Excerpts from my interview with Jerome Rothenberg. (Thanks to Tyler Burke, who did the editing.)
Jerome Rothenberg was selected as one of the Kelly Writers House’s 2008 Fellows. After meeting in class with students who had been studying his work for a third of their semester, he attended two programs open to the public at the Writers House, moderated by Al Filreis. In this video Jerome and Al discuss writing in response to the Holocaust, the influence of surrealism, and tension within the avant-garde. Jerome Rothenberg is the author of over seventy books of poetry including Poland/1931 (1974), That Dada Strain (1983), New Selected Poems 1970-1985 (1986), Khurbn (1989), and most recently, The Case for Memory (2001) and A Book of Witness (2003). Describing his poetry career as “an ongoing attempt to reinterpret the poetic past from the point of view of the present,” he has also edited seven major assemblages of traditional and contemporary poetry, including Technicians of the Sacred (1985), comprised of tribal and oral poetry from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania, Revolution of the Word (1974), a collection of American experimental poetry between the two world wars and two volumes of Poems for the Millennium (1995, 1998), which won the Josephine Miles Award in 1996. In 1999 and again in 2001 he was a co-organizer of the People’s Poetry Gathering, a three-day festival, under joint sponsorship by City Lore and Poet’s House in New York City. Rothenberg was elected to the World Academy of Poetry (UNESCO) in 2001.