Wrote Dada poet Hugo Ball at the moment of discovery (1916): “I have invented a new genre of poems, Verse ohne Worte, (poems without words) or Lautgedichte (sound poems), in which the balance of the vowels is weighed and distributed solely according to the values of the beginning sequence. I gave a reading of the first one of these poems this evening. I had made myself a special costume for it. My legs were in a cylinder of shiny blue cardboard, which came up to my hips so that I looked like an obelisk ...
[J.R.’s note. Earlier this year I began with Heriberto Yépez the exploration of a possible assemblage of a newly reconsidered “poetry of the Americas.” The driving idea was to imagine a multilingual/multinational/multipoetic juxtaposition of poetries drawn from the work of poets engaged as natives and strangers in the creation of a new & necessarily experimental poetry & poetics. Coincident with that has been the publication of Aimé Césaire’s original 1939 version of Notebook of
[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.)]