On Monday, Steve Evans’ Attention Span – his annual collection of reading recommendations from a wide range of poets – included my first participation in the list. All of the works I recommended there are terrific, and I commend them to you as well. Plus this feature has always been a great way to get a sense of who is excited about what, much more focused & thus useful than, say, a steady trickle of Friday’s reading on Facebook or piecemeal via Good Reading-type compendia. Here is my list and accompanying remarks.
Ron Silliman was born in Pasco, Washington, although his parents stayed there just long enough for his mother to learn that one could step on field mice while walking barefoot through the snow to the outhouse, and for his father to walk away from a plane crash while smuggling alcohol into a dry county. Silliman has written and edited over 30 books, most recently Revelator from BookThug, and had his poetry and criticism translated into 14 languages. Silliman was a 2012 Kelly Writers House Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and the 2010 recipient of the Levinson Prize,from the Poetry Foundation. His sculpture Poetry (Bury Neon) is permanently on display in the transit center of Bury, Lancashire, and he has a plaque in the walk dedicated to poetry in his home town of Berkeley, although he now lives in Chester County, PA. In 2014, Silliman will publish two new volumes of poetry from Universe,: Northern Soul from Shearsman in the UK, and Against Conceptual Poetry from Counterpath in the US.