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Bert Meyers Tribute: Eric Gudas, David Shaddock, Anat Silvera

22 JUNE 2023 — thursday

Poetry Flash presents a reading celebrating the publication of Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master, readers include poets Eric Gudas, David Shaddock, and Anat Silvera, the poet's daughter, in person, Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, two blocks north of Ashby BART, refreshments, free, 7:00 pm PDT (poetryflash.org).

Thank you for continuing to support Poetry Flash and our reading series.
Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master will be available at the event and online at bookshop.org/shop/poetryflash(a portion of the proceeds support Poetry Flash).

Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master, the latest volume in The Unsung Masters Series, offers a large selection of his very best poetry alongside essays and appreciations from José Angel Araguz, Jim Bogen, Victoria Chang, Amy Gerstler, Garrett Hongo, Daniel Meyers, Barry Sanders, Ari Sherman, Maurya Simon, and Sean Singer, among others. The Unsung Masters Series exists to bring great but largely overlooked writers to new readers. This volume is edited by Dana Levin and Adele Williams.

"Bert Meyers is an American original—a brilliant poet whose use of tone and figurative language was so emotive, intelligent and nuanced, it became inimitable, became its own unique perspective on our world. I wouldn't be surprised if mid-twenty-first century scholars announce that in Bert Meyers we have overlooked the best poet of his generation." —Ilya Kaminsky
MORE ABOUT THE READERS

Eric Gudas is the author of Best Western and Other Poems, winner of the Gerald Cable Book Award, and Beautiful Monster, a chapbook. His work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry Flash, Los Angeles Review of Books, Raritan, and elsewhere. He lives in Los Angeles.

David Shaddock is a poet and psychotherapist. His most recent poetry book is A Book of Splendor: New and Selected Poems on Spiritual Themes. He has a regular column in Poetry Flash, "Poetry and Healing," and is the author of Poetry and Psychoanalysis: The Opening of the Field (Routledge), and two books on relationships and couples therapy. He lectures widely on those topics, and maintains a private practice in Berkeley.

Anat Silvera, Bert Meyers's daughter, is one of the founders of Silvera Jewelry School in Berkeley. Before and after college she studied with artists and craftsmen, apprenticing as a metalsmith and learning how to create fine beadwork. She is the author of a book on her craft, and has exhibited her work all over the U.S., including as featured artist at the Oakland Museum of Art Collector's Gallery.

The son of Romanian and Polish Jewish immigrants, Bert Meyers (1928-1979) was born in Los Angeles. Always rebellious and a questioner of authority, he dropped out of high school and became a poet. For many years he worked at manual labor jobs, including printer's apprentice, until he became a master picture framer and gilder. Here he found satisfaction in craftsmanship and attention to detail, the same approach he used in composing his poetry. Throughout those years he continued to write, feeling that a poet should be immersed in the world, and should have real world things to write about. Meyers wanted to be self-taught. He read everything he could get his hands on and had a prodigious literary memory. He frequented the vibrant circles of LA poets at the time, with Thomas McGrath and others. His fellow poet and friend Robert Mezey said, "Bert Meyers belonged to no school or coterie and had no use for fashion. He was that rarest of creatures, a pure lyric poet. His poems are very much what he was—gentle, cantankerous, reflective, passionate and wise." Although he had never taken undergraduate classes, and had no high school diploma, in 1964 he was admitted to the Claremont Graduate School on the basis of his poetic achievements. By 1967 he had a Ph.D in English Literature and was hired to teach poetry and literature at Pitzer College in Claremont, where he taught until 1978. During his life as a professor, Meyers finally had the time to focus on his writing; he also had an important and lasting influence on his students, a new generation of poets and writers, including Dennis Cooper, Amy Gerstler, Garrett Hongo, and Mauyra Simon among others.

He published at least eight collections of poetry, including Early Rain (1960), The Dark Birds (1968), Sunlight on the Wall (1976), Windowsills (1979), The Wild Olive Trees (1979). Before he died, he selected the core poems of In a Dybbuk's Raincoat: Collected Poems (2007). His widow, Odette Meyers, son Daniel Meyers, and poet Morton Marcus shepherded the book into posthumous publication. Meyers's precisely framed poems are image driven and often quite short. Noting that "the image is unequivocally at the center of his work" in her introduction to In a Dybbuk's Raincoat, Denise Levertov lamented that "Bert Meyers death has deprived us of one of the best poets of our time." (Information from bertmeyers.com)




Daily Listings

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23 FEBRUARY 2024 — friday

  • Beyond Baroque presents "Black Radiance," a poetry reading and mini arts festival in collaboration with SKEW Magazine, featuring readings by Bri Stokes, managing editor for the magazine and author of the chapbook A Throat Full of Forest-Dirt, and poets Jaden Fields, Intentional Musings on Staying Alive When I Want to Die, Rhys Langston, Grapefruit Radio, Aiyana Sha'niel, Little Black Poetry Book, and Liliana Jeanine Epps; the reading will showcase work from SKEW's fourth issue on the theme "Black Embodiment," full vendor lineup TBA, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice Beach, Los Angeles, free, 7:00-10:00 pm PST (RSVP to attend: www.beyondbaroque.org)

24 FEBRUARY 2024 — saturday

  • Paradiso presents a reading featuring poet Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Of Mongrelitude, feminist author and essayist Diana Cage, Lesbian Sex Bible, winner of the 2015 Lambda Literary Award, and poet Violet Spurlock, Alloyed Bliss, Finnish Hall Auditorium, 1970 Chestnut Street, Berkeley, free, doors open 5:30 pm, reading begins 6:00 pm PST
  • City Lights Books presents author and educator Sharad Chari, Fraternal Capital, discussing his new book, Gramsci at Sea, an exploration of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci's writings on the sea, online via Zoom, free, 11:00 am PST (Register to attend: citylights.com/events)
  • Come see the Flypoet Classic Slam, an all-out spoken word performance featuring six incredible slam poets competing in a multi-round battle for the top, with DJ sets, beatboxing, and dance battles between rounds, $5,000 in prizes for the performers, Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach, tickets range $40-$120, (Purchase tickets here: flypoet.com/slam)
  • Sacramento Poetry Alliance presents a reading featuring short story writers Frank Gioia, The Mercury Man: Remembering Brooklyn, and Beverly Parayno, Wildflowers, followed by an open mic, Sacramento Poetry Alliance, 1169 Perkins Way, Sacramento, free, 4:00 pm PST (More information here: www.facebook.com/sacramentopoetryalliance)
  • Fourth Saturdays presents a reading with featured poets Gustavo Hernandez, Flower Grand First, and James Coats, winner of the 2021 San Gabriel Poetry Slam and author of Midnight & Mad Dreams, Claremont Helen Renwick Library, 208 N. Harvard Avenue, Claremont, free, 2:00 pm PST (More information here: www.facebook.com/fourthsaturdayspoetry)
  • Beyond Baroque presents poet Jose Hernandez Diaz, 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow, celebrating the launch of his new book, Bad Mexican, Bad American, joined in a reading by poets Rooja Mohassessy, When Your Sky Runs Into Mine, winner of the 22nd Annual Elixir Poetry Award, Jose Oseguera, The Milk of Your Blood, L.A. Johnson, Little Climates, and jimmy vega, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice Beach, Los Angeles, free, 7:00 pm PST (RSVP to attend: www.beyondbaroque.org)
  • Medicine for Nightmares presents poet and comedian Bucky Sinister, Black Hole, celebrating the release of his new book, To Fear and Love Bambi Lake, joined in reading and conversation by musician and novelist Alvin Orloff, Vulgarian Rhapsody, Medicine for Nightmares Bookstore, 3036 24th Street, San Francisco, free, 7:00-8:30 pm PST (More information here: medicinefornightmares.com/events)

25 FEBRUARY 2024 — sunday

  • Vroman's Bookstore presents Local Author Day, featuring Andrea L. Ambler, Stoking the Poetry Flame: A Teaching Resource, a practical, easy-to-follow guide to encouraging a love of poetry in students, and fiction writer Steven Meloan, St. James Infirmary, a collection of short stories, Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, free, 4:00 pm PST (More information here: www.vromansbookstore.com/Vromans-Local-Author-Day-January-2024)
  • Medicine for Nightmares presents the Odd Verse Reading Series, a poetry reading and open mic that amplifies underrepresented voices, in a safe space for discourse, community solidarity, and collective action for social justice, Medicine for Nightmares Bookstore, 3036 24th Street, San Francisco, free, donations welcome, 4:30-7:00 pm PST (More information here: medicinefornightmares.com/events)

26 FEBRUARY 2024 — monday

  • Fiction writer and former reporter Sarah Ruiz-Grossman discusses her debut novel, A Fire So Wild, in conversation with Traci Thomas, creator and host of the podcast The Stacks, Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, free, 7:00 pm PST (More information here: www.skylightbooks.com)

27 FEBRUARY 2024 — tuesday

28 FEBRUARY 2024 — wednesday

  • UC Berkeley and the Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network (DVAN) presents a reading and Q&A with French-Vietnamese author Line Papin on The Girl Before Her, her debut novel in English translation; the event will be moderated by writer and journalist Mel Kritikopoulos, Maude Fife Room, Wheeler Hall 315, University of California Berkeley campus, Berkeley, free to the public, 5:00 to 6:30pm PST

29 FEBRUARY 2024 — thursday

  • City Lights Books and The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University present a reading and conversation with poets Major Jackson, Razzle Dazzle: New and Selected Poems 2002-2022, and Kalamu ya Salaam, Be About Beauty, City Lights Books, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, free, 7:00 pm PST (More information here: citylights.com/events)

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