UC Berkeley News


Midday musings by varied versifiers
Ferlinghetti, Al Young are among this year's Lunch Poets

| 29 September 2005

The popular Lunch Poems series kicked off on Sept. 1 with readings by Chancellor Birgeneau and other campus figures. Subsequent readings this academic year will feature California Poet Laureate Al Young, Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Saskia Hamilton, Mary Karr, and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge.

The free poetry-reading program, now in its 10th year, is held in the Morrison Library, located within Doe Library. All readings begin at 12:10 p.m. and end at 12:50 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month.

Zack Rogow
Up next, on Oct. 6, will be Zack Rogow, co-founder of the program along with English Professor Robert Hass, and its coordinator between 1996 and 2005. Rogow, the author of five books of poetry, teaches at the California College of the Arts and is editor of Two Lines: A Journal of Translation.

Young, the state's poet laureate for 2005-07, will read at Lunch Poems on Nov. 3. A native of Mississippi, Young now lives in Berkeley. He is the author of The Sound of Dreams Remembered, Conjugal Visits, Drowning in the Sea of Love, Heaven: Collected Poems, and numerous other books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He also edited African American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology.

Ferlinghetti, owner of City Lights Bookstore (and an eponymous publishing company) in San Francisco, and that city's former poet laureate, will read on Dec. 1. A leader of the Beat movement in the 1950s whose archives reside in the Bancroft Library, his A Coney Island of the Mind continues to be the most popular poetry book in the country. Ferlinghetti's most recent work, Americus Book I, was published in 2004.

After the series takes a winter break, Hamilton will read on Feb. 2. Author of As for Dream and editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell, Hamilton teaches English at Barnard College and has been the director of the literary programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Mary Karr
Poet Mary Karr also will read on Feb. 2. She is the author of four volumes of poetry (including the upcoming Sinners Welcome) and a memoir, The Lions' Club. A Guggenheim fellowship winner, Karr teaches at Syracuse University.

Berssenbrugge, a native of Beijing who grew up in Massachusetts, will read on April 6. She is the winner of two American Book Awards and the author of 10 collections of poetry, including Fish Souls, Summits Move With the Tide, Random Possessions, Sphericity, and The Four Year Old Girl. A new book of selected poetry, I Love Artists, is due out in 2006.

A student reading on May 4 will conclude the Lunch Poems series.
For information or to be added to the Lunch Poems mailing list, e-mail poems@library.berkeley.edu. A video archive of previous readings can be found at lunchpoems.berkeley.edu.