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UC Berkeley Press Release

Lunch Poems' international lineup

– The Lunch Poems public poetry reading series at the University of California, Berkeley, enters its 10th season this fall with an international lineup of acclaimed poets whose musings range from Aboriginal culture to hyper-reality, from war to the Beats, and from language loss to Zen Buddhism.

"Remarkably, the spoken word is thriving in an age of digital bits and networks. I can't think of a more appropriate place for words to jump off a page than a library," said University Librarian Tom Leonard. "We are proud to host Lunch Poems again this year for the Berkeley community."

Leonard has taken the helm of Lunch Poems while the program's co-founder, Robert Hass, a UC Berkeley professor of English and former U.S. Poet Laureate, is on sabbatical. The library hosts the free Lunch Poems events at 12:10 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month, in the Morrison Library inside Doe Library.

This year's series will launch on Thursday, Sept. 7, with several UC Berkeley faculty and staff members reading favorite poems. Presenters will include: Mary Catherine Birgeneau, wife of UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau; Harsha Ram of Slavic Languages and Literature; Janette Hernandez of the Graduate School of Education; Davitt Moroney of the Music Department; and others.

Additional Lunch Poems programs are listed below.

Oct. 5: Les Murray
A renowned Australian poet and literary critic, Murray is the author of more than 30 volumes of poetry and essays. A native of New South Wales, much of Murray's writings feature reflections on the natural environment, politics and culture. His latest collection, "The Biplane House," was published earlier this year. Other volumes include "Fredy Neptune," "The Boy Who Stole the Funeral," "Lunch and Counter Lunch" and "The Idyll Wheel." His awards include the T.S. Eliot Prize and Queen's Gold Medal.

Nov. 2: Will Alexander
One of the latest works of this Los Angeles poet, novelist and visual artist is "Exobiology as Goddess." Some of his other publications include "Towards the Primeval Lightning Field," "Above the Human Nerve Domain" and "The Stratospheric Canticles." He received a fellowship for poetry in 2002 from the California Arts Council.

Dec. 7: Jack Marshall
A native of Brooklyn and the son of an Iraqi father and Syrian mother, Marshall attended night classes in poetry with poets Robert Lowell and Stanley Kunitz in New York City as a young man, joining a growing poetry scene there. Now a Bay Area resident, Marshall is the author of "Gorgeous Chaos: New and Selected Poems 1965-2001" and "From Baghdad to Brooklyn." He has won the PEN West Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Feb. 1: Dunya Mikhail
Mikhail immigrated to the United States from Iraq in 1996 after she said she encountered increasing harassment over her poetry and its reflections on war and exile. In 2001, she received the United Nation's Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. Mikhail's "The War Works Hard," won PEN's Award for Poetry in Translation and was selected as one of New York Public Library's 25 best books of 2005.

March 1: Myung Mi Kim
Born in Seoul, Korea, Kim is the author of four books of poetry, including "Commons" and "Under Flag," winner of the 1991 Multicultural Publishers Book Award.

April 5: Joanne Kyger
Kyger's works often echo her practice of Zen Buddhism and her ties to the 1950s rebel poets of Black Mountain, the San Francisco Renaissance and the Beat generation. Her latest collection, "About Now: Collected Poems," is forthcoming from the National Poetry Foundation. She frequently teaches at New College of California in San Francisco and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo.

May 3: Student Reading
The annual student reading features winners of the following prizes: Academy of American Poets, Cook, Rosenberg and Yang. It also includes students nominated by UC Berkeley's creative writing faculty, Lunch Poems volunteers, and representatives from student publications.

More information about Lunch Poems and webcasts of previous readings are available online at: http://lunchpoems.berkeley.edu/.

Support for the series comes from Mrs. William (Rocky) Main, the UC Berkeley library, the Morrison Library Fund, UC Berkeley's College of Letters & Sciences, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. It is also partially supported by Poets & Writers, Inc., through a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.