Jerome Rothenberg: From 'Eye of Witness': The Table of Contents

[In composing a gathering of my own work over the last half-century or so, I’ve tried to construct it, with the collaboration of Heriberto Yépez, as an assemblage on the model of earlier works of mine like Technicians of the Sacred & Poems for the Millennium.  The experiment in this case was how to turn a “reader” into something more than a chronological work stringing together selections from  previous books of poetry & poetics.  It’s my hope that the table of contents which follows will give some sense of what we were doing &, without claiming too much I hope, how it can serve as a model for yet another kind of “grand collage,” as Robert Duncan named them, not only for myself but for others whose work has attempted to cross over boundaries & genres.  The proof however is in the work itself, published a couple of months ago by Black Widow Press & currently open for inspection.]


Table of Contents



Pre-face by Jerome Rothenberg



                        “A Little Boy Lost”

                        The Night the Moon Was a Spider

                        Why Deep Image?

                        Invincible Flowers

                        A Poem for the President

                        A Small Poem

                        The Stationmaster’s Lament

                        The Real Revolution Is Tragic

                        A Conciliation

                        Image & Mode: A Letter, 1960, to Robert Creeley

                        The Lightbulb & the Cockeyed Queen of Poland

                        How Tragic It Is To Be a King & Live in a Palace

                                    & Never Have Time To Be Gay

                        A First Manifesto 1960

                        A Death Fugue, after Paul Celan

                        Walkin’ Around, after Pablo Neruda

                        A Side of Beef

                        The Counter-Dances of Darkness

                        Image & Melos: A Letter, 1960, to Robert Duncan

                        The Journey Between Summers

                        The Deep Image Is the Threatened Image

                        A Canticle for Suicides

                        Found Poems from “The Emergence Notebooks”

                        From The Seven Hells of the Jigoku Zoshi

                             The First Hell: of Measures

                             The Second Hell: of Thieves

                             The Fifth Hell: of Unclean Food

                             The Seventh Hell: of Smoke

                             A Bodhisattva Undoes Hell

                        From The Gorky Poems

                                    The Pirate (II)

                                    The Diary of a Seducer

                                    The Water of the Flowery Mill (II)

                                    Child of an Idumean Night

                                    Portrait of Myself with Arshile Gorky &

                                          Gertrude Stein

                        A Commentary on The Gorky Poems

                        From a Shaman’s Notebook

                                    An Invocation to the Rain

                                    The Seven

                                    Ghosts and Shadows

                                    The Killer

                                    A Poison Arrow

                                    The Dead Hunter Speaks through the

                                          Voice of a Shaman

                                    The Stars          

                        From Sightings

                                    Sightings IV

                                    Sightings V

                                    Sightings VI

                                    Sightings IX

                        A Note on the Measure of Sightings

                        Further Sightings

                                     The Old King


                                     The Witnesses

                        From Conversations: Three Poems

                        A Second Manifesto 1964

                        A Reconsideration 2010



                        A Paradise of Poets

                        From Pre-Face to Writing Through: Translations

                              & Variations
                        Marpa: The Annunciation (Tibet, 11th Century)
                        From 15 Flower World Variations (Yaqui)
                        The Flight of Quetzalcoatl (Aztec)
                        Isaac Luria: A Poem for the Small Face (Aramaic)
                        Isaac Luria: A Poem for the Shekinah on the Feast of the
                              Sabbath (Aramaic)
                        “The Round Dance of Jesus” (Coptic)
                        25 Gematria (traditional)
                        A Commentary on Gematria
                        From Lorca’s Suites
                                    Night: A Suite for Piano & Poet’s Voice
                                    A Newton Suite
                        From The Lorca Variations: “Newton”
                        A Commentary on Lorca
                        From 50 Caprichos after Goya
                                      In Goya’s World
                        Three Variations on Octavio Paz’s “Blanco”
                        Pablo Picasso: The Dream & Lie of Franco
                        A Commentary on Picasso
                        Tristan Tzara:  Two Dada Poems
                                      Metal Coughdrops
                                      Maison Aragon
                        Tristan Tzara, Dada, & Ethnopoetics
                        Kurt Schwitters: Five Merz Poems
                                      The Meadow
                                      Roses Abloom like Daisy Blossoms
                                      From the Back & from the Front to Start
                        A Commentary on Kurt Schwitters
                        Nakahara Chuya: Two Poems
                                      “A Bone”
                                      Poem: Sad Morning
                        A Commentary on Nakahara Chuya
                        Vitezslav Nezval: Shirt
                        A Commentary on Nezval
                        Eugen Gomringer: Four Concrete Poems
                                    From a Letter to Eugen Gomringer 9th November 1967
                                    In Memoriam Jackson Mac Low
                                    A Commentary on Jackson Mac Low
                        The First Horse Song of Frank Mitchell (Blue)
                        From “Je Est un Autre: A Talk & Talk-Poem”


            The Poetics of the Sacred: A Range of Topics for a

                  Keynote Speech

            On Ethnopoetics: A Collage

            Primitive & Modern: Intersections & Analogies

            Poets & Tricksters: Innovation & Disruption in

                  Ritual & Myth

            Total Translation: An Experiment in the Translation

                  of American Indian Poetry

            From “New Models, New Visions”: The Poetics of




            A Third Manifesto 1968

            A Seneca Memory

            The Dream from A Big Jewish Book

            From Poland/1931

                        Poland/1931: The Wedding

                        The Beadle’s Testimony

                        The Student’s Testimony

                        Portrait of a Jew Old Country Style

                        The Murder Inc. Sutra

                        Esther K. Comes to America: 1931

                        Galician Nights, or a Novel in Progress


            From a Letter to Gary Pacernick 12/14/81

            From A Seneca Journal

                        I became a beaver in 1968

                        Salamanca a Prophecy

                        Seneca Journal 1: A Poem of Beavers

            (Song # 1): Old Man Beaver’s Blessing Song

            Seneca Journal 7: The Dreamers

                        The Others    Hunters in the North    the Cree

             A Pre-Face for María Sabina

            The Little Saint of Huautla

            The Nature Theater of Oklahoma

            From That Dada Strain

                        A Pre-Face

                        That Dada Strain

                        The History of Dada as My Muse

                        A Glass Tube Ecstasy, for Hugo Ball

                        A Merz Sonata, for Kurt Schwitters

                        A Poem in Yellow after Tristan Tzara

                        The Holy Words of Tristan Tzara



            Vienna Blood

            A Commentary on Vienna Blood

            The Chicago Poem


            From Khurbn

                        Pre-face to Khurbn

                        In the Dark Word, Khurbn

                        Dos Oysleydikn (The Emptying)

                        Dos Geshray (The Scream)

                        Dibbukim (Dibbiks)

                        Der Gilgul (The Possessed)

                        Nokh Aushvitz (after Auschwitz)

                        Di toyte Kloles (The Maledictions)

                   Peroration for a Lost Town



            From Songs from the Society of the Mystic Animals

            “Two Songs about a Dead Person or a Mole – Which-

                 ever It Was” (with Richard  Johnny John & Ian


            The Directions (with Tom Phillips)

            From The Burning Babe (with Susan Bee)

                       “A Babe Sits Placidly in Schwitters’ Bau”

            From 14 Stations (with Arie Galles)

                       The Ninth Station: Ravensbruck

            From Gematria Complete

                       Fourth Gematria: “In the Shadow”

            The Leonardo Project 10 + 2

            From The Pound Project: Three Poems & Images

            Esther K Comes to America: 5 Images (with Larry Fink)

            Events & Rituals

                              Lily Events

                              Garbage Event

                              Beard Event

                              Gift Event

                              Naming Events

                              Vision Events, I, II, III

            Doings & Happenings: Notes on a Performance of the

                  Seneca Indian Eagle Dance, with the Scenario for

                  Gift Event III, Based on Its Orders

            From That Dada Strain: A Hörspiel

            Abraham Abulafia Visits the Pope, a Fragment of a

                  Steinian Opera

            The Thirteenth Horse Song of Frank Mitchell (White)

            A Letter to David McAllester, 1968, on the Beginnings

                  of Total Translation



            Prologomena to a Poetics

            From the Sibila Interview: The Poem as an Act of Witness

            Khurbn & Holocaust: “After Auschwitz There Is Only Poetry”

            Harold Bloom: The Critic as Exterminating Angel

            “Secular Jewish Culture / Radical Poetic Practice”

            The Poet As Native: An Aspect of Contemporary Poetry

                   & Art

            From A Book of Witness: “i-Songs Exist”

            Postscript to A Book of Witness



            Twentieth Century Unlimited

            Pre-face to 14 Stations

            From “14 Stations”

                        The First Station: Auschwitz-Burkina

                        The Third Station: Buchenwald

                        The Sixth Station: Gross-Rosen

                        The Eleventh Station: Maidanek

                        The Twelfth Station: Sobibor

                        The Fourteenth Station: Stutthof

            From The Lorca Variations

                        Lorca’s Spain: A Homage

                        Water Jets 

                        The Return

                        Second New York Poem

                        Coda: The Final Lorca Variation

            First Night Poem, for Jackson Mac Low

            Three Paris Elegies

            A Poem for the Cruel Majority

            At Tsukiji Market Tokyo

            From China Notes

                        Tibetan Boogie

                        The Poet at Chin’s Mausoleum

                        The Poet in a Field of Tombs

                        The Treasures of Dunhuang (performance version)

            A Commentary on China Notes

            From An Oracle for Delfi

                        The Stones of Delfi,  I and II

                        At Mykines

                        The Silver Trade

                        Spetses in Winter

            From A Book of Witness

                        The Case for Memory

                        A Cruel Nirvana

                        A Real Man

                        I Can’t Say Who I Am

                        I Come into the New World

                        Eager to Break through Language

                        I Am That I Am

            From 50 Caprichos, after Goya

                        The Sleep of Reason

                        The World a Masquerade

                        The Company of Men

                        Tight Stockings

                        All Who Will Fall

                        To Speak as Who You Are

                        That Which We See in Goya

                        A Donkey & a Monkey

            A Commentary for Concealments & Caprichos

            From A Book of Concealments

                        The Times Are Never Right

                        A Man in Love with Death

                        The Mystery of Evil

                        Oceanside Pier: Among the Fishers

                        The Sorry Mystics

                        A Double Schism

                        A Deep Romantic Chasm

                        Romantic Dadas

                        The Persistence of the Lyric Voice

                        In the Book of Concealments

                        Postscript to A Book of Concealments



            The Book Spiritual Instrument

            The Anthology as a Manifesto & as an Epic Including Poetry

            Poems for the Millennium: A First Pre-Face (with Pierre Joris)

            Reconfiguring Romanticism: The Fancy as Duende & Capricho

            A Round of Renshi & the Poet as Other: An Experiment in Poesis

            From The Medusa Interview: Toward an Omnipoetics



            From Divagations

                        Divagations (I): The Birth of Time

                        Divagations (2): A Field on Mars

                        Divagations (14): The Sound of Water

                        Divagations (16): Where Memory & Dream Are One

                        Divagations (20): The Final Word Is Desecration

            From The Jigoku Zoshi Hells: A Book of Autovariations

                        Variations on the Hell of Measures

                        Variations on the Hell of Thieves

                        Variations on the Hell of Grieving Women

                        Variations on  the Hell of Smoke

            A Commentary on the Jigoku Zoshi Hells

            A Poem of Miracles


A Chronology & Memoir 2012