Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Reconfiguring Romanticism (54): Jeffrey C. Robinson, "Occupy Romanticism," 27 May 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE. The following was Jeffrey Robinson’s contribution to the recent Poetry & Revolution conference at Birkbeck College of the University of London. As with other of Robinson’s recent writings, it presents an ongoingly radical view of Romanticism in the spirit of Poems for the Millennium, volmue 3, which he and I constructed in the first decade of the current millennium. For my part, the collaboration with Robinson opened me to areas of poetry that had long been hidden from me and honed my own practice in ways that had only been latent until then. If I wrote A Book of Concealments in the process – & I did – the sense of “Romantic Dadas” that appears there was also part of our work in common, for which I remain forever grateful. (J.R.)

Outsider poems, a mini-anthology in progress (40): From the Egyptian pyramid texts

[NOTE. This text in our projected anthology follows an image from the paleolithic cave at Trois Frères in France, with accompanying meditation or commentary on thefigures in the dark& the nature of writing/drawing outside/beyond the normal human space. Or as our friend Robert Duncan had known it for himself in his last great work:


                                             in the dark this state

that knows nor sleep nor waking, nor dream

      – an eternal arrest.]

 

The Dead King Hunts & Eats the Gods

 

The sky is overcast,
The stars are darkened,
The celestial expanses quiver,
The bones of the earth-gods tremble,
The planets are stilled,
For they have seen the King appearing in power
As a god who lives on his fathers
And feeds on his mothers;
The King is a master of wisdom
Whose mother knows not his name.
The glory of the King is in the sky,
His power is in the horizon
Like his father Atum who begot him.

Jerome Rothenberg: A round of renshi & the poet as other, an experiment in poesis (part one)

Clockwise from top left: Tanikawa Shuntaro, Jeffrey Angles, Jerome Rothenberg, Ito Hiromi, Kaku Wakako, Yostsumoto Yasuhiro

PROLOGUE

 

           An experiment in time & spacehow much of my life was given to itto step

 out of where I first had found myself & come into an other, stranger world.

           I mean to say that we emerged from the second world war & knew that it

 was bigger than that. The world, I mean.

          The world as Europe was not the world the mind now knew.

          And something had happened that let the mind know many worlds — each

one of which was "other" to the mind.

          Europe was also "other."

          America was "other."

          What was exotic & what was near to hand were "other."

          You & I were "other" to ourselves, our minds.

          The mind the mind knew was a final otherness: a habitat of minds & worlds.

          (This emerged. The world emerged it.)

          What you know is what you are. What the mind can hold is what the mind

is.

          Enough, the mind says. There is a politics in this & yet there is no politics.

          There is a knowledge here that mixes real & unreal, that opens.

          There is also the trembling headiness of a world in which, Rimbaud told

 

us, "I is an other."

          What did he mean by that?

          What do I mean?

          "I" is "other," is "an other," is "the other."

          (There is also "you.")

          If the mind shapes, configures the world it knows or holds, is there an

imperial/colonizing mind at work here, or is this mind as shaper & collager

still pursuing its old work: to make an image of the world from what appears to

it?

          And what appears to it?

           The world.

Alison Knowles: 17 event scores & where they happened

[EDITOR’S NOTE. The following are a reminder of the pivotal role played by Alison Knowles in what can be described in retrospect as the Fluxus revolution of the 1960s. With their deceptively simple surface Knowles’s performance works exemplified the thrust of many artists, poets & performers to build on what Allan Kaprow & John Cage spoke of as an erasure of the boundaries between art & life.