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

2016-17 season:

SEP 01
Lunch Poems kick off event

Series kick-off

Hosted by Robert Hass, this event features distinguished faculty and staff from a wide range of disciplines introducing and reading a favorite poem. This year’s participants: Library Director of Development & External Relations David Duer, Penelope Edwards (South & Southeast Asian Studies), Jianye He (C. V. Starr East Asian Library), Paul Howl (Financial Services), Melani King (Public Affairs), Chana Kronfeld (Near Eastern Studies), Gregory P. Levine (History of Art) University Librarian and Chief Digital Scholarship Officer Jeff MacKie-Mason, Tim Pine (Environment, Health, & Safety), and Dora Zhang (English). Watch the series kick-off on YouTube

OCT 06
Michael Palmer

©Chris Felver

Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer is a poet and translator who for over forty years has worked with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and has collaborated with many composers and visual artists. Among his numerous awards is the Arts and Letters Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into over thirty languages and he himself has translated poems and prose from French, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian. He has taught at universities in the United States, Europe and Asia. His most recent publications are Active Boundaries: Selected Essays and Talks, Madman With Broom (selected poems with Chinese translations by Yunte Huang), and Thread. Palmer’s new book of poems, The Laughter of the Sphinx, was published in 2016 by New Directions. Watch Michael Palmer on YouTube

NOV 03
Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of a memoir and four poetry collections including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle award in poetry. She co-edited  Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing published by Counterpath Press. A CantoMundo Fellow, she teaches in the creative writing programs at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM and serves as the publisher of Noemi Press. Watch Carmen Giménez Smith YouTube

DEC 01
Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is currently the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012 to 2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the AssemblageSenegal Taxi, and Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. Watch Juan Felipe Herrera on YouTube

FEB 02
Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander is a writer and translator of international renown whose most recent titles include the novel, The Trace, the translations Alice Iris Red Horse: Poems of Gozo, and Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda. His poetry collection Core Samples from the World was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry and is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, and Whiting Foundations. Watch Forrest Gander on YouTube

MAR 02
Jennifer Clarvoe

©Tony Sigel

Jennifer Clarvoe

Jennifer Clarvoe is the author of Invisible Tender and Counter-Amores. She has received the Poets Out Loud Prize, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the Rome Prize in Literature, as well as a Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers Conference and a residency from the James Merrill House. She has taught at Kenyon College for twenty-five years. Watch Jennifer Clarvoe on YouTube

APR 06
devorah major


devorah major

devorah major served as San Francisco’s third Poet Laureate from 2002 to 2006. In addition to her four poetry books including where river meets ocean, street smarts (winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Excellence Award), she has published four poetry chapbooks, two novels including An Open Weave (winner of the ALA Black Caucus First Novel Award), and two biographies for young adults. In 2016, City Lights Publishing will release her new poetry collection and then we became. major’s poetry has been recorded on four CDs and she performs nationally and internationally with and without musicians. She is Poet-in-Residence at San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums and a Senior Adjunct Professor in Diversity Studies at California College for the Arts. Watch devorah major on YouTube

MAY 04
Morrison Reading Room interior

Student reading

One of the year’s most lively 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. Watch the Student reading on YouTube