COSMOPOLITAN IN HIS OWN HOME TOWN
Berkeley poet Alan Bern celebrates his lifelong homeBerkeley, California and the rest of the world
Berkeley poet writes of big themes in his new collection: the haunting past, the poignancy of childhood memories, the aging process, the hometown neighborhood (including the subculture of old-timers at the Y), an approaching farewell to parents, and the treasure of relationship. An important theme throughout his work is the importance of place. A place built of scenery and people. Waterwalking in Berkeley is about community, both the positive and difficult sides.
The locale of many of the poems in Berns collection is Berkeley, California, where the poet was born and raised and has lived most of his life. But Alan Bern is also a world traveler, and some of the poems describe a more far-reaching community. Much of the book focuses on the scenery and people of Italy, particularly southern Italy and Sicily, where he has spent much time with his eyes wide open.
With a minimalist, economical style, Alan Bern says much with few images and words. Many of the poems in this collection have a storytelling quality, and the narrative often carries over from poem to poem. The interludes between the sections are made up of sharp snapshots, extended adaptations of haiku walks through Berkeley and other places. Bern writes poetic portraits inspired by paintings from Ancient Greek to Impressionist; and several stunning poems are dedicated to the most international and saintly of saints, Francesco dAssisi. Waterwalking in Berkeley is a complex and rewarding, cohesive and cumulative collection of poems by a poet who takes pleasure in words and knows his way around the neighborhood of the human heart.
About the Author
Alan Bern is Community Relations Librarian at the Berkeley Public Library. He has been an English and Creative Writing instructor, a childrens writer and storyteller, a fine printer and designer, and a pressman. He holds a MA in English and Creative writing from Boston College and a MLIS from UC Berkeley. He is the author of No no the saddest, published in 2004 by Fithian Press. He lives with his wife in Berkeley, California.