On Thursday, July 20, at 7:30pm The Third Thursday Poetry & Jazz Reading Series at 215 Main in Point Arena will feature Berkeley poet Dan Bellm. The reading will begin with live improv jazz and an open mic with jazz improv; the reading will conclude with more live improv jazz.
Dan Bellm is a poet and translator. His fourth book of poems, Deep Well, comes out from Lavender Ink (New Orleans) in Spring 2017; his third, Practice (Sixteen Rivers Press, San Francisco), won the 2009 California Book Award. Buried Treasure (1999) was a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and won the 1998 Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize. One Hand on the Wheel (1999) launched the California Poetry Series from Berkeley’s Roundhouse Press.
His poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as Poetry, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, The Best American Spiritual Writing, The Ecopoetry Anthology, Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, and Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dan is also a widely published translator of poetry and fiction from Spanish and French. Recent books of poetry in translation include Speaking in Song, by Mexican poet Pura López Colomé (Shearsman Books, UK, 2017), The Song of the Dead, by French poet Pierre Reverdy (Black Square Editions, New York, 2016), and Description of a Flash of Cobalt Blue, by Mexican poet Jorge Esquinca (Unicorn Press, Greensboro, NC, 2015).
Dan teaches literary translation and poetry in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. www.danbellm.com.
Concerning Dan’s work, poet Adrienne Rich called One Hand on the Wheel “courageous and humane…a very fine book.” Poet June Jordan called him “singular, fresh, an American artist of enormous gifts and discipline.” Poet Mark Doty wrote, “‘Delle Avenue’ – and I don’t say this lightly – is a great poem of city life, of the confluence of memory and history and voice which city streets are.” Of his new book, Deep Well, poet Alicia Ostriker writes, “With a touch on the keys of language as light as the air we breathe, Dan Bellm traces his mother's death, and abides her continuing presence, as the keeper of ‘this/ blessing of kindness’ which is both hers and his. Deep Well is a book of the purest poetry I have read in a long time. I am grateful for it.”
Third Thursday Poetry & Jazz is supported by The Third Thursday Poetry Group, many anonymous donors, and Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.
A baby is singing in the morning
before anyone is up in the house
Before he has decided
which of all the languages he will speak
he is trying the sounds of his voice
in the first light
He hears a man
come up the street collecting bottles
just ahead of the garbage truck
to come throw them away
He hears the shriek of glass
It is like the vessels of Creation
breaking in God's hands
He hears the wind around the house
and in the wind
every word he will ever say
and what will stay unsaid
and stops to listen to silence
and sings to it
the way the body addresses the soul
lending it shape
lending it comfort and sorrow
The body wants to be useful
and the soul is open so wide
This is the way we awaken
He remembers he is alone
and cries for us.