“California, with an Achin’ in My Heart”

The recent American Academy of Arts and Sciences report makes clear that we have collectively condoned a massive defunding of arts education in this country, eroding an important aspect of cultural literacy in the process.  While the public has taken its eye off humanities and the arts, universities have continued to serve as keepers of the flame of the arts throughout the rather moribund period in which we find ourselves.  So, I was saddened earlier this year when a reliable source informed me that the University of California had suspended its New California Poetry series, due to lack of funding.  This probably comes as small surprise in light of the well-publicized funding fiasco that is the UC system, but one always hopes that poetry will escape the chopping block.  For the record, the NCP mission statement was to “present works by emerging and established poets that reflect UC Press’s commitment to innovative and aesthetically wide-ranging literary traditions.”  Among its authors were Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Sarah Gridley, Mark Levine, Srikanth Reddy, Cole Swenson and Keith Waldrop.

In honor of the good work of the Press, I’ve linked to some of the poems subsequently published in NCP collections.  I’d urge anyone with their own NCP favorites to send me their links so that I can add them to this post.  Here’s hoping that a return to fiscal solvency is in UC’s future, and that such a future is inaugurated with a New New California Poetry series.

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Forms of Politeness
Permanent Home
Tan Tien

Sarah Gridley

Acousmatic” (following interview)
Between Sail and Tiller
Prodigal Song

Mark Levine


Srikanth Reddy

Selection from Voyager: “Book Three: 1
Selection from Voyager: “Book Three: 16
Selection from Voyager: “Book Three: 19
Burial Practice
First Circle
Monsoon Eclogue

Cole Swensen

A Ghost
If a Garden of Numbers

Keith Waldrop

Below the Earth
An Apparatus







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s