Establishing National Poetry Month in April, which T.S. Eliot famously deemed “the cruelest month,” might seem a little misguided. But on closer look, the Academy of American Poets may be on to something. For Eliot, April is the month that stirs up all the emotions that have lain dormant in winter, “mixing/ Memory and desire.” Poetry does this perhaps better than any other medium.
This year, as in years past, UC Press is a proud sponsor of National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world. We’ve got a lot going on this month, and would like to share some of the highlights with you.
The Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan, edited by Alice Notley, Anselm Berrigan, and Edmund Berrigan, demonstrates the breadth of Ted Berrigan’s poetic accomplishments by presenting his most celebrated, interesting, and important work. According to John Ashbery, “Ted Berrigan was a leader of the New York School; his crazy energy embodied that movement and the city itself.”
Laura Mullen’s Dark Archive explores how to accurately represent the reality of change and loss in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Fred Moten wrote that “Mullen’s shapes shift, disappear like the living but remain like lives, as sharp curved traces, jarred angles of incidence/vantage/glance.”
Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s Metropole opens with a set of lyric experiments whose music and mutable syntax explore the social relations concealed in material things. Publishers Weekly gave the book a Starred Review, saying, “If O’Brien’s poems are becoming increasingly resistant to, if not combative with, their readers, their rewards are also growing richer for readers willing to engage in the poems’ arguments.”
And Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager, which draws its name from the spacecraft, probes this world’s cosmological relation to the plurality of all possible worlds. Booklist wrote, “The paradoxical lives of historical figures have long inspired poets, a tradition Reddy embraces and transforms in his audacious, deeply interrogative second collection. . . . Nuanced yet piercing.”
For those looking to keep the spirit of Poetry Month alive in May, we’ve got a couple of incredible events we’d be remiss not to mention.
Michael McClure will be at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club on May 10 and 11 with Ray Manzarek of The Doors. This event is a must for Doors fans—McClure was Jim Morrison’s role model and one of his influences.
Audio and Video
Visit the Poetry section of our website for rare video footage of Michael McClure reading poetry to lions, as well as an audio interview with Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson, editors of the third volume of Poems for the Millennium.