Friday, April 11th: Coffee House Press Poets Marjorie Welish, Martha Ronk & Joseph Lease
Marjorie Welish is the author of five previous collections of poetry. Poems from Isle of the Signatories have appeared in Conjunctions and No: A Journal of the Arts (Issue #4), edited by Ben Lerner, which was centered around her art and poetry. A recent conference on her writing and art at the University of Pennsylvania resulted in Of the Diagram: The Work of Marjorie Welish, published by Slought Foundation. The recipient of the Judith E. Wilson Fellowship, the Howard Foundation Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, and other prestigious poetry awards, Marjorie Welish lives in New York and teaches at Columbia University and Pratt Institute.
Born in Ohio, Martha Ronk received her Ph.D. from Yale and has lived in California since 1971. She is the author of six previous books including In a landscape of having to repeat, winner of the 2005 PEN USA Poetry Award. A 2006 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, her poetry has been widely published in journals and magazines. Selections from Vertigo have recently appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and elsewhere. A Renaissance literature and Shakespearean scholar, Ronk is the Irma and Jay Price Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Occidental College in Los Angeles, a city that is often the subject of her poems and projects. She has also taught in the graduate writing program at Colorado University, Otis College of Art & Design, and in the Naropa University Summer Writing Program.
Joseph Lease's critically acclaimed books of poetry include Broken World (Coffee House Press) and Human Rights (Zoland Books). His poem "'Broken World' (For James Assatly)" was selected for The Best American Poetry 2002 (Scribner). His poems have also been featured on NPR and published in The AGNI 30th Anniversary Poetry Anthology, VQR, Bay Poetics, Paris Review, and elsewhere. Of Broken World Marjorie Perloff wrote: “The poems in Joseph Lease's Broken World are as cool as they are passionate, as soft-spoken as they are indignant, and as fiercely Romantic as they are formally contained. Whether writing an elegy for a friend who died of AIDS or playing complex variations on Rilke's Duino Elegies (“If I cried out, / Who among the angelic orders would / Slap my face, who would steal my / Lunch money”), Lease has complete command of his poetic materials. His poems are spellbinding in their terse and ironic authority: Yes, the reader feels when s/he has finished, this is how it was—and how it is. An exquisite collection!” Thomas Fink's book A Different Sense of Power: Problems of Community in Late-Twentieth Century U.S. Poetry includes extensive critical analysis of Lease's poetry. Lease's recent readings and residencies include those at the University of Minnesota, The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, City Lights Books, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, the University of Denver, Louisiana State University, West Virginia University, Stanford University, and elsewhere. Lease is Associate Professor of Writing and Literature and Chair of the MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.