few days ago: "Either they play ball or we cut off their balls -- or find someone who will."

I could not  find a publisher for this piece in 1990; it is published here for the first time. With Cheney in the news this week, the work came to mind –– anyway for the last line. In 1990, Cheney was the Secretary of War under Bush I. 

Report from Washington

by Mike Freakman

Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 1990 – Senator Laughton O'Buoy (R-GA) charged today that there were twenty "pipe-smoking" drug addicts in the State Department.
            "Drug users and sympathizers have infiltrated the news media, education, and the arts," Sen. O'Buoy told Stifled Yawn in an exclusive interview.  "We are beginning to see a close connection between drugs, pornography, and flag burning."

Chronicle: Interview with a Seneca songman, Richard Johnny John (Part Three)

Richard Johnny John, with Jerome Rothenberg & Ian Tyson, Three Songs from Shakin
Richard Johnny John, with Jerome Rothenberg & Ian Tyson, Three Songs from Shaking the Pumpkin

[Continued from previous blogger & Jacket2 postings.  The Kinzua Dam construction referred to by Johnny John was a federal & state project that drove many of the Allegany Senecas from their traditional homes, to be “compensated” by new buildings but with losses still keenly felt when we lived there.  Widespread protests in the

Muenster Prize for two books by Charles Bernstein in German translation

The 2015 Prize of the State of Münster for International Poetry, the leading translation prize in Germany, has gone to two new translations:

 Gedichte und Übersetzen 
 tr. Versatorium and Peter Waterhouse
Vienna: Edition Korrespondenzen

Angriff der Schwierigen Gedichte 
tr. Tobias Amslinger , Norbert Lange, Léonce W. Lupette and Mathias Traxler
(based on All the Whiskey in Heaven, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)
Wiesbaden, Germany: Lux Books


The jury commented [rough translation]:
In his formally avant-garde, difficult and lucid poetic lyrics, Bernstein proposes a kind of poetry where experiment with literary form and genres is sovereign as well as risky and where there is strong emphasis on sound. His poetry includes intertextual assemblies, Dada-like sound poems, aleatoric works, songs, works of social criticism and verses that make a polemical intervention on the literary. The jury selected two volumes, both of which avoided a conventional approach to translation as an exact reproduction of the original poem. The two books put forward a different approach, for example, understanding translation as a creating poems in their own right.  
Since 1993, the city of Münster has awarded the poetry prize for a book of poetry and its translation. Prizewinners 2013 were the Caribbean Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott and his German translator Werner von Koppenfels. 

Munster Prize web site 
pdf of Munster poetry festival 2015 and prize ceremony 

Chinese / American Association of Poetry and Poetics (CAAP) 2014 Conference Program, Shanghai

PDF of the 2014 program.

American scholars featured at the conference this year: Marjorie Perloff, Daniel Albright, Tan Lin, Brian Reed, Yunte Huang, Charles Bernstein.

This is the third CAAP, following the inaugural conference on American poetry in Wuhan in 2007.

CAAP web page

Ariel Resnikoff, with Jerome Rothenberg: From an interview

Eleanor Antin: collage, Poland/1931, after Jerome Rothenberg
Eleanor Antin: collage, Poland/1931, after Jerome Rothenberg

[The full interview, conducted by Ariel Resnikoff over a period of several months, is scheduled to appear shortly in The Wolf magazine, number 31, edited by James Byrne & Sandeep Parmar, along with my own "variations" on the poetry of Mikhl Likht, mentioned below. (J.R.)]


Ariel Resnikoff: In the summer of 2013 you and I connected, via Merle Bachman, over a shared interest in the “incomprehensible” poetics of the Yiddish American modernist poet, Mikhl Likht. I had just finished my MA thesis at the University of Oxford, where I had been told I was crazy to write on the relationship between Zukofsky's English verse and Likht’s Yiddish. You, however, believed in my research and even began advising Stephen Ross’s and my translation to English of Likht’s Yiddish long poem, Protsesiyes (Processions).