[NOTE. After two years in public view (the project goes back some forty years before that), Thomas Meyer’s translation/transcreation of the Beowulf poem stands out as an extraordinary example of the transposition of a major poem from one language or epoch to another. It’s my contention further that translation, as here, can serve as a form of composition, to make a new work in which the presence of the old is a necessary underpinning or shadow, as in the words of Gertrude Stein, rather than Pound in this instance: “As it is old it is new, and as it is new it is old, but now [she adds] we have come to be in our own way, which is a completely different way.”
[In the first & heady days of ethnopoetics I was led by Gary Snyder into a close association with the anthropologist Stanley Diamond, a covert poet & a major thinker on the limits & pitfalls of civilization as a state of mind & of governance. For Diamond, while we all recognized its inadequacy, the term “primitive” remained the defining & necessary counterproposition “to understanding,” as he put it, “our contemporary pathology and possibilities.” For me at that time the two key essays in his oeuvre were “In Search of the Primitiv
[NOTE. Soon to be published by Station Hill of Barrytown, Alana Siegel’s Archipelago adds a new presence & intelligence to a major subset of postmodern American poetry with traceable connections to Duncan’s “grand collage” & Olson’s “composition by field.” In her own way, which is “a completely different way” (G.