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Current Issue

Issue n° 6

Geographies

Summer 2007

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Mantis 6

Issue n° 6

Geographies

Summer 2007

Mantis 6 Contributors

Kirsten Anderson | Aaron Baker | Willis Barnstone | Elizabeth Bradfield | Huub Beurskens | Susan Borie Chambers | Stacie Cassarino | Rolf Dieter Brinkmann | Anne Duden Keith Ekiss | Luis Felipe Fabre | Caroline Goodwin | Andrew Grace | Debra Gwartney | Skip Horack | William Hubbard | Maria Hummel |Yu Jian | Martin Kagel | Vincent Katz | Patrice de La Tour du Pin | Alex Lemon | Sarah Lindsay | Barry Lopez | David Lummus |Valerio Magrelli | Jill McDonough | Matt Miller | Mary Millsap | William Rowe | Amina Saïd | Martha Selby | Eleni Sikelianos | Alexandra Teague | Ngo Tu Lap | Ko Un | Serhiy Zhadan | Raul Zurita | G.C. Waldrep

About This Issue

Mantis 6: Geographies continues the journal’s commitment to providing an open forum for new international poetry alongside critical scholarship. At times, such an internationalist orientation runs a Babelic risk. How can one hope to “know well” both the reciprocal landscapes of love from Old Tamil anthologies, presented here in translations by Martha Selby, and the way in which a modern Ukranian poet like Serhiy Zhadan navigates his cultural map? How can a given reader manage full admittance into the tremendous linguistic diversity that marks the activities of poetry and translation as global phenomena? We have chosen to define these questions not as readerly difficulties, but rather as requirements to canvas the international literary landscape. Mantis 6 is titled “Geographies” in the hopes that the journal can itself contour the complexity and richness of global poetic culture.

Of the “geographies” tracked in this issue of Mantis, one emphatic preoccupation is with the mediation of geographical space by entrepreneurial capital and various facets of neo-liberalism and post-industrialization. Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, a German poet who had himself internalized much of the poetic outlook of the New York School and Pop Art aesthetics from the late 1950s until his untimely death in 1975, offers us, in “Some Very Popular Songs,” an extended nightmare vision of the collusion of world currencies with natural resources and global wastage. His poem charts a new geographical territory that finalizes the fears of Ezra Pound’s economic Cantos or Ed Dorn’s North Atlantic Turbine. In “Space to Breathe: The Late Poetry of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann,” scholar Martin Kagel explores the politics of perception in Brinkmann’s work, his photographic and poetic negotiation of urban and cosmopolitan spaces, and finally the emergent topography of his poems, which delineate “spaces in and beyond the negative reality he experiences.”

Chilean poet Raúl Zurita’s long poem INRI, though written in our new century, also takes a geographical tact in responding to a moment in the 1970s when the neoliberal project in the development world chimerically emerged. The passages from INRI printed here, in William Rowe’s translation, treats Chile’s vast, elemental, sublime landscapes as the ultimate location of the Pinochet-era disappearances. As Rowe describes the project, “the flesh of the dead returns as a landscape of redemption” and INRI accomplishes “the restitution to the language of what had been kept in silence.” Meanwhile, Eleni Sikelianos’ poem, “The Sweet City,” creates an elegy out of the language of a city’s changing particulars that swirls obliquely around recent historical events. Korean poet Ko Un’s poems manage to be both compact and monumental at once, wresting moments of lyrical intensity from landscapes troubled by their politics and history. Keith Ekiss, in a review of the many new volumes of Ko Un’s work translated into English, shows just why there has been such a boom in attention directed toward Ko Un in the last few years.

Yet, if poets like Brinkmann, Zurita, Ko-Un and Sikelianos all bespeak the fraught nature of lyric utterance in moments of national or geopolitical reconfiguration, a second set of work in this issue locates the way in which particular regions have been sites of consistent imaginaries. Maria Hummel and Jill McDonough compile a lexicon of New England poetic phrases that measures the metallic and wintry qualities so often charging those poems, while poems by Anne Duden and Huub Beursken eerily reflect such wintry palettes across the Atlantic. Alaskan poet Elizabeth Bradfield meditates on the Arctic as an unlikely but frequent space for Edenic fantasies, while the early 20th century religious poet Patrice de La Tour du Pin echoes these Edenic projections onto the sparse verbal landscape of his own poems: “It’s not just under my feet, the earth—/even my eyes, my head are filled with it.”

Elsewhere in this issue, poet-critic Vincent Katz seeks to derive a poetics of place from careful readings of well-known 20th century poets, who, it curiously appears, may be quite cosmopolitan in their most vigorously provincial moments (Apollinaire), or tied to intense localisms in their farthest flung travels (Bishop). His essay charts the way in which notions of place have oscillated across the 20th century between a descriptive, notational mode of poetic exteriority, and the “psycho-geographies” of lyric affect. A number of poems printed here are illustrative of the antinomies Katz delineates: William Hubbard’s “The Area” takes a spatial metaphor as the ground of erotic and emotional speech.

Ultimately, our hope is that the poetry and criticism selected here comprises something other than a poetic atlas in which to pick destinations for literary tourism, but rather manages to juxtapose the wealth of lyric voices active, across the map, in all their difference.

Issue n° 6 Contents

Eleni Sikelianos - “The Sweet City”

Serhiy Zhadan - “Music for the Fat” (tr. Virlana Tkacz & Wanda Phipps)

Valerio Magrelli - "Weace"; "Elegy"; "Post scriptum (Addio alla lingua)" (tr. David Lummus)

G.C. Waldrep - “Semble”; “Nihil Obstat”

William Hubbard - “The Area”

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann - from “Some Very Popular Songs” (tr. Mark Terrillà)

Martin Kagel - Space to Breathe: Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's Late Poetry

Vincent Katz - Towards a Poetics of Place

Susan Borie Chambers - “How it is With Us”

Stacie Cassarino - “Notes From Vermont”

Maria Hummel & Jill McDonough - A Geopoetic Dictionary of New England

Jill McDonough - Habeus Corpus; "February 25, 1755: Tom, a Negro"; "January 17, 1977: Gary Gilmore"

Willis Barnstone - “Zanzibar’s Dr. Livingston”

Sarah Lindsay - “The Ruins of Nab”; “Planet Shaped Like a Knish”

Martha Selby - Old Tamil Landscapes of Reciprocal Love; “Ten poems ending with the expression teyyō”; “Ten poems on Tonti Town”

Amina Saïd - “Blood of the Sea”; “on the seventh day of my birth”; “I was ten years old head full of sky” (tr. Marilyn Hacker)

Huub Beurskens - from “School by the Sea” (tr. Marjolijn de Jager)

Anne Duden - “Otherland”; “Responsorium” (tr. Andrew Shields)

Patrice de La Tour du Pin - “Psalm 2”; “Psalm 17” (tr. Jennifer Grotz)

Elizabeth Bradfield - Antarctica: The Ultimate Arcadia; “In the Polar Regions”

Caroline Goodwin - “In Summer Plumage”;“Night Walk, Katlian Street”

Alex Lemon - “Shove”; “Up All Night”

Luis Felipe Fabre - "The Virgin and the Rock"; "Elegy" (tr. Jason Stumpf)

Raul Zurita - Preface to INRI; “The Snow” (tr. William Rowe)

William Rowe - Afterward to INRI

Aaron Baker - “Darkness Legend”; “Sing-sing kiama”

Ngo Tu Lap - “The Midlands”; “Empty Well” (tr. Martha Collins)

Mary Millsap - “Moving the Dump in Angoon”

Yu Jian - “Changjiang River, 2000” (tr. Simon Patton)

Ko Un - “Along the East Coast”; “When I went to Munui village”; “Beside Somjin River”; “Gazing up at Nogodan” (tr. Brother Anthony, Gary Gachà, Young-moo Kim)

Reviews

Keith Ekiss, “Three Ways of Looking at Ko Un”

Andrew Grace, Mulberry by Dan Beachy Quick

Alexandra Teague, The Persistence of Objects by Richard Garcia

Kirsten Anderson, The Garden Room by Joy Katz

Skip Horack, Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, Barry Lopez, editor, and Debra Gwartney, managing editor

Jill McDonough, White Sea by Cleopatra Mathis

Matt Miller, Lampblack and Ash by Simone Meunch

Matt Miller, The Great Enigma by Tomas Tranströmer

Andrew Grace, The Selected Poems of Wang Wei, tr. by David Hinton

David Lummus, Tom Thomson in Purgatory by Troy Jollimore

David Lummus, Disturbi del sistema binario (Disruptions in the Binary System) by Valerio Magrelli

Featured Poems

Bob Perelman - "The Task of the Translator"

Kate Schapira - "Poem from the English"

Aaron McCollough - "Prisoner's Wreath #3 and #5"

Alfred Arteaga - "Lilac, Serial, Stasis"; "En Lugar de la Nada"

Laura Minor - Ida in the Lilacs

Stephanie Bolster -Winning the West

Fred Chappell - The Genealogist

Yusef Komunyakaa -Sappho of Mytilene

Reetika Vazirani - Radha

Featured Translations

Ann Cefola - Translation: Hélène Sanguinette's "De la main gauche" (pdf)

Adam J. Sorkin and Alina Cârâc - Translation: From loan Flora's Medeea si masinile ei de razboi (pdf)

Burcu Alkan - Translation: Rifat Ilgaz's "Beyaz" (pdf)

Featured Audio

Michael McDonagh - Once (with Lisa Scola Prosek)
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WMA | MP3 | text

Michael McClure - Maybe Mama Lion (with Ray Manzarek)
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Yusef Komunyakaa - No Lowdown Blues (recorded with Hamiett Bluiett)
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Featured Interviews

Bob Perelman - A Discussion: Poetry and Discipline

Bei Doa - Interview: "In my writing, I'm continually seeking a direction" (pdf)

Featured Essays

Matthew Hart - Taking the Unity out of Community

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