Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Outsider Poems, a Mini-Anthology in Progress (44): Gwerful Mechain’s “Ode to the Pubic Hair”

Every foolish drunken poet,
boorish vanity without ceasing,
(never may I warrant it,
I of great noble stock,)
has always declaimed fruitless praise
in song of the girls of the lands
all day long, certain gift,
most incompletely, by God the Father:
praising the hair, gown of fine love,
and every such living girl,
and lower down praising merrily
the brows above the eyes;
praising also, lovely shape,
the smoothness of the soft breasts,
and the beauty's arms, bright drape,
she deserved honour, and the girl's hands.

The Pepper Trees, 20 Poems for & with Arie Galles

 Arie Galles - PepperTree III – 18.25 x 12 – 2012 – Graphite
Arie Galles - PepperTree III – 18.25 x 12 – 2012 – Graphite

                                                     “They are gone, the pepper trees”
                                                                      F.G. Lorca

1
the more a man’s arms
stretch
to reach the woman’s

George Economou, through C. P. Cavafy: The Newspaper Story (A New Poem)

David Hockney: C. P. Cavafy in Africa, from “14 Poems from C. P. Cavafy 1966-67”
David Hockney: C. P. Cavafy in Africa, from “14 Poems from C. P. Cavafy 1966-67”

Dejected, reading the newspaper while riding the tram:
he came across an apparent crime in the Police Blotter,
a crime that had taken place the night before
between ten and eleven. The murderer had not yet been found.
The newspaper story, quite justly,
abhorred the murder, but righteously
showed its utter contempt
for the victim’s degenerate way of life,
for that individual’s depravity.

He read all about it, the contempt … and grieving in silence,
remembered an evening between ten and midnight a year ago

Shi Zhi: ‘Fish Trilogy,’ the poet as forerunner

[EDITOR’S NOTE. Starting to write as the Cultural Revolution was taking shape, Shi Zhi (born in 1949) appears today as an early forerunner to the changes in Chinese poetry that began to emerge during that time of repression and that have now come to represent the Chinese present. His life has been marked by periods of suppression and by recurrent and ongoing confinements for mental illness, but he is now widely recognized as a major influence on better-known groups such as the Misty Poets of the 1970s and 1980s, with whom he was later associated. Winter Sun, a selection of his poems translated into English by Jonathan Stalling, appeared this year as the first title in the Chinese Literature Today book series from the University of Oklahoma Press. (J.R.)]

Outsider Poems, a Mini-Anthology in Progress (43): A Tom o’ Bedlam Song with British & Nootka Analogues (poem & commentary)

                                                       THE SONG (CIRCA 1600)

From the hagg and hungrie goblin
That into raggs would rend ye,
And the spirit that stands by the naked man
In the Book of Moones - defend ye!
That of your five sound senses
You never be forsaken,
Nor wander from your selves with Tom
Abroad to beg your bacon.