[The death of James Koller in December brought with it the memory of his vigorous presence in the years we knew him — at first in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the initial heady days of ethnopoetics & later with the Franco Beltrametti circle in Switzerland & in his own home & hideaway in the woods of Maine.
[note. Looking at the 27th Light Poem in retrospect it’s now evident that its composition went over a period of some five or six years, nor can I recall at what stage in the writing Jackson first passed it along to me. Whenever it was I must have had a copy of some sort & must have misplaced or buried it along with other manuscripts & notes accumulated in the intervening years. I don’t recall anyway that it was ever published, and it has only come back to me recently through the kind offices of Anne Tardos & Michael O’Driscoll during their compilation of Mac Low’s Complete Light Poems, published for the start of 2015 by Charles Alexander’s Chax Press. So it’s in celebration of that major & long awaited work that I’m announcing the book & (re)posting the 27th Light Poem here. Its relevance to Poems and Poetics goes almost without saying. (J.R.)]
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
[As we come into the fifteenth year of the new century, I would like to call attention to the publication, present & forthcoming, of a number of books of mine in the process of translation into a range of foreign languages. This is of some special importance to me since I’ve been exploring over many years the possibilities as well as the limits of poetry as an international enterprise. My own entry into poetry coincided with the awakening of a “new American poetry” in the 1950s & 60s, a series of discoveries & recoveries in which I shared, but which sometimes seemed to push back too strongly against the international or global in favor of the regional & local.
[NOTE. The allure in Bloomberg-Rissman’s work, which has drawn me to it from the start, is his use of appropriative & conceptual techniques toward the exploration of real if unanticipated meaning – the saying, in other words, of that which is crying to be said. His title comes from Adorno (“In the house of the hangman one should not speak of the noose, otherwise one might seem to harbor resentment”), & his sources appear beneath the poem & include, in this instance, appropriations from Pierre Joris’s Rothenberg Variations, anther example of a work using appropriative techniques in its composition. Part of a still larger work-in-progress, Zeitgest Spam, “Hangman,” in Bloomberg-Rissman’s description, is “written / composed /constructed in real time, daily, out of the materials presented by that day (whether via RSS feed, Facebook, books received in the mail, emails, tv, conversation, or anything else the day brings) over a period of 2012 days (yes, the ‘Mayan apocalypse’ inspired that). It is intended to be ‘adequate to the world in which we live’.” What is presented here of course is the 1880th day of composition, an ongoing anthology or assemblage of the world in which we live. (J.R.)]
On January 26, 2009, nearly six years ago, Milos Sovak died after a long illness. Our friendship had lasted over thirty years & gave me the opportunity to work with him on a series of translations, the most important a book of selected poems from the great Czech modernist Vitezslav Nezval & scattered poems from the late Russian Romantic Mikhail Lermontov. Our collaborations took place mainly in the sunlit garden of his home in Encinitas, California, & occasionally in his other home in Provence, close to Mazan & the chateau & theater of the Marquis de Sade