Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

From 'Technicians of the Sacred (expanded)': Papa Susso, with Bob Holman, 'How Kora Was Born'

This story begins long long long long ago
So long ago that it was a place not a time
There was a man
He was so alone
The only person he could talk to was Africa
Luckily there was a tree nearby
Even more luckily behind that tree
That’s where his partner was hiding
All the sun and all the water were condensed
Into a single tiny block
Which the man planted in the sandy soil
He blew and he blew on that spot
Each time he blew he thought he heard something
What he was hearing was of course his partner singing

'The Poetry of Osip Mandelstam': A radio play by Paul Celan (complete)

Translated from Celan’s German by Pierre Joris

 

[Reposted as a followup to Pierre Joris’s “Thoughts on Osip Mandelstam’s Birthday,” Jacket2, January 16, 2016.]

 

Four Dada poems with music, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of 'Dada & the Fabled Past'

Performance 1984 of Jerome Rothenberg's That Dada Strain by Luke Morrison & the
Performance 1984 of Jerome Rothenberg's 'That Dada Strain' by Luke Morrison & the Center for Theater Science & Research, San Diego, and New York

Wrote Dada poet Hugo Ball at the moment of discovery (1916): “I have invented a new genre of poems, Verse ohne Worte, (poems without words) or Lautgedichte (sound poems), in which the balance of the vowels is weighed and distributed solely according to the values of the beginning sequence.  I gave a reading of the first one of these poems this evening. I had made myself a special costume for it.  My legs were in a cylinder of shiny blue cardboard, which came up to my hips so that I looked like an obelisk ...

Michael McClure: 'Songheavy (Last Breath Poem)'

SONGHEAVY

    

LAST BREATH POEM

 

After watching human

efforts to save the self-beached

pilot whale at Rockport.

Many times the large dolphin

reversed their efforts and

From 'Technicians of the Sacred' (expanded): Six poems of desperation by worker poet Xu Lizhi

[Originally published in China Labour Bulletin January 6, 2016]

 

I Swallowed an Iron Moon

 

I swallowed an iron moon

they called it a screw

 

I swallowed industrial wastewater and unemployment forms

bent over machines, our youth died young

 

I swallowed labor, I swallowed poverty

swallowed pedestrian bridges, swallowed this rusted-out life