spring 2012


LORNA DEE CERVANTES is an internationally acclaimed poet. Recipient of the Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Writers Award, 2 NEA Fellowship Grants, 2 Pushcart Prizes (another nominated this year) & “Best Book” awards for Emplumada (’81), From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger (’91), and the 5-volume Drive: The First Quartet (’06) which was nominated for a Pulitzer, her new books are Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems (’11), Stunned into Being: Essays On the Poetry of Lorna Dee Cervantes (’11), and the forthcoming Something of the Cruelest. A California native, born in The Mission, Cervantes was the former Director of Creative Writing at CU- Boulder where she was a Professor of English for 19 years. This year’s UC Regents Lecturer at Berkeley, she is home again in the Bay Area writing fiction, essays, poetry & screenplays.


CLAUDIA RANKINE co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry. Her work has been published in numerous journals including Boston Review, TriQuarterly, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. She lives and teaches in California. She is the Holloway/Mixed Blood poet for the spring series.

Thursday, February 23: M. NOURBESE PHILIP with SERENA LEE

M. NOURBESE PHILIP is a poet, essayist, novelist and playwright who lives in the space-time of the City of Toronto. She practised law in the City of Toronto for seven years before leaving to write full-time. She has published poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction. Among her best known published works are She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks, Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence, and Harriet’s Daughter, a young adult novel. Her most recent work,Zong!, is a genre-breaking, book-length poem which engages with ideas of the law, history and memory as they relate to the transatlantic slave trade. She is our second Holloway/Mixed Blood poet for the spring series.

MARTIN CORLESS-SMITH was born and raised in Worcestershire, England. He is the author of English Fragments: A Brief History of the Soul, Swallows, Nota, Complete Travels, and Of Piscator. A limited edition chapbook, Roman and Moscow Poems, was published in 2011. He was Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers Workshop, and holds an MFA in Fine Arts and Printmaking from SMU and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University at Utah. He is currently the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Boise State University.

Tuesday, April 10: RON SILLIMAN with JILL RICHARDS

RON SILLIMAN attended UC Berkeley in 1970 & 71, receiving the Joan Lee Yang Award. Since wandering off in the middle of his senior year to perform “alternative service” as a conscientious objector, he has written and edited over 30 books, most recently Wharf Hypothesis from Lines Press, and has had his work translated into 12 languages. Silliman received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010, a distinction he shares with Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Robert Creeley, H.D., Yusef Komunyakaa, W.S. Merwin and John Ashbery. His sculpture, From Northern Soul (Bury Neon), is installed in the transit center of Bury, Lancashire, where it is a part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail. Silliman has a plaque on Addison Avenue, slightly west of the Berkeley Rep, & grew up on Neilson Street in Albany.