Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Lisa Robertson: On Form (for Jane Ellison)

in which poems & poetics come together (J.R.)

You could say that form is learning

you can see form take shape

at the coronal suture’s first arcade

it’s explaining it’s appearing

it’s unestranged from enormity’s

prick of a spiny plant like a rose as

experimenting it’s bursting and

usually it’s repeating why is form

Rochelle Owens: Hermaphropoetics/Amorous, for Clayton Eshleman

(hermaphrodite flower)
(hermaphrodite flower)

Unnatural

the opaque energy

tearing the cornea

the eyes

leaking blood

 

blood

of the hermaphrodite

carnal/spiritual

 

A boy with bright red lips

The Lermontov Translations (2): “My Demon” & “New Year’s Poem”

Transcreations from Russian by Jerome Rothenberg & Milos Sovak

[The first installment of the Lermontov translations can be found here. The translations in their final form are dedicated to Milos Sovak, without whom there would have been no chance even to start them. (J.R.)]

 

My Demon

 To line up his evils & yours

is his pleasure black clouds
smoke drifting by.

 

How he loves these ill-fated

storms, this white water,
those oak groves that rattle

 

& roll. Among its sere leaves

a throne planted deep
in the earth unmoving

Geraldine Green: from Poems of a Molecatcher’s Daughter (redux)

[Taken from G. Green, Poems of a Molecatchers Daughter, Palores Publications, Editor Les Morton, Cornwall, UK; reprinted in Poems ands Poetics (December 19, 2011) as an addendum to Outsider Poems: A Mini-Anthology in Progress.]

Sal Madge

Sal Madge lived down Rosemary’s lonnin’
Sal Madge wuz a Gippo
Sal Madge wuz dirty
Sal Madge Sal Madge
wi’ ‘er pipe an’ her spittin’
Sal Madge wi’ her singin’ ditties
her bratful o’ coal she’d gathered from’t beach
down by t’docks at Whitehevven.
Sal Madge wuz a wanderer

Bob Perelman: Canonicity

[Originally a talk at a panel on canonicity (Jessica Pressman, Brian Reed, & Bob Perelman) at University of California, San Diego, organized by Michael Davidson, Feb 2013.]

 Now that I'm 65 I can ride Philly buses free. That's the good news. The more 'interesting' news is that the balance of homeostasis and desire has become a surprisingly touchy question. Keeping things the same is suddenly attractive, quite attractive, impossibly attractive. All my writing life I've learned that semantics are open-ended, but I'm starting to get the feeling that some words will turn out to have only one meaning, which is a novel and not a totally pleasant thought. "Finite" is one of those words. I don't in fact know what its one meaning is, but extraneous hypotheses are getting shorn away daily, even hourly, which I suppose is progress.

In one sense the question of canons in poetry seems decidedly old-school. It brings back memories of the 1980s -- Marjorie Perloff's "Can(n)on to the Left of Us, Can(n)on to the Right of Us," Jerome Rothenberg's "Harold Bloom: The Critic as Exterminating Angel," Charles Bernstein's "The Academy in Peril: William Carlos Williams Meets the MLA" -- when the battle map was in crisp focus. That was when O'Hara's poetry could be compared to a small electric fan blowing out crepe-paper streamers, when Stein was a hoax, when Language writing was a dismissible fad, when Williams meant wheelbarrows.