Burning Poems/Source Text of Translation

Following the death of my father and the scattering of his ashes, and having seen John Baldessari’s conceptual beginning via his burning of his art and placing an obituary for it in the local paper, I started burning poems and source texts prior to translation. In part this responds to Walter Benjamin’s famous translation essay that claims the translated text experiences a death then an afterlife in translation. I put the ashes of the Stevens’ poem in an actual jar, reproducing its claim that of textual opaqueness (in response to Emerson, Stevens’ predecessor, who claims transparency/first priority but then sullies his own transparent eyeball with his textual recording of it. On Valentines’ Day, at a reading in Long Island City, New York, I baked the ashes of Hafez’ poem (Hafez was a baker) into a heart cookie, to mix the bitter death with the sweet rising and also to attempt to bring back the heart a la Buffalo 66 wherein Vincent Gallo goes to kill the field goal kicker for the Bills that cost him a bet and sent him to jail then realizes his love for Christina Ricci, opting instead to buy her a heart cookie from a donut shop and return to her in the motel…

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