NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD Express %26 Inspire Development %26 Publication

Suzanne Lummis. Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher.

South of the Grapevine: Three Poets, Thirty-Three Lines
Lois P. Jones, Jim Natal, and Jeremy Ra

by Suzanne Lummis

I’ve done a little sleuthing. Yes, I’ve done some detective work, though not through the streets.… My inquiries have determined that up over the grapevine, on the other side of the Tehachapi Mountain range, and across the Great Central Valley, and beyond Livermore, many people don’t know what’s happening here in Los Angeles, poetry-wise. One Northern California poet had heard only of Wanda Coleman, whom he acknowledged is no longer writing, or among us—except in spirit. Another could only think of Bukowski…. read more

Linda J. Albertano. Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher.

Tower of Power: The Life of Linda J. Albertano
by Suzanne Lummis

She was Los Angeles's veteran multi-disciplinary performance artist of the city's Second Wave (who'd found her calling when she studied with Rachel Rosenthal, a leading figure in Los Angeles's performance art movement's First Wave, in the '70s). She was a vocalist, musician and poet, or writer of poem-like things, speaker of witty, surrealist monologues. read more

The Corporeal World: An Interview with Michael Walsh
by Denise Low

Michael Walsh, a 2022 Lambda Gay Poetry finalist, is the editor of Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology, a 2023 Lambda Award finalist. His poetry books include Creep Love and The Dirt Riddles, winner of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize and Thom Gunn Award. He lives in a valley among coulees and springs in southwest Wisconsin, where his eco-queer and literary works are taking shape. read more

I, Not Robot

by M.M. Adjarian

When ChatGPT came out, I lifted one world-weary eyebrow then returned to the business of my life. This was, after all, the post-human age; AI and robots formed the backbone of an emergent reality of the kind visionary twentieth century science fiction writers Isaac Asimov—and predecessors like Victorian novelist Samuel Butler—had been exploring for 150 years. read more

Photo by Miguel Paglieri.

The Poet as Mensch
A Review by Richard Silberg

The Volcano and After: Selected and New Poems, 2002-2019
Alicia Suskin Ostriker

German has a word for 'man', Mann; and for 'woman', Frau; but it also has the word Mensch, for which in English we have to go to the sentence-sagger 'human being'. Yiddish uses the same word to mean, also, someone of honor, of great respect. Doubtless this could apply to many other poets, as well, but I've always thought especially of Alicia Ostriker as a 'Mensch' in a blending of those two meanings. read more


Photo by Douglas Salin.

Mother Fire:
An Interview with Kim Shuck, 7th Poet Laureate of San Francisco

by Lee Rossi

Kim Shuck, writer, weaver, and beadwork artist, was San Francisco's seventh poet laureate from 2017-2021. A Native American, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and a native San Franciscan, she is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Deer Trails (City Lights Books) and Exile Heart (That Painted Horse Press), as well as a work of prose, Rabbit Stories. In 2019, she published Murdered Missing, a book of poems about violence against indigenous women. Her work appears in When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, the newly released Norton anthology of Native American poetry edited by Joy Harjo. read more

Feminist Carnivalesque and Something Other:
An Interview with Gail Wronsky

by Ramón García

Gail Wronsky is the author, coauthor, or translator of fifteen books of poetry and prose, including Under the Capsized Boat We Fly: New and Selected Poems, Imperfect Pastorals, Poems for Infidels, and Dying for Beauty, a finalist for the Western Arts Federation Poetry Prize. She’s the translator of Argentinean poet Alicia Partnoy’s Fuegos Florales/Flowering Fires and teaches Creative Writing and Women’s Literature at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. read more

Uncle Dog Becomes a Bodhisattva:
On Robert Sward’s Work

by Jack Foley

Robert Sward, Santa Cruz Poet Laureate 2016-2018, died on February 21, 2022. He was born on June 23, 1933. His career began in the late 1950s. Today, he is a well-known poet, but he is not nearly as well-known as he should be. read more

Photo by Jerome Robinson.

The Sound of Al Young Remembered
by Jack Foley

The many expressions of grief at the death of poet Al Young (1939-2021) are a testimony to the considerable extent that he was an important and much-loved West Coast figure. His friend Ishmael Reed has called him "one of the most underrated writers in the country." read more


Michael McClure (1932-2020). Photo by Christopher Felver, 2000.

Mule Kick Blues and Last Poems, Michael McClure's final book, has just been published by City Lights Books. A powerful collection written during McClure's last years, it was edited before the poet's death in May 2020. Anne Waldman said of it, "This legendary rockstar eco-poet's gemlike modal structures will keep humming while 'black ants circle a bubble of honey.' A final performance from a master poet."

An Everything Man:
The Passing of Michael McClure

by Bruce Isaacson

The world seems filled by madness in the meanwhile, but the passing of Michael McClure at eighty-seven in May merits the consideration of poets. McClure was an everything-man, a star spanning the history of the era that made us—dramatist, novelist, songwriter, actor, theorist, performance artist, art critic, organizer, intellectual, and rock-and-roll performer. read more

The Magic Number
An Interview with Margaret Randall
by Lee Rossi

Margaret Randall, poet and activist, is the author of 150 books. For twenty-five years she lived in Latin America, first in Mexico, then Cuba, and finally Nicaragua, before returning to the United States. Deemed a "subversive," she fought a five-year battle to regain her U.S. citizenship. While in Latin America she raised four children and worked a variety of jobs, always finding time to participate in the literary and political struggles of her host countries. Now in her eighties, she remains incredibly active and engaged. In 2020, she published a book of pandemic poems; translations of Latin American poetry and memoir; a volume of Ecuadorian poetry, which she selected and translated; and two memoirs, one about her life as a poet, feminist and revolutionary and the other, My Life In 100 Objects, a multi-disciplinary work featuring her photographs as well as her writing. read more


Lucille Lang Day on North Seymour, Galápagos Islands, 2017.

To Be a Poet
by Lucille Lang Day

The first time I heard about the Berkeley Poets Co-op was when my friend Paul Aebersold showed me a set of colorful posters he'd made by silk-screening his photographs and pairing them with quotes from poems by Co-op members. It was the fall of 1971, and I was twenty-three years old. read more


Ursula K. Le Guin. Photo by Eileen Gunn.

Walking Deep
A review by Richard Silberg

So Far So Good: Final Poems, 2014-2018
Ursula K. Le Guin

Abandoned Poems
Stanley Moss

[A] look at two decidedly older poets, Ursula K. Le Guin, who died in 2018 at eighty-nine, and Stanley Moss, still kicking strong now in his nineties. Doubtless this has something to do with my being rather a geezer, myself, but it has more to do, I think, with my perception of depth, a wiry toughness, with two poets, each in their very different ways solitary, idiosyncratic, each trenching richly into their long, fertile pasts. read more

Jericho Brown

The Bay Area Book Festival features "The Beautiful Witness We Bear," an online conversation with Jericho Brown, The Tradition, 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Poetry, and Nikky Finney, Love Child's Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, National Book Award-winner for Head Off & Split, on the Bay Area Book Festival's YouTube channel. Moderated by Ismail Muhammad, this event premiered in June. Get the link at the Bay Area Book Festival home page, or go to the BABF YouTube page. Here's the trailer:

The poets discuss the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and many others with the current protests against police brutality, racism, and white supremacy. They explore the power of poetry to capture human experience and share their own intense experiences. This is a time for us to listen and learn. Poetry Flash stands, along with the BABF, against police killings of unarmed Black citizens and the militarized response to peaceful protests. The BABF says about their powerful program, "Witnessing this exchange was one way of putting ourselves in a position to find out the truth. We think you'll feel the same."

What We Can Do:
An Interview with Carolyn Forché
by Lee Rossi

Although Carolyn Forché has been writing poetry since the 1970s, she is as well known as a political activist and advocate for human rights. Her recent book, What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance, an account of her experiences in El Salvador during the early 1980s, reflects that perspective, and was named a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award. Her first book, Gathering the Tribes, won the Yale Younger Poets prize, but her second book, The Country Between Us, which included poems about her experiences in El Salvador, made her famous outside the poetry world, igniting a storm of controversy. read more

Truth Against Lies: Suzanne Lummis Speaks Poetry to Power at Beyond Baroque
by Linda J. Albertano

It was January 3, the beginning of the election year and one that would decide the fate of the country for four years, or for far longer than that. It was One Poet, One Poem, aka, "Truth Against Lies, Poet Against the Apocalypse"—modest bill, large claim. read more


Photo by Dorothy Alexander

The Chick:
Homage for Tony Hoagland
by Richard Silberg

If there's a poet/critic for our recent decades, one with a name and a following, it was certainly Tony Hoagland. read more


Susan Kelly-DeWitt
"Elegy for a Beloved Poet,"
for Dennis Schmitz, 1937-2019

read more


Photo by Christopher Felver.

Philip Levine:
"I am a Poet of Memory…"
by Mari L'Esperance

Much has already been written about Philip Levine, a major American poet from Detroit and beloved teacher who published nearly twenty collections of poetry, alongside volumes of essays and translation (his posthumous works are The Last Shift, poems, and My Lost Poets: A Life in Poetry, essays, both from Knopf). Perhaps best known as a poet of elegy who wrote about the lives of working-class people, Levine taught at Fresno State University in California's Central Valley for more than thirty years. read more


D. Nurkse. Photo by Jemimah Kuhfeld.

Green Birth, Green Death
An Interview with D. Nurkse
by Lee Rossi

D. Nurkse is the author of eleven books of poetry, the latest a re-telling of the story of Tristan and Iseult entitled Love in the Last Days. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and The Times Literary Supplement, among many others. His prizes include fellowships from both the Guggenheim foundation and the NEA, and from 1996-2001 he served as Poet Laureate of Brooklyn. He has taught prison inmates at Rikers Island, as well as students at Sarah Lawrence, Columbia, and the New School. He is an active campaigner for human rights, serving for a time on the board of Amnesty International, and has written frequently on the subject. read more


Brenda Hillman. Photo by Forrest Gander.

Breathe Deeply, A Poetic Resistance to the Unknown
A review by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

Ann Fisher-Wirth, Photographs by Maude Schuyler Clay

Extra Hidden Life, among the Days
Brenda Hillman

Terry Tempest Williams writes in her breakthrough essay, "The Open Space of Democracy," when we experience something fully, it opens us; it "creates a chasm in our heart, an expansion in our lungs…We breathe deeply and remember fear for what it is—a resistance to the unknown." Mississippi by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Extra Hidden Life, among the Days by Brenda Hillman are two stunning new poetry collections that offer us poetic duets with complicated experiences. read more

Featured Talk

The News from Poems:
Why Poetry Matters Now
by Susan Cohen

I grew up writing poetry. When I was an eighteen-year-old sophomore at Cal, I applied to my first workshop, submitted my poems, and was rejected. I thought that meant I had no talent and I didn't write another poem for almost thirty years. Sometimes I think I had to wait until I was old enough to withstand rejection. We all know, as poets, about rejection. read more


Postscript for Julia Vinograd
by Richard Loranger

Julia's gone and it feels like the end of an era. I didn't expect that; I knew she would pass soon and it didn't occur to me once, but it really, deeply does feel that way. Julia was the core of something, a beating heart that moved a lot of psyches forward through momentum of poetry. Those psyches will continue to move forward, 'cause that's what psyches do, but they'll have to get used to a different torque, a slightly different engine propelling them. read more

Flying with "Julia" Poems: Julia Vinograd (1943-2018)
by Richard Silberg

Julia Vinograd, locally famous as 'the Bubble Lady of Telegraph Avenue', and 'the unofficial Poet Laureate of Berkeley', died on December 5 at the age of seventy-four.… I can't remember when I first met Julia; it seems as if I had always known her. We were both poets and among the tribe of Berkeley people who used the Med, the Café Mediterranean on Telegraph Avenue, as our living room. read more

Julia Vinograd
"All the Night Stars" and guidelines for her tribute anthology
read poem

Jack Foley
"For Julia"
read poem

Martín Espada. Photo by Christopher Felver.

The Fin in the Water
An Interview with Martín Espada
by Lee Rossi

For nearly forty years Martín Espada has been a voice for the marginalized and oppressed and a key contributor to the formation of Latinx literature. At a time when American poetry was fixated on questions of subjectivity and form, Espada focused on the real world of politics and history. read more

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

Maurya Simon. Photo by Jamie Clifford.

Fireflies in a Jar
An Interview with Maurya Simon
by Meryl Natchez

Maurya Simon has published ten full-length books of poetry, each one of them unique. Her most recent book, The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2006, appeared this year from Red Hen Press, complete with beautiful color illustrations of her ekphrastic "Weavers Series" poems, reproduced from the original paintings by Simon's mother, Baila Goldenthal. She lives in Mt. Baldy, in the Angeles National Forest of the San Gabriel Mountains, in southern California. read more

Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart
edited by Krista Halverson
reviewed by Carl Landauer

One of my teachers, Austryn Wainhouse, the translator of De Sade (first under the pseudonym Pieralassandro Casavini in Paris but later as a staple of Grove Press), inspired me on my first trip to Paris to make a pilgrimage to Shakespeare and Company just across from Notre Dame. At the time, I was unaware of the difference between Sylvia Beach's interwar Shakespeare and Company on rue de l'Odéon, which had published Joyce's Ulysses and was second home (sometimes even the mailing address) for the lost generation of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Dos Passos, and George Whitman's postwar book store, first named Librairie le Mistral, only to be renamed Shakespeare and Company in 1964, reportedly with Sylvia Beach's blessing. read more

Photo by Mark Savage.

Restless Spirits:
An Interview with Cecilia Woloch
by Amy Pence

It's tough to keep track of the poet Cecilia Woloch. In the spring, you'll find her teaching in a small college in Georgia. By May, she's in a Paris café, surrounded by aspiring poets enrolled in her workshop. July finds her in that small cabin in the Carpathians, tracking down the mystery of her Roma grandmother. The title of her first novel Sur la Route…perfectly captures Woloch's on-the-road lifestyle where travel and poetry interweave. read more

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