Rae Armantrout & Norman Fischer


Rae Armantrout was a National Book Awards finalist for her most recent book, Versed, published by Wesleyan in 2009. Next Life (Wesleyan, 2007), was chosen as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2007 by The New York Times. Other recent books include Collected Prose (Singing Horse, 2007), Up to Speed (Wesleyan, 2004), The Pretext (Green Integer, 2001), and Veil: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001). Her poems have been included in anthologies such as American Hybrid (Norton, 2009), Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (1993), American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Language Meets the Lyric Tradition, (Wesleyan, 2002),  The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford, 2006) and  The Best American Poetry of 1988, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008. Armantrout received an award in poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2007 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. She is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, San Diego.

Norman Fischer is a zen priest. He is a former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, and the founder and teacher for the Everyday Zen Foundation. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, where he studied with Ted Berrigan and Anselm Hollo, and made the acquaintance of many poets, including Alice Notley and Bob Perelman, he has been active in the poetry universe since the late 1970’s.  His works tend to involve various experiments with language as well an effort to evoke the zen way of looking at and being in the world.  Charles Bernstein has written of his work, “incandescently tranquil, his poems neither confront nor confirm, preferring to give company along the way.”  His zen comrade and poetic daddy, Philip Whalen, compared his work to “a Baccarat crystal paperweight, a smooth clear ball of glass containing intricate designs in many brilliant colors.” The latest of his many collections is Questions/Places/Voices/Seasons from Singing Horse press (2009).