May 21, 2013

Roof | magazine (USA) 1976-1979

Roof  (magazine, USA) 1976-1979

The first volume of Roof magazine, edited by Tom Savage and James Sherry, was published from the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado in the summer of 1976. That first issue contained the work of numerous notable and new authors, including poetry by Robert Duncan, Helen Adam, Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg, Dick Gallup, John Ashberg, Anne Waldman, Diane Wakoski, Ted Berrigan, Jack Collom, Alice Notley, William S. Burroughs, John Giorno, Ed Sanders, Larry Fagan, Michael Brownstein, Peter Orlovsky, Jerome Rothenberg, Robert Creeley and the two editors.
      The second issue, with the same editors, was published in New York City by Sherry’s Segue Press in 1977. That issue, containing 27 poets mostly aligned with the New York School or “Language” writing, and described itself in its short preface as cutting “across lines of school, generation, and reputation. These writers have all read in NYC during the past six months. Among the poets included were Bruce Andrews, Charles Berrnstein, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Ray DiPalma, Ted Greenwald, Barbara Guest, Ann Lauterback, Frank Lima, Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, Anne Waldman, Hannah Weiner, and John Yau.
     Issue No. 3, with only Sherry listed as editor, included Berssenbrugge, Yuki Hartman, Ed Frieman, Charles North, Peter Seaton, Tony Towle, Paul Violi and a large section from the collaborative work Legend by Bruce Andrews, Ron Silliman, Ray DiPalma, Steven McCaffery, and Charles Bernstein. In ten issues the ended in the summer of 1979, Sherry continued publishing works by some of the major poets and the day.

Issue 4 contained a special section devoted to innovative poets from Washington, D.C. (my own first poems appeared in that issue); no. 5 a special section of San Francisco “language” writers. No. 7 contained longer poems by just four poets: Michael Lally, John Taggart, Ted Greenwald, and Ron Silliman, along with art by Stuart Shedletsky, Lee Sherry, and John Torreano. No. 9 contained work by Octavio Paz, Diane Ward, Larry Eigner, Peter Seaton, and Bruce Andrews, as well as art by Susan Laufer (Bee), Ron Janowich, and Rae Berolzheimer. No. 9 was made up of work by Kit Robinson, Alan Davies, P. Inman, Lynne Dreyer, and Charles Bernstein.
     The final issue contained many of the writers whom Sherry had published in the earliest of issues, including Ray DiPalma, Hannah Weiner, Barbara Baracks, John Yau, Ted Greenwald, Lyn Hejinian, Dick Higgins, Rosmarie Waldrop, Bruce Andrews, Steve McCaffery, Robert Grenier, Brita Bergland, and Mei-mei Berssenbruge.

Because of its somewhat eclectic mix of writers and its commitment to several groups of poets, Roof remains today as one of the most notable American poetry publications of the late 1970s.

Douglas Messerli

May 20, 2013

Jeroen Theunissen (Belgium / writes in Dutch) 1977

Jeroen Theunissen (Belgium/writes in Dutch)

Born in Ghent in 1977, Jeroen Theunissen lives and works as a teacher of cultural history and media at Erasmus University in that city today. At the university he studied German language and literature.

   Theunissen is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist, having published four novels to date, De onzichtbare (2004, The invisible), Het einde (2006, The End), a work explores the boundaries of the genre, and een vorm van vermoeidheid (A Kind of Tiredness, 2008). His most recent work is De Stolp (The Bell, 2010)
    His first book of poetry, Thuisverlangen (Home Lust) was published by Meulenhoff/Manteau in 2005. A second book of poetry, Het zit zo (It’s like this) was published in 2009.
    Theunissen also edited the prestigious magazine, Yang.


Thuisverlangen (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff/Manteau, 2005); Het zit so (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff /Manteau, 2009)

A Sweetheart

My sweetheart washed flowers
with wood and with stones,
she came dancing down
in bigger steps.

Baked her clothes
from dough in ovens,
crept in my fingers
as in the stacks of the past.

Oh, were she as quiet
as the engravings of walls
with the mortar at home.

But she begs for soap
and for washing and neighbours
and a film on the box.

—Translated from the Dutch by Astrid van Baalen

What I saw today

I saw a lover locking the doors,
eat bread, sweetmeats and wait,
doze off in a car in the sun and
chatter with a lounging man.

I saw a pair of owlish spectacles on a red bed,
a program on orphaned children and
a bottle of mineral water next to the telly,
carrots, tomes the I read.

I saw the tap drip with victory,
I saw a hero climbing a mountain
of red, brown, orange, green and gray,
heroes! I barely saw the rustling.

I briefly closed my eyes and bellowed
From almost notnothing to almost notlback.

I saw the paper full with the opinions
of idealists, I saw the young women
and their painted toenails, I saw etc.

I saw grass, houses, wind, a computer,
people in a swimming pool, a beautiful dance,
I saw the jumper I would later wear against the cold.
That is what I saw today.

—Translated from the Dutch by Astrid van Baalen

English language copyright ©Astrid van Baalen, reprinted from Tom van de Voorde, ed., Poets from Flanders