A noontime poetry reading series

Photo Nico Chen/UC Berkeley

All readings from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month
Admission free Morrison Library in Doe Library Map

2017-18 season:

SEP 07
Lunch Poems kick off event

Series Kick-off

Hosted by Geoffrey G. O’Brien, this event features distinguished faculty and staff from a wide range of disciplines introducing and reading a favorite poem. This year’s participants:

Associate Director Adam A. Hillier (Undergraduate Admissions), Khalid Kadir (International and Area Studies), Marco Lindsey (Haas School of Business), Kathy Mendonca (Human Resources), Claudia Polsky (Law), Sidalia Reel (Staff Diversity Initiative), Elizabeth Wilcox (Human Resources), and Tarek Zohdi (Mechanical Engineering). Watch on YouTube

OCT 05
Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier

Layli Long Soldier received a 2015 Lannan Fellowship for Poetry, a 2015 National Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and a 2016 Whiting Writers' Award. She is the author of Chromosomory and WHEREAS and has served as contributing editor of Drunken Boat. “I am,” she writes, “a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation—and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” She teaches at Diné College and lives in Santa Fe, NM. Watch on YouTube

NOV 02
Carmen Giménez Smith

Solmaz Sharif

Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her debut collection LOOK was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award and 2017 PEN Open Book Award. Sharif has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University. Watch on YouTube

DEC 07
Rita Dove

©Fred Viebahn

Rita Dove

Rita Dove is a former U.S. Poet Laureate (1993-1995) and recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Thomas and Beulah. The author of numerous poetry books, most recently Collected Poems 1974-2004 (2016) and Sonata Mulattica (2009), she also published a collection of short stories, a novel, a play and, as editor, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011). Among her many awards are the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama and the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton. Rita Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

FEB 01
TC Tolbert 

©Hannah Ensor

TC Tolbert

TC Tolbert often identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, dancer, and poet but really s/he’s just a human in love with humans doing human things. The author of Gephyromania and three chapbooks, Tolbert is also co-editor (along with Trace Peterson) of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. S/he is currently studying to be an EMT and spends his summers leading wilderness trips for Outward Bound. Tolbert was recently named Tucson’s Poet Laureate.

MAR 01
Rosa Alcala

Rosa Alcalá

Born and raised in Paterson, NJ, Rosa Alcalá is the author of three books of poetry, most recently MyOTHER TONGUE. Her poetry also appears in a number of anthologies, including Stephen Burt’s The Poem is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, her translations are featured in the forthcoming Cecilia Vicuña: New & Selected Poems. Alcalá teaches in the Department of Creative Writing and Bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas-El Paso.

APR 05
Matthew Zapruder 

©B. A. Van Sise

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder is the author most recently of Sun Bear and Why Poetry, a book of prose about poetry. An Associate Professor in the MFA program at Saint Mary’s College of California, he is also Editor at Large at Wave Books, and from 2016-7 was Editor of the Poetry Column for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Oakland, CA.

MAY 03
Morrison Reading Room interior

Student reading

One of the year’s liveliest events, the student reading includes winners of the following prizes: Academy of American Poets, Cook, Rosenberg, and Yang, as well as students nominated by Berkeley’s creative writing faculty, Lunch Poems volunteers, and representatives from student publications.