from Berkeley Daze


RON LOEWINSOHN writes: "I born in the Philippines and first came to the US with my family in 1945. After a few years in LA my family settled in San Francisco, where I lived till 1967. I graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1955, with the Beat generation happening all around me. I met all of the principals, heard Ginsberg, Snyder, Whalen and McClure read in Berkeley in April, 1956, and continued to write, mostly poetry, in that vernacular and (I thought) oracular mode. In the fateful year of 1960, I was included in Don Allen's landmark anthology The New American Poetry, and had a chance to teach for the first time—a poetry workshop at SF State Extension. The experience changed my life: I realized that what I really wanted to do for a living was teach. I went back to school and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1967. I did my graduate work at Harvard, and in 1970 came back to UC Berkeley's English Dept. where I taught till I retired in 2005. I've been privileged to meet and to benefit from knowing some remarkable poets and writers. Allen Ginsberg not only gave me useful critiques of my earliest poems (I was 18), but urged me to show them to W.C. Williams. The two men (and mentors) graciously wrote introductions to my first book of poems, Watermelons (1959) A partial list of poets and writers who were enormously influential would include Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Richard Brautigan, Philip Whalen, Gary Snyder, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov. In the early 1980's, I began to spend more time writing fiction, and published my first novel, Magnetic Field(s) in 1983. I'm currently working (with a Canadian producer) on a screen adaptation of this novel, and also on a memoir of growing up in San Francisco in the 1950's. My poems, stories and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Hungary. My book reviews have appeared in the SF Chronicle and in the New York Times Book Review. Most recently, one of my poems, "Siv, With Ocean (Pacific)," was included in the Addison Street Project (curated by Robert Hass), engraved on a bronze plaque and imbedded in the sidewalk of Addison Street, along with roughly a hundred other poems by Berkeley poets."

A Selected Bibliography

Watermelons (poems), Totem Press, 1959
The World of the Lie (poems), Change Press, 1963
L'Autre (poems), Black Sparrow Press, 1967
The Step (poems), Black Sparrow Press, 1968
Meat Air (Selected Poems), Harcourt Brace, 1970
The Leaves (poems), Black Sparrow Press, 1973
William C. Williams: The Embodiment of Knowledge, edited with
              an intro by RL, New Directions, 1974
Goat Dances (poems) Black Sparrow Press, 1976
Magnetic Field(s) (novel), Knopf, 1983
Where All the Ladders Start (novel), Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987


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