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Writing the Silences

Richard O. Moore (Author), Brenda Hillman (Editor), Paul Ebenkamp (Editor), Brenda Hillman (Foreword)


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The poems in Writing the Silences represent more than 60 years of Richard O. Moore’s work as a poet. Selected from seven full-length manuscripts written between 1946 and 2008, these poems reflect not only Moore’s place in literary history—he is the last of his generation of the legendary group of San Francisco Renaissance poets—but also his reemergence into today’s literary world after an important career as a filmmaker and producer in public radio and television. Writing the Silences reflects Moore’s commitment to freedom of form, his interest in language itself, and his dedication to issues of social justice and ecology.
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Preface Brenda Hillman


[Therefore, set forth over the black river]
Shadow and Light
By the Lake
Driving to Fort Bragg
Dog in the Forest
Columbia 1960
Ten Philosophical Asides
Marginalia: Whitehead
from d{ens}e{ens}l{ens}e{ens}t{ens}e
“Come Live with Me”
from Writing the Silences
“Come Sunday”
This Morning
Visiting Hours
The Parachutist’s Annunciation
Holding On
. . . a divertimento . . .
A Funeral of Memory
The Winter Garden
A Treasury of Darkness
Over the Shoulder

Early Poems
from A History Primer
from September Elegy
from At Caesar’s Gate
A Reminiscence
Birthday View Opening on a Garden

Richard O. Moore, now 90, is a poet, filmmaker, and seminal figure in public radio and television. Moore belonged to the San Francisco Renaissance literary circle of Kenneth Rexroth in the 1940s and 1950s, which was a precursor to the Beat poetry movement. Writing the Silences is his second book. Moore is the 2010 recipient of the Milley Award for Achievement in the Literary Arts. Brenda Hillman is an award-winning poet who has published eight books of poems, most recently Practical Water. Her collection Loose Sugar was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1997. She is Olivia C. Filippi Professor of Poetry at Saint Mary's College. Paul Ebenkamp holds an M.F.A. from Saint Mary's College and works as a research assistant and editor.
“Almost 60 years of thoughtful, terse, decidedly modernist verse and prose poetry come together in this first collection. . . . much of it tersely humble, both philosophical and political, with cadence reminiscent of George Oppen.”—Publishers Weekly
“Richard O. Moore’s no sapling by a long shot, but his poetry is lithe. It expands itself in the off-handed dialect of this country’s newest voices, but remains rooted to the old codes of keen sincerity. It is real poetry, sure enough to break from silence and, when need be, return.”—Bomb Magazine (Bomblog)
“[These poems] are at once sensual and intellectual, erotic and philosophic, and they appeal to all the senses.”—Jonah Raskin Redwood Coast Review
“This is a challenging book to read, yet the challenge comes in letting go of previous notions of what a poem should do.”—Ray Gonzalez Bloomsbury Review
"Here is poetry that reminds its readers that a poem is as much a crucible of thinking as it is a crucible of belief, that philosophical doubt and mythic vision do not oppose each other, but are contradictions in which world turns around to become word."—Dan Beachy-Quick, author of This Nest

Book of the Year Award Finalist in Poetry, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA)

Finalist in Poetry, Northern California Book Award

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