Bill Berkson

Poet and art critic Bill Berkson was born in New York in 1939 and became active in the literary and art worlds in his early twenties.  He is the author of 15 books and pamphlets of poetry, including Saturday Night: Poems 1960 – 61,  Shining Leaves, Recent Visitors, Enigma Variations, Blue is the Hero, Lush Life, and, most recently, Serenade, Fugue State, a collection of his 1960s collaborations with Frank O’Hara entitled Hymns of St. Bridget & Other Writings, and Gloria, with etchings by Alex Katz.  His worked has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies.  A selection of his criticism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism and Other Art Writings, was published in 2003.  He is also a Corresponding Editor for Art in America, on the Editorial Board of American Painters, and is a regular contributor to Artforum, Art on Paper, American Craft and other magazines.  He has received awards and grants for poetry from the Poets Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, the Briarcombe Foundation and the Marin Arts Council.  In 1990 he was given an Artspace Award for Art Criticism.  Recently, he has also curated exhibitions by individual artists, including George Herriman and Ronald Bladen.  He served as adjunct curator for “Facing Eden:  100 Years of California Landscape Art” at the Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco.  He has taught and directed the public lectures program at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1984.  He currently lives in San Francisco.


Downcity Poetry Series - Fall 2005