Jerome Rothenberg

Poems and poetics

'Eye of Witness' (1): A letter & a poem for Robert Duncan, in retrospect

[Early in the game, while I was in the midst of thinking & writing about what I had then come to speak of as “deep image,” I was approached by Robert Duncan, and in 1959, on first visit to San Francisco, I had a chance to meet him & to begin an exchange & friendship that lasted until his death in 1988.

Outsider poems, a mini-anthology in progress (42): From 'Theragāthā' and 'Therīgāthā' (Pali, 1st century B.C.)

Translations by Andrew Schelling & Anne Waldman

[EDITOR'S NOTE. The following – all but the commentary – comes from selections & translations assembled by Schelling & Waldman that give a sometimes startling view of the poetry created by the early Buddhist outsiders/outriders whose homelessness & wanderings might later serve as a template for the uses of a poetry outside of poetry as such. The link here between experience & poetic form is a marker of outsider poetry as we’ve come to know it in our quest for a vehicle, a book, to bring it all together. (J.R.)]

Mark Weiss: Nineteen short poems for Bill Bronk, plus one

William Bronk and Mark Weiss


Based on the known,
imagining the confluence,
one hopes for a florid excitement, a spastic
flailing, some kind of


Are there any here
but us chickens?
Have there ever been?


The season arrives with a clamor of geese.
And at the end of it.


We note
the unfamiliar sky.


Always and always.
There is this always, that always, there is

A Gematria poem, as it comes to me, for George Quasha at 70 & myself at 80

Photo circa 1973

100 + 6 + 6 + 1 + 300 + 1 = 414 = 200 + 214 = 300 + 114

Outsider poems, a mini-anthology in progress (41): 'The Song of the Azria'

Adapted by Pierre Joris from Y. Georges Kerhuel's French version

Editorial note: The following is part of Pierre Joris’s ongoing exploration of North African (Maghreb) culture, a work as big & multifaceted as his own sense of the dynamics & far reach of poetic imagination & fancy. Yet the stakes here, as with much real poetry, go well beyond poesis as such, to exemplify & expose an area of religion & sexuality that has been a given in many parts of the world, “from origins to present.” Here the azria (courtesan) asserts the role of the outsider, still not forgotten, to raise new/old powers of body & mind in the service of vision & desire. (J.R.)