Tuesday, October 9, 2012
The New Science
Purchased at the Niagara Falls outlet mall discount bookstore. Vico was on my orals list, but I am pretty sure I bought it after the fact. My memory is of having read a library copy in preparation for the exam and then of buying this one because I wanted to have my own.
I said I would continue yesterday's thread about Janine Pommy Vega today. I brought Janine to Buffalo once. She read as part of the Boomdays celebration. It a strange gathering. The organizers asked Just Buffalo to put on a writing contest in which people wrote poems about the removal of the ice boom across the Niagara River as a harbinger of spring. I think Janine judged the poems and then we had the winners read them aloud at the event, a loud, raucous, drunken party in a waterfront party bar. Janine also read. I think they billed her as the "last of the Beat poets."
I worked on one other project with her. During my second stint in the migrant camps, a migrant worker from Mexico showed a truly keen interest in writing poems. He wrote them on his own, and he wrote lots of them. Janine and Sylvia, the director of the center, gave him extra attention, allowing him to come to the center to work with Janine on his poetry instead of having to wait for her to come out to his camp in the evening. When I came, we did the same. I even brought him a couple of volumes of Pablo Neruda's Odas to read. After I left, he began sending me his poems.
Janine asked me to work with her on translations of his poems so we could put out a chapbook. She even found a publisher. I think it was Bob Holman. Then one day I wrote to Sylvia asking how to get in touch with him. She wrote back saying he had left the country suddenly to attend his daughter's wedding, no forwarding address. And that was the last we ever heard from him. I still have an envelope with a group of his poems in it.
He had a strange first name that I can't quite jar loose from my memory. Alas, middle age. O, wait, I remember now. His name was "Rómulo."