I still hold a Luxembourg passport, and will keep holding it for ever — even though my US papers are in the works, or will be as soon as I'm home — that's Brooklyn now — for long enough for the paperwork to go out & come back. Some time last year the Luxembourg Centre National de Littérature wrote and asked me to contribute a little essay (1.500 signs) to the Bücher-Livres (i.e. Books) supplement of the left daily Tageblatt. The subject was phrased thus (my translation from French):
This saturday morning’s newspaper reading led me, via the ever so useful German Perlentaucher cultural news gatherer, to Die Welt, a paper I normally don’t read. Today in its cultural pages the paper reproduced extracts of a new book by Austrian writer Peter Handke. It is a sort of compemdium of aphoristic diary notes, called in German Vor der Baumschattenwand nachts — Zeichen und Anflüge von der Peripherie 2007–2015 (Jung u. Jung, forthcoming 3/6/16).
Last September I wrote a blog entry about the Syrian poet Adonis receiving the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize of the city of Osnabrück & the resistance from a range of quarters to this award. You can read my original post here. Since then a fair amount of pressure has been put on the award committee demanding the award be rescinded, while the man who was supposed to give the laudatio — last year's winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Navid Kermani, — bowed out. The committee has stayed with its original choice and today Adonis will be awarded the prize.
Thinking back on my last post here (Dada to Daesh) I realized that the sense of poetry I was proposing (defending?) has been with me for a long time. So, here a short piece that expands on my sense of what poetry can / should be today if it is to be of use. I wrote this back in 1987 as introduction for an international anthology following a poetry festival I had organized with poet Jean Portante in Luxembourg, just a few months before I left Europe & moved back to the U.S.