New Wilderness Letter, 1977–84 (ed. Jerome Rothenberg)

New Wilderness Letter, No. 1
New Wilderness Letter, No. 1

Jerome Rothenberg’s impressive twelve-issue magazine New Wilderness Letter picks up precisely where Alcheringa left off, with a decisive change: “the present work will be more open – more ‘coarse and broad’ in Whitman’s vision for poetry & consciousness – than the previous one.” Having departed from the ethnopoetics focus of Alcheringa in 1976, Rothenberg delivered an expansive notion of poesis in his new magazine. David Antin outlines this territory in the first issue: “those linguistic acts of invention & discovery through which the mind explores the transformational power of language & discourse & invents the world & itself.” Wilderness, too, receives poetic expansion in George Quasha’s formulation cited in the seventh issue: “Wilderness is the counter-space created in relation to each new technological development.” Indeed, continuing the expansive synthetic impulse that guided the anthologies Technicians of the Sacred, Shaking the Pumpkin, and America a Prophesy, Rothenberg gathers an impressive and unlikely set of writings, drawings, and images over the course of the magazine’s seven years in publication. Even the smallest sampling of themes demonstrates this breadth: the second number is devoted to “the poetry of number,” the ninth explores “the poetics of performance,” and the eleventh considers “the idea of the book.” From anonymous medieval number poems to books printed on two-by-fours for the Four Horsemen, this storehouse of wilderness demands traversal. Or rather, in the words of Larry Eigner: 

The first seven numbers of the magazine are side-stapled editions measuring 8.5” x 11”, published by the New Wilderness Foundation in New York City. Of twelve numbers there are ten editions, with double issues for three/four and five/six. In 1978, Rothenberg is joined by a group of advisory editors in San Diego, including David Antin, Eleanor Antin, Helen Mayer Harrison, Newton Harrison, Allan Kaprow, Linda Montano, Charlie Morrow, and Pauline Oliveros, with Diane Rothenberg as managing editor. Issues eight through eleven are perfect bound in varying formats, set and printed in Barrytown, New York, by Open Studio Print Shop (Station Hill Press). Issue ten is guest-edited by Barbara Einzig on the concept of the “dream-work.” The final issue is co-published as Wch Way 5, edited by Jed Rasula and Don Byrd (shortly forthcoming from Reissues).

Full issues are available for download or browsing below. The index to each issue attempts to retain the formatting of the contents as printed in the magazine, including original pagination. Each PDF is fully searchable and bookmarked for easy navigation to individual pieces within the magazine. This reissue is edited by Danny Snelson and scanned by Amelia Bentley, with support from Charlie Morrow and Tom Comitta.

Further, the launch of these materials is presented in partnership with MisterBowler Radio, in coordination with an all-day streaming broadcast from Bent-Erik Rasmussen’s ICMM studios in Svinø, Denmark, on the occasion of Rothenberg’s 82nd birthday, December 11, 2013. 

The complete set is available for download here: [ZIP, 273 MB].

from NWL No. 9

New Wilderness Letter 1, January 1977 [PDF, 20 MB]



Jerome Rothenberg “The Mystic Journey” p.1
  From A Seneca Journal p.2
Clayton Eshleman Archai p.2
  Archai Link p.4
Harold Cohen The Material of Symbols p.6
Jerome Rothenberg & Harris Lenowitz (trans.) Abulafia’s Circles p.17

New Wilderness Letter 2, July/August 1977 [PDF, 10 MB]



Jerome Rothenberg Editor’s Statement p.1
Charles Doria The World of Numbers p.2
Eric Mottram from “Compositions of the Magus: The Art of Jackson Mac Low” p.3
Maria Hebrea The Numbers p.3
Edmond Jabès (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop) from The Book of Questions p.3
Jerome Rothenberg & Harris Lenowitz (trans.) Gematria p.4
Johannes Kepler Trinity and from Harmonice Mundi p.5
Anonymous A Talisman for Venus p.5
Henry Wotton Doors & Windows p.5
Jack Frederick & Anna Gritts Kilpatrick (trans.) A Spell for Remembering (Cherokee Indian) p.6
Gertrude Stein from Listen to Me p.7
Kurt Schwitters Twelve, Wall, Three p.7
Barbara Einzig Dream: p.9
Karen Shaw Additional Meanings: 46 = Chaos p.10
Jackson Mac Low “First Russian Love Poem” from Some Russian Love Poems (or Love Verses from Soviet Sources) begun about 4/14/77 p.11
Steve McCaffery Some Notes & Instances of N. R. T. p.13
Charlie Morrow From The Book of Numbers p.18
  Toadfish Language p.20
  Field “Pepper” Language: a simple sound syntax p.21

New Wilderness Letter 3-4, December/January 1977-78 [PDF, 23 MB]



Michael McClure Range War    p.1
Pauline Oliveros The Yellow River Map    p.22
Helen Mayer Harrison & Newton Harrison One Full Work & Part of Another    p.24
Allan Kaprow Natural Distances    p.35
Dick Higgins the morning songs of jordan brown p.38

Poetry Supplement:


Howard Norman, Jerome Rothenberg, Barbara Einzig, George Oppen, Carol Rubenstein, Janet Hammill, Armand Schwerner, Nathaniel Tarn/Janet Rodney, Theodore Enslin, Sharon Mattlin  

New Wilderness Letter 5-6, September 1978 [PDF, 20 MB]



María Sabina, thru Henry Munn “I Am the Woman of the Principal Fountain” (Shaman Songs) p.1
Henry Munn Writing in the Imagination of an Oral Poet p.6
Ernst Jandl Textbilder (Text-Images) p.11
John Bentley Mays From Stone Throws p.14
Arleen Schloss Cigarette Burn p.18
  76 Variations p.19
Nina Yankowitz Notes from the Ground p.20
Navajo (Anonymous) Eye-Dazzler p.26
Karl Young From First Book of Omens p.27
Ian Tyson Hommage the Nuba p.31
Keith Wilson From Stone Roses p.35
George Herms From Bizarre Stars p.38
Roman (Anonymous) Horse Calligram p.39
Guillaume Apollinaire Horse Calligram p.39
Philip Corner Sketch for a Musical Composition Based on the Hebrew Letter Shin p.41
Edmond Jabès (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop) From Return to the Book p.41
Chinese (Anonymous) Exhortation against Killing Oxen p.44
Jerome Rothenberg For Michel Benamou (1929-1978) p.45
David Meltzer Adam’s Amulet p.46

New Wilderness Letter 7, Summer 1979 [PDF, 27 MB]



Jerome Rothenberg     Notes for a New Wilderness p.1
Gary Snyder      From a Letter (28.iii.79) p.3
Scott McLean      The Blazed Trail to the Wilderness: Notes along the Way to New Wilderness Letter p.4
Helen Mayer Harrison &Newton Harrison      Two Meditations, Two Commentaries & Eight Questions on the Great Lakes of North America p.7
Jerome Rothenberg      Indians & Wilderness p.12
Jean Pierre Faye      Cristal de Sauvagerie ? p.17
Edmond Jabès      From The Book of Questions p.20
Clayton Eshleman      Placements p.21
Howard Norman      From Incidents of Travel toward Hudson Bay p.23
  The Killing of the Owl Island Windigo p.24
Allen DeLoach      The Late Show: A Bicentennial Novel of Actual History Experienced by the Author p.26
George Quasha      A ’PataEcological Excursion on the Plains of Pornetics p.32
Eric Mottram      Against Tyranny (Elegy 4) p.36
Linda Montano      The New Wilderness: A Conversation with my Father Henry Montano p.38
Pauline Oliveros      Software for People p.40
Steve McCaffery      A Note on Concept p.47
Charles Bernstein      From a Letter: On Language & Wilderness p.48
Jackson Mac Low      This Is the Beginning of Something New p.49
Ramón Medina Silva      How the Names Were Changed on the Peyote Hunt p.53
Homero Aridjis      Moctezuma in the House of Blackness, or The Auguries  p.55
Larry Eigner      #736 inside back cover

New Wilderness Letter 8, Spring 1980 [PDF, 34 MB]



Lawrence Ferlinghetti     Mule Mountain Dreams p.1
George Economou     From AMEPIKH (AMERIKI) Two    p.4
Ernesto Cardenal     Mayapan p.6
David Guss     The Atta p.14
Alison Knowles     The House of Dust: A Chronicle    p.17
Philip Corner     Elementals p.25
Toby Lurie     Barber’s Pole p.31
Charles Amirkhanian     Dutiful Ducks    p.34
Rose Drachler     For Witches p.36
Jerome Rothenberg     A Pre-Face for Rose Drachler  p.41
Clayton Eshleman     Cuauhxicalli  p.42
Michael Davidson     Exiled in the Word (discourse)  p.43
Charles Stein     The Projection of Archetypal Force onto Language (discourse) p.47
George Quasha     Traveling in Typographic Freespace p.56
Jerome Rothenberg     Tristan Tzara inside back cover
Ken Friedman     “New Wilderness 8” insert

New Wilderness Letter 9, 1980 [PDF, 34 MB]



Allen Ginsberg     Meditation & Poetics   p.1
Jerome Rothenberg     A Glass Tube Ecstasy, for Hugo Ball    p.2
Robert Kelly     From Angels of Trial & Error:The Book of Jacob   p.4
Antonin Artaud     The Theatre of Cruelty (translated by Clayton Eshleman & Norman Glass) p.9
Robin Blaser     From Image-Nations 1-12 & The Stadium of the Mirror (fragment)  p.16
Michael McClure     From Coyote in Chains    p.17
Barbara Einzig     Letter: New Wilderness  p.31
John Taggart     Dehiscence: Suite for Six Dancers p.40
Edward S. Klima & Ursula Bellugi     Poetry without Sound p.48
Rochelle Owens     From Constructs p.58
Richard Schechner     Ritual In/Of/And Theatre (discourse) p.60
Letters Eric Mottram & Scott McLean     p.73

New Wilderness Letter 10, September 1981 [PDF, 35 MB]



Michael McClure     DREAM: Night of March 5th    p.1
Sarah Greys     From The Autobiography of a Cree Woman (trans. Howard Norman)  p.2
Rose Drachler     I Dream of Air p.4
Linda Montano     Hypnosis, Dream, Sleep  p.6
Charlie Morrow     Notes on Dreamchants p.8
Ellen Zweig     The Dream Chants of Charlie Morrow  p.9
Susan Hiller     Dream Mapping  p.15
Petruk Toskorakov     There Were Two Brothers. . . (trans. Barbara Einzig)    p.22
Becky Cohen & Pauline Oliveros     From INITIATION DREAM  p.25
Jerome Rothenberg     Dream Poem & More Imaginal Geographies    p.30
David Guss     Adekato  p.31
Geoffrey Hendricks     Dream Event  p.34
Carolee Schneemann      Fresh Blood – A Dream Morphology    p.42
David Meltzer     From the Rabbi’s Dream-Book p.57
Jackson Mac Low      2 Letters, A Poem, & A Dream Meditation    p.58
Michael Davidson     The Dream Dream p.62
Barbara Einzig     Lesson p.63
  From The Yoga of the Dream State  p.64
Bernadette Mayer     Two Poems  p.65
Wladyslaw Cieszynski    Spring Undoubled    p.72
Reb Hile Wechsler     A Dream Interpreted Inside a Dream (trans. Joel Rosenberg)  p.73
Howard Schwartz     The Tale of the Messianic Dreams p.75
Lynn Hershman     Dream Weekend: A Project for Australia p.77
Barbara Einzig     Post-Face to Dream-Works (discourse) p.82

New Wilderness Letter 11, December 1982 [PDF, 46 MB]



Stéphane Mallarmé / Michael Gibbs     The Book, Spiritual Instrument p.1
J. Stephen Lansing     The Aesthetics of the Sounding of the Text    p.6
Eduardo Calderón     Reading the Mesa: An Interview by David Guss p.20
Karl Young     Bookforms  p.25
Dennis Tedlock     What the Popol Vuh Tells About Itself p.31
Becky Cohen     The Book as an Instrument of Performance photo insert
Jed Rasula     From Tabula Rasula    p.33
Alison Knowles    On The Book of Bean    p.35
George Quasha     Auto-Dialogue on the Transvironmental Book: Reflections on The Book of Bean p.41
Tina Oldknow     Muslim Soup  p.44
Dick Higgins     A Book  p.46
David Meltzer     From the Rabbi’s Dream Book  p.48
Karl Young     Notes on Codex Vienna p.50
Edmond Jabès     The Book and the Desert/[Wilderness]: An Interview p.61
Paul Eluard     Useful Man   p.66
Gershom Scholem     The Oral & the Written: “There Is No Written Torah Here on Earth” (Discourse) p.67
Herbert Blau     Deep Throat: The Grail of the Voice (Discourse) p.68
Jerome Rothenberg     Editor’s Note p.77

New Wilderness Letter 12 / Wch Way 5, 1984 [PDF, 36 MB]



Prolegomenon   p.1
Jackson Mac Low Various Meanings p.2
  Begun in the Air  
Jerome Rothenberg from Yaqui: Flower World p.9
Robert Grenier Twelve Poems p.13
Barbara Einzig Dream p.21
Will Alexander Letter of Warning p.25
  The Western World  
Pierre Joris Renart and the She-Wolf p.35
Howard Norman Wichikapache Tales p.43
Milan Knízák Probable Poems p.49
Kathleen Fraser Four Voices. . . p.61
John Clarke Eleven Sonnets p.68
Jed Rasula Per Say, More p.73
  The Future Perfect  
Charles Bernstein Outrigger p.77
Don Byrd Book of the Father p.80
C. Mark Hurlbert Benjamin Paul Blood p.98
Benjamin Blood The Anaesthetic Revelation p.102
  The Immortality of the Soul  
Jerome Rothenberg, ed. Takes and Out-takes from Technicians of the Sacred p.110
  The Vulva Song of Inana  
  Exorcism of the Eye  
  Against Wens  
  Magic Song: A Boasting  
  Weston Sub-Edge Mummer’s Play  
  Voice of the Karaw  
  Red Book of Hergest  
  Al Que Quiere!