Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jewishness as a specific response to the condition of being Jewish: Charles Bernstein and all the blackbirds in heaven

"I am interested in Jewishness as a specific response to the condition of being Jewish (the circular reasoning is liberating)—and as an argument with that condition."
This from "Jellyfish with a Jew's Ear," a great little review/discussion of Charles Bernstein and his latest book of essays, Pitch of Poetry at Tablet magazine.

They discuss Bernstein's frankly very moving poem,"All the Whiskey in Heaven" (the title poem of his selected) and link to a video of him reading it.




As part of an ongoing project of exploring the repopulation of poems with a variety of species, I wrote this version some years ago (it was published in Arc Poetry magazine) and will appear next year in my poetry book No TV for Woodpeckers from Wolsak and Wynn next year--unless of course my editor, Paul Vermeersch cuts it. Don't cut it, Paul! I like it!):

Not

for all the blackbirds
for all the blackbirds
for a million blackbirds

for the blackbirds’ wings
for the blackbirds’ eyes
for a sky of blackbirds

if you paid me feather
if you paid me wing
if you gave me flight
if you gave me nest

for all the blackbirds
for all the blackbirds
for the mind of blackbirds
for the whole heart of blackbirds

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