Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

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.

Eye of Witness (2): From a Shaman’s Notebook

[As a preliminary to what would later become Technicians of the Sacred, I gathered as a section of my then magazine, Poems from the Floating World (1962-1963), a series of poems that were workings on my own grounds of poems that I had begun to assemble from a range of largely tribal/oral cultures.

Nicole Peyrafitte: Poems and Poetics from “Bi-Valve”

[Nicole Peyrafitte’s move from the French Pyrenees to the United States came in 1987, and from California to New York in the 1990s. She has emerged in the new millennium as a multifaceted collagist, painter, singer & multi-media performer, and in her newest incarnation as a poet/verbal artist who moves readily between two worlds & languages. The following, then, is in recognition of my own witnessing to that career & life & to the energies behind it. (J.R.)] 

Eye of Witness (1): A Letter & a Poem for Robert Duncan, in Retrospect

[Early in the game, while I was in the midst of thinking & writing about what I had then come to speak of as “deep image,” I was approached by Robert Duncan, and in 1959, on first visit to San Francisco, I had a chance to meet him & to begin an exchange & friendship that lasted until his death in 1988.