[This is the final prose piece in Eye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader, which brings together aspects of my work in a range of forms & genres (poetry, prose, performance, plays, poetics, visual, verbal, & vocal). Co-edited with Heriberto Yépez & published in early September by Joe Phillips & Black Widow Press. (J.R.)]
[In advance of publication September 2013 by Black Widow Press, co-edited by Heriberto Yépez & Jerome Rothenberg]
A Re-Vision of Jerome Rothenberg’s Poetry and Poetics
Jerome Rothenberg’s poetic work began in the late fifties. It was after his stay in Europe that his writing took the form of what would become a life-long program. His first published book, New Young German Poets (1959), already showed his characteristic interest in translation, poetics, avant-garde writing, and their relation to the human condition as a deeper presence restructuring the poem. Although his work can be associated with that of his early group—David Antin and Armand Schwerner, among others—Rothenberg’s work is unique. He shares techniques, contexts and a literary/cultural field with others, but his ends are sui generis.
The scene – a vegetable garden almost smack in its center a well.
four little girls singing – we’re not gonna go to the woods no more the laurel trees are down on the floor hey the beautiful babe will go pick them up then we’ll come out to dance hey just like they dance oh you sing dance & hug anybody you want
[The news has just reached me of the sudden death of Kevin Power, a friend of mine for over forty years & an independent writer & chronicler of contemporary poetry (particularly postwar/postmodern North American) & art (particularly Latin American & Spanish). British when we first met, he was for many years the distinguished chair of American Literature at the University of Alicante in Spain & a deputy director of the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. On September 15, 2011 I posted the following introduction to Where You’re At: Poetics & Visual Art(for Alastair Johnston’s Poltroon Press, 2011), his collection of eight interviews with American poets conducted in the mid-1970s as a mapping of American poetry during the second great awakening of twentieth-century poetry & art. The force of Kevin’s interaction with & meticulous understanding of American poetry & poets is clear from this introduction & even more so from his role as interlocutor in the interviews themselves. Since Poems and Poetics wasn’t then co-posted with Jacket2, I’m reposting this now as the most immediate homage I can offer to Kevin for the years of dedication & energy that he privileged me to share. (J.R.)]