San Francisco Poet Michael Palmer to
Read at Smith College
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Smith
College will present a reading by San Francisco poet Michael
Palmer at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, in Stoddard Hall
Auditorium. The event is free, open to the public and wheelchair
Palmer was born in New York City and is known the world
over for a large and provocative body of work that resists
the divide between the personal and the philosophical. He
writes dense, analytical and startlingly lyrical poems that
explore the nature of language and syntax and their relation
to form, meaning, society and notions of self.
According to Publishers Weekly, "Palmer has long and
rightly been considered the most lyrical and the most aurally
accomplished among poets in the experimental tradition of
Louis Zukofsky and Gertrude Stein." Or, as The Village
Voice put it, "Palmer has been one of the most influential
writers in recent years, perhaps because he fuses contemporary
concerns about syntax and meaning production with some very
ancient poetic pleasures."
Long at the forefront of the avant-garde movement, Palmer
has published 14 books and chapbooks. Each new collection
represents a distinct departure from the goals and surfaces
of the last, just as one stanza is often challenged and qualified
by the next. But everything he writes becomes part of a web
of intention and invention in which the process is the subject.
As he wrote in a 1985 essay, "Poetry seems often a
talking to self as well as other, a simultaneity that recognizes
the elusive multiplicity of what is called 'identity' ...
Poetic speech often becomes paradoxically more direct in
its presentation than apparently simpler forms of writing:
the evasions, displacements, recurrences, etc., stand as
an immediate part of the message ..."
In addition to poetry, Palmer has authored works of criticism,
edited anthologies and translated poetry from Russia and
Brazil, and served as contributing editor of Sulfur Magazine.
He has also written many radio plays and collaborated with
painters and the choreographer Margaret Jenkins.
Palmer has won multiple grants from the NEA and the Guggenheim
Foundations, and was co-winner with Alice Notely of the Shelley
Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America. Judge Peter
Gizzi said of Palmer's poems: "Through their gates we
re-enter the originary magic of the word."
The reading will be followed by book-selling and signing.
For more information, call Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center
office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, director,
at (413) 585-3368.
Office of College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174