Berkeleyan: A newspaper for faculty and staff at UC Berkeley


Berkeleyan HomeSearch BerkeleyanBerkeleyan ArchiveUCB NewsUCB Calendar

 This Week's Stories:


Regular Features


Lunch Poems Begins Third Year Sept. 3

posted September 2, 1998

From the snowy scene of John Kennedy's inauguration, with white-haired Robert Frost struggling to read his poem as the wind tugged at it, to the seaside scene in "Il Postino" where the local postman and the famous poet Pablo Neruda talk about metaphor, to the popular song playing endlessly in our head, poetry envelopes and invades us, becoming part of our personal and national story.

Whether silly or sensual, in protest or celebration, poetry's power fills our lives.

Most of us have a favorite poem or poet. Mention the names Angelou, Atwood, Bly, Dickinson, Harjo, Ginsberg, Longfellow, or Poe, and a poem or image arises.

The Lunch Poems reading series, begun in 1995, will feature campus staff, faculty and students reading favorite poems at its Sept. 3 meeting. The reading takes place in the Lipman Room, on the 8th floor of Barrows Hall, from 12:10 to 1 p.m.

Among the poetry lovers who will read at this year's annual series kick-off are an architect, a mathematician, a physicist, an Olympic swimmer and a librarian.

Physicist Young-Kee Kim, for example, designs experiments to detect elusive elementary particles such as the top quark. She also has a long-standing interest in Korean poetry and plans to read translations of poems by Ji-Ha Kim, an activist hero who wrote during Korea's 25-year series of military dictatorships.

Native American studies professor Gerald Vizenor is a poet and novelist himself. Impressed by the thoughtful readings at last year's event, he jumped at the chance to participate this year. He plans to read a short poem, "Origin," by Native American poet Jim Barnes.

Leo Harrington, a professor of mathematics, also composes poetry -- all with an underlying theme of mathematics -- which he posts on his office door. In addition to reading one of his own poems, he has chosen one from Yeats, Emily Dickinson and Laurie Duggan, whose poem he discovered posted inside a bus.

The audience will also hear novelist, essayist and playwright Ishmael Reed, who has lectured in the English department since 1968 and was recenlty awarded a five-year MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellowship.

Others reading Sept. 3 include the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ; Donlyn Lyndon, professor and chair of the architecture department; two-time Olympic competitor Elli Overton, an undergraduate business major; Anita Madrid, director of the Berkeley Pledge; and James Spohrer, associate university librarian.

Robert Hass, English professor and former U.S. poet laureate, will introduce the readers.

Future Lunch Poems meetings will take place Oct. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3. For information call 642-0137.

[ Back to top ]


UCB Home

This site is produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs, University of California, Berkeley.
Copyright 1998, The Regents of the University of California.
For comments concerning this web service please e-mail