Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

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.

Robert Gibbons: four poems newly sighted

An Act of Bricolage

Wake up to the train, again, running right through town at 6:30 holding up a whole line of 7:00 workers. Just flashed on how Seattle woke to the sun curving round the mountain as I watched the homeless up before workers in the stained-glass dawn. In the dream the woman in my arms remained elusive. I remember hunkering down last night feeling good about myself, but by morning had the task of reassembling all of that. An act of bricolage: place this stone here, try abandoning that pattern, bookmark the page where Freedom calls for novelty, brush the dust off the gladioli, garner a certain selflessness in reassembling the Self.

 Writing on Goya

One doesn’t simply run head-on into Goya snorting some interpretation, or other. Nor stroll through the gallery of history as Nietzsche warns against in his Untimely Meditations without suffering life from the ground up. Rather, run gauntlet. Fight against one’s Time. I’m not gazing at any specific work, but Goya’s vicious brushstrokes, fierce blacks, penetrating vortexes, barely audible grunts & barks as titles swirl, hurt brain & viscera, make black blood blue. To get to Goya is to go through Lorca through Guernica through gore of bull & sword, peasant & starvation, through that which is unimaginably worse. One doesn’t simply say rape, torture, mutilation without potential disastrous ramification, but blood is in the veins till running from gash & wound into the ground, when Death grants another pardon in order to lift pen, & crack voice open as vessel. Stark, raving, angered at injustice, typing on the keyboard till fingerprints are raw, then gone.