Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Five new poems from a work in progress: 'America/2017'

Jerome Rothenberg


The President of Desolation

Karl Young: 'Toward an Ideal Anthology (Reflections on the Light and Dust Web Anthology),' Part Two

[Part One of Karl Young’s insightful essay on anthologies and his own work in particular appeared earlier on Poems and Poetics. The entire piece can be accessed here, by a pathway that can lead the reader to other useful and often hard to obtain works, generously and conscientiously delivered. (J.R.)]

Mark Weiss: 'A Suite of Dances' III: Travelers Tales

Cows in the mire above slate water.


White, dappled

to the brown drop-off, sea,

clouds beyond,

and a burnish of sunlight

barely makes it.

And here’s a bay cuts in below stubble

on a ground of snow.

Anne Tardos, 'Beginningless,' a new poem from 'The Camel's Pedestal'

NOTE. Anne Tardos’s The Camel’s Pedestal: Poems 2009–2017 was published earlier this year by BlazeVOX Books. Of these poems and of what Gary Snyder has called the “real work of modern man: to uncover the inner structure and actual boundaries of the mind,” John Olson writes: “There is a splendid lucidity to Tardos’s writing, a jesting, inquisitive spirit nimbly examining the relationship between language and reality in inventive articulations that jingle with wit and perceptivity. Lines like ‘I am lost in a desert of my own making’ and ‘Do words work as wood works’ juggle phenomenology, advancing what Tardos observes as ‘the true state of things expressed in phenomena but inexpressible in language.’ Contradiction, paradox, incongruity; it’s all here, the entire caravan of linguistic apparatus crossing the dunes of this enigma, this desolation of self-awareness, this epistemology of dromedaries on the very edge of things. This collection is well-crafted, precise, imaginative, clear. I feel a great intelligence moving among these words. It’s exhilarating. This is the kind of work that inspires me.”

Life is a raw event
I give you roses                         You give me roses
As I speak and as you listen, I feel the traction of my words in the terrain of your mind
We speak of the great emptiness which is ultimately empty of itself (it is not reality either)
We discuss the limits of thought
The paradox of expressibility
The familiar, the habitual, we appropriate
Our mental attitudes then crystallize into instincts