Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Nicole O’Driscoll: Two Poems on Traveller Themes, with the Editor’s Commentary

Photo Credit: Alen MacWeeney, in Irish Travellers,Tinkers No More
Photo Credit: Alen MacWeeney, in Irish Travellers,Tinkers No More

NIGHTSHADE

 

I tried to outrun the steepening slope

But slipped and burned my hands in the blood of half-beings

Plotted along a crippling hill.

Their faces hissed their sibilant indictments

Against my unmindful bid for escape,

Jerome Rothenberg: From Eye of Witness, Two Letters to Robert Duncan, 1960, 1968

(1) Image & Melos: a Letter, 1960, to Robert Duncan
[From New York City]

September 27, 1960
 

... following with great interest your interchange with Kelly. On the basis of your first letter to reach here (only one I’ve seen, other 2 being described) I feel no real disagreement as to melos, etc., being other vehicles for manifestation of “floating world” (source) within the poem, tho if you define yourself as a poet of “word-magic” primarily, my own direction in these last years has probably been toward “image-magic”— yet it doesn’t seem to me that any of the “powers” are totally to be denied, nor can they where the poem is allowed to happen.

An open letter to Kenneth Goldsmith from Anne Tardos

Anne Tardos and Jackson Mac Low, 1981.
Anne Tardos and Jackson Mac Low, 1981.

Dear Kenny,

Your piece “The Burden of Artists’ Crap” posted over a year ago in Harriet (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2012/04/the-burden-of-artists-crap/), has just been brought to my attention. I am shocked and dismayed by your characterization of me.

Outside & Subterranean Poems, a Mini-Anthology in Progress (55): Figures in the Dark, the Dancer at Trois Frères

[The opening selection from a work in progress, Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Assemblage of Outside & Subterranean Poetry, edited with John Bloomberg-Rissman]

COMMENTARY

The first traces of poetic mind begin in darkness: a mystery of figures — sorcerers or shamans — on a journey into hidden places, beyond the boundaries of light & human dwellings.  It is in the depths of those caves — 30,000 years in the past — that we get the first glimmers of a move toward the recording of memory & an active imagination that frees such memory & brings it into a new configuration.