Hailed by Robert Creeley as “both a deeply useful book and an unequivocal delight” and by the LA Times Book Review as one of the hundred most recommended American books of the late 20th century, Jerome Rothenberg’s landmark anthology Technicians of the Sacred has educated and inspired generations of poets, artists, musicians, and other readers, exposing them to the multiple possibilities of poetry throughout the world. Juxtaposing “primitive” and archaic works of art from many cultures with each other and with avant-garde and experimental poetry, Jerome Rothenberg contends that literature extends beyond specific temporal and geographic boundaries, while acting as a retort to those who would call that larger humanity into question. A half-century since its original publication, this revised and expanded third edition provides readers with a wealth of newly gathered and translated texts from recently reinvigorated indigenous cultures, bringing the volume into the present and further extending the range and depth of what we recognize and read as poetry.
Jerome Rothenberg is an internationally acclaimed poet and anthologist. His more than ninety books include the multivolume Poems for the Millennium, coedited with Pierre Joris, Jeffrey Robinson, and John Bloomberg-Rissman. He is Professor Emeritus of Visual Arts and Literature at the University of California, San Diego.
“No one taught me more about poetry than Jerome Rothenberg. Technicians of the Sacred is the greatest anthology of poetry ever created, ‘primitive’ or otherwise.”—Nick Cave
“This book has elucidated indigenous and shamanic sources as deep orature for several generations of readers. More radically timely than ever in a tormented era of xenophobia and racism, this is a spiritual book, a book to survive with.”—Anne Waldman
“Jewish lore, Amerindian poetics, Ethnopoetics, Contemporary world poetics, International sacred poetics . . . [Jerome Rothenberg has] certainly done me a favor in collecting specimens in [the] above categories and putting them in all our hands for immediate inspirational or teaching use.”—Allen Ginsberg
“When Technicians of the Sacred was published in 1968, it offered nothing less than a redefinition of what poetry could be. It remains an incomparable and inspiring source, a perpetual spur to further invention.”—Geoffrey O'Brien
“For us, [Jerome Rothenberg] played (and plays) the role Picasso and Braque did for the painters, and Leiris and Bataille later for the French poets: opening the sparkling world that comes when you crack open literature and see the primal gestures of oral energy and sudden imagery from which it all surges. Kabbalah, cave painting, Iroquois legend, Navajo chant, Hasidic tales, Central Asian epic, German avant-garde, immigrant histories—he summoned us to attend to the deep literature of which the ‘literary’ is only a sheen. . . . He is a great figure, who stands above and beyond the schools and tendentiousnesses of poetics; he has given us, in his poetry, criticism, translation, anthologies, a body of work that exhibits what I suddenly realize is an ethical purity, a touchstone for the genuine.”—Robert Kelly