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Telling the Truth as It Comes Up, Selected Talks & Essays 1991-2018 by Alice Notley

Telling the Truth as It Comes Up, Selected Talks & Essays 1991-2018 by Alice Notley

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One of our greatest living poets, Alice Notley, the author of more than forty books of poetry, has delivered an expert array of talks and essays over the last three decades. Telling the Truth as It Comes Up: Selected Talks & Essays 1991-2018 offers a significant contribution to literature, reimagining the possibilities of writing in our time and the complicated business of how and why writers devote their lives to their craft. Whether she is writing about other poets—Ed Dorn, Allen Ginsberg, Homer, bpNichol, Douglas Oliver, or William Carlos Williams—noir fiction, the First Gulf War, dreams and what they’re for, or giving us insight into her own work, Notley’s observations are original, sobering, and always memorable. This collection often eschews the typical style of essay or lecture, resisting any categorization, and is consciously disobedient to academic structures in form. The results are thrilling new modes of thinking that may change the ways we read and write. 

Alice Notley was born in Bisbee, Arizona, on November 8, 1945, and grew up in Needles, California, in the Mojave Desert. She was educated in the Needles public schools, at Barnard College, and at The Writers' Workshop, University of Iowa, receiving an MFA in Fiction and Poetry from the latter. During the late '60s and early '70s she lived a traveling poet’s life (San Francisco, Bolinas, London, Wivenhoe, Chicago) before settling on New York’s Lower East Side. For sixteen years there, she was an important force in the eclectic second generation of the so-called New York School. In 1992 she moved to Paris, France and has remained there ever since, generally practicing no profession except for the writing, publication, and performing of her work and the teaching of an occasional workshop. Notley is the author of more than forty books of poetry, including At Night the States, the double volume Close to Me and Closer . . . (The Language of Heaven) and Désamère, and How Spring Comes, which was a co-winner of the San Francisco Poetry Award. Her epic poem The Descent of Alette was published by Penguin in 1996, followed by Mysteries of Small Houses (1998), which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry. Notley’s long poem Disobedience won the Griffin International Prize in 2002. In 2005 the University of Michigan Press published a book of essays on poetry, Coming After. Notley has also published many other books and written stacks of unpublished pages, being a compulsive writer. In addition, she edited The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (University of California Press), with her sons, the poets Anselm Berrigan and Edmund Berrigan, as co-editors. The three of them have edited together, most recently, a volume of Ted Berrigan’s prose, Get The Money! Notley has also edited two volumes of work by the British poet and prose writer, Douglas Oliver. Her own most recent books of poetry are Early Works, The Speak Angel Series, and For the Ride. Over the years Notley edited or co-edited three poetry journals: CHICAGO, SCARLET, and Gare du Nord. She is also a collagist and cover artist. In 2015 she was awarded the Ruth Lilly Prize, for lifetime achievement in poetry. 


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