Jerry Rothenberg’s 80th Birthday

Jerome Rothenberg, back lawn at Naropa Institute, August 5, 1985. photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

In celebration of Jerome Rothenberg’s 80th birthday. Here’s a reading that took place in August of 1981 at Naropa. Allen introduces him.

“(He (Jerry Rothenberg)..)  is now teaching a course in poetry and performance (here at NAROPA), which involves his specialty vocalization – “ethnopoetics” – Native American and other indigenous forms of poetry presentation and utterance and, with dance, music, song, chant, going into the seed (seat?) of language – he’s a fantastic scholar anthropologist anthologist whose specialization has been international-style of the twentieth-century, as well as archaic style, and so he’s organized a number of anthologies which are used extensively throughout the Universities in the United States, Shaking The Pumpkin, which as it’s name indicates is a work by American Indians among others, America:A Prophecy, Technicians of the Sacred (etc etc) – all these are classic anthologies which have extended the range of poetry considered by the Academy to be poetry, so that we now have American Indian and indigenous work, sound poetry, vocalization of poetry, sacred poetry, as part of the canon of texts that students can study – and that’s what he’s been teaching here – and, in addition, A Big Jewish Book, a giant anthology that he put together of Jewish writing. One book, which I think is now out of print, which I liked a lot was on American avant-garde writing, called  The Revolution of The Word , which came in hardcover about five years ago and then vanished into the skies, hard to get now but that’s a really basic handbook on the unknown poetry of the early part of the century. He’s translated a great deal from German and then this 20th century international heroic anthology I put together for my own class this term I included his translation of (Hans Magnus) Enzensberger’s (poem), that we are “all members of the international mucus membrane network”. His own books of poetry are published by New Directions. In 1971 Poems for A Game of Silence, Poland 1931, a family album history Jews coming to America, published in ’74, Seneca Journal, reflecting his work with Seneca Indians, 1976, Vienna Blood 1980 from New Directions, and this year, (1981), Prefaces, which are disquisitions on poetics. [this selective, now 30-year-old listing has, of course, been significantly expanded]. So Jerry Rothenberg now take over.

Jerry Rothenberg on Ubu Web can be accessed here; via Internet Archive (classes on shamanism and ethnopoetics, plus) here; via PennSound (audio archives, including Rockdrill’s 2004 CD’s – “Sightings: Poems 1960-1983” and “Seedings: Poems 1984-2003”) here

And (in the spirit of blog solidarities) don’t miss out on “Poems and Poetics”, Jerry’s blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *