Seedings and Other Poems

Seedings and Other Poems

by Jerome Rothenberg

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 stylea 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 (" 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 campsis a powerful and sad meditation on the Holocaust, the subject of his 1989 collection, Khurbn & Other Poems. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Rothenberg (Poems for the Millennium, LJ 10/1/95), perhaps the finest American visionary poet alive, finds the perfect vehicle as he sets his sights on the approaching millennium. The "seedings" of the title are not only the seeds of new life but "the seeds of war." And a few pages later: "I write this in a dream passage between worlds.../ Now is the time to make your peace with earth/ now is the time to overcome forgetting." Visions aside, this collection extends other aspects of his 40-year career. In brief, hard-hitting, single-image poems recalling his earlier "Sightings," he takes heart by examining and offering up the skewed imagery of gods, saints, and martyrs that artists have depicted. Recalling Vienna Blood (New Directions, 1980), this volume closes with a memorable sequence based on 14 railroad "stations" of the Holocaust. Here he relies upon chance numerology as both a distancing and a drawing closer, but, unlike chance sequences by other writers, these poems are honed to perfection.Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, "Soho Weekly News," New York

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New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
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5.22(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.37(d)

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