1. Demosthenes Agrafiotis -- Alpha-bêtes. De ciel, de terre [PDF]
  2. Alcheringa - Statement of Intention [HTML]
  3. Robert Duncan - Rites of Participation, from The H.D. Book (unpublished) [HTML]
  4. Brent Hayes Edwards - Louis Armstrong and the Syntax of Scat [Microsoft Word Doc]
  5. Clayton Eshleman -- Seeds of Narrative in Upper Paleolithic Imagery
  6. Robert Bringhurst -- Excerpt from "Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World (1999/2000)
    Spoken Music [PDF, 132K]
    Shláwtxan / Robert Bringhurst -- The Prosody of Meaning [PDF, 64]
  7. Yunte Huang -- Angel Island and the Poetics of Error [PDF]
  8. Bronislaw Malinowski -- The Meaning of Meaningless Words... [HTML]
  9. Henry Munn -- Writing in the Imagination of an Oral Poet [HTML]
  10. Ámbar Past -- She of Great Writing, She of the Glyphs [PDF]
  11. The People's Poetry Language Initiative -- A Declaration Of Poetic Rights And Values [PDF]
  12. Juan Gregorio Regino -- The Poet Speaks, The Mountain Sings... [HTML]
  13. Kenneth Rexroth -- American Indian Songs [HTML]
  14. Jerome Rothenberg -- Ethnopoetics at the Millennium [HTML]
  15. Jerome Rothenberg / Andy Webster -- Endangered Languages, Endangered Poetries [HTML]
  16. Jerome Rothenberg -- Total Translation: An Experiment in the Translation of American Indian Poetry [HTML]
  17. Dinita Smith -- The Poetic Hearts Of Mayan Women Writ Large [PDF]
  18. Gary Snyder -- The Politics of Ethnopoetics [PDF]
  19. Nathaniel Tarn / Gary Snyder - From Anthropologist to Informant [PDF]
  20. Tristan Tzara -- Note on Negro Poetry (1918) [HTML]
  21. Dennis Tedlock -- Ethnopoetics [HTML]

  1. Jerome Rothenberg -- Introduction: Poetry Without Sound [HTML]
  2. H-Dirksen L. Bauman - Redesigning Literature: Poetics of American Sign Language Poetry [HTML]
  3. Michael Davidson - The Scandal of Speech in Deaf Performance [HTML]

Introduction by Jerome Rothenberg

This section will switch from poetry as such to a historical range of discourse — both avant-garde and deeply traditional — about poetry and related matters. The emphases are on the actual processes at play and on a comparison (real or imagined) to modern/postmodern forms of poetry and poetics. The selection begins with the following encyclopedia extract.


(1) A comparative approach to poetry and related arts, with a characteristic but not exclusive emphasis on stateless, low-technology cultures and on oral and nonliterate [nonliteral] forms of verbal expression. (2) The poetry and ideas about poetry in the cultures so observed or studied. (3) A movement or tendency in contemporary poetry, literature, and social science (anthropology in particular) devoted to such interests.

The history of such an ethnopoetics covers at least the last 200 years, during which time it has functioned as a questioning of the culturally bounded poetics and poetry of "high European culture." While the designation "ethnopoetics" is a much later coinage, the interrogation has been carried forward in sometimes separated, sometimes interlocking discourses among philosophers, scholars, poets, and artists. It is clearly linked with impulses toward primitivism in both romanticism and modernism and with avant-garde tendencies to explore new and alternative forms of poetry and to subvert normative views of traditional values and the claims of "civilization" to hegemony over other forms of culture. Yet for all its avant-gardism, the principal ethnopoetic concern has been with classical, even hieratic forms, with fully realized, often long preserved traditions.

The emergence in the later 20th century of ethnopoetics as both a poetry movement and a field of scholarly study was the culmination of projects that arose within modernism itself. In that sense, ethnopoetics clearly paralleled the ethnoaesthetic concerns in the visual and performative arts with their well-documented influence on the form and content of contemporary art both in the West and in third-world cultures under European domination. In turn, the growing restiveness of the Western avant-garde allowed a contemporary viewing of culturally distant forms that revealed both those that resembled familiar Western forms and others drawn from previously unrecognized areas of visual and verbal art. The interests of poets — both formal and ideological — were accompanied or bolstered by scholarly investigations of the contexts and linguistic properties of the traditional works, including the nature of oral poetics and the particularities of translation from oral sources. Like much modern and postmodern poetry and art, these investigations involved a necessarily intermedial point of view, calling genre boundaries into question . …

[From J.R., entry on "ethnopoetics" in The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 1993]

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