Commentaries

Terribly human

'Helen in Egypt,' over-mind, and other hermetic definitions

‘Ecstasy of Saint Teresa,’ 1645–1652, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Photo credit Joaquim Alves Gaspar, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The ability to see the self and one’s work in communion with one’s poetic ancestors is different from merely employing allusion or reference in one’s writing. Modernists like T. S. Eliot or H.D.’s friend/lover/mentor Ezra Pound made the past new by setting themselves among the dead and interpreting their work as such, to paraphrase Eliot’s essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” In works like Eliot’s The Waste Land, much of this deadness is referential. H.D.

Sergey Zavyalov's 'Four Good News Stories'

With an introduction by translator Eugene Ostashevsky

Photo by Olga Timofeeva, 2020.

Note: As a result of the horrific and unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is a lot of resistance to “Russian” literature, music, art, everything right now. This is justified in the case of some writers and cultural figures. Yet there is also an increasing urgency to understand this war not in terms of nationalities in conflict, but in terms of empire, which always complicates ascriptions of nationality. There are Russian speakers on both sides of the conflict — inside and outside of Ukraine, and inside and outside of Russia.

Mark Weiss

Forty-nine New Hampshire sketches, with author's note

A BRIEF AUTHOR’S NOTE, AND MORE. I’ve been increasingly writing in extended form composed of distinct units of various lengths, structure indicated distantly but left to the reader to construct. Put another way, it’s my trees, now find the forest. Or find your own. This sequence, written at the MacDowell Colony in the autumn of 1975, seems to me now to be an early move in that direction. For a final fruition, see my A Suite of Dances, Shearsman Books, 2021.

1

With my famous knife I scrape the rough spots on the underside of a fungus and find tiny white grubs.

2

Sean McCann and Charlie Morrow (eds.)

'The 12th Annual International Sound Poetry Festival' (1980) 4x cassette and book

After years of preparation, Recital is proud to present The 12th Annual International Sound Poetry Festival box set. Held in New York in 1980, this was the last festival of the pioneering sound poetry series started in Stockholm in the 1960s. This ambitious document holds nearly five hours of audio from thirty artists. A 240-page book with biographies, texts, and artwork from each artist supplements the edition, including program notes by Charlie Morrow and Sean McCann.

Leonard Neufeld

from 'Off the Grid': Fifteen Elegies, with author’s note

DEDICATION

FERVENT LOVE FRAMED WITH DEATH

CREMATION (HER BODY REDUCED TO ASHES)