6 books by Jim Leftwich from Luna Bisonte Prods
Jim Leftwich’s transmutations (not translations) of the poetry of César Vallejo are nothing short of brilliant. They feel more Vallejo in English than any previous translations ever have . Vallejo is certainly, bar none, among the greatest poets of the 20th century. Human, more than immediately human, tortured, both baroque and surreal, and lyrical beyond compare, his poetry defies translation, so difficult does it appear at times. This is especially the case with his early work Trilce (Tres tresss trisss treesss tril trilssss, as Leftwich’s title has it). Claimed by the surrealists as a master in that genre, Vallejo is that and more than that, opaque as Góngora or bittersweetly acerbic as Lorca, the complexity of his language and imagery find few parallels (the poetry of Dino Campana’s Canti orfici leaps to mind). Leftwich has created a Vallejo more Vallejo than Vallejo at times, and certainly makes for far more interesting and challenging a read than, for example, the deliberately strained translations of Clayton Eshelman. Leftwich, a poet renowned in his own way for complexity and baffling linguistic virtuosity, has certainly found an equal, a compatriot, one might say, in Vallejo. These transmutations have all the speed, energy and enigmatic beauty of the originals on which they are based. The foreword by Retorico Unentesi is also something to be savored for its rich and layered interpretations. -Ivan Arguelles
rascible & kempt Vols 1 – 3
rascible & kempt Vols 1 – 3
This 3rd volume of Jim Leftwich’s unique and ground-breaking examination of the explosion of marginal literatures can also be seen, like the first 2, as an example of that literature. It has an enormous variety of approaches to language-based arts that are ignored by the academies, the publishers, and the cliques that make up the dominant worlds of letters today. This exciting art, of which Leftwich is also a practitioner, is what will shape the literary world of the future, and his documentation of it is, and will be, of immense value. He takes on this extraordinary material in extensive real and imagined conversations, exhaustive discussions and contextualizations, detailed analyses, bibliographic documentation, and other approaches difficult to categorize, because the categories for it do not yet exist. These 3 essential books open a portal to a world of major literary creation, a world that is, for the moment, largely invisible. -John M. Bennett
rascible & kempt-vol.2 grapples with the new poetics in ways that are ideal for the subjects addressed. These essays, conversations, collaborative adventures, and reports from the inside explain and celebrate some of the most innovative writing and literary explorations on the scene today. As Olchar Lindsann puts it, “From reading to writing, thought to non-thought, vast macrohistorical analysis to sub-lettral investigations, epistemology to pragmatics, discourses: poetics, linguistics, hermeticism, economics, history, psychology, politics, metaphysics, and more.” Among the writers engaged with are Thomas L. Taylor, César Figueiredo, Steve Dalachinsky, John M. Bennett, Rea Nikonova, Amy Trussel, Lanny Quarles, Mike Basinski, Jake Berry, John High, Scott MacLeod, David Baptiste Chirot, and many others, including a posse of fascinating heteronymic writers. If you are puzzled by the mysteries of this new avant-garde, these volumes will go a long way to illuminate them.
VOLUME 1 (of 2) Rascible & Kempt bears geode-like secrets, exposing the living nerves of a geography where the beating heart of the avant guard glows lava red, while the book itself is a geology of Leftwich’s life-long question to his own calling: How to keep all modes of writing “absolutely as OPEN as possible.” This book is as much a training manual as it is a mechanism to reignite the fires of poetry. -Michael Peters, author of Vaast Bin and other language artworks.
About Rascible & Kempt: From reading to writing, thought to non-thought, vast macrohistorical analysis to sub-lettral investigations, epistemology to pragmatics, discourses: poetics, linguistics, hermeticism, economics, history, psychology, politics, metaphysics, and more. -Olchar E. Lindsann, author of ARTHUR DIES and other books, editor of mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press
Jim Leftwich takes on the enigmatic, complex poetry of John M. Bennett in a series of explorations of Bennett’s books. Leftwich, a poet, is an authority on Bennett’s ways of writing. His expositions include essay-like discussions, close readings of individual poems and lines, and glosses, hacks, and re-writings of Bennett’s texts. The re-writings create new poems and are ways in which Leftwich inhabits and/or illuminates the originals. At each chapter’s end, there is an email exchange between the two, discussing or clarifying aspects of the preceding exposition. The book is a fascinating journey toward the heart of a unique poet, whose work is generally impossible to approach using standard critical methodologies. This is a great opportunity to examine not only the mysteries of John M. Bennett’s poetry under the sharp magnification of the mind of Jim Leftwich, but a way to engage with Leftwich’s remarkable work as a poet and thinker about poetry.
Jim Leftwich’s I REMEMBER PETROLEUM, is a single long poem of 391 cantos or a series of 391 poems, both structures are valid, that can be read or experienced as a vast mirror in which you will see yourself and the world which is your matrix. When you read it again or look again into its pages, you and the world you see will be different. This is not “confessional” poetry, nor cultural critique, nor political posturing, but something quite different: it is an authentic immersion into a self through the medium of written language. And because it is so complete and fearless in that immersion, in its unflinching consciousness and unconsciousness, a self, or all selves, are revealed. This is why you will see your own unique beings and worlds in this book. His skill with written language is such that there seems to be no barrier, no hesitation, between his intention or experience and his writing of it. It is remarkable that this entire book was written in less than three weeks. His is an authentic and powerful human voice speaking thinking mumbling explaining stumbling being blindingly clear.