2020 EDITOR’S NOTE. Above is how I handled the presentation of Catanzano’s work a decade ago, not realizing the strides she would make in the intervening years — most notably through a series of interventions and residencies at major observatories and scientific research centers: among them, CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, and the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University. From this came a further outflow of work and the composition of poems and poetics that went beyond metaphor to the investigative urgency of Olson’s dictum from Herodotus: “to find out for oneself … instead of depending on hearsay.”
Accordingly, then, along with her own projects, she is collaborating on literary-scientific projects with scientists at CERN and elsewhere and has prepared a revised and expanded edition of all of her essays, and “essay-poems,” on quantum poetics. These include those first published here between 2009 and 2012, accessible now in an updated edition presented by Poems and Poetics. Her author’s note and opening essay of this edition appear below. — Jerome Rothenberg
2009 EDITOR’S NOTE. As is true in many cases, Catanzano’s poetics exists side-by-side with her poems in which the intersection between poetry and science plays itself out in a contemporary, even futuristic, form. The key work at present is her Multiversal (Fordham University Press, 2009), of which Michael Palmer writes by way of introduction:
[The following is in celebration of the recent publication by MadHat Press of Selected Poems by Harry Crosby, which brings back the work of a major but twice forgotten avant-garde poet from the period of American poetry between the two world wars.
Whereas a proverb is a kind of condensed-language poiesis sharing wisdom about Reality, a preverb engages the wisdom impulse at the level of natural language complexity. This means that no statement claims to be “true” as representing the Real. Instead, a self-true verbal gesture plays itself out mindful of the oscillating contrary possibilities emergent in language itself.
On the first day, not one angelic personage came to me, no fish, no wanderer, no visitor, no stranger, but the entire Book of Words was before me. It was a real book, and I had to read it all the way through.
On the first day, not one angelic personage came to me, no fish, no wanderer, no visitor, no stranger, but the entire Book of Words was before me. It was a real book, and I had to read it all the way through. This is no parable of reading. It is not a memory of learning or being taught something.