Jerome Rothenberg

began his literary career in the late 1950s working primarily as a translator.  He is responsible for the first English appearances of Paul Celan and Günter Grass.  Hawk’s Well Press published his first book, White Sun, Black Sun, in 1960.  In 1974, he moved to California to teach at the University of California, San Diego.  He has published over seventy books and pamphlets of poetry.  His books have been translated into multiple languages; two of them have been turned into stage plays and performed in several states.  He has translated an enormous amount of world literature, including Pablo Picasso and Vítezslav Nezval.  He is probably best known for his work in ethnopoetics, a term he coined, involving the synthesis of poetry, linguistics, anthropology, and ethnology.  Through it he sought to perpetuate fading oral and written literary legacies of the world and render them relevant and necessary to modern literature.  His 1968 anthology, Technicians of the Sacred, a collection of African, American, Asian and Oceanic poetics, went beyond mere folk songs and included the texts and scenarios for ritual events and both visual and sound poetry.  His numerous awards and honors include grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; two PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Awards; two PEN Center USA West Translation Awards; and the San Diego Public Library’s Local Author Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 1997 he received a Doctorate of Letters from the State University of New York and was elected to the World Academy of Poetry in 2001.  He remains teaching at the University of California, San Diego, where he is an emeritus professor of visual arts and literature.