Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Seymour Mayne – Hail: 15 word sonnets

[EDITOR'S NOTE. My own concern with minimal forms of poetry & verbal composition goes back to the 1960s & discoveries I was making & creating in Techncians of the Sacred and Shaking the Pumpkin & connecting to experiments in our own time by poets like Ian Hamilton Finlay & others connected most specifically with what we were then speaking of as concrete poetry. That there was a complexity of thought & act behind this was another point I had to make – both “there” & “here” – & still that point seemed obvious enough.  I called it, for Finlay & others, “a maximal poetry of minimal means,” & where I got into it myself, I found it helped to cool off, to set another temperature for what was otherwise my work.  It’s with thoughts like this in mind that I approach Seymour Maynes’s long-running project of what he calls & practices as “word sonnets.”  In their one-word verticality I’ve found a strong resemblance too to the look & feel of Chinese poetry that led Ernest Fenellosa to see in the immediacy of the Chinese graphic/visual ideogram (set one per line) “a splendid flash of concrete poetry.” 

Mikhl Likht: 'Processions' II, translation from Yiddish by Ariel Resnikoff & Stephen Ross

"Protsesiyes" illustration by Evelyn Likht in Monatlakher zshurnal far literatur
"Protsesiyes" illustration by Evelyn Likht in Monatlakher zshurnal far literatur [Monthly Journal for Literature], 1925

[NOTE. The following marks the continuation of the recovery & translation into English of the experimental modernist masterwork Protsesiye (Processions) by the great & all but forgotten Yiddish poet Mikhl Likht, who was a younger contemporary of Pound and Williams & in some ways the forerunner of Zukofsky & other “Objectivist” & projectivist poets.

Michael Heller: From Victor Segalen's 'Ode to the Sky on the Esplanade of the New,' newly transposed


Familiar spirit!  If nevertheless this is what you wish to be,

a high sovereign,  sky lord of the lit temple,

one who has spoken, embracing the bowl reversed in air,

the majesty of blue, of jade and of iron,


truly, if you are a construct of  that which you proclaim:

being, light of all and everything, and one who rises up to and yet

remains fixed under the roof of the great void, surrounded like a wall

of spiraling ether, profoundly hard and pure —


still what deprivation!  What prostration of the orb’s height

where my forehead reigns at the resting place of the sages,

over the trebled paving that rounds out their image.

What humility belittling my face.

Gaspar Orozco: Ten Prose Poems from 'Autocinema,' part one

Translations from Spanish by Mark Weiss

My intention has been no more than to project a small film, a one-page film, onto each sheet of paper.
I have always believed that poetry and film spring from the same root and share the same core. Ernst Jünger once said that film is a cross between technology and magic. Something similar could be said of poetry, that mechanism of enigmas. Is there not an inexplicable mystery in the image that burns on the screen and in the words that evaporate into the air or page?

James C. Hopkins & Yoko Danno: From 'Scrolls,' an experimental work in progress (installment two)

[AUTHOR'S NOTE.  Scrolls is a new “experimental” collaboration in progress by James C. Hopkins in Kathmandu and Yoko Danno in Kobe.  One of us writes the first half of a sentence and the other follows up with the rest of the sentence. The latter begins the next sentence and drops it halfway, which is taken over by the former. Writing thus in turn we draw “picture scrolls” with words. There is no rule except that a scroll should consist of five paragraphs. When we start a scroll we never know how it will develop and end.