Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Anne Tardos: Nine poems from 'Nine'

[Anne Tardos, whose poetry & performances have enlightened us for several decades now, emerges in Nine (BlazeVox Books, forthcoming) as an innovator of new forms that serve as a vehicle for work that incorporates, like all great poetry, the fullest range of thoughts & experiences & makes them stick in mind & memory.  The form in question is called a “nine,” the reach & depth of which is described by Rachel Blau DuPlessis in the opening of a powerful introductory essay: “Anne Tardos has invented a form that is a mode of practice and thus a mode of being in language, expressed in this book with a patient excitement.

Jerome Rothenberg: 'The Hell of Smoke,' for the anniversary of the Hiroshima holocaust

[On the anniversary today of the Hiroshima holocaust I thought to post a poem of mine written some fifteen years after the event & later performed with the Japanese novelist Oda Makoto and composer Charlie Morrow under the auspices of the Bread & Puppet Theater.  The event, “Auschwitz/Hiroshima,” was a dirge for the murders by fire that marked our time and too many times before & after.  The Jigoku Zoshi is a Japanese scroll of hells that dates back to the twelfth century.]


Simon Ortiz: 'What Indians?' (complete)

The Truth Is: “No kidding?” “No.” “Come on! That can't be true!” “No kidding.”


“What Indians?” is my too-often unspoken response to people who ask “When do the Indians dance?” Like other colonized Indigenous peoples, cultures, and communities throughout the world, Native Americans have experienced and endured identities imposed on them by colonial powers, most of which originated in Europe.

American Sign Language as a medium for poetry

 Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner of the Flying Words project performing ASL poetry (
Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner of the Flying Words project performing ASL poetry (Jessica Munyon)

for Joseph Castronovo & Edward S. Klima, in memoriam

[The great breakthrough resulting from a new signing poetry in Deaf Culture has been to call into question a poetics in which orality & sounding are assumed to be the foundational bases of all poetic expression. That revelation goes back three decades & more, recently & notably presented in Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, ed. by Dirksen L. Bauman, Jennifer L. Nelson, & Heidi M. Rose (University of California Press, 2006).