PROEM . It was raining when we got to Wroclaw (Breslau), the miles from Auschwitz bringing back the memories of what had happened there. Traveling with our son we had made reservations for a single suite at the Hotel Monopol, but when we pulled in, the hotel could only come up with two separate rooms. After a while, though, the desk clerk said that they had found a suite for us that was free. An elderly bellhop carried our bags up the central flight of stairs, threw the big doors open, put our bags down on the floor, & asked me with a little smile, “And do you know who slept here?” Then he answered his own question: “Hitler!—And he made a speech from that balcony.” After which he turned & closed the doors behind him, leaving us to think again about our fate & theirs.
[Anne Blonstein died much too soon on April 19, 2011. She had by then created a remarkable series of works in which she employed & transformed traditional numerological and hermeneutic procedures (gematria, notarikon) in the composition of radically new experimental & multilingual poems. Too little known, her oeuvre, as I would read it, is in a line that goes from Abulafia to Mallarmé & Mac Low & various poets of Oulipo and Fluxus, among others, while the devotion & precision that she shows throughout are clearly & powerfully her own.
[The excerpts that follow are from a work in progress, A Field on Mars: Poems 2000-2015, scheduled for publication next year by Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre (Jusqu’a/To Books) in simultaneous English & French editions. The note below explains whatever else needs explanation. (J.R.)]
[As I approach the seven-year mark of Poems and Poetics, I thought it appropriate to re-post the initial offering in the series, first posted herein on June 7, 2008. Published later that year as a small book from a resuscitated Hawk's Well Press (my own first press from the 1960s), two of the images appear here and here on the internet, and copies