Joseph Lease and Mark Statman

Joseph Lease and Mark Statman

Friday, Sep 27, 2019 7:00 PM

In the basement
2476 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley

Mark Statman’s recent books from other presses include Tourist at a Miracle (Hanging Loose, 2010). Other books include Black Tulips: The Selected Poems of José María Hinojosa (University of New Orleans Press, 2012), the first English language translation of the significant poet of Spain’s Generation of 1927, a translation, with Pablo Medina, of Federico García Lorca’s Poet in New York (Grove 2008), as well as Listener in the Snow: The Practice and Teaching of Poetry (Teachers & Writers, 2000) and, co-edited with Christian McEwen, The Alphabet of the Trees: A Guide to Nature Writing (Teachers & Writers, 2000).

About Statman’s poetry, David Shapiro writes, “It is hard to compare it to anything else,” William Corbett that his poetry is “America’s grand plain style descended from William Carlos Williams and James Schuyler,” and Joseph Lease, “Statman gives language as commitment, commitment as imagination, imagination as soul-making.” Anselm Berrigan notes his “spare, concise, searching poems” in which “the present is inexhaustibly on the move.” Joseph Stroud writes “Statman’s voice is a kind…that reminds me of the ancient Greek poets of the anthology or the concise voicings of Antonio Machado.” Aliki Barnstone calls him “a consummate poet-translator.

Statman’s translations and writing on teaching have gained national and international recognition. Of his translations of Hinojosa, Willis Barnstone observes: “Statman’s exquisite version is our gift.” John Ashbery, calls the translation, with Pablo Medina, of García Lorca’s Poet in New York, “the definitive version of Lorca’s masterpiece, in language that is as alive and molten today as was the original in 1930.” In his preface to Listener in the Snow, Kenneth Koch writes, “Teaching poetry may never be the same again.”

A recipient of awards from The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Writers Project, Statman’s poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in fourteen anthologies, as well as such publications as Tin House, New American Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, Hanging Loose, Mad Hat Lit, The Mad Hatters Review, The Enchanted Verses Literary Review, Performing Arts Journal, The Cincinnati Review, La Bloga, South Bank Poetry (England), Ezra: A Journal of Translation, The Hat, Bayou, Boog, Occasional Religion, Washington Square, conduit, Subtopics, The Florida Review, Ping Pong, and American Poetry Review. Statman has read his work at numerous venues, from bookstores to cafes, from clubs to literary festivals. Among these are The Mundial Poético de Montevideo (UY),The Miami Book Fair International, the Cheltenham Book Festival (England); Lorca in England Festival (England), the Hands-on Literary Festival, Boogfest, Columbia University, Pace University, The New School, Interlochen, St. Marks Poetry Project, La Mama, The Bowery Poetry Club, City Lights, Changing Hands, McNally Robinson Books, NYU Bookstore, Voices of Poets, The Parrish Art Museum, the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Latter Library, The Poetry Center of Chicago, and The Sacramento Poetry Center.

Statman was a Joseph Murphy Fellow at Columbia University where he studied comparative religions, as well as creative writing, literature, and translation, with, among others, Kenneth Koch, David Shapiro, Elaine Pagels, Barbara Stoler Miller, and Burton Watson. He is Emeritus Professor of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, where he taught classes ranging from the regular poetry sequence, literature, and literary translation to classes in media studies and creative pedagogy, with a focus on arts in education from 1985-2016. Statman lives in Oaxaca de Juárez and San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, Oaxaca, México.

Joseph Lease's critically acclaimed books of poetry include The Body Ghost (Coffee House Press, 2018), Testify (Coffee House Press, 2011), and Broken World (Coffee House Press, 2007). Lease’s poems "'Broken World' (For James Assatly)" and "Send My Roots Rain" were anthologized in Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology. Lease’s poem "'Broken World' (For James Assatly)" was anthologized in The Best American Poetry (Robert Creeley, Guest Editor). His poem “Free Again (Why don’t people)” was published in The New York Times.

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 . . . 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!”

Of The Body Ghost, David Shapiro wrote: “When I was very young, my father a ‘skin doctor’ would show gleaming models of body parts at medical fairs. They frightened my sisters but they were also illuminations of a whole world. Joseph’s poems are like these terrifying wholes/holes. They travel into us. Joseph has been  making an American Buddhist poetry, and he is as maximalist as flesh and bone. He gives me the sensation that poetry is in gleaming hands, healing and grasping and letting go. He is the future of poetry.”

Lease’s poetry is also collected at PennSound, The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, KQED (NPR), The Scottish Poetry Library, The Poetry Project, Bay Poetics, The AGNI 35th Anniversary Poetry Anthology, Litscapes 2015, The Colorado Review, The Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, The Brooklyn Rail, Interim, and elsewhere. Lease has been asked to read at numerous colleges and universities. He has received The Academy of American Poets Prize and numerous grants and awards in poetry and poetics from Columbia University, Brown University, Harvard University, and California College of the Arts. Lease is a Professor of Writing and Literature at California College of the Arts.