Jerome Rothenberg

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Jerome Rothenberg

Jerome Rothenberg (born 1931) is an American poet and editor who is noted for his work in ethnopoetics.


  • 1 Early life and work
  • 2 Ethnopoetics
  • 3 Recent work
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Early life and work

Jerome Rothenberg was born in New York City to Orthodox Polish-Jewish immigrants[1]and is a descendant of the Talmudist Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg [2]. He attended the City College of New York, graduating in 1952. In 1953, he got a Master's Degree in Literature from the University of Michigan. Rothenberg served in the U.S. Army in Mainz, Germany from 1953 to 1955, after which he did further graduate study at Columbia University, finishing in 1959.

In the late 1950s, he published translations of German poets, including the first English appearances of poems by Paul Celan and Günter Grass. He also founded Hawk's Well Press and the magazine Poems from the Floating World, publishing work by a number of the most important American avant-garde poets of the day and his own first book, White Sun Black Sun 1960. He published eight more collections between during the 1960s.


Rothenberg's interest in tribal poetry resulted in an anthology of poetry from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania called Technicians of the Sacred (1968). This anthology went beyond the standard collection of folk songs to include visual and sound poetry and the texts and scenarios for ritual events.

He co-edited Alcheringa, the first ever magazine of ethnopoetics and edited further anthologies, including Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americas (1972), a number of collections of Jewish poetry and Symposium of the Whole: A Range of Discourse Toward An Ethnopoetics, co-edited with Diane Rothenberg.

Recent work

Rothenberg was the theorist of the deep image group of poets. He has continued to be a prolific poet, publishing around another fifty books since 1971. These include New Selected Poems 1970-1985 (1986), Poems for the Game of Silence (2000) and Collaborations: Livres d’artiste 1968-2003 (2003). He has translated widely from German and Spanish poets. He is co-editor, with Pierre Joris, of Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry (Volume One 1995, Volume Two 1998). He has also edited a number of other anthologies and published a number of plays and essays.

A special issue of Samizdat (poetry magazine) commemorates Rothenberg's collaborations with Pierre Joris.

  1. ^ Finkelstein, Norman (Autumn, 1998). Contemporary Literature Vol. 39, No. 3; The Messianic Ethnography of Jerome Rothenberg's "Poland/1931". Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  2. ^ Waldman, Anne (1978). Talking Poetics; Jerome Rothenberg “Changing The Present, Changing The Past: A New Poetics” [August 10, 1976]. Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 0-87773-117-9.

  • Jerome Rothenberg Papers
  • Special issue of Samizdat dedicated to Rothenberg and Pierre Joris
  • A Poem by Jerome Rothenberg @ Melancholia's Tremulous Dreadlocks
  • Jerome Rothenberg reads from China Notes and the Treasures of Dunhuang at Beyond Baroque, December 17 2005 (video)
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