Essay, “Message Ahead” Jonas Mekas Anthology (Brooklyn Rail)

Very pleased to have been included in this anthology which highlights Mekas’ work as a poet from Rail Editions.

Poets Respond to the Poems of Jonas Mekas

Message Ahead is a companion to the collection of poetry, Words Apart and Others, featuring twenty-one distinguished poets and critics, friends and admirers, reflecting on Mekas’s pioneering contribution to contemporary art and culture, as the “godfather of the American avant-garde.”

Featuring: John Godfrey, Yoshimasu Gōzō, Barry Schwabsky, Charity Coleman, James Sherry, William Benton, Kimberly Lyons, Krzysztof Czyżewski, Lina Vitkauskas, Brenda Iijima, Yuko Otomo, Basil King, Steve Dalachinsky, Carter Ratcliff, Kristin Prevallet, George Quasha, Bob Holman, Benjamin Sloan, Lee Ann Brown & Louise Landes Levi, Penny Arcade, Sparrow


“Jonas Mekas. Saying the name brings home a range of agitating mind sensations, mainly an accumulation of often challenging film experience from the last half-century. Practically a rubric for the whole phenomenon of radically new cinema, it’s an experienced name, coming to us with compressed suggestion—that is, a name with its own poetics. If saying it now resonates for me in new ways without entirely losing the old ways, it’s on account of having read his poetry.”

—George Quasha

“Over his long lifetime, Jonas Mekas has adhered to a radical aesthetic of openness, and the poetry he has made into books and films posts clear-cut markers along the trail as his journey continues…The poet Jonas Mekas creates durable works, and fellow poets gather here to appraise, for clarity and currency, certain of the poems he has published.”

—Vyt Bakaitis

“Oh Jonas, I walk the muddy roads with you, take stock of the brush by the wayside. Note the small blue flowers that pinch through the soil. The poems, like the rush of clouds overhead, are on the move. The sky turns pale then blue then indigo. The lamp is lit, then extinguished. The wind sighs against the eaves of the house, the trees croak in unison, your words are like stepping stones through an ancient river bed, where the waters swirl, then ebb, then fall away to a stony, dry, empty place that suddenly wells up with emotions, so simple, so basic, like bread, like milk, like wine.”

—Penny Arcade 

 

 

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