Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

Toward a poetry and poetics of the Americas (10): The birth of the war god (Aztec)

Bas-relief of Coyolchauhqui, from Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan
Bas-relief of Coyolchauhqui, sister of Huitzilopochtli, from Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan

SOURCE. English working by Jerome Rothenberg after Spanish prose version in Ángel María Garibay’s Epica Náhuatl, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1945.

1.
                        old Coatlicue snake woman

            ’s sweeping up

a feather falleth on her

A first anthology/assemblage of the poetry and poetics of the Americas, from origins to present

An announcement and an appeal

The following is an early announcement of a work now in progress: a full-blown anthology/assemblage of the poetry of all the Americas (“from origins to present”), coedited with Heriberto Yépez, that the University of California Press has just accepted for publication. As Heriberto & I move into the work, I’m posting our proposal for the book, below, as an indication of what’s in store & in the hope, as with other assemblages of mine, that others will come forward with suggestions for materials relevant as texts & commentaries that fall along the lines of those in my earlier anthologies. Even more important for a work of this scope, Heriberto & I are looking for others who can assist us in the formidable task of translation: Spanish, Portuguese, French, & the full range of indigenous languages & creoles from the two great American continents. 

[The following is an early announcement of a work now in progress: a full-blown anthology/assemblage of the poetry of all the Americas (“from origins to present”), coedited with Heriberto Yépez, that the University of California Press has just accepted for publication.

Rochelle Owens: 'Devour Not the Elephant'

[N.B. To which she adds, in correspondence: “The elephant is a non-predatory mammal, a sensate being. The poem intersects body and spirit — elephant desire, with the function of marketing, production, distribution and exchange of elephant and rhino body parts by human predators.”]

Poaching scene 

crime scene  carcasses of

dead rhinos and Savannah elephants 

 

Precious the ivory tusks and horns 

cut off  severed

 

Two from a bull

raw and bleeding holes gouged

Jerome Rothenberg: from Daichidoron, '32 Ways of Looking at the Buddha'

A reposting for Hiromi Ito, in celebration

The lead to the poem came, like much else, from conversations with Hiromi Ito, herself a major figure in contemporary Japanese poetry and for over twenty years a neighbor and close friend in southern California. I had recently written and published a series of poems, The Treasures of Dunhuang, many of which were my own takes on images of the Buddha from the great painted caves of Dunhuang in western China. My first sighting of those was in an exhibit of that name at the Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, in 1996, reenforced by a visit to Dunhuang in 2002. What struck me then was the surprising twist given to images that we thought of as familiar — much like images of Jesus when one sees them in out-of-the-way regions of the Christian world.

(1) When the Buddha walks. his feet are so close to the ground that there is not even a hair’s space between his soles & the earth;

 

(2)  the imprint of a wheel appears on the soles of the Buddha’s feet;

 

(3)  the Buddha’s fingers are exceptionally long & slender;

 

Mikhl Likht: from “Procession: VI” (an excerpt)

[A further installment of Likht’s Yiddish “Objectivists” poem, contemporary with or forerunner to Pound’s Cantos and Zukofsky’s “A.” Earlier segments appear here and here on Poems and Poetics.]

Translation from Yiddish by Ariel Resnikoff and Stephen Ross

 

[A further installment of Likht’s Yiddish “Objectivists” poem, contemporary with or forerunner to Pound’s Cantos and Zukofsky’s “A.” Earlier segments appear here and here on Poems and Poetics.]