Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

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.

Outsider Poems: A Mini-Anthology in Progress (42): from Theragāthā and Therīgāthā (Pali, 1st century B.C.)

Translations by Andrew Schelling & Anne Waldman

[EDITOR'S NOTE. The following – all but the commentary – comes from selections & translations assembled by Schelling & Waldman that give a sometimes startling view of the poetry created by the early Buddhist outsiders/outriders whose homelessness & wanderings might later serve as a template for the uses of a poetry outside of poetry as such. The link here between experience & poetic form is a marker of outsider poetry as we’ve come to know it in our quest for a vehicle, a book, to bring it all together. (J.R.)]