|THIRD RAIL burst onto the American literary scene in 1975 with a fresh take on
how far a poetry magazine could go beyond the editorial and graphic conventions
of its genre to link writing with cultural-historical movements and political and
artistic changes of the era.
THIRD RAIL immediately cut an uncompromising and expressive path across a
broad spectrum of writing and the arts starting with the publication of its earliest
issues. Co-edited by founding editors Uri Hertz and Doren Robbins, the magazine
set out its editorial concept based on a historically-minded approach to literature
as a living cultural force. THIRD RAIL's dynamic appeal caught the interest of
leading writers such as Henry Miller, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Bly, Jack Micheline
and George Hitchcock, who contributed writing to early issues. Full editing and
publishing responsibilities were left in the hands of Uri Hertz when Doren Robbins
left his editorial post with the magazine after five years. As THIRD RAIL continued
to carve its unique course through the shifting landscape of post-sixties to late
twentieth century American culture, this innovative and imaginative review of
international arts and literature continued to capture and hold the attention of
poets, writers, scholars and practitioners as well as appreciators of the visual,
theatrical and cinematic arts.
This website is the return of THIRD RAIL to the literary, artistic and cultural flow of
creative production and critical discourse. Presented on these opening pages are
writing and art selected for reprint here from among the most recent of the nine
issues published from 1975 to 1989.
An art installation titled Lo real maravilloso, Puppet Sculpture by Linda Haim, is
mounted on this site.
Kazuo Ohno is featured here with writing by and about the centenarian Japanese
Butoh master with photographs from his classic performances.
for Kenneth Rexroth
poem by John Solt
Introduction to Japanese
Rexroth's Selected Poems
Adding to our Nature
The King is Dead.
Long Live the King!
With a Tabloid Biographer,
Who Needs an Oeuvre?
Eros Until the End
in the Tinder of Knowing
|T H I R D R A I L
|international literature & arts
|poems torn from a life
is a new book of poems by Uri
Hertz, published by
To order online, follow the link to
October 27, 1906 - June 1, 2010
|interview by Uri Hertz
from Third Rail # 4, 1980
Literatureandarts.com is the official website of THIRD RAIL,
the legendary review of international arts and literature
that appeared in print from 1975-89 and is published
online here. Be wary of simulations.
|photo: Victor Aleman
Yoshito’s smile melted snow on mountains. Because butoh
has no fixed steps, the inner life of the dancer comes
to the surface. As great and dynamic as other butoh artists
are, there was in Yoshito and Kazuo’s butoh something
especially attractive that captivated me.
Ohno Etsuko, Yoshito’s wife, who chose the costumes
and did the makeup for both father and son, was an
integral part of their art although she has never sufficiently
been credited by dance critics for her immense
For me the most amazing thing about the Ohno family,
including Keiko, Yoshito and Etsuko’s daughter, is their
utter sweetness and the way they effortlessly exude love.
Not only were Yoshito and Kazuo superb artists who
changed the dynamic of world dance forever, but they
were among the finest human beings I have ever met.
And everyone who came in contact with the Ohno family
is in agreement. There is saintliness in the air there.
Leaving their house in Hodogaya, I always felt energized
as if I was levitating.
I visited the family home and studio perhaps forty or
fifty times over 45 years. I conducted the thrice weekly
workshops with Yoshito a few times for fun. I would
give mental settings to the assembled dancers but never
suggest how they should move. Then Yoshito would layer
on his instructions. On one occasion I said, “It’s the
end of the human species and you—a group of butoh
dancers—are the last and only survivors, and you are
also on your way out. Now dance those last moments of
so-called homo sapiens.”
Yoshito added, “Dance only with your back. Make your
back as expressive as the front of your body.” Then he
demonstrated and was masterfully engrossing in the difficult
task. None of the dancers could do it convincingly,
but Yoshito gave those performers something worth contemplating for
Eulogy for Ohno Yoshito (1938-2020)
you gave your all
you listened with conviction
spoke with certainty
and taught what you knew
to anyone passing through
you smiled through adversity
celebrating the journey
you were light as a feather to others
and tough as nails pushing yourself
when you had nothing left to dance
you retired from the stage
then returned with newly gained wisdom
stirring up unconscious residue
emitting pure authenticity
in your trancelike movements
there was nothing ever false about you
perhaps that’s why people swarmed
to spend even a moment in your hallowed presence
we were hungry for light
and you never held back
of course you had to go one day
and we had to let you go
but that doesn’t make it any easier
to endure knowing we’ll never meet
on this side of the skies again
reprinted w/thanks to Toshio Mizohata and Dance Archive Network
|John Solt: Remembering Yoshito Ohno