Poets Laura Moriarty and Brent Cunningham will be teaching a weekly evening class for writers and poetry readers starting October 7th. Together they taught a popular “Martian Poetics” class in the Spring. The new class, “Realisms of the Everyday,” will take place Tuesday evenings at Small Press Distribution in northwest Berkeley. New students especially welcome!

For questions, contact brent@spdbooks.org. Information and sign-up for the class can be found here.

CLASS DESCRIPTION: A great deal of poetic invention has found its way forward by revaluing or returning to the “real”: the ordinary, the everyday, the mundane, the colloquial, the immediate, the tangible. In this class we will explore the problems and potentials of the real from the perspective of working writers. We will take a look at actuality and everydayness as aesthetic tactics, aesthetic forms, and aesthetic inspirations. We will notice our existence in what we think of as everyday life and note how others have solved the problem of both occupying and representing this “life.” We will focus especially on the difficult problem of defining the “real”: is it what we continuously think, what we immediately perceive, what we actually do, what lasts, what would exist without us, or something else? Is it all of these things? Is it some specific (secret, discoverable?) combination? And, practically speaking, what does it mean to one’s writing to value certain ideas of reality over others? We will often write during class. We will do exercises that use “what is” as their generative engine. In place of in-class workshopping, each student will receive a 30-minute individual consultation with one of the instructors outside of class hours. For interested students there are additional opportunities for one-on-one meetings outside of class at (cheap) hourly rates. There will be opportunities to browse the thousands of small press titles at SPD. And there will be a 30% discount on all SPD books for all students of this class! Throughout, we will attempt to complicate our presumptions about what really is, while also recognizing the undeniable power and vitality of is-ness.


Now available from Ahsahta Press!

New & Selected Poems
by Charles Hartman

New poems join a selection from nearly 40 years of Hartman’s groundbreaking computer- and jazz-influenced work.

“Charles is a precisionist of language, an improviser searching familiar scales for a wrong note, a word or phrase, that can take him past regular habits of meaning or melody to some new kind of right place.” —David Antin

“Charles Hartman’s New & Selected Poems will finally establish his rightful place as at least one of the best poets of his generation. It takes a large collection to reveal the range, depth, intricacy, and inventive playfulness of his very very fine sensibility. Most of all I love his intelligence—his refusal of sentimentality that finds an angle for the release of unexpected yet rich and complex feelings, and his range of attitudes and situations matched by astonishing metrical inventiveness and resonance. (‘Songlines/tune/the travels.’) This intelligence makes for a range that beggars most poets—from elegant short dimeter poems to several sustained and complex long poems on topics ranging from becoming familiar with exotic places to establishing attitudes toward the ways new technologies affect possibilities for feeling and for thinking, or for continuing to think that feeling matters.”—Charles Altieri


Zone : Zero
by Stephanie Strickland

Spinning language both exhilaratingly liminal and elegantly precise, Strickland’s work charts the emotional distance between 0 & 1.

Includes a CD with two sequences from the book as interactive digital poems.

“Stephanie Strickland is one of contemporary poetry’s polymaths: her poetry displays an astonishing command of scientific knowledge—for instance Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem—technical know-how, especially in the realm of electronic poetics, and unusual verbal virtuosity. The pièce de résistance in Zone : Zero is the interactive generative Flash poem “slippingglimpse,” in which text and video, made by using motion capture coding, combine so as to create a genuinely new and distinctive eco-poetry. Readers/viewers will find themselves totally mesmerized.” —Marjorie Perloff

“. . . mystic immersion / enabled / smite embedding / enabled,” writes Stephanie Strickland as she launches us into the mysteries of her interior castle, her Zone : Zero. With her extraordinary ear, her crackerjack sense of timing, her genius for structure and her exquisitely dry wit (as in the delicious vaudeville routines of her “Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot”), Strickland can lead us down these high stone stairs, through these neurodigital pathways and never lose us, even into her castle keep. And when we find ourselves there, what fierce playfulness awaits us, and what startling pleasures, pleasures indivisible from the victories they embody: “And Colette took up this / bread, which was black, / and spat back at Lord Death / the red / pomegranate drops.”—Rachel Loden