The following is the introduction which fourth-year graduate student Megan Pugh gave for poet Michael McClure on 14 October 2008. A podcast of the reading that followed will soon be posted here.
I’m honored to introduce Michael McClure. McClure’s one of our most exciting and prolific poets, and has written some 20 plays and 14 books of poetry since his first appearance on the Bay Area literary scene at the famous Six Gallery reading with Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Whalen, Gary Snyder, and Phillip Lamantia in 1955.
Since then, he’s become something of an icon, famously reading his poems to the lions at the San Francisco Zoo, triumphing over censors who tried to ban his Obie award-winning play The Beard, and reciting Chaucer [...]
The beginning of the fall semester means that members of our department make their way back to Berkeley from many corners of the globe. Though many students and faculty stay around campus in the summer, there are just as many that jet off to far-away places to learn, study, research or, sometimes, just to have fun.
In fact, two grad students from the English Department spent this past summer in Europe doing preliminary research for their dissertations. Ruth Baldwin, currently a fourth year in the department, won a grant from the Center for British Studies to do summer research at the British Library in London and the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. Ruth is beginning work on a dissertation that [...]
As part of this year’s Holloway Series in Poetry, Michael McClure will be reading on October 14th. This is the second year in a row that McClure has “performed” at UC Berkeley. Last year, he was a guest lecturer in Lyn Hejinian’s undergraduate survey course, ENG 45C: Literature in English from the late Ninteenth Century to the Present.
As always, McClure put on a good show. He regaled the undergrads with stories of psychedelic experimentation, mind-expansion and what it was like to live in the Bay Area in the 60s. At first, many of the students were as put off by his wild stories as they had been by his difficult poetry. They had good reason to be perplexed by the [...]
The start of this academic year has been especially exciting here at Berkeley because we begin with six new faculty members, five of which are new Assistant Professors! Below is some brief info about these new junior faculty.
Namwali Serpell recently received her PhD from the Harvard English Department for a dissertation called “The Ethics of Uncertainty: Reading Twentieth-Century American Literature.” Her interests include ethics and literature; theories of reading; twentieth-century novels and plays; world literature; aesthetics; and the literary essay. This fall, she is teaching a lecture course on the twentieth-century American novel. In the spring, she will teach a junior seminar on post-war American fiction and the problem of evil and a graduate seminar on the phenomenology of reading.