73. Gloria

About the Poetry/Poet and the Art/Artist

Bernadette Mayer has written: "Berkson's poetry emerges with an elegant reticence from the rooms of the traditionally sublime to greet the present moment with unexpected splendor, ease of observation, metaphysic wit." Fred Muratori has written: "Though they're guided by conventional syntactical patterns, particularly that of the declarative sentence, Bill Berkson's poems map the places where language goes when it unexpectedly shifts on its axis, reminding us that sense is a fragile thing, easily unbalanced, open to mimicry, balancing always on the threshold of amnesia."

Bill Berkson is a poet, art critic, teacher, and curator who has been a force in the art and literary worlds since his early twenties. He is the author of fifteen books and pamphlets of poetry, including, most recently, Serenade and Fugue State (both from Zoland Books). He has taught and directed the public lectures program at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1984. During the 1960s, he was associated with Art News, Arts, and taught literature and writing at The New School and Yale University. After moving to Northern California in 1970, Berkson began editing and publishing a series of poetry books and magazines under the Big Sky imprint. He was awarded a creative writing fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1980, among many awards and fellowships. From 1985 to 1991, he contributed monthly to Artforum. Berkson became a corresponding editor for Art in America in 1988 and joined the editorial board of Modern Painters in 2002. A collection of his criticism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings, appeared in 2003.

THE ART AND THE ARTIST (thumbnails of all twenty-five etchings may be viewed here)
Alex Katz is a world-renowned artist whose paintings have grown so large that the New York Times recently reported one will soon be applied to the side of a building in Manhattan. But Katz is adept at every scale, as is evident from the works that appear in this book, etchings on plates measuring just four inches square. The imagery for Gloria spans the subject matter of his entire career, from people to landscapes, to bobbing boats, to a munching cow. However often his country retreat in Maine may be the backdrop in this series, the figures, be they fauna or flora, seem to exist in a sophisticated environment, as urbane and glamorous as the poems they face. The etchings are varied in technique and effect: black on white or grey, white on black or grey, grey on black or white or grey.  

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