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 »

Robert Hass, Pulitzer Prize winner, former Poet Laureate and all-around baller.

Robert Hass: Pulitzer Prize winner, former Poet Laureate and all-around baller.

Is there a better way to spend your lunchtime than by listening to the soothing sounds of poetry being read aloud? No. The answer, friends, is obvious, especially when you take into consideration that the poetry in question is being read by Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

Really, guys, this is a no-brainer. It’s like story time, but more grown up and more better.

Find your way to the Morrison Library (better known as that room in Doe with the cushy sofas where everyone used to go for napping purposes until the librarians cracked down on the napping) on Thursday, Sept. 1. The readings start just after noon and last until almost 1 p.m., so if you cleverly managed to avoid classes during peak lunch hours, you know where to go.

Image Source: Steve Rhodes under Creative Commons
Lunch Poems [UC Berkeley Events]


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 »

Good news for lovers of hard-hitting investigative journalism. The highly anticipated release of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern No. 33 will arrive in the form of a 300-page single edition daily newspaper: “San Francisco Panorama.” Better news for us (broke as hell) Bay Area kiddies: the Quarterly will be available to us for the (much discounted) price of $5 on the day it comes out, Dec. 8.

The bylines alone reek of staggering genius. Writing from Michael Chabon, Miranda July, Roddy Doyle, Stephen King, William T. Vollman, Berkeley’s own Poet Laureate Robert Hass and 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 »

THIS COULD BE YOU!!Despite that none of these Berkeley professors are, like, the Dalai Lama or anything, a panel featuring all of them, moderated by famous Academy Award-winning producer James Schamus, as part of the “On the Same Page” (see what we did there, with the title?) program sounds pretty cool.

That way, when you’re a grown-up and you haven’t done anything particularly interesting with your life besides reproduce, you can tell your grand-kids that back when you were in college, you not only saw an important spiritual world leader, but you also engaged (kind of) in a very important academic discussion with a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (Robert Hass, in case you didn’t see that one coming) and a real, live dude who’s probably met Billy Crystal. 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]

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]

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

We assume the Chron ran the huge feature on English professor and poet Robert Hass because he’s been nominated for yet another award, but there’s little mention of that in the biographical piece. Nevertheless, we’ve got to admit we’re stoked to see a Berkeley professor on the front page of any section of the Chron. Now that’s when you know you’ve made it.With his collection “Time and Materials,” Hass is currently one finalist of five for the National Book Award for poetry. Previously, in 1996, Hass was a finalist for his book “Sun Under Wood,” which, btw, is amazing if we must say so ourselves. The Chron also notes his being poet laureate from ‘95-’97 and more:

He’s a MacArthur Fellow, a two-time National Book Critics Circle Award winner and a UC Berkeley faculty member since 1989. Like most poets, he’s little-known outside his field. Among his peers, he’s regarded as one of the best.

Hence the piece on Hass, we assume. Like we said, we’re not really sure what prompted the piece now, but we’re not complaining … that much.

The article gives a brief account of his life and influences and accomplishments in what we’d call an “interesting” narrative. It’s not horrible, but it does sound like the writer is trying too hard.

In one part, the piece pulls a quote from Mary Karr, whose relationship to Hass is unclear. Friend? Colleague? Student? Mentoree? Whatever–something else to nitpick. She says that his face had an expression “like he just stepped out of a jungle.” Then she added:

You could almost hear the palm fronds snap closed behind him.

OK … uh huh. Then the writer cuts to his encounter with Hass, meeting him and looking at his face:

On a recent morning, Hass opens the door to the hilltop Kensington home that he shares with his wife, the poet Brenda Hillman. He’s wearing jeans, a neatly pressed dress shirt and, as Karr described it, “a great, kind of beautiful wondering expression on his face.” Soft and largely unlined, it’s the face of a man who retains a wide-openness despite age, career competition and the inevitable setbacks and disappointments.

The palm fronds snap shut.

Groan. We bet the writer was so proud of that too. So full of cheese! So scripted!

Well, perhaps that’s why the writer is writing about Hass and his accomplishments and not the other way around. These things have a way of working themselves out in the nature of the world.

Thank goodness.

Image Source: Sakeena Ahsan, Daily Cal
Poet Robert Hass goes back in time with new work [SF Chron]
Professor Nominated for Poetry Award [Daily Cal]