Language as Responsibility

Leonard Schwartz is the author of, among other books, Ear And Ethos, The Tower Of Diverse Shores, and Words Before The Articulate, all from Talisman House. He hosts the radio program Cross Cultural Poetics. He teaches at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.


Language as Responsibility
by Leonard Schwartz • 2006 • $12
Design by Lian Lederman


This hand-sewn chapbook contains three parts:
1) in which the Israel poet Aharon Shabtai offers witness.
2) in which a publishing vision emerges from the rich sources mingling in Jerusalem.
3) a verse essay on poetic form in America by Leonard Schwartz that argues responsibility is the ability to respond.

Language as Responsibility is something of a departure for Tinfish Press, as its context is the Middle East, not the Pacific. But its author, who now lives in Washington State, argues forcefully for a poetics of publishing that crosses boundaries of language and difference (in this instance Arabic and Hebrew, Palestine and Israel). Such crossings fit Tinfish’s philosophy, hence this beautiful chapbook.

from the verse essay:

The very being of language
Implies an other with whom to speak.
Language is always the other spoken to.
Each hill of Jerusalem knows that,
Next year in
Cry indeed unto
Next year in


Review by Philip Metres.