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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


by Rochelle Owens

A poem for nefarious times is a knot
not a definite form in these
evil days
only a different shape
for deplorable uses
And the knot’s refusal of self-definition
makes it an inescapable master
in these evil days
and the poem like the knot
like the knot is always seizing seizing
                   .  .  .
Here are eight imaginary views of a world
without poets
A scorpion indifferent to shock waves
Sharp blades of a lawnmower
A shark without its fins
Storms of swirling plastic particles
A cell phone landing on a rock
A voice without a turtle
No shaman incantation
And Goethe as a foetus
from his mutter’s uterus

Rochelle Owens is the author of eighteen books of poetry and plays, the most recent of which are Plays by Rochelle Owens (Broadway Play Publishing, 2000) and Luca, Discourse on Life and Death (Junction Press, 2001). A pioneer in the experimental off-Broadway theatre movement and an internationally known innovative poet, she has received Village Voice Obie awards and honors from the New York Drama Critics Circle. Her plays have been presented worldwide and in festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her play Futz, which is considered a classic of the American avant-garde theatre, was produced by Ellen Stewart at LaMama, directed by Tom O’Horgan and performed by the LaMama Troupe in 1967, and was made into a film in 1969. A French language production of Three Front was produced by France-Culture and broadcast on Radio France. She has been a participant in the Festival Franco-Anglais de Poésie, and has translated Liliane Atlan’s novel Les passants, The Passersby (Henry Holt, 1989). She has held fellowships from the NEA, Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and numerous other foundations. She has taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Oklahoma and held residencies at Brown and Southwestern Louisiana State.