Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Homero Aridjis and Pierre Joris: Two pieces on the PEN American Center Award to Charlie Hebdo

[For the record & because I’m feeling some irritation following the recent PEN Center / Charlie Hebdo brouhaha, I’m posting these two pieces on today’s Poems and Poetics.  Both Joris & Aridjis have been very close to me over the years, & their pieces, taken together, provide as strong a statement as needed in the present instance.  My own sense of the issues goes back to forerunners like the Dada poet Richard Huelsenbeck who spoke out against the “misbelievers” of religion & in favor of the “dis

Serge Pey: Three poems from 'Why I Crush Tomatoes'

Translated from French by Yasser Elhariry

[My first memory of Serge Pey was in Paris, sometime in the early 1980s, when he woke us up in the apartment off Saint Germain that my wife & I were then borrowing.  Our son had arrived a few hours before, traveling with a couple of friends across Europe and walking halfway across Paris on the morning of a Metro strike.  The three of them were sacked out on the floor, across the room from us, but didn’t hear Serge’s heavy knocking on the door.  We did and when we opened up for him he moved in quickly, holding with both hands a large, hollow, brightly painted rain stick, filled with beans or pebbles, which when upended made a gentle swooshing sound like rain or falling water.  He told us he had come to serenade us – Aztec style – & walked out to the center of the rather large room, where the ritual began.  

Efraín Huerta: Some minimal poems, from 'Poemínimos Completos'

Translations from Spanish by Jerome Rothenberg 

CALDERONIANA

 

I was

A fool

& what

I loved

Has made

Me

      Into

Translating André Breton: Robert Duncan & David Antin

[Going through some old files recently I came across two translations by Robert Duncan of poems by the Surrealist overlord & master-poet André Breton.  That brought me back too to a series of translations from Breton that David Antin composed & that I published sometime in the 1960s.  An old theme of mine – & ours – that I still cherish is the relation of the second great wave of American experimental poetry to antecedents not only “in the American grain” – as then widely promulgated – but in a direct line from forerunners in other languages & cultures.

Jack Foley: From 'Under the Influence,' definitions & prelude

[The following is from a remarkable essay by Jack Foley, which presents a much needed counter proposition to ideas about “influence” & its “anxieties” that have been present without sufficient opposition in a prominent wing of American criticism & literary studies.  The complete essay continues at full throttle & in a meaningfully personal way to a discussion of the influence of the work of three canonical or near-canonical writers – Thomas Grey, James Joyce & Robert Duncan – on Foley’s own early work as a solid contributor to our developing