Nomadics

Meanderings & mawqifs of poetry, poetics, translations y mas. Travelogue too.

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A Sulfur Anthology: Clayton Eshleman, ed.

May 1st, 2016 · Criticism, Experimental Writing, Intellectuals, Literature, Magazine, Poetics, Poetry, Translation, Uncategorized

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Clayton Eshleman started his first magazine, Caterpillar, in New York City in the fall of 1967 — the very same moment I moved from Europe to the US. It wasn’t until some time in late 1968 that the magazine was brought to my attention, either by Robert Kelly, with whom I was working on Paul Celan translations at Bard College, or by Thomas Meyer, a student like me at Bard. Caterpillar very quickly became the essential and most useful magazine for me in the process of absorbing American poetry and tentatively taking steps toward formulating a poetics of my own. (Not that I didn’t enjoy the New York school mags, but so much of that poetry had its roots in European, specifically French modern poetry —something I had left Europe to get away from as at least in it place of origin it had become stale by then). The “Caterpillar poets” — or what I came to call the “original Deep Image” poets — on the contrary were developing a process-based poetics with deep roots in American modernism, the Pound / Stein line that led to Olson, Duncan, Zukofsky via the then nearly disappeared Objectivists.  If I had come over enamored of the Beats — it was certainly on the energy of their magic carpet that I had ridden over from Europe, though I had bought the Cantos shortly before embarking for America — it was in the poets I now discovered in Caterpillar that I found the depth of concerns and then formal experimentation I realized was necessary for a poetics that tried to be fully aware of both the internal mental/spirituals   and the external political / cultural travails of that period. By the time Caterpillar ended in 1973, I was living in London, and I felt its demise like a serious blow.

Eshleman returned with a vengeance, creating SULFUR, seven years later, in 1980/1981. (Not necessarily lean years, as much else was happening magazine & publication-wise in the mid to late seventies, if I may mention my own SIXPACK in London , as well as Allen Fisher’s various SPANNER incarnations or Eric Mottram’s short-lived but powerful editorship of the POETRY REVIEW, or, in the US, the emergence of  L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E & associated publications, or Jed Rasula & Don Byrd’s WCH WAY — to name only these, here, quickly as this isn’t the moment for a historical overview of magazines…). But for my money (mind would be a better word) SULFUR became the essential magazine I went to over those years wherever I was living, whatever I was doing, i.e. writing or translating from the poetries of various cultures. I can’t think of any English-language magazine (nor, come to think of it, of any French, German or Spanish-language magazine) that, while continuing the investigation of US poetries began in CATERPILLAR, presented a wider, fuller, richer array of international poetries and poetry-related work. And I don’t mean “international” in that vague sense in which various magazines would publish whatever foreign-looking language object came across their desks if translated into basic free-verse fully comprehensible English after removal of any trace of kulchural strangeness & furriness that could have irritated the all-‘merican reader. There was an energy, a freshness and a seriousness to Eshleman’s project that said to the reader: this is not a matter of entertainment, of art-as-aesthetics, this is a matter of life and of how poetry (and art) can teach us, in Blake’s words, to cleanse the doors of perception & thus widen our knowledge of the real — the “inside real and the outsidereal,” to use Ed Dorn’s formulation. The anthology of that incredible adventure, as edited by Clayton Eshleman and published by Wesleyan, is a superb 650-page walk through the 46 issues of SULFUR. A treasure trove. For the names of the included, see below. For full disclosure I should say that I published poems & translations in Sulfur & also have work in the anthology.

From the publisher’s release notes (where a click will also get you to the full table of Contents):

A vital compendium of poetic vision

From 1981 to 2000, Sulfur magazine presented an American and international overview of innovative writing across forty-six issues, totaling some 11,000 pages and featuring over eight hundred writers and artists, including Norman O. Brown, Jorie Graham, James Hillman, Mina Loy, Ron Padgett, Octavio Paz, Ezra Pound, Adrienne Rich, Rainer Maria Rilke, and William Carlos Williams. Each issue featured a diverse offering of poetry, translations, previously unpublished archival material, visual art, essays, and reviews. Sulfur was a hotbed for critical thinking and commentary, and also provided a home for the work of unknown and younger poets. In the course of its twenty year run, Sulfur maintained a reputation as the premier publication of alternative and experimental writing. This was due in no small measure to its impressive masthead of contributing editors and correspondents: Marjorie Perloff, James Clifford, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Keith Tuma, Allen Weiss, Jed Rasula, Charles Bernstein, Michael Palmer, Clark Coolidge, Jayne Cortez, Marjorie Welish, Jerome Rothenberg, Eliot Weinberger, managing editor Caryl Eshleman, and founding editor Clayton Eshleman.

A Sulfur Anthology offers readers an expanded view of artistic activity at the century’s end. It’s also a luminous document of international poetic vision. Many of the contributions have never been published outside ofSulfur, making this an indispensible collection of poetry in translation, and poetry in the world.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

“Begun in 1980 and finished by 2000, Sulfur marked with self-conscious brilliance the culmination cycle for the postwar literary magazine wave that had commenced in 1950 with Cid Corman’s Origin. As an editor, Clayton Eshleman has continuously refined our understanding of poetry by means of intellectual engagement and real commitment to implicating the poet’s artistry in the crucially extensive context of community, cosmos, history, myth, politics, and psyche. Truly, his lifelong dedication to assembling forms of international modernism, statements from depth psychology, texts of innovative poetry, and translations of world poetry is unsurpassed. Hence A Sulfur Anthology is guaranteed to further the refinement process that Eshleman initiated in 1980. From Ezra Pound to Barbara Mor, from Aimé Césaire to Rae Armantrout, from Robert Duncan to Ron Silliman, from Antonin Artaud to Amiri Baraka, from Mina Loy to Linh Dihn, from René Char to Paul Celan, and much more—this anthology radiates a monumental pulse that recounts all the turning points needed for readers in the twenty-first century to understand that Sulfur persists as the most indispensable literary magazine authorized by the Imagination.” —Kenneth Warren, author of Captain Poetry’s Sucker Punch: A Guide to the Homeric Punkhole, 1980–2012

A Sulfur Anthology presents an essential selection from the now legendary journal of the Whole Art, but it’s no mere greatest hits collection: experimental and unruly, it’s a kaleidoscopic assemblage of poetry and poetics, archival materials, translations, critical commentary and essays, shocking in range and diversity; an open site for an all too unique communal inquiry into poetry, from its sources in psychology and history to its furthest possibilities of expression, intimate and political. Sulfur was a touchstone for two generations of poets; reading A Sulfur Anthology reminds me what the fuss was all about. But more than that, A Sulfur Anthology is bursting with news that stays news: a retrospective volume with its sights on the far horizon.”
—Stuart Kendall, California College of the Arts

Sulfur must certainly be the most important literary magazine that has explored and extended the boundaries of poetry. Clayton Eshleman has a nose for smelling out what is going to happen next in the ceaseless evolution of living art.”—James Laughlin

“In an era of literary conservatism and sectarianism, the broad commitment of Sulfur to both literary excellence and a broad interdisciplinary, unbought humanistic engagement with the art of poetry has been invaluable. Its critical articles have been the sharpest going over the last several years.”—Gary Snyder

From the Book:

From Sulfur #27, “Zero” by Milton Kessler:
The Ch-ing Emperor’s troupe of buried horses
The visor-blinded horses of the jousts
The pompadoured bronze horses of the Renaissance
The Elgin horses roped and dragged from Athens
The Generalissimo’s mount in Freedom Square
The noble cheval burst by English archers
The cannon deaf cavalry of Bull Run
The Imam’s Arabians writhing on the cross of Allah
The dive-bombed horse with tongue of broken glass
Seigfried’s horror horse with Panzer lancer
Horses were never interested in war
War no longer interested in horses
The investment stallions seeding twitched mares
The ground horse catfood of the dispossessed
The cast horses in the Mafia stables
The shiver brained coursers wearing buttercups
The cossack horses higher than whole villages
The porcelain dancers of the Lippizaner
The Indian ponies trained to die like savages
The slipping horsefeet of Alexander Nevsky
The heart-horned horses of the picadores
The cigarette horses branded sex and death
The pinup stallions of gold college girls
The cowboy’s true horse on the lonely range
The dawn is the head of a sacrificed horse

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The Poem for Which Dareen Tatour’s Under House Arrest: ‘Resist, My People, Resist Them’

April 27th, 2016 · Israel, Palestine, Poem, Poetry

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The year 2015, according to a new report by Hamleh (The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media), saw a surge in the number of Palestinians being arrested, in Israel, on the charge of “incitement through social media.”:

tatourOne of the most prominent cases is of the poet Dareen Tatour, who was arrested last October, charged in November, and spent several months in prison before being placed under house arrest — with no access to the internet — in January. She is currently confined to a Tel Aviv apartment and had her first court hearing this month, charged for Facebook postings and a poem posted to YouTube.

According to Nadim Nashef of Al-Shabaka, “The Palestinian Prisoners Club, a non-governmental organization dealing with prisoners’ rights, estimates that more than 150 arrests took place between October and February 2016 based on Facebook posts expressing opinions on the uprising.”

Nashef writes that there “is no formal legislation that covers legal action with regard to the accusation of incitement through social media.” So when is a creative work “incitement”? And what effect does this have in suppressing wider creative and civic activities? Activist Yoav Haifawi, in writing about Tatour’s first court hearing, recounts a scene like a political satire, where a policeman is translating Tatour’s poem into Hebrew.

“I’ve never seen the prosecution as obstinate as it has been in Dareen’s case,” attorney Abed Fahoum told Electronic Intifada. “I believe that they aim to use her to intimidate and silence all Palestinians.”

Here, the poet Tariq al Haydar translates Tatour’s words into English:

Resist, My People, Resist Them

Resist, my people, resist them.

In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows

And carried the soul in my palm

For an Arab Palestine.

I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”

Never lower my flags

Until I evict them from my land.

I cast them aside for a coming time.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the settler’s robbery

And follow the caravan of martyrs.

Shred the disgraceful constitution

Which imposed degradation and humiliation

And deterred us from restoring justice.

They burned blameless children;

As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,

Killed her in broad daylight.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.

Pay no mind to his agents among us

Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.

Do not fear doubtful tongues;

The truth in your heart is stronger,

As long as you resist in a land

That has lived through raids and victory.

So Ali called from his grave:

Resist, my rebellious people.

Write me as prose on the agarwood;

My remains have you as a response.

Resist, my people, resist them.

Resist, my people, resist them.

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Arabic Poetry Conference @ Boise State University

April 20th, 2016 · Arab Culture, Arabic, Maghreb, Maghrebi Literature, Mashreq, Middle East, Poetry Festival, Poetry readings, Translation

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ARAB POETRY CONFERENCE

مرءتمر الثعر العربي

Thursday 4/21/16

3-5pm. Panel: On Arab Literature Today. Bishop Barnwell Room

3-4: MAGHREB: Pierre Joris & Habib Tengour present Poems for the Millennium Maghreb Anthology

4-5: MASHREQ: Osama Alomar and Faiza Sultan present the situation of poetry in the Mashreq.

6-8pm.  Poetry Reading by Faiza Sultan & Osama Alomar, followed by Q & A. Jordan AB Ballroom

Friday 4/22/16

3-5pm. Panel: On Translating Arab Literature Barwell Room

Faiza Sultan, Osama Alomar & Habib Tengour.  Moderator: Pierre Joris

6-9pm .Poetry Reading by_Pierre Joris & Habib Tengour  followed by Q & A.

Simplot AC Ballroom

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Palestinian Poet Dareen Tatour Reportedly Jailed, Prosecuted for Poem on Facebook

April 18th, 2016 · Israel, Palestine, Poetry

dareenvia Arab Literature (in English) & BY MLYNXQUALEY on APRIL 18, 2016 • ( 2 )

According to a post that appeared on the +972 blog, Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour has been charged with incitement to violence based on a poem she posted on Facebook, shifted between prison and house arrest. In her first hearing, held April 13, a policeman translated the “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” poem at the center of the trial:

It was around 3 a.m. on October 10, 2015, when Tatour was first arrested, according to +972.

The main clause of the indictment, which came later, was apparently was based on a poem posted on Youtube under Tatour’s name, with the, “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” (Resist my people, resist them). Another clause in the indictment, according to +972, refers to a post on her Facebook page calling for a “comprehensive intifada.”

The +972 poster, the pseudonymous Yoav Haifawi, discussed the gaps in translation between how Israeli security sees words like shaheed and intifada, and how they’re understood and expressed by Palestinians. But the strangest moment in translation came at the April 13 hearing. Haifawi writes:

The prosecution started its plea by calling the policeman who translated the “Qawem” poem to Hebrew to the stand. The scene was completely surreal. Poems, by their very nature, are incommensurate with the concept of “proven beyond reasonable doubt” that stands at the heart of criminal law. The witness, a policeman, was struggling with the ambiguities of the poem’s content, supplying his intuitive interpretation to the phrases. We were torn between the urge to laugh out loud and the bewilderment that gripped us, bearing in mind that the freedom of our dear Dareen depends on this nonsense.

There is a more detailed report available in Hebrew.

Haifawi said there was a small supporting crowd at the April 13 hearing, which included some of Tatour’s relatives “as well as Muhammad Barakeh, the head of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee (the official representative body of the Palestinian citizens in Israel), and Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi.” Haifawi went on to call for international solidarity among writers and poets:

Yet I think that the case of Dareen Tatour deserves special attention.

She is a woman and a poet. The main charge against her is based on her poem. This is a good opportunity for poets and writers to take a stand against the occupation and its practice of criminalizing any Palestinian expression of the desire for freedom and dignity.

Read the whole essay on +972.

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Fugs For Bernie!

April 13th, 2016 · Uncategorized

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“In an unlivable land”

April 12th, 2016 · Blogs, Photography, Poetry

#Idomeni. A woman and a child. In the unlivable land of razor wire, clashes, rubber bullets, tear gas: image via Valerio De Cesaris @ValerioDeC, 11 April 2016

#Idomeni. A woman and a child. In the unlivable land of razor wire, clashes, rubber bullets, tear gas: image via Valerio De Cesaris @ValerioDeC, 11 April 2016

Check out the amazing array of photos (& texts) with which Tom Clark has been documenting the disastrous history (and its remaining beauty & humanity) we are living through, stuck in, throttled by, day in day out, on his “Beyond the Pale” blog. It has become a daily moment of reflection for me.

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Happy Birthday, Jack Kerouac!

April 11th, 2016 · Celebration, Live Reading, Poet, Prose

Possibly my single favorite piece of writing by Ti’Jean (March 12, 1922, Lowell, MA — October 21, 1969, St. Petersburg, FL): October in the Railroad Earth — given as poem by Youtube, in fact a prose piece, though its absolute beauty is exactly its genre-defying swing — writing at its most superb, writing to be listened to. Enjoy!

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“DADA anders” Trailer

April 8th, 2016 · Aesthetics, Art Exhibition, Dada, Europe, Poetry

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Hannah Höch, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven exhibition in Zürich’s Museum Haus Konstruktiv

Sophie Taeuber-Arp in Ascona, 1925, Courtesy Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth

Sophie Taeuber-Arp in Ascona, 1925, Courtesy Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth

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Special Issue of Refugee Poetry, MPT Launches ‘The Great Flight’

April 6th, 2016 · Arab Culture, Arabic, Poetry, Refugee Poetry, Translation

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On Wednesday, April 13 at London’s Southbank Centre will host the launch of “The Great Flight,” Modern Poetry in Translation’s refugee-focussed issue, ed. Sasha Dugdale:

Image from the Southbank Centre.

Image from the Southbank Centre.

The free event, which is set to begin at 8pm, will feature performances by Syrian poet Golan Haji, civil rights activist and writer Nasrin Parvaz, and translator-poet Stephen Watts. You can hear “readings of Golan’s poetry in Arabic and in superb new English translations by Stephen Watts, followed by a discussion on issues of identity, dislocation and discrimination with Nasrin.”

The issue also includes work by five Assyrian Iraqi poets, the great Algerian poet-translator-scholar Habib Tengour, and Algerian poet and novelist Mohammed Dib.

Poems by Golan Haji:

Four  poems, trans. Lauren Pyott

Autumn Here is Magical and Vast, trans Stephen Watts

Poems by Habib Tengour:

Crossing, trans. Marilyn Hacker

Seven poems, trans. Pierre Joris

Poems by Mohammed Dib:

Fifteen poems, translator uncredited

Also: Madeleine Campbell on Translating Mohammed Dib Through ‘Sound, Gesture, Movement and Sculpture’

More meditations on exile:

Sargon Boulus: “A Refugee Tells” (trans. Youssef Rakha and Kees Nijland)

Dara Abdallah: 14 Poems (trans. Mona Kareem)

Ashraf Fayadh: ‘The Last of the Line of Refugee Descendants’ (trans. Jonathan Wright)

Hassan Blasim: “A Refugee in the Paradise That is Europe” (trans. Jonathan Wright)

Osama Esber: Exile is Born at This Moment” (trans. Esber)

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Mikhl Likht addresses Ezra Pound…

April 1st, 2016 · Poem, Translation

likht…in a poem translated from Yiddish & with a note by Ariel Resnikoff.

E.P.

After the Yiddish of Mikhl Likht

A

Ezra :
Calm to no avail in classic banalities
& offtimes magic clown
not from breeding:
Your pages — my out-dated prophecies.
Your book — sesame for my psychic aventuras.
I make a pact with you as you
made a pact with the “Good Grey Poet” :
I am also a condemned scrap of ordinary dust.

B

The sun from far-off Idaho
rises colored ribbons
from his troubadour-tree.

The arrogant eyes
shine on once-sophistic(ated)
thru gold-dust from a medieval chorale
with forced shimmer
from Rihaku’s Cathay-creations;
once —
with Haman’s poisonous blood-evil sickness.

Idaho-cool air in Arnaut Daniel’s rich
breath subtle with the pronunciation of “La Dolche
                Lingua Toscana.”

Like everything that’s more sinister than intimate.

The rhetoric of Camões is his Shatzer’s rhetoric.
In Dante-Odess, with a well-wrought burden,
                  immersed
an alchemist, a romancer.

(Naturally, the past attracts in dust piles:
Today is the day dressed in a well known sun-mode:
All-known is the address where one receives one’s sun-dress).

It conjured the imported Spanish pavane
& paired incomprehensible oppositions
with Haman’s public blood-evil.

 

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE. Mikhl Likht (1893-1953) was a Yiddish American poet, critic, editor & translator, whose radical masterwork, Protsesiyes [Processions], accompanies &, in some cases, pre-figured the long poem experiments of English poets, Pound, Loy, Eliot, Williams & Zukofsky, with all of whom he was in contact. “E.P,” which appears in Likht’s Yiddish collection, Vazon [Vessel, 1928], addresses head-on the stagnation of Pound’s panculturalist anti-Semitism & “betters the instruction” (to quote a young Zukosky quoting Shylock).  Likht published the first stanza of “E.P.” as an English poem called, “To the Author of Lustra.” under the pseudonym, Max Licht Sonin, in the little magazine, The Pagan in 1918. (A.R.)

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