Don’t let the title dissuade you from reading this provocative book. The poets and thinkers represented here, many of them groundbreakers in American literature and thought, don’t know what it means either. That’s the point — to define these terms so as to answer a question that has not yet been posed in American poetry: what is radical Jewish poetry and how is it related to secular Jewish culture?
Vlado Martek was born in 1951 in Zagreb. He graduated from the University of Zagreb, major in Literature and Philosophy. From 1975 until 1978 he was a member of informal Group of Six Authors, and had shown exhibitions-actions with them and initiated the magazine-catalogue Maj 75 (May 75). He has shown his work in a number of solo exhibitions. By vocation Martek has been a (pre)poet and multimedia nomadic author. His work includes actions, agitations, ambiences, murals, poetry, texts on his own work (metatheory),texts on other artists (metareview), graffiti, land art, graphics, painting, author's books, sculpture, poetry, and objects. Since 1979 he has been working in a public library.
In this text I would like to speak about Vlado Martek primarily as a poet. This may seem questionable, because it might cause the impression that his varied and comprehensive oeuvre is in this way reduced to just one field. However, it is important to speak about Martek as a poet, because in this way the radical imperative of defining the field of poetry is imposed upon us. In order to attempt to do that, I must first briefly outline the institutional field of literature, and within that, the field of poetry in the context of the influence that cultural studies have had on the study of literature.