[To describe John Martone as our greatest living miniaturist, as I have in the past, is to go back for me to a time many years ago when Ian Hamilton Finlay & I corresponded about a poetry of small increments (one-word poems & other such concerns). For Finlay, I believe, some form of minimalism was at the heart of the concrete poetry he was then exploring & developing, & for myself it entered into aspects of ethnopoetics & appeared most clearly in the numerically based poems (gematria) that I was beginning to write. It’s with someone like John Martone, however
[The full interview will appear as a foreword to David Antin’s How Long Is the Present: Selected Talk Poems, edited by Stephen Fredman and scheduled for publication by the University of New Mexico Press in 2014.]
Q. 1 When you began delivering talk poems in the mid-1970s, they seemed quite confrontational. There was a remarkable resistance to the work even among so-called "avant-garde" poets on the West Coast, who seemed, as I recall, to take your questioning of the function and techniques of poetry as a direct affront. What specifically were you doing that was so provocative?
A. 1 I think I was born under the star of controversy.
[The first part of Resnikoff's essay on Zukofsky & Likht appeared September 11, 2013 on Poems and Poetics, while a significant section of “Procession 3” was posted here on September 3. The thrust of all these postings is toward the recovery/discovery of Likht as a Yiddish-American experimental modernist whose long poem, "Protsesie," may well stand alongside Zukofsky's "A" and Pound's Cantos as a major example, in whatever language, of early American avant-garde poetry. A complete translation of "Processions" by Resnikoff & Stephen Ross is now in progress. (J.R.)]