Kate Greenstreet and Bob Hicok Poems




Translations: Kate Greenstreet and Bob Hicok


We asked two poets to exchange work and create interpretations of each other's poems. Click on the links below to read the original texts and new interpretations, and then come back to get the poets’ commentary on the process.




Poem by Kate Greenstreet; reinterpreted by Bob Hicok


Bob Hicok Commentary


I had a sense of a landscape every time I read Kate's piece, and wanted to give shape to that landscape in "On a species of openness."  Her work is very open, easy to step into and roam about, and I wanted to put a mind into that landscape, which is really a mood, and have it speak back to her.  I've been writing these double poems lately, a poem and then a second that somehow speaks back to, scolds or elides the first.  The second version of this poem came about because I couldn't let go the line "12,000 lbs. of total recall."  Imagine the hat you'd have to wear.  I love movement in poems, and the feint toward the specific, the incalculable calculated, is a nice little skip in the poem, a wonderful lie that feels true. 


This is an interesting idea you had, whoever you are who had it.  I didn't get there, but wanted what I wrote to be a record of what happened the instant I encountered Kate's poem, to translate, or embody, the traces of my reading.  I think of the images of particles shooting off from other particles smashed together in accelerators.  That's what I wanted, minus the pretension and the billions of dollars, though we should all step into the future wearing lab coats.






Thoughts Interrupted by Other Thoughts by Bob Hicok; reinterpreted by Kate Greenstreet


Kate Greenstreet Commentary



We wake and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight.


(Emerson, “Experience”)



Whose life? you asked

And I answered

my life, and yours
There are no other lives


(Sonnevi, “Whose life? you asked”

tr. Lesser)



There is a doctrine whispered in secret that man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door and run away: this is a great mystery, which I do not quite understand.


(Plato, Phaedo, tr. Jowett)



It’s feeling you want, but how

does this one language of touch

become this other language of telling

what is touched?


(Hicok, “On a species of openness”)



But I’m interested in misinterpretation too.


(Greenstreet, talking to herself)



The object is not to wince when the person

you’re becoming stands up inside you.


(Hicok, “Thoughts interrupted by other thoughts”)



Now the dream is told a second time.


(Bosnak, A Little Course in Dreams)











Bob Hicok's tired of killing mice. A better mousetrap is to let them go.



Kate Greenstreet is the author of case sensitive (Ahsahta Press, 2006)

 and two chapbooks, Learning the Language (Etherdome Press, 2005)

and Rushes (above/ground press, 2007). Her second book, The Last 4 Things,

 is forthcoming from Ahsahta in 2009.




Archived at http://lit.konundrum.com/poetry/greenhicok_trans1.php