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Technicians of the Sacred: Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania Hardcover – Jun 1985


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 650 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (Jun. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520049004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520049000
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,006,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jerome Rothenberg is a poet and one of the world's leading anthologists. His more than fifty books include Poems for the Millennium, Volumes One and Two (California 1995, 1998), co-edited with Pierre Joris. He is Professor of Visual Arts and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tami Brady TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
Technicians of the Sacred was compiled by Rothenberg after attending two 1964 readings of "Primitive and Archaic Poetry" at The Poet's Hardware Theater and the Café Metro in New York city. Intrigued with the deep intuition of these works, Rothenberg decided to collect poetry, songs, and chants from around the world.

Rothenberg's intention was not to focus on any one particular aspect of the sacred but merely to compile material that was available in English and the book's organization directly reflects this lack of apparent direction. Works are subdivided into nine sections: Origins & Namings; Visions & Spells; Death & Defeat; The Book of Events (I); The Book of Events (II); Africa; America; Asia; Europe & The Ancient Near East; and Oceana. Having material from the first five sections more or less focused around a specific theme while the remaining five sections reflect a geographic focus the work feeling a little thrown together and disorganized.

This disorganization is further reflected within each section, where there is everything from modern poetry and prose through traditional songs and chants to ancient pictographs and artwork. Moreover works from individual cultural groups are not placed together but dispersed throughout each section.

That the work only reflects English translations is also somewhat problematic. A Commentary section at the back of the book explains how Rothenberg came across each work offering explanations about the themes and topics within a particular piece. However, more often than not, these notes did not describe how the piece was translated. This lack of information would be particularly useful as Rothenberg states that the translations vary from literal to very free.
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Format: Paperback
A monumental work - THE key anthology of oral/primal literature and it features, pointedly, in the film 20 Days on Earth. As Mr Cave says elsewhere on the web:
"I read an enormous amount of poetry, and "Technicians of the Sacred" has been hugely influential. The primitive poetry in general and the way it's presented in that book is pretty extraordinary. After I've gotten sick of reading modern poetry, I just open that up, and there's just something immediate about it and visceral and shockingly erotic that gives a license and a context to go to other places."
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By Annabelle on 19 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A richly interesting inspiring book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
An extraordinary, unique and delightful anthology. 5 Jun. 2001
By Douglas Wolk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was introduced to this book by a fiction writing teacher to whom I'll always be grateful. It's a fresh, ingenious selection of ritual and sacred poetry from around the world, translated with irreverence and raw attitude. If you're used to the vague New Age-isms of what usually gets thought of as "ritual" and "sacred," pick this up and get a jolt--Rothenberg finds incredibly powerful language in places where it wouldn't occur to most people to look, and he's not afraid of crudeness and hilarity. Amazing stuff. A friend of mine has worn out copies of both the first edition and this one, and I don't blame her.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Listen 14 Mar. 2000
By benjamin berlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As we begin to see this earth suffer the effects of our presence here, these poems -with roots in every continent- speak together of this planet as a sacred place. One perhaps we might still come to treat well. Read a few aloud, sit in your garden this spring and read a Navajo corn song, stir, stir ... This is well researched, carefully and lovingly translated; it should accompany any studies of native cultures worldwide.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Inspiring for artists 2 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Back in the 1970s I discovered this book. It became my companion. Its rich poetry, its multitudes of rituals and images have inspired my batiks and paintings for the past thirty years. What variety and life!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great, but the First Edition is greater 9 Sept. 2009
By eurydike - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
You need to obtain the First Edition to get the best poetry and commentary. The First Edition is much more radical and shamanistic. I'm not sure why the edition was revised to morph into a much safer and tamer "Great Books version" of the first edition, which was much more Rimbaudian.

Check the first edition out at: Technicians of the Sacred : A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia & Oceania
Totally Unique 28 Nov. 2012
By Mikey C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Few anthologies actually uncover new texts for consideration and study, let alone uncover whole new corners of a genre. Rothenberg has achieved the miraculous with this collection in that he's demonstrated how poetry is around us everywhere and has been with us since the start of culture.
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