Per-Versions, An Evening of Poetry in Many Tongues
Two extraordinary poets will be featured in a reading at Adobe Books in San Francisco on April 14 as part of the Per-Versions reading series, a reading driven by multiple tongues and voices.
Iván Argüelles is an American innovative poet whose work moves from early Beat and surrealist-influenced forms to later epic-length poems. He received the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award in 1989 as well as the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 2010. In 2013, Argüelles received the Before Columbus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For Argüelles the turning point came with his discovery of the poetry of Philip Lamantia. Argüelles writes, “Lamantia’s mad, Beat-tinged American idiom surrealism had a very strong impact on me. Both intellectual and uninhibited, this was the dose for me.” While Argüelles’s early writings were rooted in neo-Beat bohemianism, surrealism, and Chicano culture, in the nineties he developed longer, epic-length forms rooted in Pound’s Cantos and Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. He eventually returned, after the first decade of the new millennium, to shorter, often elegiac works exemplary of Romantic Modernism. Ars Poetica is a sequence of exquisitely-honed short poems that range widely, though many mourn the death of the poet’s celebrated brother, José. Andrew Joron: “One of the most visionary poets of our time. Ivan Argüelles is that rarest of poets: one who practices at the very precipice of being.”
Gilberto Rodríguez is a true dithyrambic poet. For two decades, he has entertained audiences throughout northern California at numerous venues as a storyteller, musician, and poet-performer. He was griot for the African group “Up from the Roots.” He was also the founder, lead singer, and lyricist for the world beat band "Diluvio.”
Rodríguez is the founder of Unheimlich Theater, a small company of poets, actors, and musicians who impersonate and perform the works of great masters such as Antonin Artaud, Cesar Vallejo, Federico García Lorca, Charles Baudelaire, William Shakespeare, and Leopoldo María Panero.
Rodríguez believes that the experience of "dwelling poetically" is paramount to the reading, writing, and aural reception of poetry. He strives to eliminate any distinction between himself and the poem. His performances are meant to provoke audiences into thinking and acting poetically as the guardians of language.
Per-Versions Reading Series, Hosted by Arturo Mantecón
"Per-version is the only literal, faithful translation and is achieved by means of adulteration and infidelity. To translate is to create monsters."
--Leopoldo María Panero (1948-2014
Hosted by Arturo Mantecon