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Indybay Feature

Hearts Gathering: Poetry, Laureates & Music for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14, 2009
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Event Type:
Ken Preston
Location Details:
King Middle School
1781 Rose St, Berkeley


* CAROL MUSKE-DUKES, California Poet Laureate
* KAY RYAN, U. S. Poet Laureate
* AL YOUNG, California Poet Laureate (2005-2008)
(performing with bassist Dan Robbins)

* Hosted by Wes “Scoop” Nisker, author, performance artist & Buddhist teacher

(free parking + wheelchair access)

Benefit: KPFA Radio + Poetry Flash
Tickets: $15 on line:, and at supportive bookstores. $20 door
Information: 510.848.6767x612

writer, poet, teacher

Diane is the author of 43 books of poetry and prose, including Dinners and Nightmares, Loba, Memoirs of a Beatnik, Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems, Revolutionary Letters, Selected Poems, Pieces of a Song, and Recollections of My Life as a Woman. She has also contributed to and edited various anthologies of poetry, as well as translating medieval Latin into English. Her plays include: The Discontent of the Russian Prince, Discovery of America, Like, Murder Cake, and Whale Honey.

"Diane di Prima, revolutionary activist of the 1960s Beat literary renaissance, heroic in life and poetics: a learned humorous bohemian, classically educated and twentieth-century radical, her writing, informed by Buddhist equanimity, is exemplary in imagist, political and mystical modes. A great woman poet in second half of American century, she broke barriers of race-class identity, delivered a major body of verse brilliant in its particularity." —Allen Ginsberg

Michael McClure
poet, writer, playwright, novelist

Michael McClure at the age of 22 gave his first poetry reading at the legendary Six
Gallery event in San Francisco, where Allen Ginsberg first read Howl. Since then he has
produced nearly 30 books of poems and essays plus a good number of films. His work
with Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek and saxophonist David Sanborn has furthered the dramatic fusion of poetry and music. His journalism has been featured in The Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, the L.A. Times and San Francisco Chronicle. Among McClure’s most
popular works are: Hymns to St. Geryon and Other Poems, Meat Science Essays, The Beard, Love Lion Book, The Mad Cub, Solstice Blossom, September Blackberries, Simple Eyes and Other Poems, Rain Mirror and Touching the Edge, for which he won the Northern California Book Award in Poetry.

‘Michael McClure’s poetry and prose is one of the more remarkable achievements
in recent American literature.” – The London Times Literary Supplement

“One of our best and wisest bard/scholars. McClure’s thinking is brave, obdurate,
passionate complex.” – Anne Waldman

“Michael McClure shares a place with the great William Blake, with the
visionary Shelley, with the passionate D.H. Lawrence…” – Robert Creeley

California Poet Laureate
poet, writer, novelist, reviewer, teacher

Early on, Carol founded and taught in a creative writing program called "Free Space" at the Women's House of Detention on Riker's Island in New York. She went on to become the founding director of the PhD Program in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California, where she currently teaches. She writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review and the LA Times Book Review. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Nation and The American Poetry Review. Among her many awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship.
Her seven books include Sparrow, An Octave Above Thunder, Channeling Mark Twain, and two collections of essays, Women & Poetry and Married to the Icepick Killer: a Poet in Hollywood.
“Invokes comparisons with the very best poetry now being written in the English-speaking world (with its) vibrant intensity, authentic insight, and uncanny power of describing what is at the border between the visual and the visionary.” — Harold Bloom
“Carol Muske-Dukes…surveys human relations with an acid clairvoyance through which the reckless currents of personal and cultural history course, ripping away all but the essential tones of the human conversation." —Jorie Graham

U.S. Poet Laureate
Poet, writer, teacher, (
Kay Ryan was born in California in 1945 and grew up in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. She received both a bachelor's and master's degree from UCLA. Her awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous others. Her work has been selected four times for The Best American Poetry. Her latest book, a lovely collection from Red Berry Editions, illustrated by artist Carl Dern, is The Jam Jar Lifeboat and Other Novelties Exposed.
Her books of poems include: The Niagara River (2005), Say Uncle, Elephant Rocks Flamingo Watching, Strangely Marked Metal and Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, The Yale Review, Paris Review, The American Scholar, The Threepenny Review, Parnassus, among other journals and anthologies. In 2008, Kay was appointed the Library of Congress's sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

"Her poems are compact, exhilarating, strange affairs, like Erik Satie miniatures or Joseph Cornell boxes. She is an anomaly in today's literary culture: as intense and elliptical as Dickinson, as buoyant and rueful as Frost." —J. D. McClatchy
“Full-brained poems in a largely half-brained world.” — Kirkus Reviews
Poet, novelist, essayist, scriptwriter, teacher, former California Poet Laureate

Originally from Mississippi and long since a world traveler, Al now makes his base in Berkeley. His work has appeared in Paris Review, Ploughshares, Essence, the New York Times, Chicago Review, Seattle Review, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature, Chelsea, Rolling Stone, Gathering of the Tribes, the Norton Anthology of African American Literature, and the Oxford Anthology of African American Literature.

His honors include Stegner, Guggenheim, Fulbright and NEA Fellowships, the PEN-Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, the PEN-USA Award for Non-Fiction, two American Book Awards, two Pushcart Prizes, two New York Times Notable Book of the year citations, Radio Pacifica’s KPFA Peace Prize, and the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature. Young’s many books include the novels Sitting Pretty, Who Is Angelina?,and Seduction By Light; Heaven: Collected Poems 1958-1990, The Sound of Dreams Remembered (Poems 1990-2000), Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons (Poems 2001-2006), Something About the Blues: An Unlikely Collection of Poetry, and Jazz Idiom: Blueprints, Stills and Frames (The Jazz Photography of Charles L. Robinson).

“Al Young is one of my favorites. He writes movingly about people and the mysteries of the human heart. He has a remarkable ear, a wise and musical ear to match his voice. And when I open up any of his books, I listen.” —Bill Cosby
Added to the calendar on Sun, Jan 18, 2009 12:58PM
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