— The Space of Half an Hour, Keith Waldrop
“Therefore the importance of particulars, the importance of poetics, of questions, of listening, of seeing…always, and especially in face of the escalated violence and unabashed disortions of the last two years,” E. Tracy Grinnell writes in the Editor’s Note, expanding upon the statement in Waldrop’s line. Published in 2003, Aufgabe 3 considers the origins of action – or, doing something – and the ways in which literature makes action possible. This volume contains “an array of American poetry that navigates this territory of (en)vision(ing),” a body of work that finds its way “through a complex linguistic and political landscape.” Picking up on Rick London and Leslie Scalapino’s work in the post-9/11 journal Enough, the texts in Aufgabe 3 emphasize on seeing as the foundation to this necessary navigating.
Translator and guest editor Jen Hofer emphasizes this necessity through her selection of poetry from Mexico: “To imagine the unimaginable, to see what we have not yet seen or what we see daily through different eyes, to welcome what we do not already know, must somehow counter the inhuman , the dehumanizing, the deadening contexts that dull us.” The featured poets in translation are José Pérez-Espino and Myriam Moscona, and the section includes excerpts from Hoja Frugal, a free monthly poetry broadside series distributed throughout Mexico and parts of the United States and Spain.