Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Michael O’Driscoll: By the Numbers: Jackson Mac Low’s Light Poems and Algorithmic Digraphism

[In advance of a projected publication of Jackson Mac Low’s The Light Poems (complete) by Chax Press with an introduction by Michael O’Driscoll, the following is an excerpt from O’Driscoll’s “By the Numbers: Jackson Mac Low's Light Poems and Algorithmic Digraphism” in Time in Time: Short Poems, Long Poems, and the Rhetoric of North American Avant-Gardism, 1963-2008. ed. J. Mark Smith (McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal, 2013).]

Jerome Rothenberg: from “The Seven Hells of the Jigoku Zoshi,” Poem & Variation

[In the 1990s I composed a series of thirty-three “Lorca Variations,” systematically drawing vocabulary, principally nouns, from my previously published translation of Lorca’s early gathering of poems, The Suites.  I later made use of this method of composition for homages to Jackson Mac Low, Octavio Paz, & others as a step beyond translation but with an idea of translation – or what Haroldo de Campos called “transcreation” & I called “othering” – as one of the defining characteristics of poetry as a whole.  The obvious difference in t

Pierre Joris: from DIS/ASTER [Part 3 of RIGWRECK], with an author's note

Disaster: not thought gone awry

when all this first started
            my body broke out into real bad rashes
                        my eyes my face my neck my chest my back my shoulders
big giant holes on the back of my legs,
            holes the size of a #2 pencil
                        looked just like the holes
                                    in the fish
                                               in the lab
                                                on the slab

Diane Rothenberg: On the Insanity of Cornplanter, Part Two (redux)

Four Iroquois chiefs painted from life, circa 1710
Four Iroquois chiefs painted from life, circa 1710

[Part One was posted on May 31 and is available here.]

The existence of the content of Cornplanter’s visions is serendipitous.  A copy of the manuscript (or the original) was in the collection of the Cornplanter family aand was found and recopied by  a young man, Charles Aldrich, in 1849, and sent to Lyman C. Draper who had expressed an interest in collecting memorabilia relevant to a project on the Revolutionary War.  Aldrich offered himself as a reliable local scholar who had access to a series of documents in the possession of William O’Beale, one of Cornplanter’s sons.  Aldrich apologized to Draper for the legibility of the manuscript he sent because, he explained, he was rushed in producing it, but “it is about as legible from the ms from which it is taken.”

Bruce Stater: from ‘The Journey of Metaphor & Remembrance’ in Labyrinth of Vision (redux)

Say the poem is a journey

taken with silent walking sticks

on a path strewn with memories

deaf, dumb,

blind & beyond measure.

Its mouth filled with words

its pockets filled with stale bread.


Say it is an elixir derived from chlorophyll