Commentaries

Bob Holman's 'Language Matters' (PBS) on the world's 3000 endangered languages

Watch now: Language Matters | Full Episode | PBS Video

A beautiful and important PBS documentary in which Bob Holman carries forward the fight to save endangered languages (3000 of them) and their attendant poetries. Language Matters asks what we lose when languages die, and how we can save them.  Writes Norman MacAfee in The Huntington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/let-the-world-speak_b_65382): 

 There are 6,000 languages in the world, and half are endangered. Those 3,000 will be gone by the end of this century if we don't do something. What are we going to do? That is the situation outlined in a new PBS documentary, Language Matters with Bob Holman, by David Grubin and Bob Holman. Why is saving endangered languages important?

These 3,000 endangered languages are part of the history, and the prehistory, of humanity. They are part of prehistory because many are only spoken languages, not written, passed orally from generation to generation, down the millennia.

From 'Kojiki': The male deity Izanaki and the female deity Izanami (new edition)

Translated from Japanese by Yoko Danno

[N.B. Yoko Danno’s Songs and Stories of the Kojiki is the first English translation to capture the full sweep & ferocity of the founding Japanese epic.  The work as such was originally published by Ahadada Books in 2008 & has just been reissued by Red Moon Press in Winchester, VA.  Born, raised & educated in Japan, Danno has been writing solely in English for almost forty years.  She continues to live & work in Kobe.]

The Canadian prose poem

Notes toward an essay I haven’t quite written

a fragment of our poetry shelf
a fragment of our poetry shelf

A few years ago, reading through issues of the now-defunct sentence: the journal of the prose poem started me thinking about the prose poem in terms of difference between Canada and the United States. As much overlap as our two countries have, the evolution of the nebulously-termed “prose poetry” has been different, and yet, at least on this side of the border, the form hasn’t been (for what I’ve been able to find) much explored in terms of possibility, genealogy and influence. Back in May 2012, as a prelude to composing a possible essay to explore the subject, I sent out an email to a variety of individuals, and even a couple of list-serves, seeking information:

M.C. Richards celebrates John Cage's 75th

Mary Caroline Richards spent time at Black Mountain College, formed and lived on a Long Island commume from 1954-1964, wrote poems about pottery and published a book about centering in the 1960s that received a lot of attention, was a long-time friend of John Cage. When Cage did an academic year at Wesleyan University in 1960-61, he used his leverage there to arrange a poetry reading for Richards. PennSound has only one recording of M.C. Richards — made at Indre Studios in Philadelphia on May 5, 1997.

One of the poems she performed on that occasion was "For John Cage on His 75th Birthday": MP3.

Annharte's 'AKA Inendagosekwe'

Aka Inendagosekew, published by CUE, 2014
Aka Inendagosekew, published by CUE, 2014

In her recent collection of essays, edited by Vancouver poet and critic Reg Johanson and collected together as AKA Inendagosekwe (CUE, 2013), Winnipeg poet Annharte’s “Advice to Young Writers” reads: