I enjoyed hearing Anselm Berrigan read these poems and others last Thursday night at MIT. Tom Raworth read his own poems quickly, sometimes mixing in words in Latin or French, other moments in English but quickly disappearing into the frenetic rhythms of his delivery. (Jack Kimball writes about the evening at his blog.) Both of them, along with Bill Corbett, read excerpts from the massive Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan.
Tonight we'll go hear Kevin Young read in Cambridge. Hoping he might read sections from his great Basquiat book, To Repel Ghosts (Zoland Books, 2001), which I noticed has been "remixed" for its paperback edition this year.
I sit at readings and concerts recently thinking about my own work and how I present it on the page or at a microphone. I've got a very small number of poems I'm sifting through to read in Ithaca in a few weeks. Scores of disposable journal pages, notebook lines that dissolve upon reading them. The poem has to emerge of its own, without my hand.
I also plan on reading a few of my English translations from one or two Venezuelan poets. So much of what I translate ends up becoming a part of my own identity as a writer. Certain Venezuelan poets whose work I inhabit: Martha Kornblith, Juan Sánchez Peláez, Rafael Cadenas, Elizabeth Schön.
Or, other semi-secret poets one acquires without money, from friends and friendly books, in bookstores and pamphlets across the misconstrued reading universe. From Peru, César Moro, Emilio Adolfo Westphalen and Javier Sologuren.
The letters Moro wrote from Mexico before moving back to Peru. How much of a distance exists between the mythical page and the mundane life. Three of his letters to Westphalen and the poem included in Editorial Pequeña Venecia's excellent edition of his letters can be read online here.
A conduit between two languages, their equivalencies and disjunctions. I plan on posting translations of recent columns by Colette Capriles, Oswaldo Barreto and Joaquín Marta Sosa over the next few days. Part of what motivates these newspaper translations is how little most Americans know about Latin America (much less Venezuela).
I browsed through Richard Gott's newsly-released book on Venezuela last night, Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution (Verso, 2005). I enjoyed his first book on Venezuela very much, partly because Gott is such a thorough historian. However, Gott's accounts of its political crisis are so obviously biased toward chavismo, they read like cynical Soviet propaganda. Especially when one knows just how desperate life has become for most people in Venezuela.
After a certain point, one begins to question where exactly the American and European left actually stand today regarding Venezuela and Cuba. Who is seriously advocating the type of Stalinist regimes these two countries currently endure? Venezuela's dictatorship is of course still developing, as of yet uncharted.
To undertake a balance between silence and this necessary speech. To write as quietly as possible, engaged with the material consequences of reading. The script broken in notebooks, pulse of screen monitors, dear readers abandoned for trees, ice on select branches, closed windows for the rain to beat upon. It's the secret, poets.