Rachida Madani: “Walk through the Ruins”

In preview of Rachida Madani‘s reading tonight at 6:30 at Silvana 300 W 116th street in New York, here is a poem I just translated for the event from her collection Femme je suis / Woman I am. Walk through the ruins that wreck us and tell yourself that we’re camping in a crumbling of stones even if no denunciation transfers from the sand to accumulate dune upon dune      storm … Read more Rachida Madani: “Walk through the Ruins”

Sappho Criticizes Her Brother

Recently two as yet unknown poems by Sappho were discovered, one of which, btw, confirms our man Herodotus — the father of prose — as a better historian than he is usually given credit for by the champions of Thucydides (i.e. historians in the employ of the state that won.) Indeed, Herodotus spoke of the so-called “brother poem” a poem in which Sappho criticized her brother Charaxos or his … Read more Sappho Criticizes Her Brother

Coney Island Sunday

  & walking along, Hitchcock didn’t come to mind once, but I couldn’t stop thinking of Paul Blackburn‘s strange fixation on gulls, his “never look a gull in the eye,” and his 1949/1951 poem which I’ll take the liberty of reproducing below:   THE BIRDS I want them to come here I want to see them here at this round boulder.                 White spots against the sky, each                 there, a swollen … Read more Coney Island Sunday

Another Paul Celan Poem

On the 11.21. 1965. Paul Celan undertook a trip to Switzerland. That day he wrote the poem Die längst Entdeckten | The long discovered, which he included in the volume Threadsuns, but also wrote the following poem, not published in his life time, though now in the Collected Poems: BELEAGUERED   The delusion-runs: say that they are delusion-runs, of the murder- mouths and -writings and -signs, say, that they are composed … Read more Another Paul Celan Poem

Winter Rose

At the end of our morning walk along the Narrows, we stopped in the NBG (Narrows Botanical Garden) in front of our place, and Nicole took some photos of the single rose left. I immediately thought of  the opening poem in Hermetic Definitions, a title the initials of which name its author: HD.   Why did you come to trouble my decline? I am old ( I was old till … Read more Winter Rose

Paul Celan, his birthday

Paul Celan’s  92nd birthday was yesterday — he was born 23 November 1920. I waited out Black Friday to post on it. So, to celebrate the man, here, in my translation, a poem, the last one in the final posthumous volume Zeitgehöft / Timestead: Vinegrowers dig up dig under the darkhoured watch, depth for depth, you read, the invisible one commands the wind to stay in bounds, you read, … Read more Paul Celan, his birthday

A poem by Tahar Djaouat…

…because the sun on the sea today made me think of him & Jean Sénac:   Tahar Djaouat   Sénac still present This rust inside me the sun revives. Obsessional smell of the wave on my eye Terrace where interminably a telluric laughter unfurls Laughter of an Algerian girl (Jean, look how the suns commingle and the praying wave caresses the stirrups Fissures — butterfly elytra — in the … Read more A poem by Tahar Djaouat…

Uri Avnery on Günther Grass

As far as poems go, “Was gesagt werden muss / What needs to be said” is a pretty second-rate exercise, & its political analysis is to a good extent inaccurate, but the mass of hysterical & inane responses in Europe (cf. the hundreds of the knee-jerk reactions in the German press) & here (see, for example Bernard Henri Levy’s idiotically pavlovian & totally besides the point response in the Huff … Read more Uri Avnery on Günther Grass

Paul Celan from “Eigedunkelt”

Alexandra Bentz – Mezzo-Sopran, Aribert Reimann aus Eingedunkelt für Alt-Solo, “Füll die Ödnis” Here is the original poem followed by my translation:   Füll die Ödnis in die Augensäcke, den Opferruf, die Salzflut, komm mit mir zu Atem und drüber hinaus.   Shovel the void into the eyebags, the sacrificecall, the saltflood, come with me to breath and out beyond.