Articles - December 2011

Jerome Rothenberg: The real revolution is tragic

Left to right: Bruce Andrews and Sally Silvers performing in honor of Jerome Rothenberg's eightieth birthday on December 9, 2011; Jerome Rothenberg; the jacket of "White Sun Black Sun" published by Hawk's Well Press, 1960.

What follows is the text of a talk presented in honor of Jerome Rothenberg on the occasion of his 80th birthday, at an event held at CUNY Graduate Center in New York, on December 9, 2011.

If you were looking one way for new Americans in 1960, they would of course be found in Allen’s The New American Poetry.  But there was another way.  Jerome Rothenberg’s first book, New Young German Poets, published by City Lights in 1959, introduced American readers to a postfascist antifascist avant-garde that successfully “oppose[ed] the inherited dead world with a modern visionary language,” crucially among them, Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann.

I think I understand Emma Bee Bernstein

Emma Bee Bernstein’s work on display at the Janet Kurnatowski gallery. Left photo by Tom Winchester.

I was thirty-three years old when Emma was born. I had been friends with her parents, Charles and Susan, for more than five years.

When Emma got to be about three or four we became friends in our own right. We simply liked each other a lot. I had never had children of my own / so that undoubtedly played some part. But the reality is that I felt some kind of kinship between us that went beyond any of the available clichés / even those of friendship.