Commentaries

'Across the line / Al otro lado'

Poetry of Baja California in 'Jacket' 21

In his introduction to this Jacket feature, Mark Weiss delves into the literary history of Baja Californian poetry. It is impossible to separate art from history; the growth of a region corresponds to the flourishing of expression, and political occurrences like the increased scrutiny of the borders post-9/11 or Mexico’s Woodstock in ’71 leave a visible trace.

In his introduction to this Jacket feature, Mark Weiss delves into the literary history of Baja Californian poetry. It is impossible to separate art from history; the growth of a region corresponds to the flourishing of expression, and political occurrences like the increased scrutiny of the borders post-9/11 or Mexico’s Woodstock in ’71 leave a visible trace. At the same time, Baja California is a liminal space. It is ever-changing and constantly passed through.

Technicians of the Sacred: Ethnopoetics and the New Indigenous Poetries (A Talk & Reading in Melbourne)

Coinciding with the publication of an expanded 50th anniversary edition of his anthology Technicians of the Sacred, poet, translator and anthologist Jerome Rothenberg will explore the early history of ethnopoetics.

'How much can a famished being dream?'

Ethos Books and poetry publishing in Singapore

During my years in Singapore, I found myself in cafes and libraries reading anthologies and monographs marked with a stark, elegant icon. A swatch of black fabric fanned open? A pie with a dark slice carved out? A stylized ginko leaf floating in white space? A clock paused at five to eight? The books that I kept encountering at poetry readings, in my students’ hands, and on my friends’ coffee tables had this emblem as well. It was the icon of Ethos Books. As I leave the island-nation for Michigan, I wrap Discourses on Locality with this closing interview with Ethos Books, a singular publisher of Poetry in Singapore.

During my years in Singapore, I found myself in cafés and libraries reading anthologies and monographs marked with a stark, elegant icon. A swatch of black fabric fanned open? A pie with a dark slice carved out? A stylized ginko leaf floating in white space? A clock paused at five to eight? The books that I kept encountering at poetry readings, in my students’ hands, and on my friends’ coffee tables had this emblem as well. It was the icon of Ethos Books.

Allison Cobb's 'After We All Died'

Nursing the machine that killed us

It is difficult to sum up a book like Allison Cobb’s After We All Died. It is “about” the era of Geocapitalism (the so-called Anthropocene), but nowhere mentions it directly. It is not focused on climate change (which it also doesn’t really mention), animals (though there are a lot of ants), habitat, or any other number of artifacts and attributes that we might associate with the ecologically bereft present. What the book does is accept the premise that the threshold has been crossed, and for all intents and purposes, the human project is done. Now the postmortem can begin.

“We are the killers. We stink of death. We carry it with us. It sticks to us like frost. We cannot tear it away” — John Alec Baker, The Peregrine 

Literary humor from the editors of 'Jacket'

What is a “Linopentametron”? Is it truly possible to scientifically render a poem “impervious to attack by even the most powerful critical tools”? What, exactly, happened between Sappho of Lesbos and Tod? 

What is a “Linopentametron”? Is it truly possible to scientifically render a poem “impervious to attack by even the most powerful critical tools”? What, exactly, happened between Sappho of Lesbos and Tod? Founding editor John Tranter is likely the mind responsible for the comedic snapshots of literary “history” in several of Jacket’s earlier issues.