[The full interview will appear as a foreword to David Antin’s How Long Is the Present: Selected Talk Poems, edited by Stephen Fredman and scheduled for publication by the University of New Mexico Press in 2014.]
Q. 1 When you began delivering talk poems in the mid-1970s, they seemed quite confrontational. There was a remarkable resistance to the work even among so-called "avant-garde" poets on the West Coast, who seemed, as I recall, to take your questioning of the function and techniques of poetry as a direct affront. What specifically were you doing that was so provocative?
A. 1 I think I was born under the star of controversy.
[The first part of Resnikoff's essay on Zukofsky & Likht appeared September 11, 2013 on Poems and Poetics, while a significant section of “Procession 3” was posted here on September 3. The thrust of all these postings is toward the recovery/discovery of Likht as a Yiddish-American experimental modernist whose long poem, "Protsesie," may well stand alongside Zukofsky's "A" and Pound's Cantos as a major example, in whatever language, of early American avant-garde poetry. A complete translation of "Processions" by Resnikoff & Stephen Ross is now in progress. (J.R.)]
In a conversation the other day with David Antin, the name of Seymour Faust came up, as it often does for us. In the distant days when we were all students at City College in New York, Faust was among our few poet companions – a friendship & close association that lasted till some time around 1960, when he & I broke off for personal reasons that now seem trivial in retrospect. He was certainly present at the time that Antin and I founded Hawk’s Well Press in 1958 & published his Lonely Quarry as the first of a small number of books that I was to continue to
Monday (September 16) is the actual publication date for Eye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader, co-edited with Heriberto Yépez & published by Black Widow Press in Boston. The design of the book follows the layout of my anthologies such as Poems for the Millennium & Technicians of the Sacred, which makes it different in format from other “readers” & a way of treating the range of works (poetry, prose, performance, plays, poetics, visual, verbal, & vocal, translations & variations) that I’ve been into over the last fifty years, e