Category Archives: My Favorite Jackets

For 13 Years John Tranter edited and published Jacket Magazine, a free online literary magazine focussing on poetry. Out of the thousands of feature articles, interviews, reviews and poems, here are some of his favorites.

800 Jacket reviews

Painting by Gary Shead
Now that you have read the one hundred and twenty «Jacket» interviews I linked to recently, the list below provides quick links to some eight hundred book reviews in «Jacket» magazine, up to and including issue 40, sorted by the author of the book under review. It is about 60 printed pages long. The list resides on my Main Site, but the last link below will take you there.

(Various authors), «Questionnaire, Translation by Bill Berkson, then answered by Harry Mathews, then answered by Andrei Codrescu, with thanks to Constance Lewallen and Harry Mathews, and with a brief note on Proust.», Jacket magazine, reviewed by Sophie Calle and Grégoire Bouillier — [Link]

(Various authors), «23 recent American chapbooks», Various, reviewed by Noah Eli Gordon — [Link]

Michael Ackland, «(excerpt from) Damaged Men» [About the Ern Malley hoax], Allen and Unwin Sydney (excerpt, not a review) — [Link]

Kim Addonizio: «Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within», reviewed by Cathleen Calbert — [Link]

Anne-Marie Albiach, trans. Keith Waldrop, «Figured Image», The Post-Apollo Press. October 2006. 94 pages $18.00. ISBN: 978-0-942996-59-3, reviewed by Donald Wellman — [Link]

[over 700 more on my Main Site here.]

Illustration: Garry Shead: “The Apotheosis of Ern Malley”… one meaning of apotheosis is “the elevation of someone to divine status; deification.”

What I am Writing About for «Jacket2»



Jacket: Gone to Philadelphia

Cognac Jacquet

‘The Elephant Has Left the Room’: Jacket magazine and the Internet

by John Tranter

Available now on the website of the Journal for the Association for the Study of Australian Literature


Australian poet John Tranter trained in most aspects of publishing, from hand-lettering to editing, from litho platemaking to screen printing, and developed an early familiarity with computers. The development of the Internet in the 1990s found him armed with a formidable array of skills. He published the free international Internet-only magazine Jacket single-handed in 1997. Jacket quickly grew to become the most widely read and highly respected literary magazine ever published from Australia. In late 2010 John Tranter gave it to the University of Pennsylvania, where it continues to flourish. This memoir traces John Tranter’s publication of literary materials on the Internet including the technical and literary problems faced by Jacket, and outlines the many other projects that resulted in the Internet publication of over fifty thousand mostly Australian poems, articles, reviews, interviews and photographs.

Jacket 32

Take a look at Jacket 32 — April 2007


New York City, East Village, 2005 — photo John Tranter

A free internet literary magazine
— Interviews — Reviews — Articles — Poems
Editor: John Tranter
Associate Editor: Pam Brown

Money is a kind of poetry.
— Wallace Stevens

The Poetry of Response: Edited by Christopher Kelen
[»»] Christopher Kelen: Introduction
[»»] Peter Riley: Quotation: ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing’
[»»] Tony Barnstone: The Cannibal at Work: Five Discourses on Translation, Transformation, Imitation, and Transmutation
[»»] Gary Blankenship: After Wang Wei
[»»] Forrest Gander: The Strange Case of Thomas Traherne
[»»] Kent Johnson: Imitation, Traduction, Fiction, Response
[»»] Oana Avasilichioaei and Erín Moure: C’s Garden
[»»] chus pato, andrés ajens et al.: correspondencias (lalín, galicia – santiago, chile; iowa city/buenos aires, la paz, ciudad juárez/los angeles
[»»] Christopher Kelen: conversation with Tang Poets: some notes on the practice

The Holiday Album: Greeting Card poems for All Occasions Edited by Elaine Equi, with eight collages by Kevin Riordan
[»»] Elaine Equi: Best Wishes (Introduction)
[»»] Elaine Equi: Happy New Year
[»»] David Lehman: Time Frame
[»»] Wayne Koestenbaum: Short Subjects
[»»] Rae Armantrout: Address
[»»] Nick Piombino: Valentine’s Day
— Valentine’s Day — Feb. 14th
[»»] Kim Lyons: Red Couplets
— Paper Lantern Festival (Chinese) — the 15th day of the first lunar month
[»»] David Shapiro: Colorful Hands
— Holi: The Festival of Colors (Indian) — first weekend in March
[»»] Tom Clark: Equinox
— March 21/22
[»»] Vincent Katz: Back From The Dead
— The Veneralia (Roman) — April 1st
[»»] Eileen Tabios: Eggs: Pulp Fiction for Easter
[»»] Jeanne Marie Beaumont: Fête of the Little Boats
— (French) — April 6th
[»»] Martine Bellen: On John Ashbery Day — A Cento
— April 7th
[»»] Cathy McArthur: At the Wildlife Center
— Bird Day — May 4th
[»»] Jerome Sala: Mother’s Day
[»»] Jeanne Marie Beaumont: Flower & Camera
— Flower & Camera Day — June 29th
[»»] Patricia Spears Jones: The Perfect Lipstick — July 4th
[»»] Chris Martin: Independence Day
[»»] Mark Lamoureux: Bride of Frankenstein’s Birthday — July 9th
[»»] Stacy Szymaszek: Hammock Day — July 22nd
[»»] Erica Kaufman: admit you’re happy day — Aug. 8th
[»»] Erica Kaufman: elvis week — Aug. 8-16th
[»»] Fanny Howe: Our Lady of Knock, August 21, 1879
[»»] Joanna Fuhrman: At the Evil Boss Convention — Labor Day
[»»] Jerome Sala: Anniversary
[»»] Gregory Crosby: Columbo Day — Oct. 12th
[»»] Connie Deanovich: Happy Hamlet Day — Oct 15th
[»»] Bruce Covey: Definitions — Dictionary Day–Oct. 16th
[»»] Amy Gerstler: All Saints’ Day — Nov. 1st
[»»] Joe Brainard: Thanksgiving
[»»] David Trinidad: Doll Memorial Service
— Doll Memorial Day — second Saturday in December
[»»] David Shapiro: After Ryokan — Winter Solstice — Dec. 21st
[»»] Ron Padgett: Season’s Greetings
[»»] Ryan Stechler: Pirate’s Christmas Carol — Christmas — Dec. 25th


Martin Heidegger (front right), November 1933

[»»] Anthony Stephens: Cutting Poets to Size — Heidegger, Hölderlin, Rilke

[»»] Gilbert Adair: “Child-Emporererer (vacncy)”: Apprehending U.S. Empire through Robert Fitterman’s «Metropolis»
[»»] Andrea Brady: The Other Poet: John Wieners, Frank O’Hara, Charles Olson
[»»] Stephen Fredman: Edward Dorn
[»»] Steve Halle: Against Lightning Flashes: Inspiration in Kristin Prevallet’s «Scratch Sides: Poetry, Documentation, and Image-Text Projects», by Kristin Prevallet
[»»] Douglas Messerli: What is to be Done?
[»»] Clément Oudart: Genreading and Underwriting: A Few Soundings and Probes into Duncan’s «Ground Work»
[»»] David Rosenberg: The Lost Poets of the Wild: The Influence of the First Writing Poets in Sumer

[»»] Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz: In Search of the Night: on translating Jaime Saenz: an Interview with his translators, Kent Johnson and Forrest Gander
[»»] Wayne Koestenbaum in conversation with Tony Leuzzi, 22 October 2004, Le Gamin Coffee Shop, Chelsea, New York
[»»] Deborah Meadows in conversation with Romina Freschi, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2006

Feature: Pressure to Experiment
[»»] Introduction (Bloomfield et al.)
[»»] Joan Retallack: What is Experimental Poetry & Why Do We Need It?
[»»] Jena Osman: Is Poetry the News?: The Poethics of the Found Text
[»»] Harriet Tarlo: Radical Landscapes: experiment and environment in contemporary poetry
[»»] Caroline Bergvall: The Franker Tale (Deus Hic, 2)
[»»] Caroline Bergvall: Short aside to ‘The Franker Tale’.
[»»] Vincent Broqua: Pressures of Never-at-home
[»»] Nikolai Duffy: The Poetics of Emergency
[»»] Josh Robinson: ‘Innocence and incapability impose’: Towards an Ethic of Experimentation
[»»] Luke Harley: Music as prod and precedent: Nathaniel Mackey’s niggling at the limits of language

[»»] Raewyn Alexander: «Red the Fiend» by Gilbert Sorrentino
[»»] Raewyn Alexander: «Sundays on the Phone», by Mark Rudman
[»»] Raewyn Alexander: «Rain» by Jon Woodward
[»»] James Belflower: «Harrow», by Elizabeth Robinson
[»»] Marcelo Coelho: «Rapid Departures» by Vincent Katz, illustrations by Mario Cafiero
[»»] Ian Davidson: «Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems 1970–2005», by Alice Notley
[»»] Marcella Durand: «secure portable space», by Redell Olsen
[»»] Clive Faust: «Language Is» by John Phillips
[»»] Tom Goff: «Tap-Root: Poems» by Indigo Moor
[»»] Michael Gottlieb: «The Anger Scale» by Katie Degentesh
[»»] David Hart: Peter Redgrove: eight books
[»»] Andrew Mossin: «Blue Studios: Poetry and Its Cultural Work», by Rachel Blau DuPlessis
[»»] Linda Russo: «Terminal Humming» by K. Lorraine Graham
[»»] Linda Russo: «Crop» by Yedda Morrison
[»»] Linda Russo: «Chantry» by Elizabeth Treadwell
[»»] Standard Schaefer: «Broken World», by Joseph Lease
[»»] Alan Sondheim: «The Flowers of Evil», by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Keith Waldrop, Wesleyan University Press, 2006
[»»] Jason Stumpf: «Necessary Stranger» by Graham Foust
[»»] Donald Wellman: «Figured Image» by Anne-Marie Albiach, trans. Keith Waldrop
James Sherry: «The Grand Piano» Project:… an ongoing experiment in collective autobiography by ten writers identified with Language poetry in San Francisco. It takes its name from a coffeehouse at 1607 Haight Street, where from 1976–79 the authors took part in a reading and performance series. The writing project, begun in 1998, was undertaken as an online collaboration, first via an interactive web site and later through a listserv.
[»»] «The Grand Piano» Part 1 reviewed
[»»] «The Grand Piano» Part 2 reviewed
[»»] «The Grand Piano» Part 3 reviewed in Jacket 34

[»»] Iain Britton: Lemurs and Missing Links in Loops
[»»] Bruce Covey: Two poems: ‘Still’; ‘Good & Plenty’
[»»] Romina Freschi: Initials (2004/05)
[»»] Michael Kelleher: Number Crunch
[»»] Ronald Koertge: Three Haibun
[»»] Kristin Prevallet: Tales of Caw
[»»] Robert Sheppard: Sonnets from «September 12»

Over 800 Jacket reviews

The list below provides quick links to some eight hundred book reviews in «Jacket» magazine, up to and including issue 40, sorted by the author of the book under review. It is about 60 printed pages long.

You can also read one hundred and twenty «Jacket» interviews

(Various authors), «Questionnaire, Translation by Bill Berkson, then answered by Harry Mathews, then answered by Andrei Codrescu, with thanks to Constance Lewallen and Harry Mathews, and with a brief note on Proust.», Jacket magazine, reviewed by Sophie Calle and Grégoire Bouillier — [Link]

(Various authors), «23 recent American chapbooks», Various, reviewed by Noah Eli Gordon — [Link]


Garry Shead: “The Apotheosis of Ern Malley”… one meaning of apotheosis is “the elevation of someone to divine status; deification.”

Michael Ackland, «(excerpt from) Damaged Men» [About the Ern Malley hoax], Allen and Unwin Sydney (excerpt, not a review) — [Link]

Robert Adamson, «The Golden Bird: New and selected poems» reviewed by Joseph Donahue — [Link]

Robert Adamson, «Inside Out – an autobiography», Text Publishing, reviewed by Douglas Barbour — [Link]

Robert Adamson, «Mulberry Leaves – New & Selected Poems 1970-2001», Paper Bark Press, Australia, reviewed by Douglas Barbour — [Link]

Robert Adamson, «The Goldfinches of Baghdad» reviewed by Douglas Barbour — [Link]

Kim Addonizio: «Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within», reviewed by Cathleen Calbert — [Link]

Adam Aitken, «», Vagabond Press, Sydney, Australia, reviewed by Greg McLaren — [Link]

Adam Aitken: «Eighth Habitation», reviewed by Michelle Cahill — [Link]

Anne-Marie Albiach, trans. Keith Waldrop, «Figured Image», The Post-Apollo Press. October 2006. 94 pages $18.00. ISBN: 978-0-942996-59-3, reviewed by Donald Wellman — [Link]

George Albon, «Momentary Songs», reviewed by Michael Cross — [Link]

Charles Alexander, «Certain Slants», reviewed by Jonathan Stalling — [Link]

Richard James Allen, «The Kamikaze Mind», reviewed by Dr Mark Seton — [Link]

Joe Amato, «Industrial Poetics: Demo Tracks for a Mobile Culture», University of Iowa Press. 200 pp., reviewed by Mark Wallace — [Link]

Beth Anderson, «The Habitable World», Instance Press, Santa Cruz, 2001, reviewed by Camille Guthrie — [Link]

John Anderson, «New & Selected Poems,1978–97», Zeus Publications at, reviewed by Kris Hemensley — [Link]

Martin Anderson, «The Hoplite Journals», Shearsman UK at, reviewed by Carolyn van Langenberg — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «(various titles)», (Various publishers), reviewed by Roberto Tejada — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «(various titles)», (Various publishers), reviewed by Alan Golding — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «Lip Service», Coach House Books (Toronto, 2001), reviewed by Bob Perelman — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «Lip Service», Coach House Books (Toronto, 2001), reviewed by Bill Friend — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «Lip Service», Coach House Books (Toronto, 2001), reviewed by Barbara Cole — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «Lip Service», Coach House Books (Toronto, 2001), reviewed by Brennan Sherry — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «Lip Service», Coach House Books (Toronto, 2001), reviewed by Gregg Biglieri — [Link]

Bruce Andrews, «Lip Service», Coach House Books (Toronto, 2001), reviewed by Joel Bettridge — [Link]

Ralph Angel, «Twice Removed», Sarabande Books, reviewed by Ethan Paquin — [Link]

David Antin and Charles Bernstein, «A Conversation with David Antin», Granary Books, New York, reviewed by Caroline Bergvall — [Link]

Francisco Aragón, «Puerta Del Sol», reviewed by Craig Santos Perez — [Link]

Francisco Aragón: «Glow of our Sweat», reviewed by Craig Santos Perez — [Link]

Penny Arcade: «Bad Reputation: Performance, Essays, Interviews», reviewed by Noëlle Janaczewska — [Link]

Louis Armand, «Strange Attractors», Salt Publishing, 118pp. GBP£9.99. 1876857595 paper., reviewed by Bridie McCarthy — [Link]

Louis Armand: «Solicitations: Essays on Criticism and Culture», reviewed by Jeroen Nieuwland — [Link]

James Armstrong, «Blue Lash», by Daniel Godston — [Link]

Rae Armantrout, «Next Life», reviewed by Kristina Marie Darling

Rae Armantrout, «The Pretext», Green Integer Press, Copenhagen & Los Angeles, 2003, reviewed by Charles Alexander — [Link]

Rae Armantrout, «Up To Speed», Wesleyan University Press, reviewed by Robert Stanton — [Link]

Rae Armantrout: «Versed», reviewed by Rob Stanton — [Link]

Rae Armantrout: «Versed», Wesleyan University Press, 2009, reviewed by Alan Davies — [Link]

Bob Arnold, «Sunswumthru a Building», reviewed by Louise Landes Levi — [Link]

John Ashbery, «Chinese Whispers», Farrar Straus Giroux, reviewed by Harriet Zinnes — [Link]

John Ashbery, «Chinese Whispers», Farrar Straus Giroux, reviewed by Tom Devaney — [Link]

John Ashbery, «Girls on the Run», Farrar Straus Giroux, reviewed by Michael Leddy — [Link]

John Ashbery, «Girls on the Run», Farrar Straus Giroux, reviewed by Forrest Gander — [Link]

John Ashbery, «Your Name Here», Farrar Straus Giroux, reviewed by Ramez Qureshi — [Link]

John Ashbery, «100 Multiple-Choice Questions», Adventures in Poetry, 50 Kenwood St. #1, Brookline, MA 02446 USA, reviewed by Tom Clark — [Link]

John Ashbery, «A Worldly Country» reviewed by Forrest Gander — [Link]

John Ashbery and Joe Brainard, «The Vermont Notebook», Granary Books/ Z Press, ISBN 1-887123-59-8, reviewed by Larry Sawyer — [Link]

Jacket 7: Hot Lit

Jack Spicer at Gallery Six, San Francisco

Jack Spicer at Gallery Six, San Francisco

One of my favourite Jackets … well, they’re all pretty cool … is Jacket 7: It starts with a huge Jack Spicer feature:

Jack Spicer Feature (Guest Editor and Introduction by Christopher W.Alexander)

∆ Excerpt from Jack Spicer’s 3rd Vancouver Lecture, 1965
∆ Graham Foust: Jack Spicer and the fiftieth anniversary issue of «Poetry» (Chicago)
∆ James Herndon: Jack Spicer and the art of Fran Herndon
∆ Kevin Killian and Lewis Ellingham: excerpt from «Poet Be Like God»
∆ Anya Lewin: ‘Things do not connect; they correspond’
∆ Laura Moriarty’s poem ‘Spicer’s City’
∆ Kristin Prevallet: Jack Spicer’s Hell in ‘Homage to Creeley’
∆ Linda Russo: Joanne Kyger and the San Francisco Renaissance, 1957-65
∆ Rob Wilson: Tracking Jack Spicer: The “Afterlife” of a US Counter-Poetics
∆ Timeline: Historical events and the writings of Jack Spicer

Kenward Elmslie

Kenward Elmslie

A Rich Brew of Other Items:

∆ Elaine Equi — Unspeakable Ambitions


∆ Alice Notley on Kenward Elmslie, ∆ Andrew Joron on Peter Gizzi, ∆ Dale Smith on Lewis MacAdams, ∆ Juliana Spahr on Bernadette Mayer’s book Sonnets, ∆ Tom Clark on Philip Whalen’s «Overtime — Selected Poems» — ‘While Kerouac heads out, Whalen tends to circle around slowly and return to certain obsessive themes and rhythms. His formal universe, as he advises John Cage in the poem quoted above, is not really unbounded space, but, like a tuned piano’s, a “closed system”.’

Philip Whalen, 1960s

Philip Whalen, 1960s


∆ John Kinsella and Rod Mengham — an Introduction to the poetry of J.H.Prynne
∆ Leslie Scalapino — Secret Occurrence
∆ Garrie Hutchinson — on Australian painter Arthur Boyd
∆ Libbie Rifkin on Anne Waldman, Bernadette Mayer and the Gender of an Avant-Garde Institution — ‘Of the last years of Black Mountain College, for instance, Martin Duberman has noted that “the hierarchy could be as rigidly exclusive, as impassable to the uninitiated — and more male chauvinist — than anything found on a traditional university campus”.’


by ∆ Hazel Smith [prose poem], ∆ David Baratier, ∆ Gabriel Gudding, ∆ Joel Lewis, ∆ Stephen Oliver, ∆ Leslie Scalapino, ∆ Brian Kim Stefans, ∆ Rob Wilson

It’s all there, free, at

120 Jacket interviews

The list below provides quick links to one hundred and twenty interviews in Jacket magazine up to and including Jacket 40 (late 2010), sorted by the interviewee’s last name.

Robert Adams photo: Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, © Robert Adams and the Fraenkel Gallery

Robert Adams photo: Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1968; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, © Robert Adams and the Fraenkel Gallery: Click on the image for a larger view.

Photographer Robert Adams: Frish Brandt of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, in conversation with Noel King, April 12th 2008: [Link].

Joe Amato in conversation with Chris Pusateri, email, mid-2008: [Link].

Bob Arnold: Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Vermont Poet: Bob Arnold in conversation with Gerald Hausman: [Link]

Bob Arnold in conversation with Kent Johnson, 10 March 2010: [Link].

John Ashbery in conversation with John Tranter, New York City, 20 April 1985: [Link]

John Ashbery in conversation with John Tranter, New York City, May 1988: [Link]

Pete Ayrton, publisher of Serpent’s Tail books, London, in conversation with Noel King: [Link]

Eric Baus in conversation with Cynthia Arrieu-King: Bushwick, NY, Monday May 4, 2009[Link].

Tom Beckett in Conversation with Richard Lopez: [Link]

Émile Benveniste in conversation with Pierre Daix, 1968, translated by Matt Reeck: [Link]

Caroline Bergvall in conversation with John Stammers, first published in Magma magazine in 1999.: [Link]

Bill Berkson in Conversation with Robert Glück, August 2005: [Link]

Charles Bernstein: «Setting the World on Fire» — Charles Bernstein in conversation with Leonard Schwartz, 15 March 2004. Transcript by Zoe Ward, from a radio interview on Cross Cultural Poetics, KAOS 89.3FM Olympia: [Link]

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge: Three Conversations with Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Laura Hinton, 2003: [Link]

Ken Bolton in conversation with Peter Minter, 12 October 2004 to 29 April 2005: [Link]

Jacket 1

The very first issue of Jacket magazine, back in 1997, set the tone: fresh British, American and Australian poetry and poetics. A major feature is Philip Mead’s twenty-page interview with poet Lionel Fogarty. From the Introduction:

Lionel Fogarty

Lionel Fogarty

Lionel Fogarty was born at Barambah, now known as Cherbourg Aboriginal Reserve, in the semi-tropical northern Australian state of Queensland. This was one of the Queensland ‘punishment’ reserves where individuals and their families who spoke out against the authorities were sent. Since the 1970s he has been active in many of the political struggles of the Aboriginal people, particularly in southern Queensland, from the Land Rights movement to setting up Aboriginal health and legal services to black deaths in custody. He is also an Australian poet who has opened up the new space of black Australian surrealist writing and done much to reformulate our understanding of poetic discourse and its roles in both black and white communities….

The are also three poems from Lionel Fogarty.

And a rich harvest of other items:

Interview: English poet Roy Fisher — thirty pages of recollections about jazz, teaching, and writing and publishing poetry

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

Poems: Charles Bernstein, Elaine Equi, Pam Brown, Alfred Corn, Joanne Burns, Tracy Ryan, Carl Rakosi, Peter Minter, Susan M.Schultz, Paul Hoover, Ron Koertge

Reviews: John Tranter reviews John Berger’s Photocopies; John Redmond reviews Les Murray

Supplement: Martin Johnston: his passion for modern Greek poetry and Greek Folk poetry, Borges, the Renaissance, the life of the mind…

Ladies’ Lounge: Hedy Lamarr, Rocket Scientist (we’re serious; so was she!)

POst-MOdernism …Steal or Borrow? link by Beth Spencer

Poetics at Buffalo link by Susan M.Schultz

All in the first issue of Jacket, at

Jacket 6

Nathaniel Tarn, 1953
Check out Jacket 6: full of brain food and good things, including:

Nathaniel Tarn Feature:

Nathaniel Tarn (with Martín Prechtel): Scandals in the House of Birds: Shamans and Priests on Lake Atitlán, (New York: Marsilio 1997) xiv + 397pp, $24.95

Based on a thirty-year span of fieldwork in Guatemala, «Scandals in the House of Birds» is a multi-voiced epic of a sacred crime, and its tangled mythic, religious, and political ramifications

Scandals reviewed : Shamoon Zamir

“Scandals is a synthesising of over forty years of fieldwork among, research on and thinking about the Tzutujil Maya living on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala (“House of Birds” is a translation of the indigenous name for the pre-Columbian Tzutujil capital, now in ruins at the foot of Volcano San Pedro). Narrated through multiple narratives and many voices, the book deals with a religious conflict between indigenous religion and Christianity. The theft of masks covering Maximón, a Mayan wooden statue venerated since pre-Columbian times, and the later return of one of the masks over twenty years later, is the core around which are spun accounts of Mayan mythology, ritual practices, religious festivals, individual life histories, local social conflicts and the horrors of Guatemala’s national politics. Nine years before the publication of the book, writing of the struggle between poetry and anthropology throughout his career as “the battle between the angel of creation and the angel of the record”, Tarn refers to the project as “the last possible (for me) throw to the record.” More recently, with the book in press, Tarn has referred to it as “a sort of experimental ethnography”.”

Nathaniel Tarn : on new poetic forms

“I must confess in a belief that poetry represents… the ground and constitution of a perpetual opposition which is ill served by the depths of social isolationism into which we have allowed our vocation to sink.”

Nathaniel Tarn : Poem : Ancestors


Frank O’Hara — WHAT’S WITH MODERN ART? — reviews of art shows from Art News, 1953–55 — and a rare O’Hara photo by Renate Ponsold Motherwell

Paul Hoover — THE PLOT AGAINST THE GIANT — a review of David Lehman’s ‘The Last Avant-Garde”

Eliot Weinberger : What Was Formalism?

John Kinsella: commentary on a poem by J.H.Prynne

And lots of poems and other literary nourishment: Jacket 6

Roy Fisher in conversation with John Tranter, 1989

Roy Fisher, 1989

Roy Fisher, 1989, photo by John Tranter

[Roy Fisher reads his poem ‘Stopped Frames and Set-Pieces’]

John Tranter… Roy, would you like to talk about how you came to write that poem?

Roy Fisher: It’s a composition from pictures. Every one of those items was an item from a collection of photographs. I think every one was in fact either a news photograph, or taken out of an illustrated magazine, taken out of context. The important thing for me was to ignore the structured context in which the thing had originally had a meaning, and let it hang about. In many cases it hung about for years. The photograph of the Indian statue I still keep on my wall, because it’s pretty. I probably owned it for ten or twelve years before I decided to sit down and write it.

More here.

Jacket 18

Diane Di Prima

Photo: Diane di Prima at the Gas Light Cafe, June 18, 1959; photo © Fred McDarrah.

Here are some of my favourite items from Jacket 18, published a decade ago. Doesn’t time fly? One was David Hadbawnik’s interview with Diane di Prima. There she is as a young poet, sitting on a piano in the Gas Light Cafe.

Also, two review pieces on books I think are really important. Here’s one:

One gets the sense that while Rifkin’s approach is androcentric, feminism is playing a role, working to counterbalance the sort of hero-worship from some quarters that exerts a skewing force in our understanding of certain literary figures. She seems to take particular glee in lambasting Olson occasionally; ‘Projective Verse’ is a ‘masturbatory fantasy’ and Maximus reads like a ‘hope chest.’

(From: Insider Histories, or, Really Getting Into Poetry: Linda Russo reviews «Career Moves: Olson, Creeley, Zukofsky, Berrigan, and the American Avant-Garde» by Libbie Rifkin. And «Leaving Lines of Gender: A Feminist Genealogy of Language Writing» by Ann Vickery.)

For more see Jacket 18.

And here’s another, British poet John Wilkinson’s review of Australian poet Kate Lilley’s brilliant collection «Versary»:

Her poems are enormously likeable for such unembarrassed responsiveness, for their lack of interest in being cool, for their eschewal of intellectual showiness (given the true scholar she is) but constant sharp intelligence withal, for their mixture of tears and jest.

Read the review here.

Henry J.-M. Levet

Henry J.-M. Levet

That issue of «Jacket» also contains the remarkable “Postcards: …ten poems by Henry J.-M. Levet (1874–1906)” translated by Kirby Olson, with the French and English. In his Introduction, Olson writes “In order to indulge his eagerness to travel, Levet joined the consular service and served in India, Vietnam, the Philippines and finally in Argentina. He sent his charming verses home to be published in popular journals. In the introduction to the French edition of his poems …. the great French poet Valery Larbaud relates that he read and memorized Levet’s verses, and hoped to meet him when he came back to France on leave. Levet came home sooner than expected with a disease that left him unable to speak. He tried to recuperate on the Riviera, but his strength left him and he died soon after.”

Here’s a stanza with an Austral leaning:

Meanwhile Jane, who is now the companion
Of a healthy and fierce sheep farmer
Adorns with her grace an Australian prairie
Of more than forty thousand acres, they tell me…

Read the poems here.

The Pasadena poet Ron Koertge

Ron Koertge, 2008

The Pasadena poet Ron Koertge is one of my favourite poets. There’s something about the way he sees things that I really like, though I can’t put my finger on it. It would be easy to say his vision of life is not unlike that of Edward Hopper. But nor is it unlike that of Nabokov in America, with its bright pastel colors, European irony and surreal excursions. Sometimes it reminds me of the suburban heroics and small defeats in the movie «American Graffiti», and at other times of Proust pottering about in the Galeries Lafayette thinking about photography, or Allen Ginsberg bumping into Walt Whitman in “A Supermarket in California”. Of course it is not any of these things.

He has a lively interest in technique, and a thoughtful and kindly view of contemporary urban mythologies. Anyway, see for yourself: you’ll find many of his poems in «Jacket» magazine.

Ron Koertge – Five poems in Jacket 1

His homage to Frank O’Hara in Jacket 10

Poem: “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” in Jacket 11

Three poems in Jacket 16

Three ghazals in Jacket 35

Three poems: in Jacket 38

Jacket 5

Mina Loy, Paris c.1905

Mina Loy, Paris c.1905

Jacket 5: bubbling with poetry and more!

Mina Loy feature:

Introductory Chapter to “Becoming Modern — the Life of Mina Loy”, by Carolyn Burke

Unpublished Epilogue to “Becoming Modern”

Excerpts from reviews of “Becoming Modern”

Carolyn Burke interviewed by Pam Brown

Marjorie Perloff on ENGLISH AS A “SECOND” LANGUAGE : Mina Loy’s “Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose”

Keith Tuma reviews Mina Loy, “The Lost Lunar Bædeker”

Kenneth Koch — Very Rapid Acceleration — an interview with Kenneth Koch. You can hear an 18-minute edited audio recording of this interview.

Feature: Yasusada: simple hoax, or something far more complex?

On YASUSADA : Eliot Weinberger’s original “exposé”, with a postscript

On YASUSADA : Kent Johnson : letter to «American Book Review»

On Larsen and YASUSADA : Kent Johnson interviewed by Norbert Francis

… and lots more.