[I have recently added the following to the revised & expanded edition of Technicians of the Sacred, still in progress. Its place is in a new section of the book called “Survivals & Revivals,” as an instance of old rituals of mourning & healing incorporating the threatening ghosts of those killed by political & social violence in a very real & contemporary local & national setting (Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, etc.). The work from which I’m drawing, The Age of Wild Ghosts by Erik Mueggler (University of California Press, 2001), is a still more complex & detailed report on what’s at stake here. (J.R.)]
[The following is the critical postface to my new book, A Field on Mars: Poems 2000-2015 (Un Champ sur Mars), just published by Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre in both an English & a simultaneous French edition. Christophe Lamiot is an active poet & the editor of the Rouen press’s Jusqu’a (To) series of books devoted to contemporary American poetry & poets in separate English & French editions. The complete French translation of my Shaking the Pumpkin (Secouer la Citrouille) was also published under his editorship. (J.R.)]
(...) poetry as elation
A Field on Mars. A field on Mars: this is how Jerome Rothenberg tells of his writings in poetry from the last ten years. A former title was “Divagations and Auto-variations.” “Divagations & Autovariations” now stands as a subtitle. I like this gesture of naming, then renaming—from one of the most prolific, far-ranging, active and successful poets of XXth-century Anglophone America.
[NOTE. Since 1970 Steven Kushner (“Kush”) has been known to many of us as the founder & sole proprietor of Cloud House, an amazing & constantly expanding archive of contemporary American poetry, largely audiovisual & equal in size to most institutionally sponsored repositories of kindred materials, or even greater. As his life work he has come to view Cloud House as a poetmuseum (or, as he likes to say, a “poetmusée”) of the spirit, carrying it with him from New York City to what has been its ongoing residence for many years in San Fr