Homage & Good-Bye to Tuli Kupferberg

On Saturday a Tuli Kupferberg homage was held at Saint Marks in the Bowery’s Poetry Project. The Fugs performed a number of Tuli’s songs, and some 40 plus people spoke or read to honor Tuli, in the very full hall. Below, my amateurish recording of the Fugs doing a Tuli song (an extract, really), and below that my translation of the 1969 Claude Pélieu poem dedicated to Tuli, which I read in the original French & in my instant translation (just add English) after suggesting that Claude, who called it splitsville back in 2002, was no doubt hanging out near the Pearly Gates to throw a reception party for Tuli when he arrived.

Claude Pélieu


                          (for Tuli)

Silence staved in the ripe wheat
& the body attacked the body
Light sawed through the fog
& the music knocked over the chamber maid
The silex-emerald of sex set fire to
the calendar
A short line a long line
a black one a white one
we couldn't care less we don't give a fuck
The spicy stars pinch
thought's ass.
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Pierre Joris

Pierre Joris is a poet, translator, essayist & anthologist who has published more than 50 books, most recently, Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press and The University of California Book of North African Literature (volume 4 in the Poems for the Millennium series), coedited with Habib Tengour. Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader edited & translated by Joris, and Pierre Joris: Cartographies of the In-between, essays on Joris’ work edited by Peter Cockelbergh, came out in 2012. Forthcoming are Barzakh — Poems 2000-2012 (Black Widow Press) & Breathturn Into Timestead:The Collected Later Poems of Paul Celan (FSG).

Comment on “Homage & Good-Bye to Tuli Kupferberg”

  1. Claude was waiting impatiently with Mary at his side. Here is Mary Beach’s translation of the same poem from Jukeboxes:

    (For Tuli)

    Silence has knocked down the ripe wheat
    & the body attacked the body
    Light has sawed through the fog
    & music knocked down the chambermaid
    The sex’s emerald flint set fire to
    the calendar
    A short line a long line
    one black one white
    don’t give a fuck who cares
    spiced stars pinch
    thought’s ass —

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