AUTHOR'S NOTE. With a small Saltonstall poetry grant, I visited Auschwitz in 2004-05 during all the seasons. I had to get the sense of the place on my skin and know at least that reality as it was felt by the inmates. It was hard to find a way into the overwhelming “pity and terror” of the Auschwitz tragedy, and many poems took on a surreal cast. I welcomed the variety of approaches that presented themselves. Some poems, like “Birken, Place of Birches” and “The Carp Feeders,” are based on where and when events occurred.
[On September 23rd 43 students of the teacher's college in Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, were detained by the police on the way to a protest, and handed over to a local drug cartel. They were tortured and killed, their bodies dismembered, dumped in a pit and incinerated. Mexico has been in turmoil since.
David Huerta is one of Mexico's most important poets. This poem is his reaction. (M.W.)]
[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.)]
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