Martin Johnston on Greek folk poetry

From Jacket #11 (April 2000)

Martin Johnston in Greece

Greek Folk Poetry — Songs of the Robbers

The Australian poet Martin Johnston died in 1990. This article by  Johnston had been published in the March 1980 edition of The Athenian, a monthly English-language magazine in Greece. You can read five of Johnston’s translations of these Greek folk songs in Jacket #1, together with poems, photographs, an essay on Borges and other material on and by Johnston.

If modern European fiction “came out of Gogol's overcoat,” modern Greek prose came out of the ample folds of General Makriyannis's kapa. But the prose, in Greece as in Elizabethan England, is a distant second to the poetry and there is nothing in Makriyannis's always moving memoirs more moving than the passage in which he says, after a comrade has been killed: “So I made him a song.”

It's only proper — in Greece more than anywhere — that it should have been a great poet, Seferis, who wrote the definitive assessment of Makriyannis's greatness. Just as it was he and another fine poet, Elytis, who taught us to see the paintings of Theofilos with eyes clearer than those of the louts who threw rotten fruit at him and knocked him off his painting-ladder.

Eliot Weinberger on Omar Cáceres

From Jacket #3 (April 1998)

Drawing by Antonio R.Romera, the only known portrait of Omar Cáceres, courtesy Eliot Weinberger

All the stories from the capitals have grown familiar, but where are the histories and accounts of modernism as it was lived and practiced in the provinces? Latin America, for example, in the first half of the century, has shelves of unwritten magical realist literary biographies: The Peruvian Martín Adán, whose first book made him famous at twenty, and who then checked himself into an insane asylum, where he lived for another sixty years, writing on scraps of paper he threw away that were dutifully collected by the orderlies and sent to his publisher.

Mark Wallace, 'New Solutions to New Problems Might Be New Problems'

From Jacket #23 (August 2003)

New Solutions to New Problems Might be New Problems
The Individual as Social Process: Writer and Self in the Work of Nick Piombino

Of all the poets associated with language writing, Nick Piombino focuses most directly on the problem of the individual, both as writer and as source of experience. While the theoretical focus of most language writers can be said to be socialist and materialist, Piombino’s use of psychoanalytic theory and his experience as a practicing psychoanalyst marks him as different in focus while at the same time his work is closely related to language writing.

From there to here

Recently received for review

Among the joys of working as the reviews editor for a poetry magazine that has international readers and writers: packages of books you probably won't find in any domestic bookstore. Since the beginnning of May, Jacket2 has received new titles from presses including Shearsman (UK), Fremantle Press (AU), Brick Books (CA) and Reality Street (UK):

Tim Jacobs in reply to Kaplan Harris

Tim Jacobs clarifies a point made by Kaplan Harris is an article we recently published:

In Kaplan Harris's “The Small Press Traffic school of dissimulation,” a statement I made in my 1970s column in the Poetry Flash is mentioned in a favorable light, yet I must take issue with Harris' aside that I filled the column with “snarky comments.” “Snarky comments,” were, if ever, seldom the case — ask Joyce Jenkins, Lewis MacAdams, David Highsmith, or any number of poets who were in the San Francisco scene back then. I tended to do as much reportage on readings and books as I possibly could, in attempting to do justice to a literary culture that was very diverse and growing rapidly.