July 8, 2010

Kenneth Irby

Kenneth Irby [USA]

Born in the Midwest in 1936, Kenneth Irby beginning writing at early age, recalling that he wrote his first poem when is was 13 after discovering a translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies in Kansas City.

In 1958 Irby attended Harvard University, from where he received his A.M. degree. While at Harvard, he heard poets such as Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Olson read at a local bookstore, and he began to read Olson’s poetry. Later, while serving in the Army in Albuquerque he met Edward Dorn and, through him, Robert Creeley, poets who would be influential to his own writing.

His first publication was a broadside, The Oregon Trail, in 1964, followed by The Roadrunner Poem the same year. The following year Duende Press in New Mexico issues his Movements/Sequences, with an afterword by Creeley.

His many other books include Relation: Poems 1965-1966 (1971), To Max Douglas (1974), Catalpa (1977), Orexis (1981), A Set (1983), and Call Steps, Plains, Camps, Stations, Consistories (1992). More recent tiles include Antiphonal and Fall to Fall (1994) and Ridge to Ridge: Poems 1990-2000 (2002).

Irby also received an M.L.S. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and was awarded a Fulbright travel grant as a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen. He teaches at the University of Kansas.


The Oregon Trail (Lawrence, Kansas: Dialogue Press, 1964); The Roadrunner Poem (Placitas, New Mexico: Duende Press, 1964); Kansas-New Mexico (Lawrence, Kansas: Terrence Williams, 1965); Movements/Sequences (Placitas, New Mexico: Duende Press, 1965); The Flower of Having Passed Through Paradise in a Dream: Poems 1967 (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York: Matter Press, 1968); Relation: Poems 1965-1966 (Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1970); To Max Douglas (Lawrence, Kansas, Tansy 4/Peg Leg Press Publications, 1971)/enlarged ed (Lawrence, Kansas: Tansy/Peg Leg Press, 1974); Archipelago (Willits, California:; Tuumba Press, 1976); In Excelsis Borealis (Cambridge, New York: White Creek Press, 1976); For the Snow Queen (Lawrence, Kansas: 1976); Catalpa (Lawernce, Kansas: Tansy Press, 1977); From Some Etudes (Lawrence, Kansas: Tansy Press, 1978); A Gift for Friends: Summer Solstice 1978 (Los Angeles: privately printed, 1978); Planks Turned to Marble (Lawrence, Kansas: Tansy Press, 1979); Homage to Andrei Bely (Lawrence, Kansas: Helen, 1981); Orexis (Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1981); Riding the Dog (Greensburg, Pennsylvania: The Zelot Press, 1972); A Set (Lawrence, Kansas: Tansy Press, 1983); Two Studies (Lawrence, Kansas: Tansy Press, 1989); Call Steps: Plains, Camps, Stations, Consistories (Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press and Lawrence, Kansas: Tansy press, 1992); Antiphonal and Fall to Fall (Boulder, Colorado: Kavyayantra Press, 1994); Some March Notes, 1995 (Ra’anana, Israel: Oasii Press, 1995); [syzygos] (Sacramento, California: Arcturus Editions, 1999); Ridge to Ridge: Poems 1990-2000 (Ann Arbor, Michigan: OtherWind Press, 2002); The Intent On: Collected Poems 1962-2006 (Berkeley: North Atlantic Boooks, 2009)

[Feb/April 2004]

To read a poem click here: http://greeninteger.com/pdfs/Irby-poem.pdf

For a large selection of audio readings and video presentations by Irby, click below:

Maxine Chernoff

Maxine Chernoff [USA]

Raised in Chicago, Maxine Chernoff was educated at the University of Illinois, where she was a University fellow. She has been Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University since 1994 and Chair of its Creative Writing Program since 1996. With her husband Paul Hoover she edits the journal New American Writing.

Chernoff has published seven full-length collections of poetry: Utopia TV Store; New Faces of 1952, which won the PEN Poetry Award and the Carl Sandburg Award; Japan; Leap Year Day; World: Poems 1991-2001; Evolution of the Bridge: Selected Prose Poems; and Among the Names, a serial poem on the subject of gift theory.

She has read and discussed her work in many locations, including Cambridge, English; Sydney, Australia; Berlin, Germany; Liege, Belgium; Glasgow, Scotland; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Yunnan Province in China.

Of her work in the prose poem, critic Michell Delville was said: “…Chernoff shares a metapoetic extravagance of the likes of Henri Michaux, Jorge Luis Borges, and Julio Cortázar.” Her other poems have been described as “the triumphant survival of wit and intelligence” (Jayne Anne Phillips), a poetry that “relishes the delirious possibilities of language” (Booklist).

Chernoff also translated from the German and with Paul Hoover has completed a selection of Hölderlin’s work.


The Last Aurochs (Iowa City: Now Press, 1976); A Vegetable Emergency (Venice, California: Beyond Baroque Foundation, 1977); Utopia TV Store (Chicago: Yellow Press, 1979); New Faces of 1952 (Ithaca, New York: Ithaca House, 1985); Japan (Bolinas, California: Avenue B Press, 1988); Leap Year Day: New and Selected Poems (Chicago: ACP, 1991); Next Song (Saratoga, California: Instress Publications, 1998); World: Poems 1991-2001 (Cambridge, English: Salt Publications, 2001); Evolution of the Bridge: Selected Prose Poems (Cambridge: England: Salt Publications, 2004); Among the Names (Berkeley, California: Apogee Press, 2005)
Click below for the poem:

Ágnes Nemes Nagy

Ágnes Nemes Nagy [Hungary]

Born in Budapest to a family with Transylvanian ties, Ágnes Nemes Nagy studied Hungarian and Latin at the University of Budapest, but her "intellectual birth," as she puts it, took place at a Calvinist gymnasium for girls with the renowned poet, Lajor Áprily, at its head.

She began her career as an editor for the post-war literary review Újold (New Moon), which was banned in 1948. Her first book, Kettös világban (In a Dual World) was published and welcomed by the reviewers in 1946. A victim of the "szilencium," she could not publish again for nearly ten years. From 1953 to 1958 she taught in a secondary shcool. It was only in 1957, with the publication of Száravillám (Heat Lighting), that she came to the forefront of Hungarian poetry. After the publication of this book, she began to support herself from her own writing and translating works from German, French, and English.

Her third book of poems, Napforduló (Solstice), appeared in 1967, and brought her international attention. Other books followed, and in 1969 and 1981 she published collected works of her poetry, the first titled A lovogok és az angyalok (The Horses and the Angels), the second titled Között (Between). With her husband, the critic Baláczs Lengyle, she spent several months at the University of Iowa on a Writers' Visiting Fellowship. In 1983 she was awarded the prestigious Kossuth Prize. By the time of her death in 1991, she was recognized as one of Hungary's leading poets. She also wrote essays and poetry for children.
Nemes Nagy described herself as an "objective lyric poet," attracted to both objects and the objectivity of the lyric tone.


Kettös világban (Budapest, 1946); Szárazvillám (Budapest, 1957); Napforduló (Budapest, 1967); A Lovagok es az angyalok (Budapest: Magvető Köngkiadó, 1969); Között (Budapest: Magvatő Kiadó, 1981).


Selected Poems, trans. by Bruce Berlind (Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1980); Between: Selected Poems of Ágnes Nemes Nagy, trans. by Hugh Maxton (Budapest: Corvina, 1989); Selections in The Colonnade of Teeth: Modern Hungarian Poetry, edited by George Gömöri and George Szirtes (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1996).

To a Poet

My contemporary. He died, not I.
He fell near Tobruk, poor boy.
He was English. Other names, for us,
tell the places where, like ripe nuts,
heads fell and cracked in twos,
those portable radios,
their poise of parts and volume
finer than the Eiffel, lovely spinal column
as it crashed down to the earth.
That's how I think you your youth —
like a dotard who doesn't know
now from fifty years ago,
his heart in twilight, addle pated.

But love is complicated.

Translated from the Hungarian by Bruce Berlind

(from Szárazvillám, 1957)


This was the table. Surface, and legs.
This the wire, the lamp.
There was a glass to hand. It's here
This was the water. And I drank it.

And I looked out the window.
And I saw: the mist fell aslant
the field of an evening,
a big heavenly willow dipped
into eclipsed waters,
and I looked out the window
and I had eyes. And I had arms.

Now I live round chairlegs,
reach the knee of objects.
Then I shouldered through a space.
And such birds, such space.
Like a flaming garland's
ruffled leaves, tearing, flaring
they flew, muttering in swarms,
driven by a pulse
as if a heart split,
flew into birdbits —
That was the fire. That was the sky

I leave. I'd finger
the floorboard, if I could.
Draughty. I dodge
in the street. I am not.

—Translated from the Hungarian by Hugh Maxton

(from Napforduló, 1967)

The Sleeping Horsemen
to Lajos Kassáck

December. Noon. Eye-scorching
snowfiled broad as a hillside.
On the flat slope a heap of flagstone.
On its round edges
a hot, white, snowsheet:
a small pile of sleeping Bedouins.

What faces are these that bend
groundward, dark shrubs,
in this inverted sculptural group?
What dried-up, black
root-features, what
hot, dark breathing —

And deep down under the shore
what kind of bedouin horses,
their shapes here and there heaving,
as inside the stable corridors,
silently, invisibly, they paw,
and their root-bearded large manes
begin to sway underground —

And what is this motion when
on the hot earth-horses' backs
the earthy brown trunks stretch,
leafy-haired, higher and higher,
and with one slow stupendous leap
spring out.

Translated from the Hungarian by Bruce Berlind

(from Napforduló, 1967)


The great sleeves of air,
air on which the bird
and the science of birds bear
themselves, wings on the fraying argument;
incalculable result
of a moment's leafy silhouette
bark and branch of a haze living upwards
like desire into the upper leaves
to inhale every three seconds
those big, frosty angels.

Downweight. On the plain
the mountain's motionless shocks
as they lie or kneel
peaks and escarpments,
geology's figure-sculpture,
the glen's a moment's distraction
and once more the forms and rocks,
chalky bone to outline
into identity of pleated stone.

Between the sky and the earth.

Creaking of rocks. As
the sun's clear ores
into themselves almost, stone into metal, as
a creature steps on in his claws smoke,
and up above the escarpment
ribbons of burning hoof,
then night in the desert, night as
quenching and reaching
its stony core, night below zero, and as
the tendons, joints, plaques

split and tear, as
they are strained in endless
splitting ecstasy
by routine dumb lightning
in black and white —

Between the day and the night.

Aches and stabbings,
visions, voiceless aqueducts,
inarticulate risings,
unbearable tension
of verticals between up and down.

Climates. Conditions.
Between. Stone. Tanktraces.
A strip of black reed rimming the plain
written in two lines, in the lake, the sky,
two black plaques of signsystem,
diacritic on the stars —

Between the sky and the sky.

Translated from the Hungarian by Hugh Maxton

(from Napforduló, 1967)


It was bitter, the sea, when
I rolled through the rock-throat down
a spiral staircase. A shingle, I spun,
behind me the hum of snail-shell
like memory in an abandoned house,
I rattled
like a skullfull of shrapnel.

Then I rumbled out onto the beach.
And there were the statues.

On a pedestal
a leather-covered tortoise-egg:
my skull boiled boiled in the sun,
my white helmet rolled away
a bubble on the sand,
I was lying down, my shoulder against a rock,
in filthy filthy white array.

Whose is this hunk?
Who was it, from a mountainous shale-chunk
with monstrous passion hacked
this indifference out?

And the plates of sheet-iron on me, the sheet-iron.
Banged-up boxes,
as they reflected their stammering light,
—a plane-wreck glitters like this,
but inside what sirs still lives,
a smatter of blood on the watchstrap,—
I lay smeared out on the rock,
life—the filth of it—on a stone.

Nothing more stubborn, more stubborn,
you fling yourself into a stone,
fling into a thing, fling into a stone
your living neck,
it's already a stone season,
its switched-off life half-blind,
who sculpted this indifference?
who was it, from a mountainous shale-chunk
chiseled your living neck?

Salt and sand and above them the rock-hunk,
gouged out cave-like in the sky,
this relative eternity,
this half-light of minerals—

the water murmurs, murmurs, its bed an Earth:
bitterness in a stone cask.

Translated from the Hungarian by Bruce Berlind

(from Napforduló, 1967)

Akhenaton in Heaven

All these things are the same. The mine.
A mountainside torn to the foot. Implements.
As he touches the limestone
the dawn's uncertain.
As if dawning from inside,
on the rock's thin face,
and stone and iron transparent
as after an ultimate dysfunction.

There the forest.
The fog walks about in fragments.
five-fingered, like abandoned hands
or hands that stretch up vertical,
a motion almost of traction
and yet of not reaching to their meaning,
they float palely to the ground
as they trail —
as they expand and tumble,
vaporous, attenuated trunks,
another forest walks among the trees
and drives another foliage.

A tunnel under the leaves.
Dark grass, gravel:
a set of narrow-gauge lines, at daybreak.
The sun is coming now, steaming,
piercing the fogs of a lateral angel,
mute rumbling recurs,
metal in the grass sparkles,
morning sparkles,
till suddenly a hedge springs up
for the lines end there in the grass.
Beyond, just a few sleepers
like unsteady steps ahead —
on the clearing the sun stays.

Fore-noon. Great plants.
The great chamomile meadow is still,
pieces of iron in it,
honeycomb density over it,
white-spoked plants the suns
white galaxy without waves and now wind.
Always. Forever. Noon.

—Translated from the Hungarian by Hugh Maxton

(from Napforduló, 1967)


"Revenant," "Between," and "Akhenaton in Heaven"
Reprinted from Between: Selected Poems of Ágnes Nemes Nagy, trans. by Hugh Maxton (Budapest: Corvina, 1989). Copyright ©Hugh Maxton. Reprinted by permission of William McCormack.

"The Sleeping Horsemen" and "To a Poet"
Reprinted from Selected Poems, trans. by Bruce Berlind (Iowa City: University of Iowa, 1980). Copyright ©1980 by the International Writing Program. Reprinted by permission of the University of Iowa.

Ange Mlinko

Ange Mlinko [USA]

Ange Mlinko was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She earned her under-graduate degree in Philosophy and Math-ematics at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Brown University.

In 1996 Lift Books published a chapbook, Immediate Orgy and Audit. It attracted the attention of the Boston-based publisher Roland Pease, whose Zoland Books brought out her first full-length book Matinees in 1999. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was named one of its Best Books at the end of that year.

Her second volume, Starred Wire, was selected for the 2004 National Poetry Series by Bob Holman for Coffee House Books . It was also a finalist for the James Laughlin Award, and garnered mentions in national publications.

Mlinko's poetry is often linked to the influence of Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery, with its love of language and urban contemporary life, but she thinks of herself as reverse-engineering the New York School back to Marianne Moore, Stevens, Williams, and Crane and then bringing it all back to the very brink of the present.


Immediate Orgy and Audit (Boston: Lift Books, 1996); Matinees (Boston: Zoland Books, 1999); Starred Wire (Minneapolis: Coffee House Books, 2004)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

Everything’s Carousing

Even the baroque gets lost in it.
Grass vests the dirt lest wind, twanging the skyscrapers

that merely sleeve the elevators, as we go sleeveless
except for the atmosphere, file it under Oceans.

Recalling the equations derived for ballistics —
aiming cannonballs is not like squaring lintels,

and skyscrapers are all lintel.
There isn’t a straight line amidst all these that never meet;

I will write away for it. A sound that breaks
“the record and the tie with the most singles in a season.”

Sparrows petulantly, like petals, adding subtracting
to crumbstrewn cafe tables, then boarding the ferries.

Reprinted from Jacket, no. 28 (October 2005). Copyright ©2005 by Ange Mlinko.

John Wilkinson

John Wilkinson [England]

John Wilkinson was born in London, England; he grew up on the Cornish coast and on Dartmoor and endured a number of boarding schools. He read English at Cambridge, followed by graduate work at Cambridge and Harvard universities. Subsequently he trained as a psychiatric nurse and worked as a nurse, social worker and service manager in and around Birmingham, England, before moving to Swansea in South Wales as a lecturer in mental health. Thereafter he worked in the East End of London as a commissioner of mental health services, an assistant director of public health and a mental health strategic planner, while living for the most part in Cambridge.
In 2005 he moved to the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, as Poet in Residence at the Keough Institute for Irish Studies, and teaches both literature and creative writing for the English department. He is married to Maud Ellmann, an academic and literary critic.

Most of Wilkinson’s poetry has been collected in five volumes: Oort’s Cloud, Proud Flesh, Flung Clear, Effigies Against the Light and Contrivances. His new collection is Lake Shore Drive, published by Salt in 2006. He has published many reviews and essays on poetics.

Wilkinson’s grants and awards include the Chancellor’s Medal for an English Poem at Cambridge University, the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship at Harvard University and recently a Fulbright Distinguished Scholarship at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, New York in 2003-4. ‘The Shoal of the Ditto Ship’ was written during this last period when living in Manhattan, and was influenced by an exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum of the work of Adolph Wölfi.

John Wilkinson’s work has been discussed as Cambridge poetry, Birmingham poetry and recently as Welsh poetry. This publication marks its debut as American poetry. Meanwhile he is pleased to be an honorary Irishman at the Keough, and looks forward to further identities.


Useful Reforms (Richmond, Surrey, England: Arnica Press, 1976); Aquamarie (Cambridge, England: Avocado Salad, 1976); The Central Line (Cambridge, England: infernal methods, 1976); Tracts of the Country (London: Oasis Books, 1977); Pornography (Cambridge, England: Sidon Industrial, 1977); Recent History (London and Southampton: infernal methods, 1978); Mudie’s Umbrella (Horsham, Sussex, England: The Cuseway Press, 1978); Clinical Notes (Liverpool: Délires, 1980); Proud Flesh (Liverpool: Equofinaly, Łodz, and Délires: Liverpool, 1986 / reprinted by Great Wilbraham: Salt Publisher, 2005); Bones of Contention (Kenilworth, England: Prest Roots, 1988); The Speaking Twins (Peterborough: Spectacular Diseases, 1990); Stages Along the Lichway (Lewes, England: Silver Hounds/Ferry Press, 1991); The Nile (Cambridge, England: Equipage, 1992); Torn off a Strip (Cambridge, English, 1994); Chalone (Kenilworth, England: Prest Roots, 1994); Flung Clear: Poems in Six Books (Brighton: Parataxis Editions, 1994); Sarn Helen (Cambridge, England: Equipage, 1997); Reverses (Cambridge, England: 1999); Oort’s Could, Earlier Poems (Cambridge, England: Barque Press and Honolulu: subpress, 1999); Effigies Against the Light (Great Wilbraham, England: Salt Publishing, 2001); Signs of an Intruder (Cambridge, England: Parataxis Editions, 2001); Contrivances (Great Wilbraham, England: Salt Publishing, 2003); Iphigenia (London: Barque Press, 2004); Lake Shore Drive (Great Wilbraham, England Salt Publisher, 2006)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

The Shoal of the Ditto Ship
for Miles Champion

One day he'll wake with wings

Or fixed gaze in vitro intro-
spects, centipeded they get tied
up through reefs, or riffing
smattered off the obtuse bulk
cast away legless, their cousin
vaguely wagged, illuminated
pillows of puff, much touch
dodges being dwelt-on or
arrived-at Must I peel or empty?
Teflon Ted Whatever you say
dangles like a benediction.
Twinkletoes, your scarlessness
locks the scarlet under skin,
as shame were that shame
brought up to its own mark,
then all is trussed & shut,
sealed off like a marshmallow
butterfingered bare choir. Reef
Tom to arrive at certainty,
veer not, shy off or scatter,
vent not the stacks imbibing
vapour sustenance, would
these package deal finickers
down within the voided grates,
cap them, since their terminus,
playing to their divisions,
plugs the too-routine leaks.
This mush dons his quizzical,
this plate gurns, Robert this
Meissen figure, peregrinating
slashes in my baked Alaska,
periodic or wedge flume
carbon remnant, primus inter
pares cloaks in citizenship
Coney Island Russian taxi,
Chinese pin-pursed laundress
TriBeCa Bridge? Your ID!
The order stops the tracks of
fleet Helvetians, Swiss pixies
mobilising legs with dream,
discourage cramp, patch nerves
euplastically, re-set their bones.
Leaning from her saddle, wee
Titania can bestow a blessing,
dabbing dry the dropsical,
easing crooks if struck rigid,
draws down the flues, follows
into the cold-box or cream
bowl, horseflies in harness
tugging behind The Upsetter.
Clip Clop Clippity Clippity Hi:
deer tics bring lime disease,
mosquitoes siphon West Nile.
Clip Clop Clippity Clippity Hi:
fireflies bale their thistledown
bolsters, mop up leftovers,
squall bruising cloud edges,
cobalt-skirt their huff & puff
flushes chimneys, vaccinates
household staff, hauls along
Maria, Li, Primrose, Naomi,
Sam¹s personal trainer, kids
at school you were dwarfed by
were shaken by a choice phrase
filling a salience landscape;
penguins of your cloud buttes,
behind-the-arras prompters
cracking their tush knuckles
shrink flaunted words to size,
bearing up too-complicated
knees in alcoves, squinnying
heaps of bone, a coffin clutch
of gladsome bone mounted
on his pillow, femurs guide
the galumphing litho press
mashing its diacritical trickle.
Girl you really got me now
You got me so I can't die.
The ravenous ghosts constrict
thin pipes with sucking-up,
craving eats from his big toe
looming over a fire-ant army
O fallen arches O articulacy!
a kick in the hand stubs a bush,
fiddle-faddle strewn-about
pudency stamp. You're too rude
you rake, you fop, you mohawk,
you with your fab nose-bone.
Luke reeling at such vileness,
stashes books on a hearthstone
overnight, in hemp baloney,
cleans up his act & itemises:
Gilgamesh perks up on cue,
Ulysses as per usual curious,
Malmude packing his boxes
for the proverbial little press.
The inner cerecloth shrinks
chaldean, root-fanned stylus
pokes into these roe deposits,
gripped in icy fingers ticks
micro-level duplicates How
can they endure the light,
these vulnerable figures? How
did glaciers wobble like airships?
chains pup a consequence?
leave no stain on its envelope?
misfolded, misfolded, proof
against tears, against semen,
paid in full but fallen short,
capturing a torpid substrate
prickling where the low cloud
muzzles against their moss-
sopped cocoons against the sky,
misfolded to indestructibility,
glitching up the brain stem.
None of the above applies
None of the above follows
without receptor sites signal
strapping their cuneiform,
vaporise through mesh, honey
welling between their wires,
evenly eventless dropper filled
but long in the tooth, bony,
scribbled like a slut tornado
searches for its porch & picket.
Do I see Johnny Appleseed?
Was that my casual gunslinger
reels on the deck with kuru,
holding forth & misfolded,
sought to expiate his triggers,
triggers of the small mercies?
A novel variant stirs the rank
antibodies, you must be you,
snails, smearing, butt-naked,
visibly, despicably ambitious,
hauls over the icecap its satchel
stuffed with props to scale
Just add water, quietly steam
while the felt thickens, furs,
buckles in intelligent tucks
promise you'll look beautiful,
promise an eyeful gratifies
Scottie's scopophilia, minions
crushed by the saint system,
stripped by Lilliputians,
bring me my Negroni, swoosh!
Clouds mouth a new dawn,
records skate, a sumptuous
troop, refolding tallied initials,
promenades across the whole-
earth mercator. Avenue A
clouds gush vodka, vivid
pangs chase after shredded fish,
roast guinea pigs & tripe:
Felipe, I'll have your selection,
the polymerised sweet cells
defend their right to adapt!
animate the dynastic pods,
leprechauns, a flea circus
climbing a prandial trapeze,
ribbons & spirals, lamellae,
locusts & the leaf-cutter ants,
defend their right to adapt!
Slurping at dab nectar, woozy
comforters fall, denied access
by these fibrous bunches
spongiform at base hey,
you trying to stick your nose
Know what's coming to you?
Say you pass the horseradish
clockwise while at home?
Insolent to waiters? Get lost!
Ouch! ouch! An apt little hound
rounds up misdeeds in flocks,
water thickens with tadpole-
dense performances, frogs
are hopping on marked paths.
Leander swims, Meander strays,
the very trout who gasped
for oxygen in a stock-pond,
wallow on the sludgy floor.
Clip Clop Clippity Clippity Hi
puts spurs into the cladogram,
dispersing those top dogs
long solitude had made weird
Like a lemur. Or a marsupial
frolics onto a new reserve,
a positive fit, a vacuum seal,
a win-win trade. So why do
shrunken heads find boughs
peeking out of the manholes,
did crowbars & indigenes
blow the cover rising to cover
the cover I cover myself,
unscarred cover with scarlet,
steal the proto-immersible,
insinuate this endoscope?
authorise the brain scan?
I was a rush of released mice,
roaches from under the sink
advancing through Sullivan St,
milling towards a hot ticket
cupcake, where¹s Vesuvio?
That brass tocsin animates
the grave-figures, bony fringe
defiling out, nano-machines
rafting the capillaries, rush
to rows appointed, terror tots
pullulate in their gung ho.
Bees swarm from Broadway.
Michelangelo. Minihaha. Blink.
Pictures of matchstick men
& me & me & me. Ticklish
midget submariners giggle.
Fireflies whirr. The pestilent
cockchafers, shrunk to tiny
whisks gad round the sewers,
household gods gape & gulp,
emulsify where sore necks &
sumps lift up their gates, O
helicobacters mass in the gut
like Apocalypse Next. Meet
Princess Bianca. Magdalehna.
Cut. Shut this trap, mother.
Consider the hands shake.
Consider this shaking hand.
Mine re-strap, thought-over,
others pull in adverse ranks,
some more habit-spatulate
from days & nights tunnelling,
skirted round or blew apart,
screwed sinuses or undercut:
these subverting their class,
that dumbcluck I had drabbled
lurking to buttonhole me,
came bushy-tailed if whistled
forward, wrenching my lapels,
brought all kinds of baggage.
Palsied hands. Featherbrain.
Chills, cracks. Frost ossuary
Dark place where seven roads
resurfaced. Kiln. Or broiler.
I am the god of hell's cold
fracturing the shut-down
grate, lithium console calms,
smoke like an iced margarita
quenched the chimney roar,
their camisole stood legless,
bones laid out to feed the fire
devastated, sparked a sub-
zero disaster, frozen gushers
flaring back to cloud cover,
flaring round the polar vault,
snapped in a cold clamshell:
splintered were its runnels
lifting swollen tongues. Over
the hearth's slate, jumbled
quartz plectrums, carved ivory,
burnt corks, pipe dottle of
gone companions, vagabonds,
boozed, spat, freely caroused
below the roof-tree, DNA-
analysed chattels, bony shards,
shades of powerful clothing,
room is right, curse in order,
amulet & gold brooch check,
your details have been verified.
To such a desecrated altar
decorators prance, slubbing
plaster over the pancreator,
fret walls in pernickety grids,
crematorium pigeon holes:
To this end, to this zilch,
the great cheese, the sponge,
a destroyed coral collective
petrifies anew its every unit
incubates local pathogens:
Clip Clop Clippity Clippity Hi/
egg cartons hatch by module,
sash windows rattle tinnily,
sheets of cellular wax bulge
each with a miniature nob
thrust half-way out, squishy,
pinky-grey & ready to slide
about its tumefacient work
going down to alphabet street,
white boys cruising sidewalks
jut their hips, the parasites,
dark shadees, parodies, trans-
formers, topers, those fore-
runners snacking on decoded
Pekinese, Peruvian bites,
Babylon perchance or Sumer
Check their chiselled teeth.
Verify the funerary figures,
terracotta sightless, armless,
faceless comedia of excess,
the whole shebang, the circus
marches out of a mausoleum:
Here the autobots shall dock,
senseless, gold-connected, clad
in memory-woven denim,
dishes bright, whips aquiver,
scout above eye-level, sweep.
Here advance the autobots,
exiled from a bright matrix,
gathered in choice skin, dis-
avowed but in chameleon
lock with the old regiment
spirting gravel, grating nerves,
crank till a cylinder aligns,
wriggle on prepared sheaths.
I, I'm just a little tin soldier.
Walkin' talkin' livin' plug.
Needles & pins. Neologisms.
A mensch on a bender, Jack
on an even keel, shameless,
shambling like an autobiotic
through a fuckpad boneyard,
remedied in shreds & patches
burns out of the marrow.
You, Scarbo! You, Ondine!
Consuela, mollusc was your
foul mouth & your kindness
jabbering on my private bits,
Augustus, your melodica
ricochets but courses through
the massive resistant sheets,
Moran, the night has no parts,
that's because you're asleep,
the fate of the crew of the
Alioth waits to be disclosed,
shaken from its bubble tissue,
seraphic heads blow shanties
smart as paint, & briskly
shine their epaulettes, medals
paving their hearts, crunch!
splinter under the die-stamp,
suborned swords of elves
hack vehemently where fringe
solder, shaving the spilt tin,
palsies down like beer-tops.
Panda-eyed the cherubs blub
all over semi-demi-hemis,
tonsured bobble heads each
sailor hallmarked with his year,
circular scrolling calendar
predicts little volcanoes, shock-
wave oceans & the hesperides,
blue cascades of numerology
sluicing over the span, men
& women cropped & slotted
each in her cellular conclave,
the way we expect love to be,
reverberates, a leaden cavalry
decorated, bodhisattvas,
pure land guardians practice
circular breathing, lit mandala
starts spinning, its imp-chain
of blue bone, sore distended
stomachs & necks squeeze,
battering fans like cockchafers,
whirring gods. Bones, dust,
millipedes in a single cohort,
amulets endowed with multi-
access, nub-end top-knot
yogic flights rehearse, sponsor
an ethereal choir of gnats:
Clip Clop Clippity Clippity Hi,
the clog dance of caterpillars
avid for internal burn & crawl.
Of heldness and of caresses you
have become the entrepreneur.
Inside me was this longing
which did not belong. Nests
of beetles stir, jewel-like frogs.

Reprinted from Free Verse, no. 8 (Spring 2005). Copyright ©2005 by John Wilkinson.

To read Wilkinson's Gertrude Stein award poem from 2008-2009, click below:

Catherine Meng

Catherine Meng [USA]

Catherine Meng was born in Teaneck, New Jersey and raised in Newton, Massachusetts.

She received her B.A. in Creative Writing from the College of Santa Fe, a certificate in Culinary Arts from Boston University, and her M.F.A in Creative Writing from the University of Montana, Missoula.

She has resided in Berkeley, California for the past nine years and presently works at a local restaurant. With Lauren Levin and Jared Stanley she co-edits the poetry journal Mrs. Maybe.

Meng's poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Carve, Crowd, Combo, The Boston Review, Fence, Fulcrum, Jubilat, Shampoo, and Slope.

Her first collection of poems, Tonight's the Night was published in 2007 by Apostrophe Books. She also has three chapbooks: 15 Poems in Set of Five, Dokument, and Lost Notebook w/ Letters to Deer.


Tonight's the Night (Apostrophe Books, 2007)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

The Circle of the Fifths

The works tastes overwhelmed, like alert palms flanking a full highway.

How you find the grit later in your mouth & wake into

your own enormity. How the work takes an unexpected amount of right turns

that run into the darkness & peter out under abandoned bridges.

To the Massachusetts from which I come, my brother-county racked by cobblestones

that left me sprained, I leave my brain

infused with slick bottom stones where three rivers converge. Men in hip-boots

pull breaching trout from the surface.

The work is as barbarous as bookends. Waterspouts deviated by a tough wind,

as if we could jump up into our wings, hold a pitch to the point of ownership

& scatter as sure as light.

Though I was willingly broken by the grandeur, I made not one exception,

too taken by a trumpet taking stabs at Gershwin, the faults & repeats passing

in on a breeze. Yet I was often awakened by a horrid kind of surprise

into my primary image (a small brook that borders a deaf school).

Having worked a summer holiday for belladonna, I thought my sight was proof.

I believed all the endings curved into the choirmaster’s slender fingers

which formed a closed circle against the darkened faces of the crowd.

Yet I stared at a map for a year & could only remember the colors of countries.

The work followed me like the carcasses of roadkill I counted while passing

through Colorado. Two days in, the toll mounted to unhumorous heights. 284

was lifted from the asphalt by a hawk just before the grille of the car. The work

was like that, both skyward and lifeless.

Reprinted from Boston Review, XXX, no. 6 (November/December 2005). Copyright ©2005 by Catherine Meng.

Connie Deanovich

Connie Deanovich [USA]

Born in 1960, Connie M. Deanovich received her B.A. in English at Columbia College in Chicago in 1983 and her M.A. at DePaul University in Chicago in 1990. From 1983 to 1988 she worked as a publicity coordinator at The Poetry Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon receiving her M.A., she became a full-time instructor at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Illinois and, from 1992-1993, an adjunct instruction at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois.

In 1997 she was awarded the Whiting Writer’s Award. She had previously received a General Electric Foundation Award for Younger Writers in 1990. In 2000 her work was anthologized in American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Universit Press).

In 1996, she published her first collection of poetry, Watusi Titanic and in 1999 Zoland Books published her Zombie Jet. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


Watusi Titanic (New York: Timken Publishers, 1996); Zombie Jet (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Zoland Books, 1999)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

Though We Wanted It to Stay

the building’s audition
was its demolition
lit from beneath by cop cars
an industrial octopus squeezed it to pieces
the orphans clustered by the pay phone
except for the one was smoking
he and his hat sat bow-legged
on the steps

just try breathing normal here

the time is always twilight
the assassins cold as a coin
with a foreign hole in the middle

just try

we may fling out our arms
“this is our world!”
but the world ignores such distractions
its machines go on fluently
like gorgeous quick-footed doctors
and we observe the operation

soon behind a turquoise curtain
we’ll need more food
something simple on a disposable plate
a glass of cold milk to wash it down with
a glance at the sunflowers out back
57 yellow heads
their seeds not yet vanished inside crows

just try making slow go fast go slow

air changes when it wants to
passing from one symphony to another
like a string of sailor’s whistles on a ship departing
massively at first
across the ocean that envelopes it

Reprinted from New American Writing, no. 23 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Connie M. Deanovich.

Nick Piombino

Nick Piombino [USA]

Nick Piombino was born in Manhattan in 1942. His father was a US Army officer so he travelled as a child, living in bombed out Nurnberg, Germany and then in California in the early and mid-fifties.

He graduated from the City College of New York with honors in literature in 1964. In 1967 and 1973 he participated in poetry workshops with Ted Berrigan and Bernadette Mayer. He received his Masters in Social Work from Fordham University School of Social Service in 1971 and in 1982 a Certificate in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. He has been in private practice in psychotherapy in Manhattan since 1975, also working in mental hospitals, foster care agencies and public schools.

In addition to writing poetry, critical essays and theory, as well as developing his "theoretical objects," he is an artist who began making collages on a visit to Italy in 1968. His art has been included in group shows at PS 122 and the Marianne Boesky Gallery. His "collage novel" Free Fall, a full color collection of over 100 of his collages was published by Otoliths in 2007.

He has been posting to his blog, fait accompli since February, 2003. He was guest editor of OCHO magazine in 2007 and 2009. His work has been published in numerous anthologies including From The Other Side of the Century, The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book, and In The American Tree.

He is the author of Poems (Sun & Moon Press,1988); Two Essays (Leave, 1992); The Boundary of Blur (Roof, 1993); Light Street (Zasterle, 1996); Theoretical Objects (Green Integer, 1999); The Boundary of Theory (Cuneiform, 2001); Hegelian Honeymoon (Chax, 2004); Fait Accompli (Factory School Heretical Text series, 2007); Free Fall (Otoliths, 2007); Contradicta: Aphorisms [with illustrations by Toni Simon] (Green Integer, 2010)


Poems (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1988); Light Street (Tenerife, Canary Islands: Zasterle, 1996); Hegelian Honeymoon (Tucson, Arizona: Chax, 2004)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

from Explications

The Return to Prose

This poem describes the poet's feelings about the poems of a close friend. Beginning with an evocation of sounds of streams and rivers which can be heard but not see, the poet declares that the friend now "refuses to dirty his hands even in flowing water." A flower which flits by in a "blur of yellow and green" becomes the starting place of a melancholy description of the passing nature of all things, even friendships. But ("as it were") the poems created by the two are "preciously connected." Yet even these disappear, when the matter is examined closely, the "many faces of time." Perhaps in the following several lines the poet is being ironic when he writes that only on the page death and life are "interchangeable." "Flickering lights," "momentary villages," "muffled sounds" are all ways of depicting momentary pleasures. In the final passages, the poet recalls the earliest verses of his friend. These were "primitive," "vast," "undifferentiated," yet their "echoed darkness" is what is now best remembered—paralleling the vast blankness of "futureless time" when neither poet will "live in uttered words" but will have joined the "inexplicable silence" of death.

Reprinted from Witz (1993). Copyright ©1993 by Nick Piombino.

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

The Disappearance

I don't even know why it's not there.
I looked among my papers for hours
Remembering a feeling I'd lost long ago.
So many thoughts passed through my mind
I couldn't hold on to one of them.
There were pictures I'd misplaced,
Photographs of faces which are landmarks in my life,
Letters received and letters never sent,
Souvenirs, a few forgotten schemes,
Lists of things I've done and never done
Reminders, tokens, dreams.
Perhaps in some other, untracked world
I've never left this scene
Fumbling in a timeless reverie
Among the numbers and the scrawls
Diving and swooping down again
Like gulls and shadows on the sea
In random cries, flights and descents
Towards and away from me.

Reprinted from Avec, no. 8 (1994). Copyright ©1994 by Nick Piombino.

July 7, 2010

Ethan Paquin

Ethan Paquin [USA]

Ethan Paquin was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, and raised in Londonderry in the same state.

He graduated from Plymouth (NH) State University and the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he studied with Dara Wier, James Tate, and Tomaz Salamun. In 1999 he founded the influential online literary journal Slope (www.slope.org), and in 2001 co-founded the nonprofit poetry press Slope Editions with Christopher Janke.

Paquin is the author of four books of poems, including The Violence (Ahsahta Press, 2005), which was runner-up for the Poetry Society of America William Carlos Williams Award. A fifth book, tentatively titled Cloud vs. Cloud, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press.

His poetry has been anthologized in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande Books, 2005); Isn't It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets (Wave Books, 2002); French Connections: A Gathering of Franco-American Poets (Louisiana Literature Press, 2006); and Joyful Noise: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry (Autumn House Press, 2007). His chapbooks are Deafening Leafening (Pilot, 2009), a series of collaborative sonnets written with Matt Hart; and Nineains (Hand Held Editions, 2008).

After teaching and residing for a time in Buffalo, NY, Paquin moved back to New Hampshire, where he currently instructs at Plymouth State University and Rivier College. An avid hiker, he is currently pursuing several New England peakbagging lists, a pastime around which an ongoing creative nonfiction project revolves. He lives with his wife and children in Nashua.


The Makeshift (Devon, England: Stride Publications, 2002); Accumulus (Cambridge, England: Salt Publishing, 2003); The Violence (Bosie, Idaho: Ahshta Press 2005); My Thieves (Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2007); Nineains (South Bend, Indiana and Brooklyn, New York: Hand Held Editions, 2008); Deafening Leafening [with Matt Hart] (Florence, Massachusetts: Pilot, 2009)

Ingeborg Bachmann

Ingeborg Bachmann [Austria]
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Born in Klagenfurt, Austria on June 25, 1926, Ingeborg Bachmann studied law and philosophy at the universities of Innsbruk, Graz, and Vienna. She received her degree from the University of Vienna for a dissertation on Heidegger in 1950.

Bachmann’s first poetry was published in Lynkeus, Dichtung, Kunst, Kritik, edited by Hermann Hakel, while she was attending the university. After her graduation, she went on to become a scriptwriter at Radio Rot-Weiß-Rot in Vienna. During these years she traveled to Munich to read at the influential gathering of post-war German poets known as Gruppe 47, an appearance arranged by the poet Paul Celan, whom she had met in Vienna. The reading was highly lauded, and the next year, 1953, Bachmann received the Gruppe 47 Prize for her first collection, Die gestundete Zeit (Borrowed Time). The wide success of that book led to requests for poems, radio plays, and opera libretti, a great number of which she produced over the next years.

The same year as her award, Bachmann moved to what would become her “beloved” Italy, first to the island of Ischia, and then to Naples and Rome, where she remained until 1957. In 1955 she also traveled to the United States at the invitation of the Harvard International Seminar, led by Henry Kissinger. The following year, her second volume of poetry, Anrufung des Großen Bären (Invocation of the Great Bear) was published. As a result, she was asked to deliver the inaugural lectures for the poetry chair founded at Frankfurt University in 1959, helping to assure her recognition as the most important German poet since Gottfried Benn. The same year she was awarded the prestigious Bremen Literature Prize.

During the late 1950s she continued to work in radio and television, now as dramaturge for Bavarian Television and Radio in Munich and Hamburg. But in 1958, she moved to Zürich, becoming involved with the Swiss author Max Frisch until 1962, when she returned to Rome.

Her 1960 libretto for Hans Werner Henze’s opera Der Prinz von Homburg and her 1961 colleciton of short stories, Das dreißigse Jahr brought her further acclaim. She was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize in 1964 and the Austrian State Prize in Literature in 1968.

In 1971 Suhrkamp Verlag published her novel, Malina. Bachmann’s collection of short stories, Simultan (R. Piper Verlag) was published the following year.

On September 26, 1973, Bachmann fell asleep in her Rome apartment while, apparently, smoking a cigarette in bed. The fire department found her unconscious and badly burned. She died three weeks later, on October 17 th, at the age of 47.


Die gestundete Zeit (Frankfurt: Frankfurter Verlaganstalt, 1953; Munich: Piper, 1957); Anrufung des Großen Bären (Munich: Piper, 1956); uncollected poetry published in Werke [4 volumes] (Munich: Piper, 1978).


Songs in Flight: The Collected Poems , translated and introduced by Peter Filkins (New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1994); Last Living Words: The Ingeborg Bachmann Reader, translated by Lilian M. Friedberg [selected poetry and fiction] (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2005); Darkness Spoken: Collected Poems, translated by Peter Filkins (Brookline, Massachusetts: Zephyr Press, 2005).

Theme and Variation

That summer there was no honey.
The queens led their swarms away,
the strawberry bed dried up in a day,
the berrypickers went home early.

All that sweetness, swept on one ray of light
off to sleep. Who slept this sleep before his time?
Honey and berries? He is a stranger to suffering,
the one with the world at his hands. In want of nothing.

In want of nothing but perhaps a bit,
enought to rest or to stand straight.
He was bent by caves--and shadows,
because no country took him in.
He wasn't even safe in the wood--
a partisan whom the world reliquished
toher dead satellite, the moon.

He is a stranger to sufferin, the one with the world
[at his hands,
and was anything not handed him? He had the bettle's
cohort wrapped round his finger, blazes
branded his face with scars and the wellspring
appeared as a chimera before his eyes,
where it was not.

Honey and berries?
Had he ever known the scent, he'd have followed it
long ago!

Walking a sleepwalker's sleep,
who slept this sleep before his time?
One who was born ancient
and called to the darkness early.
All that sweetness swept on one ray of light
before him.

He spat into the undergrowth a curse
to bring drought, he screamed
and his prayers were heard:
the berrypickers went home early!
When the root rose up
and slithered after them, hissing
a snakeskin remained, the tree's last defense.
The strawberry bed dried up in a day.

In the village below, the buckets stood empty
like drums waiting in the square.
Then the sun struck
and paradiddled death.

The windows fell shut,
the queens led their swarms away,
and no one prevented them from fleeing.
Wilderness took them in,
the hollow tree among ferns,
the first free state.
The last human being was stung
and felt no pain.

That summer there was no honey.

Translated from the German by Lilian M. Friedberg

"Theme and Variation"
Reprinted from Last Living Words: The Ingeborg Bachmann Reader (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2005). English language ©2005 by Lilian M. Friedberg. Reprinted by permission from Green Integer.

Jorge Carrera Andrade

Jorge Carrera Andrade [Ecuador]

Jorge Carrera Andrade was born in Quito, Ecuador, the son of a liberal-minded judge. In the atmosphere of his home, Carrera Andrade quickly became aware of the social injustices of his countrymen, particularly those directed against the Ecuadorian Incas. This was much of the subject matter of his early poetry; and would remain with him as he traveled internationally, becoming Ecuador’s representative to UNESCO.

He began his literary career in his early teens, editing the magazine La idea. His first books, published in 1926, were Guirnalda del silencio and Estanque inefable. In 1928, he traveled abroad, studying in France, Germany, and Spain. Throughout the 1930s he remained in France, where he served as editor of the publishing house, Cuadernos del Hombre Neuvo. Beginning in 1940 he served, for several years, as the Ecuadorian consul to San Francisco.

Carrera Andrade's poetry is not experimental nor hermetic, but known for its lucid qualities and for its highly structured forms. "True poetry," as he writes, "is only that which has fallen from combat with the angel." However, his social concerns and the metaphors drawn from his own culture, particularly those of El hombre planetario (1959, The Planetary Man) lends a deep richness of imagery and feeling to his work.


Estanque Inefable (Quito, 1922); Guirnalda del silencio (Quito: Imprenta Nacional, 1926); Boletines de mar y tierra (Barcelona: Cevantes, 1930); El tiempo manual (Madrid: Ediciones Literatura, 1935); Rol de la manzana: Poesías (1926-1929) (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe); La hora de las ventanas iluminadas (Santiago de Chile: Ercilla, 1937); Biografía para uso de lo pájaros (Paris: Duadernos del Hombre Nuevo, 1937); Registro del mundo (Quito: Universidad Central, 1940); País secreto (Tokoyo: published by the author, 1940); Canto al Puente de Oakland/To the Bay Bridge (San Francisco: Hoover Library on War / Stanford University, 1941); Lugar de origen (Caracas: Editiones Suma, 1944); Poesís escogidas (Caracas: Editiones Suma, 1945); Registro del mundo, antologia poetica. 1922-1939 (México: Seneca, 1945); Canto a las fortalezas volantes: Cuaderno del paracaidista (Caracas: Ediciones Destino, 1945); Edades poeticas, 1922-1956 (Quito: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1958); Mi vida en poemas: Ensayo autocritico seguido de una seleccion poetica (Caracas: Ediciones Casa del Escritor, 1962); Hombre planetario (Quito: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1963); Obra poetica completa (Quito: Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1976).


Secret Country: Poems, translated by Muna Lee (New York: Macmillan, 1946); Visitor of Mist, trans. by G. R. Coulthard (London: Williams & Norgate, 1950); Selected Pomes of Jorge Carrera Andrade, translated by H. R. Hays (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1972); Century of the Death of the Rose, trans. by Steven Ford Brown (Montgomery, Alabama: New South Books, 2002).

Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca [Spain]

Raised in the Moorish city of Granada, Federico García Lorca grew up enchanted by puppets, toy theaters, and theater in general. He attended the University of Granada, where he earned a law degree in 1923. But it was an interruption to his university studies, when he traveled to Madrid where he haunted the Residencia de Estudiantes, that he discovered his true talents. There he met the poets Pedro Salina, Jorge Guillén, and Juan Ramón Jiménez and the painter Salvador Dalí, creating lasting friendships.

It was also during this period that he published his first book of poetry, Libro de poemas (Book of Poems) in 1921. Canciones followed in 1927, much of it written during this same period. In 1929-1930, García Lorca left Spain to live in New York (on the campus of Columbia University), and it was there he wrote the important collection, Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York), published after his death. After a short visit to Cuba, he returned to Spain, becoming the head of the theatrical company, La Barraca, an experimental student group set up by the Unión Federal de Estudiantes Hispanos, with subvention by the Republican government.

The company performed a classical repertoire, and further involved him in theater writing. In early 1920, his first play, El maleficio de la mariposa (The Butterfly's Evil Spell) was performed. Although that play was unsuccessful, he followed it with several others in the the late 1920s up until the time of his death. His most notable works include Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding), first performed in 1933; Yerma (performed in 1934); and La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), performed after his death.

In February 1936, the new Spanish elections brought to power the Popular Front, an alliance of liberal and leftist parties. An increasing polarization between the right and left was the immediate result, and when a coup d'état failed, civil war began. García Lorca had already made his leftist political positions quite apparent the years just prior to this. In early July, he decided to leave Madrid for a visit to his family in Granada. He arrived in Granada on July 14th; the Spanish military uprising in Africa took place just three days later, and on the 20th the Granada garrison declared their support of Franco and together with the rebel generals took control of the city. A political purge followed, resulting in hundreds of "official" executions, which took place on the city cemetery. On August 16th, after taking up supposedly safe haven in the house of his poet-friend Luis Rosales, Lorca was arrested. As a leftist, a homosexual, and a man of the arts, there was little question in the minds of the Franco supporters that he was a threat. The date of his death by execution is uncertain. But on August 18th or 19th, at the age of 38, he was murdered.


Libro de poemas (Madrid: Maroto, 1921); Canciones (Málaga, Spain: Litoral/Imprenta Sur, 1927); Primer romancero gitano (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1928); Poema del cante jondo (Madrid: Ulises/Iberoamericana, 1931); Oda a Walt Whitman (Mexico City: Alcancía, 1933); Llanto por Igacio Sánchez Mejías (Madrid: Cruz & Raya/Arbol, 1935); Seis poemas galegos (Santiago de Compostela, Spain: Nós, 1935); Primeras canciones (Madrid: Héroe, 1936); Obras completas, 8 volumes, edited by Guillermo de Torre (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1938-1946); Poeta en Nueva York (Mexico City: Séneca, 1940); Poemas póstumos (Mexico City: Mexicanas, 1945); Diván del Tamarit (Barcelona: A.D.L., 1948); Siete poemas y dos dibujos inéditos, edited by Luis Rosales (Madrid: Cultura Hispánica, 1949); Suites, edited by André Belamich (Barcelona: Ariel, 1983).


Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter (London: Heinemann, 1937; New York: Oxford University Press, 1937); Poems, trans. by Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili (London: Dolphin/New York: Oxford, 1939); The Poet in New York and Other Poems of Federico García Lorca, trans. by Rolfe Humphries (New York: Norton, 1940); Gypsy Ballads, translated by Langston Hughes (Beloit, Wisconsin: Beloit College, 1951); The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca (New York: New Directions, 1955); Poem of the Gypsy Seguidilla (Providence, R.I.: Burning Deck, 1967); Diván and Other Writings, trans. by Edwin Honig (Providence, R.I.: Bonewhistle, 1974); Songs, edited by Daniel Eisenberg (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1976); Poem of the Deep Song (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988); Ode to Walt Whitman and Other Poems, trans. by Carlos Bauer (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988); Four Lorca Suites, trans. by Jerome Rothenberg (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1989); Sonnets of Love Forbidden, trans. by David K. Loughran (Missoula, Montana: Windsong, 1989); Federico García Lorca: Selected Verse, edited by Christopher Maurer (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994); Suites, trans. by Jerome Rothenberg (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2001)

Miguel Hernández

Miguel Hernández [Spain]

Born into a peasant family in Orihuela in southeastern Spain, Miguel Hernández spent much of his youth as a goatherd and other farming tasks. But as young boy Hernández determined to become a poet, despite his father's attempts to dissuade him and to follow more practical activities. At the age of nine he began his schooling at the school annex for poor children, Escuela del Ave María. By 1923, at age of 13, the young student, excited by Spanish literature, was honored by an invitation to study at the nearby Colegio de Santo Domingo de Orihuela, attended previously by the novelist Gabriel Miró. The Jesuits who ran school encouraged him to seek the priesthood, but at the age of 15, his father took him out of school to help in herding and selling milk.

In the years immediately after leaving school Hernández befriend members and friends of the Fenoll family, who ran the local bakery. Carlos Fenoll and Sijé (Martín Gutierrez) were drawn to Hernández because of his poetry and quickness of mind, and together these three regularly met, reading their plays and poetry to one another. Sijé, in particular, became Hernández's mentor, encouraging him to study Spanish poetry in depth and arranging for him to perform his poetry at the Casino.

In 1931 the young poet traveled to Madrid to make his way among the more cosmopolitan writers; but he found the large metropolis unfriendly, and returned to his country home. One of Hernández's poems was published just before his return in Gaceta Literaria, but the attention it brought was not enough to keep him longer in Madrid. He borrowed a railway ticket from a friend; without the legal travel documents, however, he was arrested en route by the Guardia Civil and imprisoned.

Back in Oriheula he worked as a bookkeeper for a fabric company and, later, as a clerk in a notary's office. He continued his study, during this period, of the Spanish poetic tradition, in particular Góngora and his imitators, Gerardo Diego and Rafael Alberti (see PIP Anthology, volume 1). Although in the more sophisticated circles the Góngora tradition was waning, the young poet, through a loan from the publisher Raimundo de los Reyes, published his first book Perito en lunas (1933). Accordingly, the book did not receive the attention he expected, and the hermetic style of the poems was beyond most uninitiated readers.

Although the book was not successful it did push Hernández toward a full career as a poet.
In 1934, through a local benefit performance on his behalf, the young poet was able to afford to return to Madrid, living modestly in the city. He was now known by several poets and gained deeper acquaintance to García Lorca, Alberti, Jorge Guillén (PIP Anthology, volume 1), Luis Cernada, and others. Two other poets he now met, Pablo Neruda (PIP Anthology, volume 2) and Vicente Aleixandre, became important figures in his life, particularly Aleixandre, who, as Hernández as drawn further into the group of poets with Republican and socialist leanings, replaced Sijé—with whom Hernández had a gradually and long falling out—as his mentor.

In 1936 Hernández was again arrested during a trip to San Fernando del Jarama for not having the proper identification papers. Only a phone call to Neruda in Madrid secured his release. This second arrest would radically affect the rest of his life. For in July of that year an uprising led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco in the North African provice of Melilla caused services in Spain to come to a standstill. Lorca, visiting his Andalusia, was captured by the military and killed along with others in Granada. By September Madrid was in the throes of the Spanish Civil War, and Hernández enrolled in the Fifth Regiment of the Republican forces fighting the Nationalists and Franco near the town of Cubas. Taken ill, he returned to Madrid where he joined the First Calvary Company of the Peasants' Battalion and read poetry daily on radio. As cultural affairs officer, he also traveled extensively, reading to the soldiers new war poems as he wrote them. In November, he performed with a Cuban officer, Pablo de la Torriente Brau at an event attended by Alberti and others. Three weeks later Brau was killed. Others were also fast disappearing: Neruda accepted a post in Paris and the great poet Macado moved to Valencia; Ortega left Spain and Unamuno died in December, under house arrest.

In March of 1937 Hernández married his beloved girlfriend from Oriheula, Josefina. In April he was forced to return to his regiment, and four days later he heard the news that Josefina's mother had died. Working on the proofs of his next book, Viento del pueblo, Hernández tried to release his mind from the series of tragic events surrounding him.

Viento del pueblo was published to mostly positive reviews, and in the months just before Hernández had become deeper and deeper involved in the Republican activities, including participation in a International Writers' Congress (which included notables André Malraux, Octavio Paz, Cesar Vallego, Stephen Spender, and Jean Cassou) and a trip to the Fifth Festival of Soviet Theater in Moscow. The new book showed the influence of his Madrid friends and war activities. The formal concerns of his first volume were abandoned as he wrote in free verse and used employed more popular forms such as the romance and political commentary. As his first son was born, Hernández was already at work on his next volume, El hombre accecha, which would be published in 1939. Ten months later the son died, and the father fell sick in Benicasim, while writing one of his most memorable poems, "A mi higi" ("To My Son"). His second son was born in January 1939, at a time when the exodus of of people fleeing the country was quickly mounting. Machado's death in France in January was another event to strongly effect Hernández; although he collected the galleys for El hombre accecha, the book was never bound nor published. He now felt fear for his own and family's survival. In April he crossed the border to Portugal, but was spotted by a police patrol and arrested. Soon after, he was send to Torrijos Prison in Madrid, where he was held from May to September. Keeping in touch with Aleixandre, Hernández received as much support as possible, but things grew worse and his wife was denied her mother's pension. Hernández was released, possibly by beaucratic mistake, in September; but as he traveled to Josefina in Cox, his enemies in the Franco-supporting Oriheula were already plotting. While visting the Sijé family in Orihuela, Hernández was arrested and imprisoned. In December 1939 he was transferred to the Conde de Poreno Prison in Madrid, where in the company of fellow prisoner Buero Vallejo, the poet continued to discuss his art and write.

For the next two years, in and out of solitary confinement, Hernández was kept in prison, where he wrote long letters to his wife and son and composed more poetry. He 1942, suffering from tuberculosis, he died.


Perito en lunas (Murcia: Sudeste, 1933); En rayo que no cesa (Madrid: Héroe, 1936); Viento del pueblo (Valencia: Socorro Rojo, 1937); El hombre acecha (Valencia: Subsecretaría de Propaganda, 1939); Sino sangriento y otros poems (Havana: Verónica/Altolaguirre, 1939); Seis poems inéditos y nueve más, edited by Vicente Ramos and Manuel Molina (Alicante: Ifach, 1951); Anthología poética de Miguel Hernández, edited by Francisco Martínez Marín (Orihuela: Aura, 1951); Obra escogida, edited by Arturo del Hoyo (Madrid: Aguilar, 1952); Cancionero y romancero de ausencias, edited by Elvio Romero (Madrid: Arión, 1957); Los mejores versons de Miguel Hernández, edited by Manuel Molina (Buenos Aires: Nuestra América, 1958); Los hijos de la piedra (Buenos Aires: Quetzal, 1959); Obras completas, edited by Elvio Romero and Andrés Ramón Vázquez (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1960); Antología, edited by María de Gracia Ifach, 1961); Canto de independencia (Havana: Tertulia, 1962); Poemas de adolescencia: Perito en lunas; Otros poemas (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1963); El hombre acecha; Cancionero y romancero de ausencias; Últimos poems (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1963); Imagen de tu hella; El rayo que no ceas; Viento del pueblo; El Siblo vulnerado; Otros poemas (Buenos Aires: Losada, 1963); Poemas, edited by José Luis Cano and Josefina Manresa (Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1964); Poesía (Havana: Consejo Nacional de Cultura, 1964); Poesías, edited by Jacinto Luis Guereña (Paris: Seghers, 1964; Madrid: Taurus, 1967; enlarged, Madrid: Narcea, 1973); Unos poemas olvidados de Migue Hernández, selected by A. Fernández Molina (Caracas: Universal, 1967); Cinco sonetos inéditos, compiled by Dario Puccini (Caracas: Revisa Nacional de Cultura, 1968); Poemas de amor, edited by Leopoldo de Luis (Madrid: Alfaguara, 1969); Obra poética completa, edited by Luis and Jorge Urrutia (Bilbao: Zero, 1976); Poesía y prosa de guerra y otros textos olvidados, edited by Cano Ballesta and Robert Marrast (Pomplona: Peralta, 1977); Poemas sociales de guerra y de muerte, edited by Leopoldo Luis (Madrid: Alianza, 1977); Poesías completas, edited by Sánchez Vidal (Madrid: Aguilar, 1979)


Songbook of Absences: Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández, trans. by Thomas C. Jones, Jr. (Washington, D.C.: Charioteer, 1972); Miguel Hernández and Blas de Otero: Selected Poems, edited by Timothy Baland and Hardie St. Martin [trans. by Timothy Baland, Hardie St. Martin, Robert Bly, and James Wright] (Boston: Beacon, 1972); Unceasing Lightning, trans. by Michael Smith (Dublin: Dedalus, 1986); Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández, edited by Timothy Baland [trans. by Timothy Baland, Robert Bly, Hardie St. Martin, and James Wright] (Fredonia, New York: White Pine Press, 1989); The Unending Lighting: Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández, trans. by Edwin Honig (Riverdale-on-Hudson, New York: Sheep Meadow Press, 1990); I have Lots of Heart: Selected Poems, trans. by Don Share (Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Bloodaxe Books, 1997)


You tossed me a lemon, it was so sour,
with a warm hand, it was so white,
it never bruised the fruit's skin
but the bitterness was what I could taste.

With one golden blow, my blood
was aroused from slow sweetness
to a fever hot pitch when that hard teat
bit back at the tip of my tongue.

But glancing up to see you smile
at what the lemony act had made
of my maliciously sly intent

I felt my blood sink in my shirt,
and that soft and jaundiced breast
squirt a peculiarly sharp pain.

—Translated from Spanish by Douglas Messerli

(from El rayo que no cesa, 1936)


It kills me, you're so pure and chaste:
though I confess, my love, I'm guilty,
I snatched that kiss; yes, it was I
who sipped the flower of your face.

I sipped the flower of your face,
and since that great day and deed
your face, so weighty and so scupulous,
droops, falling like a yeloow leaf.

The ghost of that delinquent kiss
now haunts your cheekbone, growing ever
dark, heavy and immense.

How jealously you stay awake!
How zealously you watch my lips
against (God forbid) another break!

Translated from the Spanish by Edwin Honig

(from El rayo que no cesa, 1936)

Child of the Night

Laughing and playing in the sharp light od day,
the child I twice wanted to be sank into the night.
He no longer wanted the light. What for? He wouldn't leave
those silences, that dark gloom, again.

I wanted to be...What for? I wanted to come joyfully
into the heart of the sphere of all that exists.
I wanted to bring with me laughter, most beautiful thing.
I died smiling, serenely sad.

Child twice a child: a third time on the way.
Circle once again that opaque world of the womb.
Stay back, love. Stay back, child, since I wouldn't
come out where light meets its heavy sorrow.

I go back to the shaping air that fed my unawareness.
I go circling back, aware of my cover of sleep.
In a sensuous, dark transparency,
to roam an interior space, October to October.

Womb: core flesh of all that exists.
Vault eternally dark, whether blue or red.
Night of nights, in whose depts one feels
the voice of roots, the breath of heights.

Under your skin I press on, the distance is blood.
My body swings in a dense constellation.
The universe sets off its floating echoes
in the place where the history of man is written.

To gaze and see surrounding solitude, mountain,
sea, through the window of one full heart
that yesterday grieved not to be an horizon
opening on a world less changeable, transient.

To hoard, for no reason, the stone and the child:
just to live one day without wings in the dark.
Pillar of frightening salt, cut off
without fresh air or fire. No. Life, go back.

But something has desperately hurtled me on.
In the past, the downing of time, I fall.
I am hurled out of the night. And in the wounding light
naked I weep again, as I always have wept.

Translated from the Spanish by Edwin Honig

(from Cancionero y romancero de ausencias, 1958)

Lullaby of the Onion

An onion is frost
shut tight and poor.
Frost of your days
and my nights.
Hunger and onion,
black ice and frost
large and round.

My child lay there
in his cardle of hunger
and nursed on
the blood of an onion.
But your blood
was a frost of sugar
an onion and hunger.

Dissolved into moon,
a dark-haired woman
lets trickle by trickle
spill over the cradle.
Little one, laugh,
you can eat up the moon
whenever you want.

Lark of my house,
laugh again and again,
Laughter's the light
of the world in your eyes.
Keep laughing so that
in my soul when it hears you
space will be conquered.

Your laughter frees me,
lends me wings,
cancels loneliness,
tears down my prison,
lets my mouth fly, lets
heart touch your lips
flashing lightning.

Laughter's your most
victorious weapon,
conquering flowers
and larks,
rivallilng suns,
future of all my bones
and my love.

Flesh quivering,
suddenly blinking,
child never blushed
with such color.
So many linnets
flutter, fly up
from your body.

I awoke from being a child:
you never waken.
My mouth is sad.
You always laugh!
In your cradle always
defending laughter
feather by feather.

Keep soaring so high
and so far
you become flesh
of the just-born sky.
If I could only
go back to the start
of your flight!

Eight months and your laughter,
five lemon blossoms.
Five of the tiniest
Those five teeth of yours
five adolescent

Tomorrow they'll arrive at
the frontier of kissing
when you will sense
in your teeth a weapon,
sense fire flow down
from those teeth
avidly seeking a center,

Little one, fly on
the double moon of the breast:
it, an onion sad and poor;
you, fed and content.
Do not falter.
Never mind what happens
or what's to come.

Translated from the Spanish by Edwin Honig

(from Cancionero y romancero de ausencias, 1958)


"[You tossed me a lemon, it was so sour]," Copyright ©2000 by Douglas Messerli. Printed by permission.

"[It kills me, you're so pure and chaste:]," "Child of the Night," "Lullaby of the Onion"
Reprinted from The Unending Lightning: The Selected Poems of Miguel Hernández, trans. by Edwin Honig (Riverdale-on-Hudson, New York: The Sheep Meadow Press, 1990). Copyright ©1990 by Edwin Honig. Reprinted by permisson of The Sheep Meadow Press.

Michael Rothenberg

Michael Rothenberg [USA]

Born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1951, Michael Rothenberg is a poet and songwriter. He received his BA in English at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and his MA in Poetics at New College of California. He has been an active environmentalist in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 25 years, where he cultivates orchids and bromeliads at his nursery, Shelldance.

His broadside "Elegy for the Dusky Seaside Sparrow" was selected Broadside of the Year by Fine Print Magazine. The broadside of his poem "Angels" was produced in limited edition by Hatch Show Prints as part of The Country Music Foundation's museum resources. His songs have appeared in the films Shadowhunter, Black Day Blue Night, and Outside Ozona. He is also editor and co-founder of Big Bridge Press and Big Bridge, which was an on-line magazine.

His books of poems include Unhurried Vision, Favorite Songs, Nightmare of the Violins, What the Fish Saw, Man/Woman (with Joanne Kyger), The Paris Journals, Grown Up Cuba, and Monk Daddy.

David Meltzer writes, "Unhurried Vision, a year in the life of Michael, is really a deeply loving celebration & farewell to mentor Philip Whalen, a poet, roshi, & all around confounder of boundaries. A day-book; a non-epic odyssey through routes & roots of living & dying; a gastronome's pleasure dome, but above all a deeply stirred & stirring affirmation of poetry's centrality in realizing mundane & profound instances in the everyday extraordinary. Rothenberg's raw footage is disarming; sly, self-effacing, proclaiming, doubting, affirming."

Rothenberg is also author of the novel Punk Rockwell (Tropical Press). Other editorial projects include Overtime: Selected Poems by Philip Whalen (Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2002), As Ever: Selected Poems by Joanne Kyger (Penguin Books, 2002), David's Copy: Selected Poems of David Meltzer (Penguin, 2004), Way More West: Selected Poems of Ed Dorn (Penguin, 2007). He recently completed the Collected Poems of Philip Whalen for Wesleyan University Press (2007).


What the Fish Saw (Berkeley: Twowindows Press, 1985); Nightmare of the Violins (Berkeley: Twowindows Press, 1986); Man/Women [with Joanne Kyger] (Pacifica, California: Big Bridge Press, 1988); Favorite Songs (Pacifica, California: Big Bridge Press, 1990); Paris Journals (New York: Fish Drum Press, 1998); Grown Up Cuba (Amsterdam: Il Begatto Press, 2003); Monk Daddy (Blue Press, 2003); Unhurried Vision (Santa Fe: La Alameda Press, 2003)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

Ode to Tralfamadorian Goose

“I am a Tralfamadorian, seeing all time as you might see a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughter-House Five; or, The Children’s Crusade, a duty dance with death

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Global mother, lover, confidante in bubble, co-creator, wonder!
Gift, released from metal voice, iron clad guilt shackle, shrapnel of lost attachments

Chocolate beauty marks on velvet collarbone, and tangerine breast, blush
Spirit of red earth and air, tongue adoring in my ear drips honey bee, sweet care

Swinging hip dance, singing love’s low trance, oh high sensation!
Golden eggs on blue moon pillows, transcendent willows coo in outer space

Forgiving fate, unfolding, luscious ripe and lotus great, iris true
Heart, where’ve you been, your swells of daylight ease through freeze of my cold life?

So different from caged bird, me, winged dream, beyond
Come tell me how we’ll go on, you want to be stroked, I’m at your call, and on, and on

Goddess in cocoon, flesh-mate in caress, secret, soft in down
Transported, now, we can outlive, gently now, gentle you, and give, and how, just now

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Shy, robust fragrance of peach, woman, discrete plum lust
Gush of halo, resting indulgent in patter of me, flatter me, lather me in whispers

Steaming with purple borscht, piroshky, ambitious
Emotional, cautious, changeable, vulnerable council of playful, elegant pride

Tripping up bloody marching boots of muddy Red Army,
Stinging keys with classical quotes, flushing out Satan disguised as hope, Cupid

Pecking Freud on forehead, waddling over therapy of rigor mortis Shuttling a silver harp from heaven to heaven, gathering, weaving loose ends of life

Vonnegut understood this time, and you would understand it too
Basking in gardens, listless moments, ready to leap upon inspiration, waiting

No single man’s invention, Bacchanalia, Rubens, the feast is named
Picnic, banquet, treasure of favorite desire, unquenchable, hungering, basket of spice

I never trusted women, until she came along, now there’s only you
(She wrecked her car on the freeway, screamed hysterical, mourning a point already moot)

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Following you, following me, in a good old fashioned stand-off
Face to face, shouldering obligation, holstering family, how will it turn out, who knows?

Watching guards change into loons at Lenin’s tomb, May Day
KGB refuse swan egg pastries, Intourist room above staggering stream of banners

White feather quills dipped in solvent of defection, migration
Bodies daily turning up in newspaper pages, history recovering in revelation

Jews and Russians, holes in their chests as big as War and Peace
Infected caverns stuffed with poetry, longing, vodka, roses, icons, fish, horseradish

Making love in secrecy, discovery, uncovering a moist lyrical fetish
Cuddles, wriggles, moans, invisible tundras of memory, raves, a Siberian diplomacy

Giggles, baby talk, pinches, digging nails in buttocks, chirps, sleep
Dream I’m someone else, when I awake, holding you, you’re in someone else’s dream

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Chagall, Poe, Eartha Kitt, Isadora Duncan compose your choir
Painting Matrushkas of Iago, Zhivago, Lolita, Jesus, and Yeltsin’s quadruple heart bypass

Looking lost, forever homeward, swearing intimacy, constant truth
Vow your love, won’t take it back, love transient as democracy in real fists of greed

Tossing stone baggage overboard so body, spirit, floats, arise!
Fly with radio on, cigarette, rouge-chic, bearing down on pedal of empire’s success

Rushing about, picking caress off gossip, pitch of neighbor’s fence
Building fire storm with hug and smile, destruction calling me close, no more than I do

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Bigger than me, the oyster is yours, blue pearl of your eyes
Cherish me, render me, naked in gold-black boundless flesh of this starry night

There’s no one else for me, and you, but you so smooth
Fidelity comes in confession of infidelity, addiction in rejection of past, goodnight

Conclude the paragraph, the verse, the breath, you knew that if
Being here was an experiment the ideal would always remain fiction, that’s right!

This, from an imperfect world, tired of suspicion, you still want him too
Promises, only couplets, spoken in a sinking craft, so when at last, I’m gone, I’m gone

Reprinted from Golden Handcuffs Review I, no. 7 (Summer/Fall 2006). Copyright ©2006 by Michael Rothenberg.

July 5, 2010

Claudia Roquette-Pinto

Claudia Roquette-Pinto [Brazil]

Claudia Roquette-Pinto was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1963. At the age of 17 she lived for seven months in San Francisco, completing a course in English and American Studies at San Francisco State University.

Back in Brazil, she worked in the fashion industry, first as a model and then as an assistant fashion producer. In 1987 she graduated from Pontificia Universidade Católica in Literary Translation. From 1986-1991 she managed Verve, a monthly dedicated to literature and the arts, which she and four college friends had founded.

She is the author of five books to date, Os Dias Gagos, Saxifraga, and Zona de sombra, portions of which have appeared in the English translation Shadow Zone. Her most recent books include Corola (2001) and Margem de Manobra (2005). She has also published numerous poems in anthologies. With Régis Bonvicino she co-translated Douglas Messerli's Primeiras Palavras (First Words) in Portuguese.

Roquette-Pinto lives with her husband and three children in Rio de Janeiro.


Os Dias Gagos (author's edition, 1991); Saxifraga (Editora Salamandra, 1993); Zona de sombra (Rio de Janeiro: Sette Letras, 1997); Corola (Granja Viana-Cotia, Brazil: Ateliê, 2001); Margem de Manobra (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Aeroplano, 2005)


Selections in The PIP Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century, Volume 3: Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain—20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press/Green Integer, 1997/2003); Shadow Zone (Los Angeles: Seeing Eye Books, 1999); selected poems in "Lies About the Truth: An Anthology of Brazilian Poetry," edited by Régis Bonvicino in collaboration with Tarso M. de Mélo, in New American Writing, no. 18 (2000)

Minima Moralia

on the rarest petal
ated flesh
devoid of light's transparency
only the water-flecked
wherein dwells (awaits)
the sound of a forest
the throbbing of the forest's fluids
when the eardrum crackles

Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer

Chestnuts, Women

if opened
with the surprising skill
of small hands
blind to such an alphabet
and if—itself brown—
the patch of skin bruises
even more than from foolish thorns
see how
the bud throbs:
she and she
between the fingers

Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer

Portrait of Pablo, Agèd

from the shadow his face hurls itself forth
a fish
an african moon
floating above the worn and grey surface
the bald spot gave no hint
of the eyes lively
as water, so lively
they create before seeing
the prideful bull's brow
thrusts a split nose:
one side of the face confronts
the other withdraws
the rest is wrinkles and grimace
and the sound of ancestral hooves

Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer

Reprinted from The PIP Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century, Volume 3: Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain—20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press/Green Integer, 1997/2003), copyright ©1997 and 2003 by Green Integer. English language translation copyright ©1997/2003 by Michael Palmer.

Eugene Ostashevsky

Eugene Ostashevsky [b. USSR/USA]

Eugene Ostashevsky was born in Leningrad, USSR, in the explosive year of 1968. When he was ten, his family immigrated to the United States on a political refugee visa, and settled in Brooklyn, New York. Although most of the poetry he read as a teenager was in Russian, when he himself started writing in high school, he did so in English. His long and. inconclusive studies terminated with a Ph.D dissertation in Comparative Literature at Stanford on the concept of zero in the Renaissance; he is now teaching Core Curriculum courses at NYU.

In the late 1990s, Ostashevsky was constantly doing poetry readings in San Francisco as member of both 9X9 Industries and Vainglorious. His work from the period came out in a series of chapbooks in collaboration with the Russian-Israeli-American artist Eugene Timerman. His subsequent publications include the full-length collection Iterature and the chapbook Infinite Recursor or The Bride of DJ Spinoza, the last again with Timerman. He has also appeared in Best American Poetry and was the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Like other Russian-American poets associated with Ugly Duckling Presse, Ostashevsky is a devoted translator of twentieth-century Russian literature. OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern UP, 2006), which he edited and which includes his translations of Alexander Vvedensky, Daniil Kharms, Nikolai Zabolotsky, Nikolai Oleinikov, Leonid Lipavsky, and Yakov Druskin.

“The Premises of Grass” is part of a book-length project entitled The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza, which is about the shortcomings of axiomatic systems, and of rationalism in general. The poem was inspired by the smell of his sister when she was breastfeeding and by the circular thought that Descartes could not have had a dog or a cat, because if he had had one, Western philosophy would have turned out very differently.


The Off-Centaur (New York: Germ, 2002); Iterature (New York: Ugly Duckling, 2005); Infinite Recursor or The Bride of DJ Spinoza (New York: StudioRADIA / Ugly Duckling, 2006)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

The Premises of Grass

The Laughing Philosopher has entered
the Witless Relocation Program
Outside his window there’s a rooster
that looks like a toaster
In the field there’s a cow
on whose rump sits a crow
The crow snaps its wings, caws erratically
but the cow only smiles enigmatically
The Laughing Philosopher thinks,
Ah Nature
nonexistent daughter
of the rhetoric of cognition
We cannot reach you
But there are your representatives
speechless, the animals
conscious machines
of self-replicating nucleic acids
What is life Nature
How does it appear
by accident
How does it stand
on its own four feet
What does it see
out of the moist convexity of its eye

Reprinted from Boston Review, no. 30 (April/May 2005). Copyright ©2005 by Eugene Ostaschevsky.