a tribute with readings by
Norma Cole, Michael Davidson, Diane di Prima, Robert Glück, Barbara Guest, Thom Gunn, Fran Herndon, Susan Howe, Nataniel Mackey, Michael McClure, Duncan McNaughton, Michael Palmer, Jerome Rothenberg, Aaron Shurin, Mary Margaret Sloan, David Levi Strauss, Susan Thackrey and others
February 5, 1998
Robert Duncan, who died ten years ago on this very date, is the subject of our gala reading at the New College Theater, the very site where he so often spoke himself as director of the Poetics Program. These are walls haunted by a great spirit! This event--organized by Norma Cole, Michael Palmer and Susan Thackrey--celebrates the life and work of Robert Duncan, and his influence on poetry and poetics today. Duncan (1919-1988) was an arts activist, political organizer, teacher, editor, theorist, early gay liberationist, critic, typist, rebel, playwright, controversialist, neuromancer, art writer, "Black Mountaineer," visual artist, essayist, publisher, aesthete, dandy, conscience and wizard. He was one of the architects of the Berkeley Renaissance, the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, the "San Francisco Renaissance," the "New American Poetry," the Berkeley Poetry Conference of 1965, and the Poetics Program at New College. Above all he was one of the towering poets of the 20th Century. His major books, still in print, include The Opening of the Field, Bending the Bow, Roots and Branches, and two volumes of Ground Work. Tonight some of his friends, admirers, students, and others with a "disorderd devotion" to RD read from his work in celebration of a great American legacy. Expect surprises!