David Rattray: A Recognition

Please join us for an afternoon of talks and readings marking the life, work and ongoing influence of poet and translator David Rattray (1936-1993) on the twentieth anniversary of his death.  Fluent in most western languages, as well as Sanskrit, Latin and Greek, David Rattray was one of the first translators of Antonin Artaud.  Published by City Lights Books in 1963, Rattray’s Artaud translations burned through the aura of transgressive chic that surrounded the poet to reveal the core of his incisive scholarship, technological prophecies, and visionary rage.  Rattray’s published works include a collection of poems, Opening the Eyelid (1990) and How I Became One of the Invisible (1992), a guide to the mystical-poetic-outlaw tradition that he found running throughout Western civilization Pythagoras to the prophetic polyphony of 16th century In Nomine music, to the gang of marijuana harvesters and car thieves of East St. Louis, 1961, who become Rattray’s friends.  For the last ten years of his life he lived in the East Village, where he frequently performed and read.  Writing in Chemical Imbalance, Jim Fletcher noted the “dangerously close friendships and information flows” found in his work; Thurston Moore has described Rattray’s “fantastic and calm stowaway information,” and, writing in Bomb, Betsey Sussler described him as “the most generous of writers.”  A second event of readings and visual material about David will take place the night before: Friday, April 5 at 7PM at the Leo Koenig Gallery (545 W. 23) in Chelsea. With Joanna Fuhrman, Robbie Dewhurst, Eileen Myles, Gerrit Lansing, Susie Timmons, Garrett Caples, John Godfrey, Kimberly Lyons, Chris Kraus, Ann Rower, David Abel, Jesse Browner, George Quasha, George Green and M.Mark.