Jerome Rothenberg

Jerome Rothenberg is an internationally known poet, translator, performance artist, and anthologist with over eighty books of poetry and essays including ten in print from New Directions. His anthologies include Technicians of the Sacred, Shaking the Pumpkin, and the three-volume Poems for the Millennium. He has been the recipient of many honors, including an American Book Award, two PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Awards, and two PEN Center USA West Translation Awards. In 2011 he received the prestigious Medalla al Mérito Literario from the International Chihuahua Poetry Festival in Mexico.


For the last half of the twentieth century into the new millennium, no other American poet has been as deeply engaged in the opening of the poem (its boundaries and its possibilities) as Jerome Rothenberg. As editor, translator, essayist, performer, groundbreaking anthologist, one of the founding figures of enthnopoetics, and most significantly, as poet, Rothenberg has remapped the art against the grain of a single “great tradition.” Reminiscent of H.D.’s Trilogy, Triptych assembles three long serial poems into one multilayered sacred text.…
More Information

A Book Of Witness

A Book of Witness: Spells & Gris-Gris is Jerome Rothenberg’s passage from one century––one millennium––to another. Of the one hundred poems that comprise the book, the first half were written in 1999, the second in the two years that followed. But far more than a marker of era-shifting, this collection reestablishes the primacy of the poetic “I,” not in the sense of a confessional, personal voice, but of the grammatical first person as both a singular witness and conduit for others––a kind of prophecy.…
More Information

Poems For The Game Of Silence

“I look for new forms and possibilities,” writes Jerome Rothenberg in Poems for the Game of Silence, “but also for ways of presenting in my own language the oldest possibilities of poetry going back to the primitive and archaic cultures that have been opening up to us over the last hundred years." Indeed, it is this combined sense of mystery and authenticity, in words and new structures that approach archetypal chant, which informs his verse.…
More Information

Paradise Of Poets

A Paradise of Poets is Jerome Rothenberg’s tenth book of poetry to be published by New Directions, beginning with his Poland/1931(1974). In considering the title of his newest collection, he says: “Writing poetry for me has always included an involvement with the life of poetry––& through that life an intensification, when it happened, of my involvement with the other life around me. In an earlier poem I spoke of this creating a paradise of poets … I do not of course believe that such a paradise exists in any supernatural or mystical sense, but I have sometimes felt it come to life among my fellow poets and, even more, in writing––in the body of the poem.…
More Information


Jerome Rothenberg holds a premier place in the American avant-garde. The poems in Seedings, his newest collection, leap across history. Past and future become entwined, and the intricate paths reaching from one century and one millennium into another double back into timelessness (“as the twentieth century winds down/the nineteenth century begins/again”). The long title poem that opens this fin-de-siecle gathering is, appropriately, a celebration of poets and friends––such as Robert Duncan, George Oppen, and Paul Blackburn––who have entered what Rothenberg calls “a Paradise of Poets.…
More Information

The Lorca Variations

As poet and experimental translator, pioneer in performance poetry and ethnopoetics, Jerome Rothenberg for over three decades has been a literary radical and prominent influence in the American avant-garde. Among his own earliest sources was the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, whose “composition through images … opened my mind to the contemporary poetry of Europe & of something possibly older & deeper that would surface for us in America as well.…
More Information

Khurbn And Other Poems

In Yiddish, khurbn is the word for “total destruction,” the word for what the English-speaking world calls the Jewish “Holocaust” of World War II. In 1987, thirteen years after the publication of his book of ancestral poems, Poland/1931, Jerome Rothenberg visited Poland and the small town of Ostrow-Mazowiecka, from which his parents had emigrated in 1920. “I hadn’t realized,” he writes, “that it was only fifteen miles from Treblinka…” Out of the poet’s confrontation with his family’s annihilation came Khurbn & Other Poems.…
More Information

New Selected Poems 1970-1985

Acclaimed poet and translator, editor of such ground-breaking journals and anthologies as Alcheringa and Technicians of the Sacred, pioneer in the fields of performance poetry and ethnopoetics, Jerome Rothenberg is a literary radical and a major force in American poetry. Gathered here in his New Selected Poems 1970-1985 are pivotal poems from four previous New Directions collections, Poland/1931 (1974), A Seneca Journal (1978), Vienna Blood (1980), and That Dada Strain (1983).…
More Information

That Dada Strain

The title of Jerome Rothenberg’s newest collection suggests jazz, blues, and above all the Dada movement in European art and poetry in the years immediately following World War I. “In my own world,” he explains in his pre-face to That Dada Strain, “the Dada fathers who inhabit the opening poems of this book are necessary figures, & to summon them up along with their legends is no more erudite than to summon up Moses or George Washington or Harpo or Karl Marx, & so on.…
More Information

Pre-Faces & Other Writings

Pre-Faces & Other Writings is the first collection of poetics by one of the most revolutionary literary innovators of our time. In addition to more than twenty volumes of his own poetry Jerome Rothenberg has been active in a wide area of contemporary experimentation: poetry performance, both as “reading” and as “happening”; the assembling of radical anthologies and magazines (such as Technicians of the Sacred and Alcheringa) aimed at the creation of a fresh environment of poetries “freed from the bondage of a monolithic great tradition”; and the exploration of new techniques of translation especially appropriate to tribal/oral poetry.…
More Information

Vienna Blood

Vienna Blood & Other Poems is in some ways the most synthesizing of Jerome Rothenberg’s recent collections, pulling together work from the 1970s that stands apart from Poland/1931 (1974) and A Seneca Journal (1978) yet at the same time continuing the enactment of past and present begun in those books. But where before he chose to restrict his exploration to ancestral Jewish and Amerindian poetries, Rothenberg now takes us on a series of broader journeys through the collapsed landscape of what he calls the ’new wilderness," evoked as place, as structure, as mind.…
More Information


Jerome Rothenberg’s Poland/1931, a continuing series of ancestral poems, appeared in installments over the course of five years, published in limited editions by various small presses. This volume brings together the contents of all the earlier books, integrating them with the most recent sections. The author himself describes the work as “an experimental attempt to explore, and recover, ancestral sources in the world of Jewish mystics, thieves, and madmen.” Drawing from the kabbala and Hasidic lore, folk custom and historic fact, Rothenberg constructs a free-verse collage that gives voice to the interior journey between the New World and the Old.…
More Information
Jerome Rothenberg is one of the truly contemporary American poets who has returned U.S. poetry to the mainstream of international modern literature…. No one writing today has dug deeper into the roots of poetry.
—Kenneth Rexroth
Throughout his career as a very prolific poet and editor he has been a pioneer and has manifested a daring dynamic sensibility that has brought the innovative excitement of contemporary painting and sculpture to poetry….
—Rochelle Owens, Contact II
No one writing today has dug deeper into the roots of poetry.
—Kenneth Rexroth
By equating archaic and experimental, primitive and complex, [Rothenberg has] offered contemporary poets an opportunity to conceive of their roots as deeper and wider than any narrowly defined academic lineage.
—Geoffrey O’Brien, Voice Literary Supplement
Rothenberg maps a visionary tradition at once diverse and humanly coherent.
—Michael Palmer
Jerome Rothenberg wields a unique, personal language, one unfolding line by line with strength and integrity.
Los Angeles Times
< Joe Ashby Porter Jean-Paul Sartre >