[The antiphonals that follow have just been published – in time for my birthday (today) – as a small hand-stitched paperback by sine wave peak in Edinburgh. The poems themselves were part of a commission from Francesco Conz, for work to be added to a series of large colored photo portraits of Haroldo de Campos. As my contribution to what was conceived as a group tribute, I took phrases & lines from English translations of Haroldo’s poetry & responded to them with loosely rhymed soundings of my own. I then handwrote the poems pair by pair onto a black left margin on each of the photographs. In the typographical version below, Haroldo’s words appear in italics, while mine are shown in roman type. For me at least, the resultant work has the feel of translation/transcreation – as still another instance of othering. They appear in the new edition in a noticeably different format. (J.R.)]
The sorrow & shock of the Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor’s death among the nearly 100 killed in this September’s Kenya Mall bombing & massacre is still another horror to live with. Kofi was our friend & comrade in the early 1970s, a fellow poet & contributing editor to my magazine, Alcheringa Ethnopoetics, & a companion & guest at our dinner table in New York.
Translation from Spanish & related dialects or faux-dialects by Jerome Rothenberg & Cecilia Vicuña. Originally published in the blogger version of Poems and Poetics & later in The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, edited by Edited by Cecilia Vicuña and Ernesto Livon Grosman, reprinted here for Jacket2. Final publication of the anthology of outside & subterranean poetry is scheduled for 2014 from Black Widow Press.