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The Poetry Center and The Green Arcade co-present a tribute to Bill Berkson (1939–2016), hosted by McRoskey Mattress Co. Thirty poets, artists, and friends of Bill Berkson come together to reminisce and read poems and prose, from, among others of Berkson’s books, Lush Life (Z Press, 1984), Blue is the Hero (L Publications, 1976), Repeat After Me (with John Zurier, paintings, Gallery Paule Anglim, 2011), Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2009), Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently (The Owl Press, 2007), What’s Your Idea of a Good Time? Interviews and Letters 1977–1985 (with Bernadette Mayer, Tuumba Press, 2006), The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings 1985–2003 (Qua Books, 2004), Sudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981–2006 (Cuneiform Press, 2007), and For the Ordinary Artist: Short Reviews, Occasional Pieces and More (BlazeVox, 2010), as well as from the festshrift volume For Bill, Anything (Pressed Wafer, 2015). The program incorporates "School of Poets," a short video featuring Bill Berkson interviewed at his home, commissioned by Kenward Elmslie and appearing here courtesy of Citizen Film.
The Poetry Center presents Orlando White, recipient of the Poetry Center Book Award for LETTERRS (Nightboat Books, 2015). White reads with award judge Patrick James Dunagan, who reads from Drops of Rain / Drops of Wine (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016) and Book of Kings (Bird & Beckett Books, 2015). The poets' readings are followed by an extensive conversation with the audience focused on questions of poetics.
The Poetry Center presents Oscar Bermeo and Barbara Jane Reyes reading and in conversation. Bermeo reads unpublished work. Reyes reads new unpublished work, and from her books For the City That Nearly Broke Me (Aztlan Libre Press, 2012), Diwata (BOA Editions, 2010), and To Love as Aswan (PAWA, Inc. Publications, 2015). Following her reading, Kuwentuhan (Talkstory), a short film produced by San Francisco State University’s Documentary Film Institute and edited by Daewon Kim is screened, with the film incorporating a reading by Reyes of Joy Harjo's poem "Perhaps The World Ends Here." Kuwentuhan (Talkstory) is a project of the Poetry Center and Barbara Jane Reyes, supported by the Creative Work Fund. The film is followed by a conversation between the poets and the audience.