Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Itō Hiromi: Cooking, Writing Poetry

Translation from Japanese by Jeffrey Angles

Itō Hiromi (center) with Jeffrey Angles & Jerome Rothenberg
Itō Hiromi (center) with Jeffrey Angles & Jerome Rothenberg

[On March 11, 2011, northeastern Japan suffered a massive earthquake that left nearly 16,000 people dead or missing and many others injured. Soon afterward, the editors of Gendai shi techo (Japan's foremost magazine of contemporary poetry) and the Asahi Shinbun (one of Japan's largest newspapers) collaborated to commission and publish a series of works about the disaster, all written by Japan's foremost poets. The following poem was Hiromi Itō 's contribution to the project. This translation first appeared in Poetry Kanto, vol. 28 (2012). (J.A.)]

A huge earthquake, a huge tsunami
People die and just moments later
There’s the nuclear meltdown
Drawn-out fear assaults us
Each time I go to Tokyo
It is darker
Hot and humid there
It stings
In Tokyo
Everyone was afraid
Everybody was angry

Outsider Poems, a Mini-Anthology in Progress (50): Ernst Herbeck, “Golden ABCs,” with translation from German by Gary Sullivan

Photo credit: © Privatstiftung–Künstler aus Gugging
Photo credit: © Privatstiftung–Künstler aus Gugging

Golden ABCs

The sequence A-Z
The alphabet in order
The lock
The book order B-Y
The interim result C

A
1. A beautiful A
as it once was
is—like— an apple star
in—Vien’na (AS N)
2. A beautiful film star
is a prayer
As gladly I’s once staged (in old time VIENNA)
and as beautiful; as it once waS.
3. A A A winter that is there.
Winter, summer, autumn and rain
P l e a s e God—bounty me the apple gain.
A A A spring that is THERE.

B
B B B to separate does hurt.
always tributary in the crossroads,
the wood falls in whining odes,
B B B to separate does hurt.
B B B to separate does hurt.
Wood disheartened in the holloway,
the wood lies at the crossroads,
B B B to separate does hurt.

Alberto Blanco: Three Theories from The Square Root of Heaven

Translated from Spanish by Gustavo V. Segade & Elise Miller

                                                        Imagination is more important
                                                        than knowledge.

Emilio Prados: Three Poems from The Enclosed Garden

Translation from Spanish by Donald Wellman

Emilio Prados, left, & Federico García Lorca, Madrid, 1936
Emilio Prados, left, & Federico García Lorca, Madrid, 1936

NEXT TO THE STREAM
Dawn

Dreaming cowl,
summer rain:
where goes
the cloud in which you were born?

Forest echo,
heart of wind:
where the voice
that abandoned you in the sky?

Murmur of water
among soft rushes:
where goes
the sparkle of your current?

Human body fleeting,
slender reed:
where did your shadow forget
its nudity?

Beauty, solitude,
silent contemplation:
where is the true
scent of your word?...

(The voice of God
resounds against the age...)