Charles Bernstein, Norbert Lange, Ernesto Livon-Grosman, Collective à Royaumont, Haroldo de Campos, and Leevi Lehto
A Test of Poetry
“A Test of Poetry” was written in 1992 and published in My Way: Speeches and Poems (University of Chicago Press, 1999). The poem is based on a letter from the Chinese scholar Ziquing Zhang, who translated poems from Rough Trades and The Sophist for Selected Language Poems (Chengdu, China: Sichuan Literature and Art Publishing House, 1993); quotations from the poems are italicized. It seemed to me that Ziquing Zhang’s questions provided both an incisive commentary on my poems and also raised a set of imponderble yet giddy, not to say fundamental, translation issues. Several poets have take up the task of translating this poem, and we here compile the results: Norbert Lange into German, Ernesto Livon-Grosman into Spanish, Collective à Royaumont dans le cadre de l’Atelier Cosmopolite into French (originally published as a pamphlet by Format Américain), Haroldo de Campos into Portuguese, and Levi Lehto into Finnish.
•Perednik at PennSound includes links to two poem videos by Ernesto Livon-Grosman, a one hour radio show with Perednik, and Livon-Grosman's film with Jorge and me reading each other's poems; Jorge reads his translation of "Dear Mr. Fanelli" and I read Molly's translation.
(9:57) Perednik reads his translation of Bernstein's "Dear Mr. Fanelli" and Bernstein reads Molly Weigel's translation of "Shock of the Lender." Video also at Perednik's PennSound page: use that if video does not stream here.
Of Jerry’s many works, there is one that in spite of being just a very small fraction of all his books was key for my own experience as a reader.
Anthologies are, with different degrees of intensity, the creation of a new field made out of preexisting elements; for the most part they define anew what was there before. Only once in a while an anthology can change not only what we know about poetry but the way we read beyond its own selection. Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Europe & Asia is that occurrence, a turning point that made visible what wasn’t before. Even more than an anthology it’s the blue print for a strategy, one that works his complexity up from multiple poetics to present at the same time, and without ever taking them apart, the particular and the whole.
Jorge Santiago Perednik (1952-2011) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An influential poet and literary critic, he was also a publisher and a translator of English and American poetry. He founded several literary journals, two of the most influential being XUL and Deriva. The former was an important poetry journal that started publishing during Argentina’s last military dictatorship in 1980; it continued until 1997 with the printing of its 12th issue. As a journal, XUL provided regular compilations of some the most innovative poetry of its time. The journal was also one of Argentina’s best sources of new critical writing. It was dedicated to publishing the most diverse poetics within the experimental tradition. Perednik's work as a poet and editor reflected his interest in many of the poetics included in the journal: visual poetry; John Cage’s mesostics; sound and performative texts--along with the most serious experimental works in Spanish American poetry. Perednik’s writing was primarily associated with his always expanding interest in exploring language and its relation to poetry rather than with any particular literary school.