Angela Buck, Leonard Schwartz and Rosmarie Waldrop on Edmund Jabès

Rosemarie Waldrop photographed by Walt Odets, Edmund Jabès photographed by Jacques Robert
Rosemarie Waldrop (photograph courtesy of Walt Odets) and Edmund Jabès (photograph courtesy of Jacques Robert)

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

As I select installments, I’m not only listening for interviews that speak to the present moment, but I’m hoping to revive conversations that could add new dimensions to our ideas about poetry’s role in a global society.

This month, I’ve chosen an interview with poet, editor and translator, Rosmarie Waldrop, which originally aired January 26, 2004.  Waldrop and Schwartz discuss her translations of Egyptian-Jewish poet Edmond Jabès and she reads from the opening of The Book of Questions. Jabès’ project addresses questions at the very heart of writing, translating and being in the world. Echoing Zukofsky, Waldrop sees Jabès’ work as existing between “lower limit scream, upper limit silence.” But, as she points out, “between the scream and silence, there is language and language defines us.”—Angela Buck.

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Rosmarie Waldrop’s recent poetry books are Driven to Abstraction, Curves to the Apple, Blindsight, Splitting Image and Love, Like Pronouns. Her collected essays, Dissonance (if you are interested), were published in 2005. Two novels, The Hanky of Pippin’s Daughter and A Form/of Taking/It All are available in one paperback. She has translated 14 volumes of Edmond Jabès’ work (her memoir, Lavish Absence: Recalling and Rereading Edmond Jabès,is out from Wesleyan University Press), as well as books by Emmanuel Hocquard, Jacques Roubaud and, from the German, Friederike Mayröcker, Elke Erb, Oskar Pastior, Gerhard Rühm and Ulf Stolterfoht. She lives in Providence, where she co-edits Burning Deck books with Keith Waldrop.

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