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INTERVIEW

To Feel About a Place:
An Interview with John Shoptaw
by Rebecca Black

John Shoptaw's first book of poems, Times Beach, won the 2016 Northern California Book Award for Poetry, and he has read from his work at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival in Berkeley. Composed over a dozen years, his book explores the Mississippi River watershed from Lake Itasca to New Orleans, and dwells on the floodplain of his southeast Missouri—his river-heated radiators, the drainage ditch where he was baptized, the aftershocks of a series of earthquakes that in 1812 "thrust swamps up to steam their last steam." But Shoptaw's long poem is no pastoral, no nostalgic idyll. read more

Remembrance

Photo by Gerald Nicosia.

Jack Mueller, Judith, and baby Cristina in the basement of City Lights, after a reading in January 1982. Jack deliberately posed the family in front of that painted sign, "Born in Sin and Shapen in Iniquity." They said it came from the time when City Lights' basement had housed a church. For Jack, I think, it was a kind of inside joke, sort of carrying on our old Vesuvio's argument over "Don't give me God, don't give me grammar!"

Jack Mueller: Still Solid in the Mystery
Amor Fati: New and Selected Poems
reviewed by Gerald Nicosia

…there are other poets who decide early on that they want to spend their lives making better poetry every day, and that the chase of fame will only get in their way, so they put it completely out of mind and instead work on figuring out ways to stay alive while they're making their poetry. Jack Mueller was the latter kind of poet; and in that regard, he was the most remarkable non-famous poet I've ever known. read more


About Chana Bloch (1940-2017)
by Richard Silberg

Chana Bloch met the cancer that eventually took her life in the kind of gut to heart to brain honesty with which she met everything else. Her new book of poems, The Moon is Almost Full, has just been published. Three memorials are coming up. read more

Interview

And Then There Was a Revolution
An Interview with Nancy Morejón
by Kathleen Weaver

Nancy Morejón is a renowned Cuban poet as well as a critic, translator and cultural worker. She is the author of many volumes of poetry, including translations into English such as Looking Within/Mirar adentro (Selected poems 1954-2000) edited by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. A recently published selection is Homing Instincts, translated by Pamela Carmell, Cubana Books, 2014. Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing, Selected Poetry by Nancy Morejón, Black Scholar Press, appeared in 1985, translated by Kathleen Weaver. read more

Nancy Morejón
From Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing: Selected Poetry
Translated by Kathleen Weaver
read poems
Tribute

David Meltzer reading in February 2016. Video by Esy Casey.


A Few Notes On David Meltzer
Visionary With Red-Hot Coins (1936-2016)
by Jack Foley

I wrote my first poem at eleven. It came through me and out of me, a combination of vision and transmission. Maybe "trance-mission" would be more accurate. I was in the center of its energy like a glass or lens where words not light come through.

—David Meltzer

read more

Carl Landauer
"To David Meltzer"
read poem
Essay

Rediscovering Childhood:
A User's Guide
by Erica Goss

As a new poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools in 2014, I found myself in need of lesson plans. Luckily for me, CPitS's Poetry Crossing: 50+ Lessons for 50 Years had just been published. My copy is highlighted in pink, yellow and blue, and marked with pen and Post-It notes. read more

Features

"When the poem finishes itself"
An Interview with Miles Champion
by Jeffrey P. Beck

Miles Champion is a poet and author of How to Laugh, Eventually, and Compositional Bonbons Placate. Born in Nottingham, England, Miles grew up in South Wales and moved to New York in his thirties. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Brooklyn. He recently collaborated with painter Trevor Winkfield on the book-length illustrated interview How I Became a Painter, and edited a selection of Tom Raworth's poetry, As When. read more


Geometry of Air
The Poetry of Ulalume González de León
by Terry Ehret

I discovered Mexican poet Ulalume González de León in the fall of 1982 as one of thirty-odd students in Frances Mayes's very first graduate workshop on the prose poem at San Francisco State. Our text, Michael Benedikt's The Prose Poem: An International Anthology, featured a long prose poem in fifteen parts, "Anatomy of Love." I was instantly enthralled by the language: a richly erotic imagery blending anatomical and scientific vocabulary in an unconventional syntax. read more

Ulalume González de León
Poems from Plagios
Translated by Terry Ehret, John Johnson, and Nancy J. Morales
read poems

Photo by Taylor Cincotta.

Complex Coding
A Conversation with Adrian Matejka
by Lee Rossi

African-American poet Adrian Matejka's first book, The Devil's Garden, won the 2002 New York/New England Award from Alice James Books. His second, Mixology, was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. His most recent book, The Big Smoke, a series of poems about the black heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. read more


At the Prison a Steel Cage Opens
by Rose Black

Today will be my first visit to Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), where I'm to observe Nancy Gomez teach the poetry workshop started by prison psychologist Ben Bloch and poet Ellen Bass. If I choose to commit, I will be joining the teaching team soon. read more

Interviews

Portrait of Joseph Stroud by Jack Richard Smith.

Riding the Dragon
An Interview with Joseph Stroud
by Barbara March

Joseph Stroud is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, Of This World, New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press), which won the 2010 San Francisco Poetry Center Award for an outstanding book of poetry by an American poet. The occasion for this interview was his receipt of the prestigious 2014 Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement. He divides his time between Santa Cruz, California, and a cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains. read more


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