[What follows is a draft of what will be part of the pre-face to Barbaric Vast & Wild, the assemblage of “outside & subterranean poetry” to be published later this year by Black Widow Press — the de-facto fifth volume of Poems for the Millennium & the culmination for the moment of a project that began nearly fifty years ago with the original publication of Technicians of the Sacred. I’m posting it now on Poems and Poetics before I head off for six or seven weeks on the road, to engage in readings & pe
[Originally published in Current Musicology's recent issue on “experimental writing about music.”]
This set of poems grew out of my experiences of listening and finding myself inside nigunim(pl; singular nigun or nign), Chassidic chants — mystical, usually wordless songs used as accompaniment for rituals — weddings, prayers, candle-lightings — collective beckoning of transcendence. The nigun experience is fraught with what Amiri Baraka called, referring to blues, the “re/feeling” — proximity and shape of personal history of encounters with unfathomable.
Translations from Japanese by Jerome Rothenberg & Yasuhiro Yotsumoto
[The project to translate Nakahara Chuya into English continued recently (July 2014) with a meeting in Yamaguchi, Japan, of a number of interested poets & translators – plans to be announced. My own collaborative work with Yasuhiro Yotsumoto will hopefully continue from this point onward, for which the following poems & comments are only a beginning. (J.R.)]
Translation from the Polish Manuscripts by Harris Lenowitz
NOTE. As a time of growing dislocations & deconstructions, the eighteenth-century saw changes of mind that reached into isolated corners of Europe, far removed from the strongholds of both the Enlightenment & the “natural supernaturalism” & radical mysticisms that were among the marks of an emerging Romanticism. The messianic Frankist movement as it affected eastern European Jews involved, like its literary & western counterparts, a shift in language & its attendant symbols that resembled the shifts emerging as well in the dominant cultures.