August 10, 2011

Kenneth Rexroth | reading from "Married Blues" with a jazz combo [link]

 For an audio, with jazz combo, with Kenneth Rexroth reading "Married Blues," click here:

"The Avant Garde" | essay by Marjorie Perloff (on T. S. Eliot) [link, PDF]


essay on T. S. Eliot, "The Avant Garde," by Marjorie Perloff

"Avant-Garde Eliot" | by Marjorie Perloff (a second essay on T.S. Eliot by Perloff)


For an essay, "Avant-Garde Eliot" by Marjorie Perloff, click here:

"Kenneth Rexroth (Part 1, 1958)" | interview by Jerome Rothenberg and David Antin (at the Five Spot) [link]

For an interview with Jerome Rothenberg and David Antin with poet Kenneth Rexroth at the Five Spot in New York, click below:



Begun in 1933 as an experimental school based on the principles of John Dewey, Black Mountain College, located in rural North Carolina, quickly attracted a large number of artists, dancers, writers, musicians, and other avant-gardists, including figures such as Josef Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Walter Gropius and Charles Olson. The College also invited numerous important figures for guest lectures, Albert Einstein, Clement Greenberg, and William Carlos Williams, among them.
     In 1950 Charles Olson became the College Rector, the same year he published his seminal essay, "Projective Verse," which called for an "open field" composition opposed to traditional, more closed forms. For Olson poetry was to be based on the line, and the line represented a unit of breath, an utterance that lead from "one perception immediately directly [leading] to a further perception."
     The essay, highly influential, became a kind of manifesto for the poets and students he had gathered around him at the College. These poets included Larry Eigner, Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, Paul Blackburn, Hilda Morley, John Wieners, Denise Levertov, Jonathan Williams, and Robert Creeley, the latter who taught at the College and edited for two years its Black Mountain Review, before moving to San Francisco, when the College closed in 1957.
     Other poets associated with this broadly-based group, included Paul Carroll, William Bronk, Cid Corman, Joel Oppenheimer, Theodore Enslin, Ebbe Borregard, Russell Edson, M. C. Richards, and Michael Rumaker, some of whom did not attend the College but were influenced, nonetheless, by the poetry and Olson's viewpoints. Indeed, numerous other poets, including Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and other figures such as Gary Synder, Michael McClure, and Philip Whalen were also influenced in their poetry and poetics.
     The "group" has had wide influence over the years, not only for American poets such as the "Language" writers, but has effected British poets such as Tom Raworth, J. H. Prynne, and others.
      There have been numerous books on Black Mountain College and the Black Mountain Poets, including:

Steven Carter, Bearing Across: Studies in Science and Literature (Oxford, England: International Scholars Publications, 1999); Fielding Dawson, The Black Mountain Book, a New Edition (Rocky Mount, North Carolina: North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, 1991); Edward Halsey Foster, Understanding the Black Mountain Poets (Columbia, South Carolina, 1995); Melvin Lane, ed. Black Mountain College: An Anthology of Personal Accounts (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990); and Sherman Paul, Olson's Push: Origin, Black Mountain and Recent American Poetry (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978). Martin Duberman's Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community (New York: Dutton, 1972) explores the wider implications of the College.

—Douglas Messerli

For an audio of Robert Creeley discussing Black Mountain College and his relationship to it, click here:

August 9, 2011

"Syrian-born poet Adonis on President Assad of Syria" | letter by Adonis [link]

Syrian-born poet Adonis asks Syrian President Assad to step down, click here:

John Wieners reading | a video of his last public reading [link]

For a video of the last public reading of John Wieners, click here:

Faiz Ahmad Faiz (b. British India / Pakistan) 1911-1984

Faiz Ahmad Faiz (b. British India/Pakistan)


Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born in Kala Kader, a village in Sialkot, Punjab in what was then British India in 1911. His father was Sultan Mohammad Khan and his mother, the Sultan's youngest wife, Fatima.

     Faiz was sent, as is standard in a Muslim family, to the Masjid or mosque for religious studies at an early age. Later he attended the Scotch Mission School for an academic education, and then transferred to Murray College, Punjab for an intermediate education. Among his influential teachers there were Yousuf Saleem Chisti, who taught Urdu, and Shams-ul-Ullamah Syed Mir Hasan, the professor of Arabic.

     Faiz acquired a M.A. at the Government College in Lahore in English Literature, and then attended the Oriental College, also in Lahore, to obtain an M.A. in Arabic Literature.

     In 1936 Faiz created a branch of the Progressive Writers' Movement in Punjab, serving as Secretary, and editor of its monthly magazine, Mahnama. The year before he became a lecturer in English at M. A. O. College in Amritsar, and soon after at Hailey College of Commerce in Lahore.

     Faiz briefly joined the British Indian Army, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1944. Three years later he resigned his post, returning to Lahore to become the first chief editor of the Pakistan Times.

     Faiz had joined the Communist party early in his career, and throughout the 1950s and 1960s he worked at promoting the cause of Communism in Pakistan. His involvement with the military headed by Major General Akbar Khan, who attempted to overthrow the Pakistani government, led to his imprisonment and a sentence of death. He was released four years later.

     In 1959, he was appointed as the Secretary for the Pakistan Arts Council, working in that position until 1962, spending much of his time abroad, particularly in London.     

     Returning from London in 1964, Faiz settled in Karachi, where he was appointed Principal at Abdullah Haroon College. Later, he continued his career in journalism, working as editor at the Pakistan Times and the weekly Lail-o-Nihar.

     The 1965 war between India and Pakistan brought him to the Department of Information, but the bloodshed in the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan distressed him, and he wrote several poems expressing his emotions.

     With the overthrow of Bhutto, Faiz went into into exile, where worked as an editor for the magazine Lotus in Moscow, London, and Beirut, returning to Pakistan finally in 1982.

      Faiz's major contribution, however, was his poetry, which is seen my many as the most notable modernist poetry in Urdu. Among his major works are Naqsh-e-Faryadi (1943), Dast-e-Saba (1952), Zindan-Nama (1956), Mere Dil Mere Musafir and Sar-e-Wadi-e-Sina, all of these books collected in Nuskha Haa-e-Wafa.

     Faiz also translated numerous works from English Russian, Balochi, and other languages. The poet also wrote several plays.

     In 1963, Faiz received the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union. His work was also nominated several times for the Nobel Literature Prize. In 1990 he was posthumously awarded Pakistan's highest civilian award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz.

Faiz died on November 20, 1984, in Lahore, at the age of 73. 

BOOKS OF POETRY (selected list)

Naqsh-e faryadi (1943); Dast-e saba (1952); Zindan nama (1956); Mizan (1964); Dest-i tah-yi sang (Lahore: Maktabah-yi Korvān, 1965); Harf harf (1965); Sar-e vadi-ye sina (1971); Mat¯a`-i lauh o qalam (Karachi: Maktab-i Dānīvāl, 1973); Rat di rat (1975); Intikh¯ab-i Pay¯am-i Mashriq : manz¯um Urd¯u tarjumah (1977); Sham-e shahri-yaran (1978); Mere dil, mere musafir (1980)


Poems, trans. by V.G. Kiernan (1962); Poems by Faiz, trans. by V. G. Kiernan (1971); Selected Poems of Faiz in English (Karachi: Pakistan Publishing House, 1984); The True Subject: Selected Poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, trans. Naomi Lazard (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988); The Unicorn and the Dancing Girl, trans. by Daud Kamal (Ahmedabad: Allied Publishers, 1988); The Rebel's Silhouette, trans. Agha Shahid Ali (1991); Poems of Faiz Ahmad Faiz: A Poet of the Third World (New Delhi: M. D. Publications, 1995); Selected Poems of Faiz Ahmad Faiz (New Delhi/New York: Viking, 1995)

For a large selection of audios and other information, go here: 

For a more substantial biography of Faiz,

click here:

Mark Wallace (USA) 1962

Mark Wallace (USA) 

Mark Wallace was born in 1962 in Princeton, New Jersey and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area.           Between the ages of 8 and 17, with his father and brother he drove across the United States to Southern California on camping trips every summer, once going by way of Mexico City and once by way of Lake Banff, and he has spent time in all 48 of US mainland states. 
     The numerous bad jobs he has worked since the age of 15 are distinguished not by working class physical labor but by the low paid tedium of the contemporary world’s bureaucratic nightmare. 

      He received his Ph.D. from the State University at Buffalo with his dissertation The Gothic Universe in the Fiction of Paul Bowles and William Burroughs. He worked at Buffalo as a student assistant to Charles Bernstein on "The Wednesdays At Four Plus" reading series. 
     Since 1995 he has been running literary events, first in Washington, D.C., where he lived until 2005, and most recently at California State University San Marcos, where he currently teaches. 
      He is the author of three books of fiction, four books of poetry, a mixed genre work, and numerous chapbooks. Temporary Worker Rides A Subway won the 2002 Gertrude Stein Poetry Award and was published by Green Integer. His most recent fictions include Walking Dreams: Selected Early Tales and The Quarry and The Lot (both BlazeVox Books). 
      Wallace has been a contributing co-editor to several literary magazines, Poetic Briefs, Situation, and Submodern Fiction. His critical articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, and he has co-edited two essay collections, Telling It Slant: Avant Garde Poetics of the 1990s, and A Poetics of Criticism
      Much of his work involves questioning and undermining conventional distinctions between literary genres. The dynamics of terror and fear have remained central to most of it, as has the sense that much of what passes for literary and cultural knowledge is really just unexamined prejudice. 


Three Rengas [with Joseph Battaglia and Keith Eckert] (Binghamton, New York: Triangle Press, 1988); Renga By Mail [with Joseph Battaglia and Keith Eckert] (Binghamton, New York: Triangle Press, 1989); The Cold and the Simple, A Blues (Binghamton, New York: Triangle Press, 1989); Shapes [with Joseph Battaglia and Keith Eckert] (Binghamton, New York: Triangle Press, 1990); By These Tokens (Binghamton, New York: Triangle Press, 1990); Complications from Standing in a Circle (Buffalo, New York: Leave Books, 1993); The Sponge Has Holes (Buffalo: New York: Tailspin Press, 1994); Every Day Is Most of My Time (Norman, Oklahoma: Texture Press, 1994); The Lawless Man (Los Angeles: Upper Limit Music, 1996); Building from White Buildings (Elmwood, Connecticut: Abacus, 1996); Sonnets of a Penny-A-Liner (Washington, DC: Buck Downs Books, 1996); In Case of Damage to Life, Limb, or This Elevator (Morris, Minnesota: Standing Stones Press, 1996); The Haunted Baronet (Washington, DC: Primitive Publications, 1996); Nothing Happened, and Besides I Wasn't There (Washington, DC: Edge Books, 1997); My Christmas Poem (New York: Poetry New York, 1998); Refiguring Foil (Elmwood, Connecticut: Abacus, 1998); Haze: Essays, Poems, Prose (Washington, DC: Edge Books, 2004); Temporary Worker Rides a Subway (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2004); Felonies of Illusion (Washington, DC: Edge Books, 2008)

from Temporary Worker Rides a Subway 

The basic act is for any

trial and sentence, rooftop, bus

we wouldn't have never been

no stop, take top tax dollar shirt show

a passing glance arrested hardware

nor if or couldn't been, bend bare

bleached banner, a certain fancy never mind,

social critic brand name bonanza,

distribute if one as if one, court of out,

calibrate emotional bloodletting, sincere fish

if ever as to ever to, and too,

the man you took you took to be me

simply put the sale was fantastic

third show from the left, no sun from a stone,

bureaucratic barn burning, don't call,

we'll call care or carnage care, deepening

against as putt if any pull, paradise pander

love calculate, intrepid shortchange,

prospect of making you sick

won't have grenades in my garden

genre, simply say say simply, simply,

here's no money sucker, perhaps upon agenda

mean no say when saying no, reference

mistake swordplay, institutional apartment

appears as appears, bolster surrogate slaphouse,

if he didn't stinky cheese, recall

speaking of speech, future water dam in damn

videotape instruction, terrible termination,

I loves what not in such or when,

prove it prove it prove it prove it


Copyright ©2004 by Mark Wallace. Reprinted from Temporary Worker Rides a Subway (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2004)

 For PennSound's selection of readings and videos of Mark Wallace, hit below: 

For a conversation with Mark Wallace, click here:

August 8, 2011

Gellu Naum (Romania) 1915-2001

Gellu Naum (Romania) 

Gellu Naum was born in Bucharest, August 1, 1915, the son of romantic poet Andrei Naum (who died in combat at the Battle of Marasesti, WWI) and his wife Maria. 
     In 1933, he began studying philosophy in Bucharest and, in 1938, left to continue his studies at the University of Paris. While completing his doctoral degree (with a dissertation on the French philosopher Peter Abelard, known for his romantic poetry and letters), Naum became the central figure in an expatriate group of Romanians. 
    In 1935 Naum made an important new friend and mentor. The poet recalled: “One day, as I was walking on Sarindari Street, I came across an exhibition by Victor Brauner. At that time I did not know anything about Brauner, who kept on painting while living in extreme poverty. And I entered that exhibition hall as if destiny attracted me. I found a very nice young man, who asked me if I liked what I saw. And I told him I liked it a lot; that I wanted to write just like he painted. When he asked me what I was writing, I told him I was writing poems. 

    We never parted since.” A year later, Naum published his first book. Incendiary Traveler, accompanied by Brauner illustrations, who then introduced him to André Breton and the Paris surrealist group. Naum later befriended artists Jacques Herold and Paul Paun, who both went on to illustrate some 20 books by him. 
    In 1941, while on the Orient Express traveling from Paris to Bucharest, Naum—together with Gherasim Luca, Dolfi Trost and others—organized a Romanian Surrealist group. Over the next five years in Bucharest that group evolved into a veritable movement with manifestoes, magazines, books, exhibitions and other publications. At war’s end Luca, Trost, Virgil Teodorescu, Sasha Pana, Jules Perahim, Jacques Herold, Lucian Boz, Constantin Nisipeanu, Sesto Pals and others, all active in Romanian surrealism, were swiftly banned by the Communist authorities. 
    By 1947, Naum’s book, The White of the Bone, was rejected by censors, and for the next 20 years Naum was permitted only to write in the approved style, “socialist realism,” praising the leaders of communism (e.g., "Poem about our youth," 1960). He was also permitted to write children’s books (e.g., The Book of Apolodor) and sometimes published Romanian translations of works in French by Gerard de Nerval, Denis Diderot, Samuel Beckett, Rene Char, Jacques Prevert, Franz Kafka, Victor Hugo and even Jules Verne. 
    After 1967, Naum resumed publishing Surrealist poetry books, leaving us a unique look at the subconscious in more than 40 books, among them, My Tired Father (translated into English by Green Integer in 1999), The Other Side, and The Animal-Tree. His surreal novel Zenobia was published in 1985 and, in 1995, was translated into English by James Brook and Sasha Vlad for Northwestern University Press. 
     His wife, the artist Lygia (Alexandrescu) Naum, was the inspiration and main character of the story. In 1979 Naum published a collection of works for the theater, Insula. Ceasornicăria Taus. Poate Elenora. To read Ceasornicăria Taus (The Taus Watch Repair Shop), click here: 
    Although Naum was this writer’s “reluctant” mentor, he visited me in New York, summer 1985 (together with his wife), where we did a bilingual poetry reading with a circle of poets and artists that included the late Ira Cohen, Timothy Baum, and Liuba Ristic on sitar. It was a unique and historic Surrealist event. Naum received numerous international and national awards for his work, including the 1999 European Prize for Poetry and a nomination for the Nobel Prize. Much of his work, however, remains in need of translating and editing into English. 
 —Valery Oisteanu 


Drumeţul incendiar [with art by Victor Brauner] (Bucharest: 1936); Vasco de Gama (Bucharest: Rotativa, 1940); Culoarul somnului [with art by Victor Vrauner] (Bucharest, 1944); Spectrul longevităţuul 122 de cadavre [in collaboration with Virgil Teodorescu] (Bucharest: Colecţia suprarealistă, 1945); Athanor (Burcharest: Editura pentru Literatură, 1968); Copacul-animal (Bucharest: Editura Eminescu, 1971); Tatăl meu obosit (Bucharest: Editura Cartea Românească, 1972); Descrierea turnului (Bucharest: Editura Albatros, 1975); Partea cealaltă (Burcharest: Editura Cartea Românească , 1980); Malul albastru (Bucharest: Editura Cartea Românească, 1990); Faţa şi suprafaţa urmat de Malul albastru (1989-1993 (Buchaarest: Editura Litera, 1994; Focul negru (Burcharest: Editura Eminescu, 1995); Sora fântână (Editura Eminescu, 1995); Ascet la baraca de tir (Bucharest: Editura Fundaţiei Culturale Române, 2000) 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS My Tired Father / Pohem, trans. by James Brook, with an interview between Brook and Naum (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 1999); Apollodor, Book One, trans. by M. A. Christi (on line, 2009) 

For a short film on Gellu Naum, "Voluntary Blindness," click here: 

For Naum reading a poem in Romanian, click here: 

From My Tired Father

My tired father used the thought-gaze

He hit something solid with a pole and turned to me with a triumphant air 

In fact everything was limited to a sort of exorcism of fear Only the crossing to the other side of the gesture was important 

I had heard of the terrible storms there and I had come to know them

I made identical gestures the dial had no numbers and the sun shone somewhere very low 

Weeping I asked for something to drunk My wife mentioned Abend Oh if only we weren't at this moment above the masts in his barrel she sighed There he is and there he should stay I said

And if he sails in a barrel he'll be in a fine spot 

Around the same time someone decided to dedicate his life to science (potassium sodium aluminum)

On the other side two groups of three executed identical but inverse movements The second part corresponded to the first The third part excluded any countertendency and became a product

A ball rolled on the floor thus transporting itself into a completely separate category

Everything upset cried out 

Between the two (parallel) walls only one man still practiced the old demonstrative functions

Space was a kind of sequential panel on which I could apply anything at all

On waking I had a pulse just as blind and obscure

White the intelligent students acquired sound knowledge within the framework of a demanding program

The language of sets was integrated in small doses 

The pendulum's oscillation on which I had meditated a long time showed me furthermore that there were many distinct bodies that in blending neither disturb nor exclude one another They were in some very distance places

A young woman appointed professor in a gigantic school resolved to lover her students

A photographer left his wife and felt compelled to accept the invitation of a priest retired to the south The priest succeeded in reconciling the separate couple

A man was stretched out next to his wife The ceiling reproduced the include of the roof

A yellow spot seemed to emerge from its own absence 

Translated from the Romanian by James Brook

To buy a copy of the book, My Tired Father, click below:


English language translation copyright ©1999 by James Brook. Reprinted from My Tired Father/Pohem (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 1999).

Gale Nelson (USA) 1961

Gale Nelson (USA)


Born in Los Angeles in 1961, Gale Nelson moved to Rhode Island in 1986, where he has taught at Trinity Repertory Conservatory and Brown University. At Brown he is the Assistant Director of the Program to Literary Arts.

     Nelson is married to fiction writer Lori Baker.

      Editor of paradigm press, Nelson began publishing his poetry in the early 1990s with stare decisis (1991), Little Brass Pump (1992), and The Mystic Cypher (1993). To date he has published eight books and chapbooks, the most recent being This Is What Happens When Talk Ends (2011), a work of 8 sets of 8 poems that each follow the vowel pattern of a particular passage Shakespeare. These works to not contain the playwrights "content," but try to build toward their own coherence. The sets are not presented in linear succession, but arranged in a chess patter, the earliest surviving knight's circuit, attributed to al-Adli ar-Rumi of Baghdad, presumed to date from 840 AD.

   Nelson's work has also appeared in the anthologies 49 + 1: Nouveaux poètes américains and The Joy of Phonetics and Accents.

     David Harrison Horton has described Nelson's poems as "....a landscape of structures and variables, carefully recording instances in which language enjambs to the point of crisis and consigns itself to an altered path. Nelson flashes in and out of poetic modes that he is able to rein in from the brink of cacophony and craft into an engaging series of poems."


stare decisis (Providence, Rhode Island, 1991); Little Brass Pump (Buffalo, New York: Leave Books, 1992); The Mystic Cypher (Norman, Oklahoma: Texture Chapbooks, 1993); Spectral Angel (Sausalito, California: Duration Press, 1999); In It (Providence, Rhode Island: paradigm, 2000); Intersecting Mr. Sams (Providence, Rhode Island: paradigm, 2000); ceteris paribus (Providence, Rhode Island, 2000); greek myth in eggcup relief (Providence, Rhode Island, 2001); This Is What Happens When Talk Ends (Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2011)

For a suite of poems by Gale Nelson, click below:

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


Heart’s Evolving Signal Swelling

Foisted picket honors summit’s slope

as cleft cot binds our plumes in dung’s gloom.

All shapes could draw clouds, stub books, cut off fumes

nicely, yet spell no blood spent on least-juiced

orange. Lotus blooms, but digits coin fortunes. Any

pout quiets laugh’s tug on tongue,

courts pleasant quarters stolen even in

frost’s dusty spell. Sausage folded in duty’s heft causes

infiltrated salad doom in spite of

candor’s fine tact. Bottom’s up this vast beer bent,

sopping enough frothed cask but ale’s last mine.

Ease this liar’s cascade,

pose affinity’s louche vanity on last sudden

sun-lit branch. Cannot panel-long joists bend in?

No. Patter’s tooth-bust jag casts mood’s dull gloom. Limb’s mask

is daft as tumbles fall, and anyone yet tamed

postures poem’s stanza of dancing

in wrack’s cant. Tundra binds tonsils and igloo strips into

treacled home. Saucers mixed in, saucers

yet no cups in this blessed top shelf. Friends

spill nothing, break in on dare. That’s parsed but

an agony. Spare my trauma my siphon’s blade

and float past teaching’s flame.

Infighting, berating ill friend’s long relapse,

can’t we stop being dolts? Can all madness blind me,

upset or agonize? Must

that be all? Moisten not the lost lip,

carry ever on the fiendish aloof bent, alone.

Obscene candid yelps plead my insect’s cold heart

in vast desert’s blinded gloom, yet valiant bids

shall cancel either because of tether’s crawl.

Tonnage ingraining supply, ingots fadge only luck’s

tumble. Who enlists predicts eased plan

of entombed career talents in

inexact falls. Telescoped star shards twine those

cavities parsed as fluted straws, but

stains can suddenly place sampled lances on cup’s

dim clamor. Sugar beets grow between cusps,

and out above this fancy land,

closer stars bend in neutered shame.

Bid me no succor, honor just these saddened chromes


Copyright ©2009 by Gale Nelson. Reprinted from EOAGH, no. 5 (2009).

August 6, 2011

"Keeping History a Secret" | essay by Douglas Messerli (on Howe's Secret History of the Dividing Line)

by Douglas Messerli 

Susan Howe Secret History of the Dividing Line (New York: Telephone Books, 1978) 

In 1976 The Western Borders (Tuumba Press) introduced its readers to the curious wordscapes of Susan Howe, a writer who, in her unusual blend of poetic and narrative elements—a combination that Jonathan Culler has perceptively described as a rapidly emerging “non-genre”—both confused and intrigued. Like that of the “language poets” (Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Ray DiPalma, Ron Silliman, Barrett Watten, and others), Howe’s work often focused on language wrenched from the context of the sentence, phrase, even the word itself, and arranged in somewhat unusual typographical configurations on the page. Yet, in antipathy to “language” concerns, the language of The Western Borders, fragmented though it was, moved always in the direction of narrative, towards legend, dream and myth. Now, in The Secret History of the Dividing Line, Howe not only demonstrates that she has not abandoned this seeming contradiction, but that it is at the very heart of her eccentric vision. 
      I describe Howe’s work as “eccentric,” not because it is particularly peculiar or odd, but rather because, in the best sense of that word, her concerns are “out of the ordinary,” in fact, are extraordinary. Howe is one of a special breed of authors (I can think of only one other contemporary writer, Bernadette Mayer) who thoroughly explore the terrain between utterance and gesture, between word and act, that narrow gap, as she puts it in Secret History, between “salvages or savages.” 
      Indeed, Howe’s work suggests the world as actualized is a savage one; man in motion is a terrible pagan, battling, plundering, raping his way through history like the Vikings. Accordingly, any chronicle of man inevitably is filled with terror. Man is a warrior, thus his history is always a tale of war; as Howe writes, “I know the war-whoop in each dusty narrative.” Story-telling, then, becomes an act of recreating its horror. 

I search the house 
hunting out people for trial 
. . . . . . . . . . . . 

Needles fell in strands 
Daggers like puppets scissored the sky 

Millions faced north 
the Emperor’s last Conscription 
the year One. 

Some craned away 
some used their elbows for meat 
families knocking their heads together 
and thanking the Gods outloud. 

     Even in sleep mankind moves through its dreams, in Howe’s imagination, as “troops of marble messengers,” “half grotesque, half magical,” enchanted speaking beasts, “acting out roles.”
     Simultaneously, however, Howe implies that he very language that evokes this horrific vision, the very words that chronicle man’s mad actions, are also his salvation, a potential salvage. With man’s enchantment, with his amazing ability to record his own actions in speech, comes the gift of creation, which, in turn, momentarily stops that flow of meaningless acts through time and space. “Our law,” Howe observes, resides in “vocables/of shape or sound.” Hence, language must be recognized as a thing apart from nature, as separate from man’s headlong rush into chaos. For Howe, just as for the “language” poets, “words need always be torn away from the “icy tremors of abstraction,” for their old associations, and brought to life instead as objects, as things existing in reality in their own right. If language is to have any power, a word must be recognized as a thing, as “an object set up to indicate a boundary or position,” a “MARK/border/bulwark....” Only then can the word be used to heal the devastation like an “anecdote.”
     Accordingly , the narratives of Secret History are purposely attenuated; the history is kept a arm’s length, even thwarted. History must be kept a secret; it cannot be permitted to dominate, for that would be to abandon the work to chaos, to the mere recounting of man’s terrifying inhuman acts. At times in Secret History it is almost as if the teller of the tale has been metamorphosed into a stammering, absent-minded historian, as the tale, once present, fortuitously is lost to the sound of human speech:

where ere 
he He A 

ere I were
father father 

O it is the old old 

. . . . . . 

     As Howe has put it in a more recent poem (in Hawk-Wind, no. 2 [1979], 19), “the real plot was invisible.” 
     On the other hand, Howe recognizes that she must be careful always to walk a fine line between story and speech. If she is to continue to explore that dividing line between chaos and order, she cannot afford to give up the tale. To do so would be to see man as a debilitated schizophrenic, as a creature doomed to act in one way and to think (for to speak is to think) in another. Moreover, Howe recognizes language as an object can be a dangerous thing to a creature in such continual motion; the mark, order, bulwark can suddenly become a boundary, impaling the animal “in a netting of fences.” The two, she indicates, must always be superimposed: language existing in its own space, necessarily must coexist. “The Fortunate Islands,” Howe perceived in The Western Borders, “are in The Sea of Darkness.” 
      Such a controlled tension invariably results in a certain degree of coyness; and behind that there even may be a kind of fear of permitting the artist his full range as both actor and creator. Yet, one is reminded in this of the painfully brilliant fictions of Jane Bowles, a writer who, like Howe, attempted to describe those subtle relationships between act and speech; the tensions such as those inherent in works by writers such as Howe and Bowles stem less from fear than from these authors’ commitment to their art, their absolute belief in language and in its ability both to repeat and make new reality. One can ask no more of any writer. That Susan Howe has so incredibly combined the tasks of both remembering and creating is an added reward for her readers. 

College Park, Maryland, 1980 
Reprinted from American Book Review, II, no. 6 (September-October 1980).

"Poetry as History Revised: Susan Howe's 'Scattering As Behavior Toward Risk'" | by Ming-Qian Ma [link]

For as essay on Susan Howe,"Poetry as History Revised: Susan Howe's 'Scattering As Behavior Toward Risk'" by Ming-Qian Ma, click here:

to reach this review click on the author's list (above right) on the "H's" then chose "works about" and look for Ming-Qian Ma.

"WHOWE: On Susan Howe" | essay by Rachel Blau DuPlessis [link]

For an essay on Susan Howe, "WHOWE: On Susan Howe" by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, click here:

essay on Susan Howe and Ron Silliman, "Language Poetry and the Lyric Subject" by Marjorie Perloff

For an essay on Susan Howe and Ron Silliman, "Language Poetry and the Lyric Subject: Ron Silliman's Albany, Susan Howe's Buffalo" by Marjorie Perloff, click below:

Turgut Uyar (Turkey) 1927-1985

Turgut Uyar (Turkey) 

Born in Ankara on August 4, 1927, Turgut Uyar began his adult life at the Konya Military School, were for several years he served as staff officer. During this period he began to write poetry, publishing Arz-i Hall in 1949. 
     His first book already shows the influence of several poets of the Garip writers, including Orhan Veli. The poet is often described as belonging to the "second new" stage of the Garip group. 

     When he resigned his commission in 1958, Uyar went to work at the Cellulose and Paper Consortium in Ankara. During these years Uyar developed a friendship with Turkish poet Cemal Süreya. 
      Uyar's book, Tütünler Islak (Wet Tobacco), won the Seven Hills Prize for Poetry, a prestigious award in Turkey. Uyar died in Istanbul in 1985. 


Arz-ı Hal (1949); Türkiyem (1952-1963); Dünyanın En Güzel Arabistanı (1959); Tütünler Islak (1962); Her Pazartesi (1968); Divan (1970); Toplandılar (1974); Toplu Şiir (1981); Kayayı Delen İncir (1982); Dün Yok mu (1984); Büyük Saat (1984) 


selections in Feyyaz Kayacan Fergar, ed. Modern Turkish Poetry (Ware, England: The Rockinham Press, 1992); selection in Murat Nemet-Nejat, ed. and trans., EDA: An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry (Jersey City, New Jersey: Talisman House, 2004); selections in George Messo, ed. and trans., İkinci Yeni: The Turkish Avant-Garde (unpublished) 

One Day, Early in the Morning… 

Say I knock at the door one day, early morning, 
Wake you from your sleep: 
And yet, fog still lingers on the Golden Horn. 
There’s the echo of ferry horns. 
Twilight everywhere, 
The bridge is still up. 
Say I knock at the door early one morning… 

My journey has been long 
The train passed over iron bridges at night. 
Villages in the middle of nowhere with five or ten houses. 
Telegraph poles all along the route 
Running to keep up with us. 

Suppose I sang songs from the window, 
Woke up, dozed off, woke up again. 
My ticket, third class 
Poorer than poor. 
Say I couldn’t buy that meerschaum necklace 
So I bought you a basket of apples instead… 

Haydarpaşa open your arms we might have said 
The ferry glittering at the pier 
Air a little cold 
Sea smelling of fish and tar 
Say I crossed from the bridge to the other shore in a rowing boat, 
Climbed our hill in a single breath… 

Say I knock at the door early one morning, 
- Who’s that? You’d ask in a sleepy voice. 
Your hair ruffled, and heavy-eyed. 
Who knows how beautiful you’d look my love, 
If I knock at the door one morning, 
Wake you from your sleep 
And yet, fog still lingers on the Golden Horn. 
There’s the squeal of factory whistles. 

  —Translated from the Turkish by George Messo 

Evening Dream 

Far off ships are passing now 
My heart is scattered all over the decks. 
Lightened nights, lute sounds, cheese and bread 
I’ve neither ticket nor money nor friend 
My heart tremors as I look around 
- Turgut wake up, wake up poor one 
This is Terme. 

Lorries are passing over Terme bridge, 
Workmen talk three here, five there 
A night begins, half black, half red 
I light my cigarette and return home… 
- Sail on, ships, sail on 
Give greetings to wherever you go 
Some day far from all worries 
I’ll come too… 

—Translated from the Turkish by George Messo 

Night with Deer 

But there was nothing frightening there 
Only everything was made of nylon 
And when we died we died in thousands against the sun 
But before we found the night with deer 
We were all afraid like children. 

You should all know the night with deer 
In far off forests wild and green 
Sun sinking under its weight at the asphalt’s end 
Redeeming us all from time 

First we dug into the earth 
Then vanished 
From gladiators and wild toothed beasts 
From giant cities 
Staying hidden and fighting 
We saved the night with deer 

Yes we were alone but we had hope 
If we saw three houses we took it for a city 
If we saw three pigeons Mexico came to mind 
Evenings we loved to walk the streets 
And we loved the way women waited for their husbands 
Later we’d drink wine red or white 
Whether we knew it or not it was because of the night with deer 

—Translated from the Turkish by George Messo 

English language translation copyright ©2011 by George Messo, reprinted from the unpublished manuscript, İkinci Yeni: The Turkish Avant-Garde

August 5, 2011

"Futurist Synthesis of the War" | Manifesto-poem by F. T. Marinetti and other Futurists [link]

For a manifesto-poem by F. T. Marinetti and other Futurists, "Futurist Synthesis of the War," click here:

Jüri Talvet (Estonia) 1945

Jüri Talvet (Estonia) 

Jüri Talvet was born in Pänu, Estonia on December 17, 1945. He received his MA degree from the University of Tartu in English philology in 1972, and went on to take his PhD at Leningrad (St. Petersburg) University in 1981 on Western European Literature. 
     In 1974 he taught literary history at the University of Tartu, and after receiving his PhD he went on to become the Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature at Tartu. He has also chaired the Estonian Association of Comparative Literature, and is the editor of Interlitteraria, a annual journal of comparative literature. 

    Talvet has also translated Spanish language works, including by authors Francisco de Quevedo and Gabriel García Márquez, into Estonian. He has travelled and lectured widely, speaking of Estonian literature in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Spain, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, the US, Canada and the Netherlands. 
    His first book of poetry, Äratused (Awakenings) appeared in 1981, followed by six books over the years since, including Ambur ja karje, Hinge kulg ja kliima üllatused, Unest, lumest, and, most recently, Silmad peksavad une seinu (Eyes Beat the Walls of Sleep). 
    In 1997 he was awarded highest poetry honor, the Juhan Liiv Prize. With the American H. L Hix, Talvet has edited and translated a volume of Liiv's poetry in English The Mind Would Bear No Better
     A book-length essay by Talvet, A Call for Cultural Symbiosis (Guernica), and two books of poetry have been translated into English. Tavet has had his work translated into several other languages as well. He and his wife and three children live in Tartu. 


Äratused (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981) Ambur ja karje (Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1986) Hinge kulg ja kliima üllatused(Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1990) Eesti eleegia ja teisi luuletusi (Tallinn: Kupar, 1997) Kas sul viinamarju ka on? (Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2001) Unest, lumest (Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005) Silmad peksavad une seinu (Tartu, Ilmamaa, 2008) 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS Estonian Elegy. Selected Poems, trans. by H. L. Hix (Toronto: Guernica, 2008); Of Snow, Of Soul, trans. by H. L. Hix (Toronto: Guernica, 2010) 

For a larger selection of Talvet's poetry in English (his home page), click below: 

For a video of Talvet reading his poetry in Spanish at the International Poetry Festival in Medellín, click here:

"Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature" | manifesto by F. T. Marinetti [link]

To read F. T. Marinetti's "Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature" click below:

Nuno Júdice (Portugal) 1949

 Nuno Júdice (Portugal) 

Born in Mexilhoeira Grande, Portugal on April 29, 1949, Nuno Júdice graduated in Romance Philology at the University of Lisbon. He received his PhD at the Universidade Nova (New University) in 1989, where is now professor. 
      From 1997 to 2004 Júdice served as cultural attaché for Portugal in Paris. He has also served as advisor to the Instituto Camões. 

     The author has written numerous books of fiction (beginning with Última Palavra: "Sim" /Last word: "Yes") in 1977. He has also published plays and literary criticism. But he is best known as a poet, with 30 books of poetry to date. His first volume was A Noção de Poema (The Notion of a Poem) in 1972, followed, that same year with O Pavão Sonoro (The Sound of Peacocks). 
     In 1985 he received the PEN Award for Lira de Liquen (Lichen Lyre), and in 1994 he was awarded the Portuguese Association of Writers award for Meditação sobre Ruinas (Meditation on Ruins). The book was also a finalist for the European literary prize, Aristeion. 
     He published a volume of collected poems in 2001. Júdice also edited the literary magazine, Tabacaria (The Tobacconist). 
    Translator Richard Zenith writes of Júdice's poetry: We find, lightly embedded in his verses, a profound theoretical reflection on life and on individual lives – lives he has perhaps lived, or dreamt, or witnessed. Some of the poems read like parables or allegories, but what do the symbols mean? Maybe they don’t mean anything, and maybe that doesn’t matter. Júdice’s poetry is a journey through memories, visions, real and imagined experiences, ideas and hypotheses, without any hope – or concern – to arrive at a conclusion." 


A Noção de Poema (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 1972); O Pavão Sonoro (1972); Crítica Doméstica dos Paralelipipedos (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 1973); As Inumeráveis Águas (Lisbon: Assírio & Alvim, 1974); O Mecanismo Romântico da Fragmentação (Porto: Inova, 1975); Nos Braços da Exigua Luz (1976); O Corte na Ênfase (Oporto: Inova, 1978); O Voo de Igitur num Copo de Dados (Lisbon: & etc., 1981); A Partiha Dos mitos (1982); Lira de Líquen (Lisbon: Rolim, 1985); A Condescendência do Ser (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1988); Enumeração de Sombras (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1989); As Regras da Perspectiva (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1990); Uma Sequêde Outubro (1991); Obra Poética 1972-1985 (1991); Um Canto na Espessura do Tempo (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1992); Meditação sobre Ruínas (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1995); O Movimento do Mundo (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1996); Poems em Voz Alta (1996); A Fonte da Vida (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1997); Raptos (1998); Teoria Geral do Sentimento (Lisbon: Quetzal, 1999); Poesia Reunida (1967-2000) (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 2000); Cartografia de Emoções (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 2001); O Estado dos Campos (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 2003); Geometria variável (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 2005); As coisas mais simples (2006); A Matéria do Poema (2008); O Breve Sentimento do Eterno (2008); Guia de Conceitos Básicos (Lisbon: Publicações Dom Quixote, 2010) 

For a video of Júdice reading from his poetry in Portuguese, click here: