This is the continuation of the Lost & Found Newsletter: Postcards from 2020-2021 (Part 1)

Translating the Future

Translating the Future (with over 10,000 viewers from 85 countries) transpired across weekly conversations with renowned translators throughout the late spring and summer and culminated in a symposium among Olga Tokarczuk's translators into languages including English, Japanese, Hindi, and more. Highlights included a reading and conversation with Forrest Gander and Raquel Salas Rivera on Global Ecopoetics Poetry, Translation, Climate Change, and Public Health; Motherless Tongues, Multiple Belongings with Jeffrey Angles and Mónica de la Torre and Bruna Dantas Lobato; Democracy and Translation with Natalie Diaz, Marilyn Nelson, and Ken Liu, and On the Elusive Art of Translation with Kate Briggs and Tracy K. Smith, moderated by Magdalena Edwards.

The conference, organized by Esther Allen & Allison Markin Powell, commemorated and carried forward PEN's 1970 World of Translation conference, convened by Gregory Rabassa and Robert Payne, and featuring Muriel Rukeyser, Irving Howe, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and many others. It billed itself as "the first international literary translation conference in the United States" and had a major impact on US literary culture.

The conference was co-sponsored by PEN America and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, with additional support from the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center & HowlRound Theatre Commons. Other presenters include: David Bellos, Karen Emmerich, Esther Allen, Lina Mounzer, Madhu Kaza, Forrest Gander, Raquel Salas Rivera, Daniel Hahn, Lawrence Schimel, Lyn MillerLachmann, Elizabeth Lowe, Matthew Harrington, Larissa Kyzer, Aya Ogawa, Jeremy Tiang, Mónica de la Torre, Jeffrey Angles, Bruna Dantas Lobato, Achy Obejas, Sean Bye, Gabriella PageFort, Samantha Schnee, Chad Post, Darcy Paquet, Linda Hoaglund, Xiaolu Guo, Boris Dralyuk, Éric Tsimi, Rajiv Mohabir, Martin Puchner, Peter Constantine, Tess Lewis, Yoko Tawada, Stephen Snyder, Susan Bernofsky, Margaret Mitsutani, Barbara Epler, Jeffrey Yang, Rivka Galchen, Paige Aniyah, Shuchi Saraswat, Marcia Lynx Qualey, Allison Markin Powell, Janet Hong, Pierre Joris, María, José Giménez, Mary Ann Newman, Madeleine Cohen, LaTasha Diggs, Laurie Patton, Gopal Sukhu, Vivek Narayanan, Julia Sanches, Ellen Elias-Bursać, Aaron Robertson, Queenie Sukhadia, Anton Hur, Jen Hofer, Sevinç Türkkan, Kate Briggs, Tracy K. Smith, Magdalena Edwards, Damion Searls, Ava Chin, Lisandro Perez, Jasmine ClaudeNarcisse, Maria Dahvana Headley, Emily Wilson, Marilyn Nelson, Ken Liu, Natalie Diaz, Jennifer Croft, Antonia Lloyd Jones, Maria Skakuj Puri, Pavel Peç, Ostap Slyvynsky, Barbara Delfino, Lothar Quinkenstein, Lisa Palmes, Julia Wiedlocha, Hikaru Ogura, Olga Baginska Shinzato, Christina Godun, and Susan Harris.

Click here for more information about the conference and to watch all of the video recordings of these conversations.

Poetry and Revolution on the Lower East Side with Mary Catherine Kinniburgh: NYPL's Doc Chat Episode 5

We collaborated with the NYPL for Doc Chat Episode 5: "Poetry and Revolution on the Lower East Side" featuring Lost & Found Editor, Daine di Prima Fellow, and Rare Books and Archives Associate at Granary Books Mary Catherine Kinniburgh who presented online-only teaching and research methods for mimeograph revolution, counterculture, and ephemera, both within and outside institutions, and discusses the Lower East Side's literary history and highlight digital resources for exploring the small press and mimeograph revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.Watch the video here:

A transcript of this event is available here. Click here for resources and handy links to materials and sources suggested in the episode.


Ensemble Time: An Improvised Reading and Listening Session with Harmony Holiday and Fred Moten

Harmony Holiday and Fred Moten continue their ongoing collaborative and improvisational exchange of music, thought and poetry for “Ensemble Time,” a listening session and reading from their new work. Watch the video here:

Click here to listen to the musical playlist, "Ensemble Time" curated by Harmony Holiday for the event. And a list of resources related to this conversation can be found here.

A Reading and Conversation with Joyelle McSweeney

A reading and conversation by poet Joyelle McSweeney from her latest book Toxicon and Arachne followed by a discussion with author and Kenyon Review poetry editor, David Baker and poet & publisher Kendra Sullivan.

A Reading by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and Engaging the Senses Foundation hosted Joy Harjo, the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, for a reading and conversation as she responded to ARC’s Poetry & the Senses theme of “emergency” on Earth Day.

Lost & Found Series VIII Launch

The Lost & Found Series VIII launch of archival publications featured CUNY graduate student and faculty editors sharing their experiences in the archive researching Diane di Prima, Pedro Pietri, Muriel Rukeyser, Mary Norbert Korte, and Julio Cortázar, as well as the Lost & Found Now & Then publications dedicated to Cecil Taylor. Lost & Found Series VIII includes the following publications:

And Lost & Found Now and Then publications:

On April 24th, 2021, Lost & Found Editor Rojo Robles Mejías (Department of Black and Latino Studies, Baruch College), presented on “One Size Fits All: Cinegraphic Poetics in Pedro Pietri’s Condoms Poems 4 Sale” as part of the CUNY Latin American/Latinx Studies Symposium “The Present and Future of Latin American/Latinx Studies at CUNY and Beyond: Building Bridges

On March 31st, 2021, Lost & Found Editor Olivia Loksing Moy, (English, Lehman College, CUNY) presented a lecture on Julio Cortázar’s translations including Imagen de John Keats, the Hispanophone reception of John Keats, and a consideration of Keats’ surprising afterlife preceding the Latin American Boom for The Morgan Library and Museum’s exhibition and programming series Keats’ Chameleon, Cortázar’s Axolotl: Life and Letters of John Keats / Vida y Cartas de John Keats.”

Archival Poetics: A Discussion and Traveling Exhibition of the Maud/Olson Library

The Archival Poetics discussion was also a traveling exhibition or imaginative bibliography on library collections that focus on communities and poetry—including one in particular, the Maud/Olson Library, traveling from Gloucester, Massachusetts to New York City for the first time. This event will include a hands-on exhibition of books, punctuated by short talks and discussion on how the Maud/Olson Library is developing an ongoing model for preserving and animating a legacy library, associated with poet Charles Olson and scholar Ralph Maud, and together we explore how legacy and author-specific libraries can become not just vectors back to their creators, but sites for new experimentation and discovery.

Click here to read the full Bibliography and write up of Mary Catherine Kinniburg’s Maud/Olson Traveling Library event at the Graduate Center on Dispatch Poetry Wars.

Congratulations to Lost & Found Editor Mary Catherine Kinniburg who won the Book History’s Graduate Student Essay Award for her article “The Postwar American Poet’s Library: An Archival Consideration with Charles Olson and the Maud/Olson Library.”

Unit Structures: The Art of Cecil Taylor

The late Cecil Taylor was a giant in the arts, a unique figure not only within jazz, but one of the most genuinely protean artists of our times. This 4-day conference “Unit Structures: The Art of Cecil Taylor” builds upon Taylor scholarship in jazz and American music studies, and also expands it into a broader range of disciplines in order to reflect more accurately the scope of Taylor’s own praxis. The conference celebrated Cecil Taylor the educator by hosting three concerts, including a large ensemble workshop led by bassoonist/improviser Karen Borca, who passed on a composition dictated to her by Cecil Taylor.

Poetry Listening Session with Brent Hayes Edwards and Fred Moten

To kick off the Unit Structures: The Art of Cecil Taylor Conference, Brent Hayes Edwards and Fred Moten played hosts to a listening session featuring Cecil Taylor's poetry performances. Drawing from their ongoing research collaboration involving Taylor's unpublished poetry manuscripts, Edwards and Moten facilitated an immersive experience that delves into sounds, the voice, poetics, politics and representation, performance—with Cecil Taylor's poetry/music/practice—through the faculty of our listening(s).

Cedar Sigo Presents “Reality Is No Obstacle: A Poetics of Participation”

Acclaimed Suquamish poet Cedar Sigo his lecture “Reality Is No Obstacle: A Poetics of Participationas part of the Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry, discussing readings from outright revolutionary poets like Diane di Prima, Audre Lorde, Jayne Cortez, Margaret Randall, Amiri Baraka and Joy Harjo. Sigo uses these poets, their works as well as their histories to suggest new forms as well as to pose questions. How can we aim our poems at the actual infrastructures of oppression? Poetry is never simply a set of words living alone upon the page, it exists as a perennial light in the mind, a tool of recognition that we must press into the hands of others.

Lost & Found Fellows

Each year, Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative offers Lost & Found Archival Research Grants in collaboration with of the Early Research Initiative at The Graduate Center, CUNY. We were especially grateful to do so during COVID times.

Awards are for Graduate Center, CUNY doctoral students conducting archival research on writers, artists, and musicians whose contributions to New American Poetry remain understudied. Recipients will receive grants that further archival research, writing, and editing en route to a publication in Lost & Found: Series 9 or a blog post about the research process on Distributaries.

2020 L&F Fellows:

2021 L&F Fellows:


Audre Lorde Now

Read Audre Lorde Now essay series on Audre Lorde’s vital legacy in the time of a health pandemic & social uprisings. Essays from Conor Tomás Reed & Afro-Cuban queer & trans cultural workers Tito Mitjans Alayón, Diarenis Calderón Tartabull, & AnouchK Ibacka Valiente.

My journey with Lost & Found, 2014-2020 (and onward)

In this essay, “My journey with Lost & Found, 2014-2020Iris Cushing recounts her evolving relationships with the constellation of poets, relationships and writing surrounding and published in Lost & Found, including Diane di Prima, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Mary Norbert Korte, Judy Grahn, and David Henderson, following the "glowing breadcumbs" that illuminated her path between them.

The Craft We Didn't Learn: Retroactive Writing from the Archives

Read this collaborative essay on "The Craft We Didn't Learn: Retroactive Writing from the Archives" with Lost & Found editors Iris Cushing, Megan Paslawski, and Zohra Saed discuss with L&F Publisher Kendra Sullivan what they've learned about writing through working in the archives of Diane di Prima, Marty Korte, Lucia Berlin, and Langston Hughes, as a continuation of their discussion for the 2021 AWP conference. Among many things, they reflect on the 'magic transmissions' of poetry, thought, and communication between the living and dead, archival research as 'pushing a hand through the veil of time,' and "the extreme 'outside' at the very heart of life."

The Thought Project: Interview with Ammiel Alcalay

Listen to poet, translator, critic, scholar, activist and Lost & Found General Editor, Ammiel Alcalay, who along with Anne Waldman and others, was one of the initiators of the Poetry Is News Coalition, and he organized, with Mike Kelleher, the OlsonNow project.

Click here to listen to the interview with Ammiel.

An Intertwining of Voices: Langston, Shaali and Karim | Zohra Saed | TEDxCUNYSalon

"In this paiwand, interlinking of Black American poet, Uzbek, Turkmen, Kyrgyz poets, I see the singularity of Hughes’s voice reverberating with multiple layers of voices that he maintained, preserved and returned to the world as counter memory." Listen to this TEDx talk by L&F Editor Zohra Saed, editor of Langston Hughes: Poems, Photos, and Notebooks from Turkestan as she discusses her research from the Langston Hughes papers and related archival materials, marginalia, translations and connections with Central Asian poets and writers from Hughes trip there in the early 1930s.

Sneak Peak: Series 9

We are excited share a sneak peak at Lost & Found Series IX, which we’ve been hard at work on, and will include the following publications:

And the debut project of our new interview series, Mouth to Word!

Looking Forward to the Past: Lost & Found at a Crossroads

As Lost & Found comes into its 10th series, many of the figures we have worked on during our first ten years have passed away: Peter Anastas, Amiri Baraka, Diane di Prima, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Joanne Kyger, Michael McClure, Michael Rumaker, and Cecil Taylor. Each of these people carry within them an extraordinary legacy that cuts across so many times, places, and artistic clusters and communities. Our student editors have treasured the opportunity to know and work with these people, becoming kin in so many ways, and their deaths have indelibly marked their lives and changed the trajectory of how they have come to view their creative and scholarly trajectories.

From the beginning, Lost & Found was based on principles markedly different from much conventional archival work: in addition to working collaboratively, our mottos to “follow the person” and respect “kin review” over “peer review,” never diminished the integrity of our scholarship. On the contrary, it set a new standard that has had widespread influence and impact in the field and in literary/cultural reception at-large. With all the public outreach and all the different ways Lost & Found touches people, we are still always thrilled when projects originating with Lost & Found turn into full-length books, and we want to celebrate and congratulate these authors: Rowena Kennedy Epstein’s edition of Muriel Rukeyser’s Savage Coast; Claudia Moreno Pisano’s The Collected Letters of Amiri Baraka and Edward Dorn, winner of the 2014 Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award; Robert Duncan in San Francisco, co-edited by Megan Paslawski; Michael Seth Stewart’s Stars Seen in Person: Selected Journals of John Wieners and Yours Presently: The Selected Letters of John Wieners; Henry Alexander Wermer-Colan’s co-editing of William S. Burroughs Cutting Up the Century; Kai Krienke’s translation of Albert Camus, Jean Sénac, or the Rebel Son; and Brian Unger’s Bowed Some, Chanted a Little: Philip Whalen’s Zen Journals and the San Francisco Renaissance, Mary Catherine Kinniburg’s Wild Intelligence: Poets' Libraries and the Politics of Knowledge in Postwar America, with many others in the works. Various projects, including those of curricular materials from the teaching lives of Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, and Audre Lorde, have taken on hemispheric lives of their own, with collaborative projects and bi-lingual public events in English and Spanish, as well as classroom adoption.

Lost & Found
is coming upon its 10th series, a milestone. To both assess and celebrate our tenth year, we have decided to pay homage to the beloved figures that have passed on, and take account—through their works and that of others—by marking the passage from one significant phase of Lost & Found to the coming cycle of our work. We plan to do this through the presentation of our archival and editing process by having our editors demonstrate the scope of their method by, in a sense, looking behind the finished product and writing about their archival experiences from this remove, as they consider their relationships with their subjects and come to terms with what they have both found and lost. In addition, we will present texts by the writers that didn’t appear in our original projects, providing as well an anthology of newly published archival materials. Finally, we will call upon other writers and scholars who have been involved in our work to make contributions, seeing our work from their varied perspectives. This promises to be a unique project, combining all the different aspects of our work: publication, pedagogy, public life, and the process behind it all.


Al Young 1939-2021

With sadness I’d like to note the passing of the extraordinarily multi-faceted Al Young, a writer who, as Ishmael Reed notes in one of the many fine articles that have appeared in the last few days, was “probably one of the most underrated writers in the country.”

Poet, novelist, prose-writer, screenwriter, and so much more, Al was known to magnetize an audience and was much loved by students in the many places he taught. As California Poet Laureate he went from farms to prisons, truly bringing poetry to the people.

As a member of our advisory board, Al was most generous in his support of Lost & Found and we still feel touched and honored by that—early on he wrote: “Nightly I sit dipping into Lost & Found, which sits at bedside. I love the series, which reflects the spirit, flavor, and vigor of the underground literary scene of the 1950, 60s and early 70s. Much of my creative upbringing unfolded in these communities through imagination.”

With heartfelt condolences to Al’s son Michael and further family and friends, we honor the work and memory of Al Young. May he rest in peace.

-Ammiel Alcalay

Steve Cannon (1935-2019)

It is with great sadness that I got the news from Bob Holman about Steve Cannon passing away early this morning, at 2:07 a.m. at the VA hospital in Manhattan.

Most simply & obviously we only exist because of those who came before us. In Steve’s case, he was such a channel, someone who, literally, was a pillar of what we have come to know as our culture. He mentored countless younger people through A Gathering of the Tribes, his unique gallery/living/life space. He taught at Medgar Evers early on & we worked closely with him on many events: The Umbra Arts reunion, the Sun Ra 100th, & did whatever we could to always make him feel welcome at the GC, just as he always made people feel welcome in his presence.

-Ammiel Alcalay

You can read more about him in this feature from last year.

There was celebration of his life this past Fall with a New Orleans band leading mourners and celebrators through the Lower East Side at sites of pilgrimage, ending up with a service at the Sanctuary at St Marks Church.

Steve Dalachinsky (1946-2019)

News of Steve Dalachinsky’s sudden death yesterday, following a stroke on Saturday, came as a real shock. I had bumped into Steve & his extraordinary wife and companion of more than 30 years, poet and artist Yuko Otomo, on the F train the Friday before, on their way to perform at a memorial for the recently departed Steve Cannon.

Poet, collagist, raconteur extraordinaire, Steve was also a true friend of the music, and I had seen him read (and tell stories)—amidst most formidable company—at memorials for Jayne Cortez, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor, to mention just a few.

We were in the process of talking through a planned event we were to participate in for the upcoming Unit Structures Conference on Cecil Taylor at the Graduate Center and Brooklyn College in late Ocotber, organized mainly by PhD music student Michelle Yom.

Steve was a steadfast friend of Lost & Found and, along with Yuko, instrumental in helping us clear the ground for the project we did on Ted Joans, along with many other things.

In this time of cautious and pious reverence and calculated irreverence, Steve Dalachinsky was the real deal: he wrote and spoke from the heart, without flashing credentials. His only credentials were a crystal ear, hard won experience, and a huge heart. The clip from a film by Nicole Peyrafitte, linked below, will give you a sense.

We send profound and heartfelt condolences to Yuko, and all their loved ones.

We will miss him tremendously.

-Ammiel Alcalay

Read more about Steve's life and work here.

Adál (1948-2020)

Auto-Retrato. As I began to disappear I realized someone was beginning to forget me. -ADÁL, 2014

In these humorless times, when offense is so easily taken, we mourn the passing of Adál, photographer, novelist, and inveterate trickster who, in his conceptual art projects, managed to plant the Puerto Rican flag and put Coconauts on the moon. On behalf of Lost & Found, we send condolences to Adál’s family and friends.

In an interview, Adál once said: “I shift identities at will. But I feel comfortable doing that. I’m a product of many different cultural identities. You know, eventually everyone’s going to be Puerto Rican.”

In light of this concept, his energies around the El Puerto Rican Embassy project feels more present than ever.

As GC alum Rojo Robles put it in his brilliant Lost & Found Project on Adál’s comrade Pedro Pietri, CONDOM POEMS 4 SALE ONE SIZE FITS ALL:

"In 1990, based on the ideas of poet and cultural promoter Eddie Figueroa, ADÁL, along with Pietri, re-established El Puerto Rican Embassy, a still active mobile platform and space of resistance for Puerto Rican artists.The conceptual Embassy encourages cultural self-determination because, historically, Puerto Rico has been denied a self-sufficient and autonomous political identity. One of the main concepts/acts/artifacts of the Embassy is “El Puerto Rican Passport Project.” Through it, a literal Puerto Rican passport with a text by Pietri was created to question the assumed or bestowed US citizenship and to affirm the construction of symbolic, non-territorial and emancipated identities.”

Rev. Pedro Pietri, photo by ADÁL, 1990

In this spirit, we thank you, Adál, for your generosity in helping us with the Pietri project, and we look forward to a time when people begin to remember you…

-Ammiel Alcalay

Miguel Algarín 1941-2020

It’s hard to concisely describe or encapsulate the brilliance, erudition, exuberance, and style of Miguel Algarín, not to mention the enormous impact he had on so many writers and the culture at large. Born in Puerto Rico in 1941, like so many of his compatriots, Algarín moved from the Island to Nueva York with his parents as a child. He went on to study at the University of Wisconsin and Penn State before finishing his doctorate at Rutgers, where he eventually taught for many years, with Shakespeare as one of his specialties.

Still vastly understudied and under-known, the culture of the Lower East Side—as exemplified by the Nuyorican Cafe, of which Miguel was one of the founders—remans a site of untold riches, of lives in creative struggle to make great art, often under extreme pressure. I’ll never forget the introduction I once heard Miguel give for Robert Creeley at the Nuyorican: outrageous, hilarious, and completely over-the-top while being exactly on the mark. In the often so very provincial world of genteel New York literary culture, the Nuyorican was like an explosion of life and Miguel’s dexterity encompassed and embraced it all. He actually lived the life so many have tried to “theorize.” As he said: “The academy is fed by the street."

Miguel Algarín, presente!

-Ammiel Alcalay

Lawrence Ferlinghetti 1919-2021

While there is already a lot to read about Lawrence’s eventful and influential life, and there will be much more, I wanted to add my perspective.

In light of the recent shameful (and shameless) rehabilitation of George W. Bush, I remember with great clarity and fondness the welcome I got from Lawrence and City Lights in the build up to the Gulf War.

I had returned to the US from six years in Jerusalem and environs and was having a hard time finding my literary/political footing in New York. As I tried publishing texts that dove directly into the turmoil of the region I had returned from, I was met with either hostility or incredulity.

But once I understood that City Lights could be a home for the kind of work I was doing, I felt a great sense of relief and it empowered me to not only publish many hybrid works of my own but help bring many other books to the press as well, including one of the first Iraqi novels published in the US, Sinan Antoon’s brilliant I’jaam: An Iraqi Raphsody.

Throughout, Lawrence was constantly attentive, curious, informed, and supportive.

As Lost & Found got underway, and we began doing collaborative books, City Lights became one of our first partners, and they continue to be. I remember going into the office upstairs one day and catching Lawrence alone at his desk with a pile of Lost & Founds, intently reading. Needless to say, it was an incredibly meaningful and satisfying moment. A friend sent this wonderful post someone sent out and it feels as fitting as anything I’ve so far seen:

RIP to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, eternal hero, liberator of the amusement park mind, the quiet bookstore clerk as 1-man molotov, the impassioned, fundamentally decent, serrated furtive genius who came as close as anyone to writing the blueprint for how to fight the modern sickness.

Thank you, Lawrence, for everything! May you journey further into light…

-Ammiel Alcalay