[In composing a gathering of my own work over the last half-century or so, I’ve tried to construct it, with the collaboration of Heriberto Yépez, as an assemblage on the model of earlier works of mine like Technicians of the Sacred & Poems for the Millennium. The experiment in this case was how to turn a “reader” into something more than a chronological work stringing together selections from previous books of poetry & poetics. It’s my hope that the table of contents which follows will give some sense of what we were d
[The antiphonals that follow have just been published – in time for my birthday (today) – as a small hand-stitched paperback by sine wave peak in Edinburgh. The poems themselves were part of a commission from Francesco Conz, for work to be added to a series of large colored photo portraits of Haroldo de Campos. As my contribution to what was conceived as a group tribute, I took phrases & lines from English translations of Haroldo’s poetry & responded to them with loosely rhymed soundings of my own. I then handwrote the poems pair by pair onto a black left margin on each of the photographs. In the typographical version below, Haroldo’s words appear in italics, while mine are shown in roman type. For me at least, the resultant work has the feel of translation/transcreation – as still another instance of othering. They appear in the new edition in a noticeably different format. (J.R.)]
The sorrow & shock of the Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor’s death among the nearly 100 killed in this September’s Kenya Mall bombing & massacre is still another horror to live with. Kofi was our friend & comrade in the early 1970s, a fellow poet & contributing editor to my magazine, Alcheringa Ethnopoetics, & a companion & guest at our dinner table in New York.