March 27, 2013
Bob Perelman [USA]
Poet, critic, and translator Bob Perelman was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1947, and attended the University of Rochester and the University of Michigan for his Master’s degree in classics. At the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop he received an MFA degree, before going on to receive his PhD at the University of California in Berkeley. Perelman is currently Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.
His first book, Braille (1975), was influenced by William Carlos Williams “improvisations.” Other works have had a wide range of inspirations, from Ezra Pound to Marcel Proust. As an original member of the San Francisco “Language” poets Perelman edited two collections of speeches by poets, Talks (appearing in Hills 6/7) in 1980, and Writing/Talks of 1985. He has published several books of poetry, as well as writing critical books such as The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukofsky (1994) and The Marginalization of Poetry (1996). He also translated The Selected Poems of Tomaz Salamun (1988) and Modern Archaist: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam (2008).
Perelman’s writing often includes seemingly statemental passages on politics, commercialization, violence, and other issues, but these are lyrical linked with more standard poetic sections which, as Ron Silliman has written “at first appears to be that straightforward thing, a collection poems, but when examined more closely reveals layers of connection from one poem to the next until a close reader becomes dizzy with the vertical dimensions that can lurk behind the simplest word.”
His work has been collected into several anthologies, including From the Other Side of the Century: A New American Poetry 1960-1995 and Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (1994).
BOOKS OF POETRY
Braille (Ithaca, New York: Ithaca House Press, 1975); Seven Works (Berkeley, California: The Figures, 1978); a. k. a (Berkeley, California: Tuumba Press, 1979); Primer (San Francisco: This Press, 1981); To the Reader (Berkeley, California: Tuumba Press, 1984); The First World (Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 1986); Face Value (New York: Roof, 1988); Captive Audience (Great Barrington, Massachusetts: The Figures, 1988); Virtual Reality (New York: Roof, 1993); Ten to One: Selected Poems (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1999); Playing Bodies (with art by Francie Shaw) (New York: Granary Books, 2003); IFLIFE (New York: Roof, 2006)
For a poem and audio broadcasts, go here:
For several Perelman recorded readings, click below: