Gerrit Lansing, poet, scholar, friend, passed away peacefully this past night. A man of wider & deeper knowledge than almost anyone I have known, Gerrit was as familiar with, and brought as much care to contemporary poetry & poetics than to older literatures, to the traditionary sciences than to modern science, to the making of music than to the preparing of food. A conversationalist sans pareil, he moved with grace, … Read more Gerrit Lansing (February 25, 1928-February 11, 2018)
Seeing the above headline of the cover story in the French daily Libération, I thought I’d offer a poem I wrote some years ago, after lunch, in Paris, in honor of having just eaten an excellent tête de veau, a calf’s head, as homage to the excellent poeta, prosateur, culinary commentator, dégustateur of all things edible, fisher of trout and readers, that was Jim Harrison. May he eat well wherever he is: … Read more Homage to Jim Harrison
A street has been named for poet & essayist Abdelwahab Meddeb (1946—2014) in el-Omrane, his native quarter in the city of Tunis. I am of course very pleased that his hometown is acknowledging Abdelwahab’s life, though some more information, at least his dates would have been useful. I still regret that I was unable to be in Tunis on 11/5/15 when many of our friends gathered at the National Library … Read more Rue Abdelwahab Meddeb à El-Omrane
Held at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris on 26 November 2014.
Yesterday was Ken Irby’s 78th birthday, and I’m extremely happy to announce that the Jacket2 special feature (edited by Kyle Waugh & Billy Joe Harris) is now live. Happy Birthday, Ken! This feature devoted to the work of Kenneth Irby collects a number of papers delivered at the 2011 colloquium devoted to Irby in Lawrence, Kansas, along with new essays by Robert Bertholf, Dale Smith, Matthew Hofer, and others; a chronology, a poem … Read more Ken Irby @ 78!
The L.A. Review of Books just published a superb homage to recently deceased poet Juan Gelman by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez &Katherine M. Hedeen. Opening paras below — for the whole essay, click here. Juan Gelman or “about a truth that didn’t believe in death.” March 23rd, 2014 The Spanish language edition of this article is available immediately below the English. We also present selections of Juan Gelman’s poetry below, in both Spanish … Read more Homage to Juan Gelman
Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam — О́сип Эми́льевич Мандельшта́м — was born January 15 1891 & died 75 years ago today on December 27, 1938 in Siberia at a transit camp to the Gulag where Stalin had sent him for writing poems that insulted the dictator. Probably the greatest Russian lyric poet & essayist of the first part of the 20C. I am still awaiting a really great translation into English of the poetry. Many … Read more 75 Years Ago Osip Mandelstam died
The great German philologist Jacob Grimm died 150 years ago today. If you like dictionaries, you should check out what is still he greatest German language Wörterbuch — now online & available for free, here. My work on translating Paul Celan was made immeasurably easier by that dictionary, especially as it was Celan’s own favorite source for uncontaminated German & for etymologies & local dialectical variations. Jacob Grimm described … Read more Jacob Grimm — Tales &/of Words
After a week at the Poetry Festival in Sète (videos to come in a few days) where Nicole read/performed at least once a day but where the internet connection, if I may call it that, didn’t allow me to publish anything to this blog, we drove today to a village in the Béarn near Pau for a week-long residency on Occitan poetry. Leaving Sète we stopped at the “Cimetière … Read more From Sète to the Béarn
When I think of Jean Bollack — philologist, philosopher, hermeneut, translator, commentator, friend to Paul Celan & irritant to many — the first word that comes to mind is “décrasser,” a French term that means to clean, to scrub or more powerfully, to scour, even dip into a bath of acid to remove the accumulated gangue of lazy thought & language. He did this mostly to the Greek tragedies and the pre-socratic … Read more Jean Bollack (1923-2012)