Commentaries

Jerome Rothenberg: from Daichidoron, '32 Ways of Looking at the Buddha'

A reposting for Hiromi Ito, in celebration

The lead to the poem came, like much else, from conversations with Hiromi Ito, herself a major figure in contemporary Japanese poetry and for over twenty years a neighbor and close friend in southern California. I had recently written and published a series of poems, The Treasures of Dunhuang, many of which were my own takes on images of the Buddha from the great painted caves of Dunhuang in western China. My first sighting of those was in an exhibit of that name at the Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, in 1996, reenforced by a visit to Dunhuang in 2002. What struck me then was the surprising twist given to images that we thought of as familiar — much like images of Jesus when one sees them in out-of-the-way regions of the Christian world.

(1) When the Buddha walks. his feet are so close to the ground that there is not even a hair’s space between his soles & the earth;

 

(2)  the imprint of a wheel appears on the soles of the Buddha’s feet;

 

(3)  the Buddha’s fingers are exceptionally long & slender;

 

The reading series

Orchid Tierney

During my tenure as the 2017–18 Price Lab/PennSound fellow, I have had the opportunity to peruse the many MP3 files in the PennSound archive and to consider what inferences and conclusions can be drawn from the relationships between sound, excess, and discard.[1] 

During my tenure as the 2017–18 Price Lab/PennSound fellow, I have had the opportunity to peruse the many MP3 files in the PennSound archive and to consider what inferences and conclusions can be drawn from the relationships between sound, excess, and discard.[1] Discard may seem an unlikely object when staged in relation to sound and, in particular, to the special sonic registers we associate with an audio recording of poetry.

Mikhl Likht: from “Procession: VI” (an excerpt)

[A further installment of Likht’s Yiddish “Objectivists” poem, contemporary with or forerunner to Pound’s Cantos and Zukofsky’s “A.” Earlier segments appear here and here on Poems and Poetics.]

Translation from Yiddish by Ariel Resnikoff and Stephen Ross

 

[A further installment of Likht’s Yiddish “Objectivists” poem, contemporary with or forerunner to Pound’s Cantos and Zukofsky’s “A.” Earlier segments appear here and here on Poems and Poetics.]

 

Charles Bernstein = Karl Elektric: Versatorium transcreations, part two

The second volume of translations, transcreations, versions, and extensions of works by New York poet Charles Bernstein by Vienna-based collective Versatorium (coordinated by Peter Waterhouse). The first volume won the Münster International Poetry Prize for best translation in 2015.

Charles Bernstein = Karl Elektric, Gedichte und Übersetzen. Bd. 1.2 

The second volume of translations, transcreations, versions, and extensions of works by New York poet Charles Bernstein by Vienna-based collective Versatorium (coordinated by Peter Waterhouse). The first volume won the Münster International Poetry Prize for best translation in 2015.

Listening out the collectivist window: 'Okay, my name is so-and-so ...'

Here are two facing pages from Rob Fitterman’s This Window Makes Me Feel. Written in the long shadow of 9/11, this book of prose poetry “replaces the individual poet’s response to catastrophe with a collective, multi-vocal chorus of everyday” expression. Parts of the work have been published before, but this Ugly Duckling Presse edition is the first time the whole poem has been printed as one. It is one of the earliest examples of a long poem solely composed with repurposed language taken from the web. We at ModPo will be filming a short video about this excerpt (see below) of Fitterman’s work. I received my copy the other day and cannot stop reading and rereading the sentences.