Jerome Rothenberg

In Memoriam: Jerome Rothenberg (1931–2024)

How do you begin to describe the many lives of Jerry Rothenberg, who passed away on Sunday at the age of ninety-two? His output as poet alone, or translator, or editor, or anthologist would be enough to secure his reputation for the ages, and yet he excelled in all those areas and more with equal brilliance, fervor, and prescience. 

The poetry world we inhabit has been shaped over and over again by Rothenberg's vision, which comprehensively traces an evolution in Western poetics from Romanticism through Modernism to the present, while also inviting a diverse array of marginalized voices to take an equal place at the table. Who else could find profound commonalities that transcended time and space, or trace mercurial ideas into the most obscure corners of expression?

Jerome Rothenberg's favorite Stein poem

A 1:25 minute ModPo video

During ModPo's 2022 week 4 live webcast, Jerome Rothenberg talks about a favorite Gertrude Stein poem. Rothenberg was visiting the Writers House from California to be with us for the webcast, a PoemTalk episode, and a public reading. Click here to view the one-minute video directly on YouTube, and here to see the entire archive of ModPo videos.

Untranslatable (PoemTalk #179)

Armand Schwerner, 'Tablet XXV' and '"daddy, can you staple these two stars together to make an airplane?"'

From left: Jerome Rothenberg, Pierre Joris, and Charles Bernstein in the garden of the Kelly Writers House. Photo by Al Filreis.


Al Filreis gathered together Jerome Rothenberg, Charles Bernstein, and Pierre Joris to talk about two poems by Armand Schwerner. The first was written near the end of Schwerner’s life, for his major series titled The Tablets. The poem discussed here is “Tablet XXV” [TEXT; AUDIO] and, along with all the other sections, it can be found in the complete edition published by the National Poetry Foundation in 1999. The second poem is an earlier one, “‘daddy, can you staple these two stars together to make an airplane?’” [TEXT; AUDIO] originally published in Seaweed and available on page 50 of Selected Shorter Poems (Junction Press, 1999).

Jerome Rothenberg reads from 'Mad King' at Kelly Writers House (photos and links)

Jerome Rothenberg gave a reading on Thursday, September 29, 2022, at the Kelly Writers House. The full video recording is available below, along with seven photos taken during and after the event. He read, in part, his short new book, In the Shadow of the Mad King (available from Granary Books).

Dorota Czerner

from 'A Conversation with Jerome Rothenberg: On Poland/1931 and the Pathways of Translation'

Photo-collage for 'Poland/1931' by Eleanor Antin.
Photo-collage for 'Poland/1931' by Eleanor Antin.

[The following is a segment of a longer “conversation” between me and Dorota Czerner, to accompany her translations into Polish of poems of mine from Poland/1931 and Khurbn, to be published in the journal Chidusz, in Wroclaw, Poland, later this year. The discussion of translation and reverse translation (into Polish and Yiddish) may be of particular interest here. (J.R.)]



Diane Rothenberg

'The Economic Memories of Harry Watt' (complete): The Setting, The Text, and The Commentary

[Originally published in part in Dialectical Anthropology: Essays in Honor of Stanley Diamond, edited by Christine Ward Gailey (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1992). Copies of Diane Rothenberg’s book, Mothers of the Nation, in which this essay also appeared, may still be available through Ta’wil Books, Another essay, “Corn Soup & Fry Bread,” was posted earlier on December 5, 2008, in Poems and Poetics, and parts one and two of the present essay first appeared there in September 2014.

Amish Trivedi

from 'FuturePanic,' new poems with notes by the author and the publisher

The universe, too,

is held together by the same gravity


that holds us together. The same abyss

swallows us all,


and our hate cannot command the sea —

we cannot beg it back,


deny it any longer. But we can fight on, stare

Toward a poetry and poetics of the Americas (36)

Gregorio de Matos, Brazil, 1636–1696: Two poems

To the Veritable Judge Belchoir da Cunha Brochado


Jeffrey C. Robinson

'A Big Jewish Book': Subterranean Bible

November 30, 2017, Mitchell Library, Glasgow


Mark Weiss

from 'A Suite of Dances,' a new gathering

XIV. Sings Forth


The bride of god wants it, now,

on her own terms.


We breed cattle

for the final predator.


There is always something to ask. This-or-that-ness or



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