Nina Cassian (1924-2014)

Saddened to hear of Nina Cassian’s passing.  She was a Romanian poet, journalist, film critic and who also translated works of William Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Christian Morgenstern, Yiannis Ritsos, and Paul Celan into Romanian. She published more than fifty books of her own poetry. The New York Times’ obit can be read here. Born into a Jewish family in Galaţi, they lived in Brașov between 1926 and 1935, when the family … Read more Nina Cassian (1924-2014)

“An American is a Complex of occasions:” Charles Olson Reads

A dream last night of a largish figure hurrying along a rock outcropping at a seashore — can only be Charles Olson, methought. A bit puzzled as Olson, whom I never met, has never, as far as I remember, shown up in my dreams. The dream may be a footnote to a conversation I had earlier last night with Ammiel Alcalay on his excellent A Little History book, as … Read more “An American is a Complex of occasions:” Charles Olson Reads

Rachel Blau DuPlessis on Long Poem

LONG POEMS IN OUR TIME: NUMBERS, GENRES, ENCOUNTERS / RACHEL BLAU DUPLESSIS Long Poems in our Time: Numbers, Genres, Encounters -with emphasis on the work of H. D. / Rachel Blau Duplessis. In Modernist Revolutions. Paradigms of the New and Circulations of the Word in American Poetry, journées d’études internationales organisées par Clément Oudart dans le cadre de “Poéthiques” (laboratoire Cultures Anglo-Saxonnes, axe 5), Université Toulouse II-Le Mirail, 16-17 … Read more Rachel Blau DuPlessis on Long Poem

In Support of Omar Hazek

via Arab Literature (in English): BY MLYNXQUALEY on MARCH 23, 2014 PEN International, which has investigated Hazek’s case,also came out last week with an action appeal on Hazek’s behalf. In a statement, the organization said: PEN International protests the two-year prison sentence handed down to Egyptian poet Omar Hazek, who has been held in custody since his arrest in early December 2013 for taking part in a protest. Omar Hazek was held … Read more In Support of Omar Hazek

The Great European Digital FreakOut

Ever since past summer’s revelations by the man-who-should-get-the-Nobel-Peace-Prize of the NSA’s global digital snooping, the Europeans have been freaking out. This morning my beloved France Culture had an hour long program discussing or rather explaining basics of digital communication, for example the difference between email & the web — the difficulty may have lain in the fact that they used a good half-dozen English words (such as “le broadcasting,” … Read more The Great European Digital FreakOut

Unsi al-Haj (1937-2014)

Unsi al-Hajj was one of the major avant-garde voices in the Lebanese, and more widely, the Middle East poetry renaissance. He was connected with the major avant-garde journal Shi’ir (Poetry) core to the poetry revival of the 50s & 60s, & is maybe best known for popularizing the prose poem. Adonis wrote in his The Music of the Blue Whale: “I did not write prose poems in the exact sense … Read more Unsi al-Haj (1937-2014)

Stephen Kessler on Wanda Coleman

My old West Coast friend Stephen Kessler just brought my attention to his lovely poetryflash obituary for Wanda Coleman, & given that here on the East Coast there was little notice of her passing (shame on you, New York Times! — though we did have a lovely small memorial gathering with Bob Holman, Patricia Spears Jones, Lee Anne Brown, Nicole Peyrafitte, Julie Patton, & a few more) I asked … Read more Stephen Kessler on Wanda Coleman

Etel Adnan Named ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’

Very happy to hear that Etel Adnan, a gerat writer & good friend, was thus honored by the French. Marcy Qualey just posted the info on her Arab Literature (in English) blog, which I am copying here: Lebanese writer and painter Etel Adnan has been named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, a distinction she shares with artists as varied as Terry Gilliam, Shakira, Tim Burton, … Read more Etel Adnan Named ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’

Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)

Travel Well! In 1998, for Vol. 2 of Poems for the Millennium, Jerome Rothenberg & I wrote the following commentary on Baraka’s work: COMMENTARY The force we want is of twenty million spooks storming America with furious cries and unstoppable weapons. We want actual explosions and actual brutality: AN EPIC IS CRUMBLING and we must give it the space and hugeness of its actual demise. A. B. It was … Read more Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)

Sudanese Poet, Artist Mohamed Bahnas Dies Homeless in Cairo

Via Arab Literature (In English) & Still Sudan: Numerous news outlets (Shorouk, Youm7, Veto) are reporting that multitalented Mohamed Hussein Bahnas — guitarist, singer, artist, poet, and novelist — died of hunger and exposure on Cairo’s streets: The 42-year-old artist apparently came to Cairo two years ago to stage an exhibition and remained, performing his songs and poetry in various locations around Cairo, but wasn’t able to afford permanent shelter. His death was first mourned … Read more Sudanese Poet, Artist Mohamed Bahnas Dies Homeless in Cairo