Friday, May 07, 2010

Tonight I made it over to Granary Books (on Mercer, in Soho) for a talk by one of our living masters, the remarkable Jerome Rothenberg. The occasion was an installment in an ongoing series of talks and presentations all to do with the phenomenon of the book and, on this particular occasion, of the book as it has appeared in the poetry and in the art of Professor Rothenberg and his collaborators, which have been co-publishers, co-editors, co-scholars, translators, artists and other poets. The setting was intimate and perfect, being close enough to hear every word and close enough to discern every facial expression. In addition to recounting his adventures, and sometimes larks and capers, as a poet self-publishing and publishing the works of others, and of the various types and productions of books ranging from the most economical to the most sophisticated and sumptuous, professor also spoke on ethnopoetics and on the dichotomy of the spoken word and the written word, of the presence in speech and of the absence in the printed. Several of his books were passed around for us to peruse. The one that made the deepest impression on me was entitled The Burning Babe & Other Poems, a collaboration with the artist Susan Bee.

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