Stephen Ratcliffe has been working in poetry for thirty years and we have a whole shelf of his distinguished books, including most recently Idea's Mirror (Poetes & Poets Press, 1999), Mallarmé: poem in prose (Santa Barbara Review, 1998), Sculpture (Littoral Books, 1996), Present Tense (The Figures, 1995). SOUND/system has been forthcoming from Sun & Moon for--oh, for most of the 20th century. Another manuscript, Painting, was chosen as a finalist in this year's National Poetry Series. Ratcliffe edits Avenue B Books and teaches at Mills College in Oakland. His new book, Listening to Reading (SUNY Press, 2000) collects many of the sensitive essays on post-modern poetry which have been fugitive for many years. Ratcliffe's great strengths are a willingness to follow perception no matter where it goes, a steely stick-to-it-iveness that rivals Natty Bumppo's, and a deep genius understanding of music and its character that robes his philosophic and psychic quests in starry mantles of delight.
March 23, 2001