a hidden master of our poetry

At a recent benefit, Rothenberg read a short poem by Will Alexander. Alexander (see left) is a poet revered among experimental poets, although not otherwise well known. He has recently become ill and has no insurance--is incurring huge medical costs he can't pay. The Bowery Poetry Club organized the benefit--raising funds that went directly to Alexander in Los Angeles. Among the poets who read, as I say, was Jerry Rothenberg, who had just the day before arrived himself from the west coast. Rothenberg and his wife Diane are taking up several months' re-residence in Brooklyn, R's old haunts - seeing old friends, giving readings, taking in the old neighborhood.

After reading from Alexander's work, Rothenberg read a poem he had, I think, written on the plane ride crossing eastward across the country: it is a "variation," using all the nouns in Alexander's poem (I think the one R had just read) and the writing his own words and lines around these. Here is an mp3 audio recording of Rothenberg's 7-minute presentation.

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