Commentaries - February 2016

Sounding the triangle: Sarah Stickney & Diana Thow on collaboration, translation, & the poetry of Elisa Biagini

L'Allegra by Angelica Kauffman, 1779 | Guest in the Wood by Elisa Biagini
L'Allegra by Angelica Kauffman, 1779 | Guest in the Wood by Elisa Biagini

As a kid, you might have made a new pal on the schoolyard—over a game of kickball, say, maybe even after you'd kicked someone, or they kicked you. Such are the strange shifts of human relationships. The friendship of Sarah Stickney and Diana Thow began far less traumatically, though impelled by a similar desire to connect—if not on a playground, far from their respective home turfs.

In her essay, "Translating Writing/ Writing Translation," Cole Swensen articulates the sensation of palpable contact brought about by the process of translation, "the collision of … deep structures, assumptions, and traces" that simultaneously inhabits the translator and influences the yet-to-be-written. "The foreign here is the agent that prevents stagnation."

Jake Marmer interviews David Antin & Jerome Rothenberg

On December 23, 2015, in San Diego, Jake Marmer interviewed David Antin and Jerome Rothenberg. Today the recording of the interview has been added to the Marmer, Antin, and Rothenberg author pages at PennSound. Here is a direct link to it: MP3 (1:35:55). Here is Jake Marmer's introduction to the interview:

Imagining a Poetry That We Might Find: Conversation with Jerome Rothenberg and David Antin

New World Reading

Last November they published Tom Penfold’s review of Metelerkamp’s eigth collection, Now the World Takes These Breaths, for which she was shortlisted for the Glenna Luschei prize. Penfold sees Metelerkamp as part of a group of South African writers he calls “The Poets of No Sure Place because of the apprehensive and unstable nature of their work. A diverse group, which includes poets as varied as Lesego Rampolokeng, Seitlhamo Motsapi, Angifi Dladla and Mxolisi Nyezwa, they are united in combining the public with the private; juxtaposing the regional, national and international; and in cathartically probing the often controversial nature of South African society.”

This week to follow up on my post about Kobus Moolman, winner of the Glenna Luschei prize, I’m sharing some fine posts about Moolman’s fellow finalists, Joan Metelerkamp and Togara Muzanenhamo, and about contemporary African writing more broadly.

There once was a time, in Frank O’Hara’s day, when an American reader had to

“walk up the muggy street beginning to sun   

and have a hamburger and a malted and buy

an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets   

Undoing the great modernist aural vowel shift

Jed Rasula deforms Wallace Stevens's at-home calm

[The recording of the deformance described in this commentary is here.] When Jed Rasula and Steve McCaffery assembled an anthology of historical avant-gardism called Imagining Language (1998), their goal was to find, “along the canonical spectrum, within the regulated normality of literature,” the various “occasional protuberances of another submerged order.” Wallace Stevens is nowhere to be found here, perhaps not surprisingly, among selections from the writings of Stein, Joyce, Whitman, Madeline Gins, Hugo Ball, Max Ernst, Lupino Lane, Armand Schwerner, Zora Neale Hurston, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Mac Low, bp Nichol, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and others.

'The Poetry of Osip Mandelstam': A radio play by Paul Celan (complete)

Translated from Celan’s German by Pierre Joris


[Reposted as a followup to Pierre Joris’s “Thoughts on Osip Mandelstam’s Birthday,” Jacket2, January 16, 2016.]