[As we come into the fifteenth year of the new century, I would like to call attention to the publication, present & forthcoming, of a number of books of mine in the process of translation into a range of foreign languages. This is of some special importance to me since I’ve been exploring over many years the possibilities as well as the limits of poetry as an international enterprise. My own entry into poetry coincided with the awakening of a “new American poetry” in the 1950s & 60s, a series of discoveries & recoveries in which I shared, but which sometimes seemed to push back too strongly against the international or global in favor of the regional & local.
[NOTE. The allure in Bloomberg-Rissman’s work, which has drawn me to it from the start, is his use of appropriative & conceptual techniques toward the exploration of real if unanticipated meaning – the saying, in other words, of that which is crying to be said. His title comes from Adorno (“In the house of the hangman one should not speak of the noose, otherwise one might seem to harbor resentment”), & his sources appear beneath the poem & include, in this instance, appropriations from Pierre Joris’s Rothenberg Variations, anther example of a work using appropriative techniques in its composition. Part of a still larger work-in-progress, Zeitgest Spam, “Hangman,” in Bloomberg-Rissman’s description, is “written / composed /constructed in real time, daily, out of the materials presented by that day (whether via RSS feed, Facebook, books received in the mail, emails, tv, conversation, or anything else the day brings) over a period of 2012 days (yes, the ‘Mayan apocalypse’ inspired that). It is intended to be ‘adequate to the world in which we live’.” What is presented here of course is the 1880th day of composition, an ongoing anthology or assemblage of the world in which we live. (J.R.)]
On January 26, 2009, nearly six years ago, Milos Sovak died after a long illness. Our friendship had lasted over thirty years & gave me the opportunity to work with him on a series of translations, the most important a book of selected poems from the great Czech modernist Vitezslav Nezval & scattered poems from the late Russian Romantic Mikhail Lermontov. Our collaborations took place mainly in the sunlit garden of his home in Encinitas, California, & occasionally in his other home in Provence, close to Mazan & the chateau & theater of the Marquis de Sade
[Continued from previous blogger & Jacket2 postings. The Kinzua Dam construction referred to by Johnny John was a federal & state project that drove many of the Allegany Senecas from their traditional homes, to be “compensated” by new buildings but with losses still keenly felt when we lived there. Widespread protests in the
[The full interview, conducted by Ariel Resnikoff over a period of several months, is scheduled to appear shortly in The Wolfmagazine, number 31, edited by James Byrne & Sandeep Parmar, along with my own "variations" on the poetry of Mikhl Likht, mentioned below. (J.R.)]
Ariel Resnikoff: In the summer of 2013 you and I connected, via Merle Bachman, over a shared interest in the “incomprehensible” poetics of the Yiddish American modernist poet, Mikhl Likht. I had just finished my MA thesis at the University of Oxford, where I had been told I was crazy to write on the relationship between Zukofsky's English verse and Likht’s Yiddish. You, however, believed in my research and even began advising Stephen Ross’s and my translation to English of Likht’s Yiddish long poem, Protsesiyes (Processions).