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Bill Berkson & Elizabeth Block @ Bird and Beckett


Sunday, March 2nd – 2 pm
Writers Bill Berkson & Elizabeth Block
read new poetry

BBgoldieshotBill Berkson is a poet, art critic & corresponding editor for Art in America, who for many years taught literature & art history at the SF Art Institute. Director of Letters and Science at the Art Institute from 1993 to 1998, he taught art history, critical writing & poetry & directed the public lectures program there from 1984 to 2007. He is the author of many books of poetry & prose including Portrait & Dream: New & Selected Poems, published by Coffee House Press in 2009.  Bill will read from his latest poetry collection, Snippets(Omerta, 2014).

Elizabeth blockElizabeth Block is the author of the novel A Gesture Through Time, written under fiscal sponsorship of Intersection for the Arts, in San Francisco.  She is the recipient of a Doris Roberts/ William Goyen fiction fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood foundation and many other awards and residencies. Also a filmmaker, her films have traveled extensively throughout the United States and elsewhere. She has published her work in many genres and media. Elizabeth will read from her new poetry collection, Celluloid Salutations (Blazevox, 2014).


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 For the Ordinary Artist: Short Reviews, Occasional Pieces & More by Bill Berkson

(BlazeVOX Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2010)


Weeks after I first read Bill Berkson's For the Ordinary Artist: Short Reviews, Occasional Pieces & More, I kept going back in my mind to something he'd said about Alfonso Ossorio whose works are known to me. Berkson said of (some of) them:

…they bespeak a love of (or anyhow fascination with) “immobility,” a.k.a. Inertia.


I'd never thought of "inertia" before as regards Ossorio's work, undoubtedly because of the riot of color, surfaces and found objects in his works. But, you know, Berkson is right (or, I agree with Berkson). There can be a flatness (and I don't say this negatively) in some of the surfaces/colors of Ossorio's work. There can be a paradoxical stillness within his assemblages, such as in the following image where each part (as can be delineated, say, by individual found objects) remains apart from each other:


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For the Ordinary Artist Short Reviews, Occasional Pieces and More Bill Berkson BlazeVOX [books]

"Opinions are not literature" Gertrude Stein famously admonished Ernest Hemingway. It's a maxim that puts most art critics behind the Eight-Ball. Not Bill Berkson.  His criticism doesn't just deliver an opinion, it embodies an experience, matching the texture and plasticity of visual forms with a vividness and suppleness of language that gives the reader something shapely and immediate to respond to thereby opening path ways in the mind to the image or object being evoked and judged.  His subject is art; his essays and critical prose poems are uncommonly graceful literary artifacts.

—Robert Storr


Barry Schwabsky @ The Nation

Eileen Tabios @ Galatea Resurrects

Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet and critic who now lives in San Francisco. He taught art history and literature from 1984 to 2008 at the San Francisco Art Institute. A corresponding editor for Art in America, he has published reviews and essays in such other magazines as ArtforumApertureModern PaintersARTnews andartcritical.com. He is the author of some twenty books and pamphlets of poetry – most recently, Not an Exit andLady Air -- and was awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s 2008 Goldie for Literature as well as the 2010 Balcones Prize for his collection Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems. His previous books of criticism includeSudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981-2006 and The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings 1985-2003. Jed Perl in The New Republic remarked that The Sweet Singer of Modernism “is animated by an easygoing prose style, an exact feeling for the power of images, a keen respect for the value of an artist’s words, and an abiding fascination with the art world as a social fabric.” 

Book Information:

· Paperback: 294 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 
· ISBN: 978-1-60964-005-7

$16Buy it from Amazon

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Gwen Allen and Bill Berkson discuss their new books

Gwen Allen and Bill Berkson discuss their new books

 Gwen Allen and Bill Berkson discuss their new books,

Artists’ Magazines (Gwen Allen)
For the Ordinary Artist (Bill Berkson)


Roll Call: Bay Area Arts and Culture
Listen to the archived show here



Bill Berkson Interview with Joe Milford:

1.5-hour radio interview with Bill Berkson by Joe Milford in Georgia May 7, 2011

url: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/joe-milford-show/2011/05/07/joe-milford-hosts-bill-berkson


Barry Schwabsky @ The Nation

Eileen Tabios @ Galatea Resurrects


For the Ordinary Artist By Bill Berkson

Buy it here : http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/literary-criticism/for-the-ordinary-artist-short-reviews-occasional-pieces-and-more-by-bill-berkson-191/


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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr