We here at the Clog love student organizations. So, as part of a new series, we will be spotlighting a number of them in hopes of exposing them to potential members.

The first in our series will be the Berkeley Poetry Review — which, if you haven’t heard, is a lovely publication edited by students who are passionate about poetry. Founded in 1974, the magazine has published well-known poets such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Czesław Miłosz, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky and Thom Gunn. If you are interested in poetry and in working in an editorial capacity on a literary magazine, we would like to encourage you to join!

We had the opportunity to speak with Andrew David King, the editor in chief of the Berkeley Poetry Review. He was punctual and professional in our interview. With previous issues in hand, we met over a hot coffee at the Free Speech Movement Café.

A junior originally from Hayward and a double major in philosophy and English, Andrew joined the publication through happenstance. After speaking with Cecil Giscombe, who was able to put him in contact with one of last year’s managing editors, Andrew joined the publication.

“It was a relatively small group last year, and it will probably be a small group this year,” he said. “To my knowledge, it’s always been a tight-knit organization.”

The friendly, tight-knit publication highly encourages new people to join; the only requirement is an affiliation read more »


We found this sign on the door of the stairs to basement in Eshleman Hall. It seems that someone saw it fit to change this sternly-worded reminder that the door is well positioned to smack anyone milling around the lobby into a bit of found poetry.

That’s what happens when you put all the literary types in the basement.

Image Source: Valerie Woolard


Get ready for the symposium of your life, because on March 4-5, Berkeley is hosting a symposium to “explore 400 rich years of African American nature writing, as evidenced in a new, first-ever anthology of nature poetry by black writers.”

Some may think that African-American nature writing is not very common, but, well, that’s just plain wrong. Cecil Giscombe, African-American poet and UCB English prof, explains it this way: “Nature is everywhere in writing, yet public read more »

Concept poetry
Have you ever been in an English lecture and thought to yourself, “I wonder what this professor dude/lady’s favorite poem is, since they’re so smart and knowledgeable about literature and stuff.” Oh, you haven’t? Well too bad, because that’s what you’ll find out at this Thursday’s Lunch Poems kick-off, starring emcee Robert Hass and featuring some of the English Department’s freshest and most distinguished faces reading their favorite poems. read more »

We’re a little bit late reporting, but we thought this was too Clog-worthy to just forget about. The Junkyard Ghost Revival, a group of three national and world multi-champion poets graced the stage of Wheeler last Thursday as part of a poetic whirlwind tour across America (yep, even Alaska). Their flyer promised “the ultimate plugged in spoken word experience” and their website describes them as a “verbal circus.” So basically we imagined poetry, music, maybe some juggling. read more »

On Thursday, Sept. 4, poets from the English department will read their own works in the first Holloway Series event of the 2008-2009 school year. The poets will include Cecil Giscombe, Robert Hass, Lyn Hejinian, Geoffrey G. O’Brien and John Shoptaw. Earlier this year, Hass won the Pulitzer Prize for his work “Time and Materials.”

The reading commences at 6:30 p.m. in the Maude Fife room, located at 315 Wheeler Hall. The event is free, and the poets are award-winning and astounding, so we urge you to grab a friend and lend them your ears.

Image Source: surrealmuse under Creative Commons
Thursday, September 04, 2008 [Department of English Calendar]

Only whoops and ear-splitting hollers drowned out the thundering applause that met poets, authors and screenplay writers last Friday, June 26 at Phelan Hall at the University of San Francisco. These writers took part in a week-long summer program of intensive workshops, bringing with them personal experiences from respective corners of the country–-California, New York and, most importantly, Berkeley.

Voices of Nations Arts Foundations (VONA), a nurturing space created for published and unpublished “hardcore” writers, hosted this program. read more »

English professor and poet Robert Hass scooped up the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for “Time and Materials.” The announcement came out today, and Hass shares the award with Philip Schultz and his book “Failure.”

Hass previously picked up the National Book Award for his most recent work, and now he can add a booty of $10,000 to his growing recognition. He is the third current UC Berkeley professor to win the Pulitzer (the two others include history professor Leon Litwack and former J-School dean Ben Bagdikian).

This semester, Hass teaches English 131: American Poetry and a poetry translation workshop, which he will again lead in the fall semester.

There’s also a webcast (though fairly dated, from 2003) of him reading his poetry before “Time and Materials.”

Image Source: Steve Rhodes under Creative Commons
Robert Hass wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry [NewsCenter]


 With the news that seems to be clustering all around us–from the loss of the axe to the year-long inability to get rid of the tree-sitters–the Clog has been very pissy and flustered. Who can blame us? These are fairly big deals.But then, we read that Landis Everson, a member of the Berkeley Renaissance poets of the 1940s and 1950s, passed away. And we wondered what the definition of a “big deal” is.When the Berkeley Renaissance poets drifted apart in the early 1960s, Everson stopped writing poetry because “for him poetry is a communication between friends, not a commercial enterprise.”Everson’s friends were Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser and Robert Duncan, the core members of the Berkeley Renaissance poets (a movement part of the San Francisco Renaissance).Though we are not trying to be downer or trying to imitate the sappy end of a Full House episode (we do that on our English papers), sometimes it’s nice to step back and realized that tree-sitters and football games are not the biggest deals in the entire world. People won’t remember what the tree sitters ate for Thanksgiving. But they will remember that which is truly transcendent.On the Terrace [Poets.org]Renowned Berkeley poet commits suicide at age 81 [Oakland Tribune]

NOTE: This post has been edited for clarity. 

Robert Hass won the 2007 National Book Award for poetry after all. His book “Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005″ earned him the top award after being a finalist twice before. With the award, Hass will receive $10,000 and a bronze statue—an upgrade from the finalist’s kudos of $1,000 and bronze medal. That’s sweet.The National Book Foundation’s page describes the collected poems as

grounded in the beauty and energy of the physical world, and in the bafflement of the present moment in American culture.

Palm fronds not included.

We’ve already bought “Sun Under Wood,” but now we have even more reason to pick up his newest masterpiece at his Cody’s book reading next week. If you’re a stalker (even off Facebook), you can gawk at Hass on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at Cody’s Books on Fourth Street.

Do you think if we suck up to him now he’ll remember us next semester when we sit front and center in his American poetry class?

Image Source: Sakeena Ahsan, Daily Cal
2007 National Book Award Winner, Poetry [National Book Foundation]
Earlier: The Chron Tries to Smoke Some Palm Fronds With Robert Hass, Professor Nominated for Poetry Award