Jerome Rothenberg

One of the brightest moments at the old splab, there at 14 S. Division – a molotov cocktail’s throw from city hall – I once liked to say, was the visit of Jerome Rothenberg. The book that was current for him at the time was The Lorca Variations and I continue to see images from that work show up in poems.

More on Rothenberg here and here, but let me suggest one of his latest blog posts: Poets in Society: A Reconsideration.

An excerpt:

Artists and poets are inextricably in society. This is both our opportunity and our doom. And even when we think of ourselves as in the margins or on the fringes or alienated or outsiders, these are all social terms and we are all of us social creatures. We are also, as poets, sharers of a common language, in the shaping and reshaping of which we put ourselves forward as hyperconscious players/actors/agents. That there are other agents, with more power over the means of dissemination, may be our misfortune, but we seem to persevere in spite of that. By doing what we do we call their language (& their world) into question, and this forms the basis of what we think of, hopefully or foolishly, as our counterpoetics.


As you may know, SPLAB is on hiatus until February 2, when Living Room resumes at the Columbia City Cinema, 4816 Rainier AV S. Come to read new work for a gentle critique, come to read someone else’s work, or come just to be in the engaging company of other writers. Happy December. Your

Wily Splabman.

About Splabman

SPLAB founder Paul Nelson wrote Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, German, 2008) as well as a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010). In 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others. Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, recent publications on and off-line include: Hambone, Pageboy, Menacing Hedge, Fieralingue, Rain Taxi, Solitary Plover, the Soul of the Earth anthology, Along the Rim: The Best of the Pacific Rim Review (Vol 2), Inactual, Raft magazine and Golden Handcuffs Review. He lives in Seattle, won the 2014 Robin Blaser Award from the Capilano Review and writes at least one American Sentence every day.
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