UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

California's poet laureate, Ferlinghetti and Mary Karr in Lunch Poems lineup

– The popular University of California, Berkeley's Lunch Poems series kicks off on Sept. 1 and this year will include readings by 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.

On Thursday, Sept. 1, the series begins with readings by distinguished faculty and staff, including UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.

Zack Rogow, co-founder of the program along with UC Berkeley English Professor Robert Hass, will read on Oct. 6. Rogow is the author of five books of poetry. He also teaches at the California College of the Arts and is editor of "Two Lines: A Journal of Translation."

Al Young, the state's poet laureate for 2005-2007, will read on Nov. 3. Young is the author of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenplays and musical interpretation. 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."

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner of the City Lights Bookstore and publishing company in San Francisco and former poet laureate of San Francisco, will read on Dec. 1. A leader of the Beat movement in the 1950s, 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. The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley is home to his archival material.

After the series takes a winter break, Saskia 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.

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

Mei-mei 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 is 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.

A video archive of readings can be found on the Web at: http://lunchpoems.berkeley.edu/.