Seedings and Other Poems

Jerome Rothenberg, Author
Jerome Rothenberg, Author New Directions Publishing Corporation $10.95 (116p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1331-8
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Rothenberg's first collection since his 1993 The Lorca Variations is a mixed gathering of stylistic and thematic concerns that featured prominently in many of his other collections. Most of the poems mark a return to what may be his least interesting style--a heavily Dada-influenced avant-garde poetics best seen in his 1983 That Dada Strain. A section of ""Improvisations"" seems forced and mannered (""Look, the girl in white cries out, the sun has grown a moustache""). Another section, ""An Oracle for Delfi,"" doesn't quite achieve its self-proclaimed ""classical"" goal, ""to make a poem of seedings/ like poems & photographs of hands/ all of us share."" Rothenberg is far more successful in ""Seedings,"" the long opening poem on life and death. Its plain style displays the influence of the primitive oral and tribal poetics that have been the focus of much of his recent work (""...it is better that the dead/ stay dead their confusion would only alarm us/ who remain alive & sometimes have to think/ about the dead & what to say to them/ to set things straight""). The closing section, ""14 Stations""--written to accompany a series of drawings of Nazi concentration camps--is a powerful and sad meditation on the Holocaust, the subject of his 1989 collection, Khurbn & Other Poems. (Sept.)
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