PRE-FACES & OTHER WRITINGS by Jerome Rothenberg


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Rothenberg, a tireless anthologizer (Technicians of the Sacred, Shaking the Pumpkin, A Big Jewish Book, etc.) and booster of shamanism-as-poetry, sets within two long, self-explanatory interviews, front and back, a filling of various ""pre-faces"" to his books, as well as the prose commentaries previously published in his anthologies. Most interesting (because least available) is the early material dating from Rothenberg's ""deep image"" period--""The content of vision emerging in the poem""--and its questionable direction: Form as ""the pattern of the movement from perception to vision."" In Rothenberg and others, this gave way, around the mid-Sixties, to a great desire for rooting in or linking up to either pre-literate traditions (Navaho, Seneca Indian) or electic, largely oral suborthodoxies such as Kabbalism. Rothenberg does a canny job of defending his theses; but all those fervid interconnections seem, finally, without coherence. Why the fear of aesthetic individuality? The answer is not really forthcoming here, where a nearly-chanted regularity of assertion pushes away the more intriguing questions raised.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: New Directions