Mark Weiss: “A Suite of Dances” (forthcoming from Shearsman)

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Twenty years ago, when I was living in San Diego, I had the good fortune to meet a poet, editor, and translator named Mark Weiss. Among other things, he was a leading advocate of Armand Schwerner’s poetry, whose archive I had been sorting through as one of my jobs at UCSD’s Archive for New Poetry. Mark seemed to be fairly well settled in San Diego, and it was with considerable surprise that Linda and I ran into him at St. Mark’s Poetry Project shortly after we moved to Long Island in the Fall, 2004. It turned out that Mark, too, had left San Diego, and some of my favorite memories of my two years in the NYC area involve walks that Linda and I took with Mark.

By chance, I recently found a roll of film that had fallen by the wayside and I took a chance on developing it. It was one of those disposable cameras and I didn’t have much hope for it, but the one photograph that turned out at all was of Mark Weiss at an event at St. Mark’s. When I sent it to him, he identified one of the people in it as the poet Nadia Gordon.

As readers of my blog know, I like to publish an occasional poem by another poet, and today’s guest poet is Mark Weiss, with an excerpt from a long poem that will be published by Shearsman Books this coming spring. Mark sent me “A Suite of Dances XVIII: Over the Hills,” but unfortunately WordPress is as hostile to poetry as it has ever been and it will not replicate the indentations of the lines. Nevertheless, a place has been set for it at the table of this blog. Linda used her iPhone to make images of the printed out text of the poem, and I am inserting those images in the blog. On Wednesday, December 23, 2020, WordPress’s system was not capable of handling traffic, and the image of even a single page could not be processed (“Weiss – Page 1.jpg — Post-processing of the image failed likely because the server is busy or does not have enough resources. Uploading a smaller image may help. Suggested maximum size is 2500 pixels.”) I hope to have Mark’s six page poem up by this coming weekend. Until it is that long, you are only viewing a portion of it.






MARK WEISS — Poet, Editor, Translator

Mark Weiss has published ten poetry titles, most recently As Luck Would Have It (Shearsman Books, 2015) and As Landscape (Chax Press, 2010). Thirty-Two Short Poems for Bill Bronk, Plus One appeared as an ebook in 2013 (http://www.argotistonline.co.uk). He edited, with Harry Polkinhorn, Across the Line / Al otro lado: The Poetry of Baja California (Junction, 2002), and, with Marc Kaminsky, Stories as Equipment for Living: Last Talks and Tales of Barbara Myerhoff (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007).

Among his translations are Stet: Selected Poems of José Kozer (Junction, 2006); Cuaderno de San Antonio / The San Antonio Notebook, by Javier Manríquez (Editorial Praxis, 2004); three books by Gaspar Orozco, Notas del país de Z (Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, 2009), Autocinemas (Chax Press, 2016), and Memorial de la peonía (Shearsman Books, 2017; and the ebook La isla en peso/ The Whole Island, by Virgilio Piñera (www.shearsman.com, 2010). His bilingual anthology The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry was published in 2009 by the University of California Press. A Suite of Dances, from which this selection is drawn, will be published in the Spring by Shearsman Books.

Mark Weiss lives at the edge of Manhattan’s only forest.