Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Toward a Poetry & Poetics of the Americas (4): Jose Asunción Silva (1865-1896), “Nocturne III”

Translation by Jerome Rothenberg with commentary by Heriberto Yépez

               A night,

A night thick with perfumes, with whispers & music, with wings,

               A night

With glowworms fantastically bright in its bridal wet shadows,

There by my side, pressed slowly & tightly against me,

               Mute and pale

As if a presentiment of infinite sorrow should stir you

Down to the secretest depths of your nature,

A path with flowers crosses the plain

               Where you traveled,

               Under a full moon

Up in the deep blue infinite skies

Its white light scattered,

               & your shadow too

               Thin and limpid,

               & my shadow

        That the moon’s rays projected

        Across the sad sands,

        Where both were conjoined

               & were one

               & were one

        & were one immense shadow!

        & were one immense shadow!

        & were one only one immense shadow!

Robert Kelly: 11 poems from EARISH, Thirty Poems of Paul Celan [redux], with added commentary by Ed Baker

                       for Dick Higgins
                                                       in memor I am

[TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.  In 2002 I was asked to contribute to Alec Finlay’s edition of translations by several hands of Paul Celan’s poem “Irisch.”  While working on my translation (which duly appeared in the second volume, Irisch (2), Edinburgh 2002), I began to work on other dimensions of the poem, then of other Celan poems.  The present homeophonic translations are one result.

Julie Carr and Jeffrey C. Robinson: From “An Introduction to Active Romanticism”

Cover drawing (“Ruckenfigur”) for Active Romanticism, by Susan Bee
Cover drawing (“Ruckenfigur”) for Active Romanticism, by Susan Bee

[The excerpt below comes from the introduction to Carr’s and Robinson’s Active Romanticism: Essays on the Continuum of Innovative Poetry and Poetics from the 18th Century to the Present, which University of Alabama Press will be publishing later this year.  Designed as a followup to Poems for the Millennium, volume 3, in which Robinson & I tried to create an assemblage or anthology of romantic & postromantic poetry, this volume will bring together essays & critical work by a number of poets & scholars: Dan Beachy-Quick, Jacques Darras, Rachel Blau Duplessis, Judith Goldman, S.P. Jarvis, Andrew Joron, Nigel Leask, Jennifer Moxley, Bob Perelman, Jerome Rothenberg, Elizabeth Willis, and Heriberto Yépez. (J.R.)]

Finishing Cavafy’s Unfinished (five unfinished poems from C.P. Cavafy)

Trans-compositions from Greek & commentary by George Economou

David Hockney, from 14 Poems from C.P. Cavafy 1966-67
David Hockney, from 14 Poems from C.P. Cavafy 1966-67

[These five poems are based on diverse drafts and fragments preserved in the Cavafy archive and published along with proposed reconstructions in the collection of thirty texts entitled ATELI POIEMATA (Unfinished Poems) edited by Professor Renata Lavagnini of the University of Palermo (Athens: Ikaros Press, 1994).  “The Newspaper Story,” the first poem in Lavagnini’s Greek edition, appeared earlier on Poem

Jerome Rothenberg: Ezra Pound, Wai-lim Yip, & Chinese Poetry in America (a Tribute)

[NOTE.  For nearly forty years now Wai-lim Yip, a major Chinese poet-scholar, has been our (almost) neighbor & close friend in southern California.  His reputation in the United States has mostly focused on his critical writings on Ezra Pound (Pound’s Cathay & other seminal works) & on his Chinese Poetry: Major Modes and Genres, which greatly expands & clarifies the Pound & Fennolosa approach to “the Chinese character as a medium for poetry.”  What these English works mask however is the extent of his prolific & influential writin