Commentaries - January 2015

Jackson Mac Low: '27th Light Poem, for Jerry (Jerome) Rothenberg (An Essay in Poetics) 10 – 11 October 1969, 19 May 1970, & 20 January – 25 February 1975' [A re-posting & celebration]

[note.  Looking at the 27th Light Poem in retrospect it’s now evident that its composition went over a period of some five or six years, nor can I recall at what stage in the writing Jackson first passed it along to me.  Whenever it was I must have had a copy of some sort & must have misplaced or buried it along with other manuscripts & notes accumulated in the intervening years.  I don’t recall anyway that it was ever published, and it has only come back to me recently through the kind offices of Anne Tardos & Michael O’Driscoll during their compilation of Mac Low’s Complete Light Poems, published for the start of 2015 by Charles Alexander’s Chax Press.  So it’s in celebration of that major & long awaited work that I’m announcing the book & (re)posting the 27th Light Poem here.  Its relevance to Poems and Poetics goes almost without saying.  (J.R.)]




A    B   C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O
1     2    3    4     5    6    7     8     9  10   11  12   13   14    15

P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z
16  17   18   19  20  21  22   23   24   25  26 

J-10, E-5, R-18, Y-25 = “EE” – 2 + 5 = E-7;

R-18, O-15, T-20, = K-20, H-8 = S-8, E-5, N-14, B-2, E-5,

R-18, G-7


J-10   = jack-o’-lantern light
E-5     = earthlight
R-18  = refracted light
R-18  = refracted light
Y-25  = e-7 = ether-lamp light
r-18  = refracted light
o-15  = amazonstone light
t-20 = k-20 = kindly light
h-8   = s-8 = shaded light
e-5    = earthlight
n-14 = noonday
b-2    = m-2 = moonlight
e-5    = earthlight
r-18  = refracted light
g-7    = j-7 = jalousie light

Selecting Phil Hall

Phil Hall in Perth; photo credit: Desmond Devoy

Over a career stretching more than four decades, Canadian poet Phil Hall has become known as the “poet’s poet,” more widely known and appreciated only during the past half-decade or so. Somehow, in the course of a conversation with poet and Wilfrid Laurier University Press Director, Brian Henderson, it followed that I would be editing a selection of thirty-eight of Hall’s poems for a “selected poems” as part of their Laurier Poetry Series. This press has produced two dozen titles of selected poems by Canadian poets, each guest-edited, and has established itself with an impressive series, predominantly aimed toward university and college courses, and the possibility of a new readership for established Canadian poets. Authors in the series include Fred Wah (ed. Louis Cabri), Nicole Brossard (ed. Louise H. Forsyth), derek beaulieu (ed. Kit Dobson), Christopher Dewdney (ed. Karl Jirgens), Dennis Cooley (ed. Nicole Markotić), Di Brandt (ed. Tanis MacDonald), Daphne Marlatt (ed. Susan Knutson) and Steve McCaffery (ed. Darren Wershler).

An Anthology of Anthologies

Poetry anthologies have always been a controversial topic in Chile. Intended to present the most representative of a certain group or generation of writers, or to highlight the most interesting or groundbreaking work from a particular aesthetic, and expected with enthusiasm and curiosity by readers, critics, and scholars, there is always some room for arduous debate and polemic discussion every time a new anthology is released. The most emblematic case took place in 1935, when Eduardo Anguita and Volodia Teiltelboim, two young poets and perfect strangers to Chilean poetry at the time, published Antología de la poesía chilena nueva (Anthology of the New Chilean Poetry), in which they had the audacity to include themselves while leaving Gabriela Mistral out. Completely destroyed by the critics of that time, the collection is now considered a key anthology in the history of Chilean poetry.