AT the time the horror of the devil was upon me, I felt I could not bear my existence: therefore I desired Mrs. Underwood to take away every knife out of the room; that, in my despairing moments, I might not lay violent hands on myself. As soon as she was gone, I fell on my knees in prayer, and could not avoid crying aloud; but could not express all with my tongue, what I felt in my heart: but, finding I had no answer to my prayers, I arose, and was silent for some minutes, listening if I could hear “the small still VOICE OF THE LORD.” But, feeling no comfort, and hearing no answer, I opened the door, and desired Mrs. Underwood to send the letters by their own directions, as none were given to me. Mrs. Underwood, in floods of tears, said, we cannot direct ourselves; and no more letters shall go out of the house, unless the Lord, in His unbounded Love, Mercy, and Goodness, will direct us through thee. She then went and told Miss Townley, no answer was given, no more directions from the Lord. The Lord had hid his face from us, and no more letters shall go out of this house: for she felt in her heart, if the Lord would not be pleased to direct us, we would not direct ourselves. She then came back to me, and told me, that Miss Townley was upon her knees in prayer and tears, when Mrs. Underwood came back with this word. Here all were alarmed; and they would do nothing of themselves, without the directions of the Lord. Then the Light of the Lord broke in upon me; and I walked the room in tears, speaking these words :
[What follows is part of a new gathering of written & oral Occitan literatures, conceived as a sixth volume of Poems for the Millennium under the title A Millennium of Occitan Writing. The time span goes from the earliest surviving examples of Occitan poetry — that of the 11th century trobadors, the inventors of European lyric poetry — to the work of the current generation of Occitan writers, concerned with rehabilitating their language in both daily & literary modes in an epoch which one could describe as somewhat “post-colonial.”
POEMS FOR THE MILLENNIUM, VOLUME 5: Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Assemblage of Outside & Subterranean Poetry from Origins to Present
Edited with commentaries by Jerome Rothenberg and John Bloomberg-Rissman
Barbaric Vast & Wild is a continuation and a possible culmination of the project that began with Jerome Rothenberg's Technicians of the Sacred in 1968 and led to the first four volumes of Poems for the Millennium in the 1990s and 2000s. In this new and equally groundbreaking volume, Rothenberg and John Bloomberg-Rissman have assembled a wide-ranging gathering of poems and related language works, whose outside/outsider and subterranean/subversive positions challenge some of the boundaries to where poetry has been or may be practiced, as well as the form and substance of the poetry itself. It also extends the time frame of the preceding volumes in Poems for the Millennium, hoping to show that, in all places and times, what the dominant culture has taken as poetry has only been part of the story.
[The following is a new work by David Antin, commissioned for The Oppens Remembered: Poetry, Politics, Friendship, edited by Rachel Blau Du Plessis & scheduled for publication in a new & important series from University of New Mexico Press. The over-all series, titled Recencies: Research and Recovery in Twentieth-Century American Poetics & under the directorship of Matthew Hofer, began last year with the publication of the collected letters of Amiri Baraka and Ed Dorn & promises more contemporary & modernist work in & out of series. David Antin’s selected talk poems, How Long Is the Present, edited by Steve Fredman, will also be published by New Mexico, scheduled for later this year.]
A young man has written a slim book of poems. He has sent the manuscript to an older poet whose poetry he admires. The older poet approves of the work and allows his approval to be printed in the book as a kind of preface. His name is Ezra Pound.
[As John Bloomberg-Rissman and I draw to the end of our new assemblage of outside & subterranean poetry, I plan to post in advance a number of additional excerpts from the work in progress. Scheduled publication is later this year from Black Widow Press under the working title, Barbaric Vast & Wild, a gathering that will serve as well as the fifth volume of Poems for the Millennium. Earlier selections going back several years can be found elsewhere on Poems and Poetics. (J.R.)]