[Going through some old files recently I came across two translations by Robert Duncan of poems by the Surrealist overlord & master-poet André Breton. That brought me back too to a series of translations from Breton that David Antin composed & that I published sometime in the 1960s. An old theme of mine – & ours – that I still cherish is the relation of the second great wave of American experimental poetry to antecedents not only “in the American grain” – as then widely promulgated – but in a direct line from forerunners in other languages & cultures.
[The following is from a remarkable essay by Jack Foley, which presents a much needed counter proposition to ideas about “influence” & its “anxieties” that have been present without sufficient opposition in a prominent wing of American criticism & literary studies. The complete essay continues at full throttle & in a meaningfully personal way to a discussion of the influence of the work of three canonical or near-canonical writers – Thomas Grey, James Joyce & Robert Duncan – on Foley’s own early work as a solid contributor to our developing
[In line with the recent publication of Poems for the Millennium, volume 5: Barbaric Vast & Wild and other new writings in English & other languages, the following readings & launches are scheduled for the coming year. I will be posting & re-posting further details on these & others as the year progresses. (J.R.)]
Participant, Poesia en Voz Alta (festival), with Charles Bernstein, Serge Pey, & others, Mexico, D.F., April 14-19, 2015.
Every work of art attests to lived experience and reminds us that another human has been here. Echoes aren’t inherently empty. The emotional encounter — the felt awareness of something other that is essentially a memory, but one emitted, as it were, by another — is crucial for our consciousness of history and a key to the good life. But it is in this way, too, that Death makes its appearance in a work of art. I’ll get to the quandary of the good life later. Inadequately, but that may be for the best. In Goya’s great painting ‘The Third of May 1808,’ we see before us a moment just before an execution.