German poet, memoirist, painter, sculptor & musician Günter Ullmann died last week. He was born in East Germany in 1946 and as he writes: “My mother was a Christian, my father was a party member, so I prayed for the victory of the Algerian FLN over the French colonialists.” In 1966, inspired by the Beatles, he started his own band (called “media nox” after the first name “the rats” was … Read more Günter Ullmann (1946-2009)
“…that was the beginning of my life in poetry — to find out that poetry had the most extraordinary intelligence, and that it would just wander and and wander and wonder. And so, I love it to this very day. Poetry is the language that one really must finally know — you know, before you get the hell out of here be sure that you got some poetry because … Read more Robin Blaser (1925-2009)
Last week’s reading at The Drawing Center brought back the pleasure I had when translating and working on Unica Zürn’s anagrammatic poems. I had published these nine translations back in the early nineties in Clayton Eshleman’s SULFUR, but feel like posting them today again. A more deteailed essay on Zürn and Hans Bellmer is forthcoming in my collection of essays, Justifying the Margins, to be published later this month … Read more Unica Zürn's Anagrams
Some Sunday morning reads (& an added game): JG Ballard’s last short story, The Dying Fall, just published by the Guardian, here. J.G. Ballard in 2007 There’s more pictures & writing on Ballard here. * If into French, check out Pierre Assouline’s Le Monde sponsored literary blog La République des livres here. I always find a couple wortwhile pieces to read there each week. Most recently an excellent piece on Pierre … Read more Sunday Reads
In 2007 Parsifal Press in Toronto published Robert Kelly’s May Day, his most recent selection of shorter poems (written between 2003 and 2005). Unhappily Parsifal Press has gone out of business. Happily Charlotte Mandell has just put up a pdf of May Day on her site — you can read the complete book here. Below, to whet your appetite, I reprint the first poem in the book (minus 3 … Read more May Day by Robert Kelly
Henri Meschonnic wanted “to translate not what words say, but what they do.” At times wonderfully, at times unbearably irascible, but always controversial and “incontournable” (unavoidable), Meschonnic — poet, linguist, translator and theoretician — passed away a week ago at the age of 77. His output was immense — close to sixty books — though what he will be remembered for best are most likely his translations from the Old Testament … Read more Henri Meschonnic (1932-2009)
What is this timewhen a people no longer has a namebecause it lives without a presentIt penetrates the splinters of the explosionA past, waking from a long nightmare, pursues itIt rolls its head before the feet of Marswho rises out of the firmament of the North. Abdelkader El Janabi ABDEL KADER EL JANABI was born in Baghad in 1940. He left Iraq in 1971, and eventually settled in France. … Read more What is this time?