Tentatively, Convenience's Reviews > America, a Prophecy: A New Reading of American Poetry from Pre-Columbian Times to the Present

America, a Prophecy by Jerome Rothenberg
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it was amazing
bookshelves: poetry

Yes, after decades of having this bk laying around unread, I finally finished it yesterday. As soon as I started reading it again I cd barely wait to finish it so that I cd write: THIS BK IS THE POETRY COMPILATION EQUIVALENT OF THE HISTORY BK ENTITLED "A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES" (by Howard Zinn). For that matter, it's quite possible that the earlier comps edited by Jerome Rothenberg entitled "Technicians of the Sacred" & "Shaking the Pumpkin" also qualify.

I tend to mainly collect poetry collections that I think embody remarkable scholarliness & this one takes the cake & runs w/ it thru the wildflowers (or something). The apparent diversity of the comp really just highlights the unifying visonary nature of the poetry presented. The title is taken from a William Blake poem & the editors do a very, very impressive job of choosing material that takes Blake to the inner & outer limits (& absence thereof).

There's even a Pittsburgh poet that I've never heard of called Haniel Long. & there's a Clayton Eshleman "Ode to Reich" (as in Wilhelm Reich) that references André´Breton's "Ode to Fourier" wch I've mentioned elsewhere.

The bk has an introduction followed by a section called "RE BEGINNINGS"; followed by another called "MAP ONE: ORIGINS"; then "A BOOK OF RITES & NAMINGS" wch is subdivided into "Definitions & Namings", "Rites & Events", & "Sound Poems & Incantations"; then: "MAP TWO: LOSSES"; "A BOOK OF HISTORIES"; "MAP THREE: VISIONS" subdivided into "Magic & Vision" & "Sacred Plants"; "A BOOK OF MUSIC"; "MAP FOUR: RENEWALS" subdivided into "Image-Making" & "Symposium of the Whole"; ending w/ "A BOOK OF CHANGES".

Interspersed are scholarly editorial notes putting things in historical context, giving critical commentary that helps tie the poems together into the theme of the section they're in, etc.. The overall FEEL of this bk is of humans trying to work it all out & to transcend, TRANSCEND thru a variety of inspired means.


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Reading Progress

March 1, 2008 – Shelved
March 1, 2008 – Shelved as: poetry
Started Reading
March 23, 2008 – Finished Reading

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