Geoffrey G. O'Brien is the author of Experience in Groups (Wave Books, 2018) and People on Sunday (Wave Books, 2013), as well as the author of Metropole (2011), Green and Gray (2007), and The Guns and Flags Project (2002), all from The University of California Press. His chapbooks included Hesiod (Song Cave, 2010) and Poem with No Good Lines (Hand Held Editions, 2010). He is the coauthor (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets: Ashbery, Donnelly, O’Brien (Minus A Press, 2012) and (in collaboration with the poet Jeff Clark) of 2A (Quemadura, 2006). O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.
...One of the most exciting poets now writing.
—Craig Morgan Teicher, Time Out New York
...What is the fate of a surface in destruction? The surface of O’Brien’s writing is already showing us. It proliferates, breaking down into countless facets—line, phrase, word—each of which carries a full poetic charge.
—Cole Swensen, Boston Review
Who shall be allowed to participate in language, in naming and noting, in this world made of words?...O’Brien reminds us that, even at play, in secret, naked or in drag, in fantasy and kink, the powerful are never not economic agents, warmongering, destructive.
—Ed Skoog, Los Angeles Review of Books
...O’Brien’s poems exist somewhere between logocentric and lost. Their perpetually undercut gestures toward hypotaxis ratify this sense not of alienation nor of personal powerlessness, but of a haunting ambivalence...
—Brian Teare, On the Seawall
If O'Brien's poems have a sameness of diction and rhythm that verges on monotonous and impersonal, it's the same sameness of heartbeat and breath, prayer and meditation. It's a poetry that asks for patient attention, and gives back all the void's abundance.
—Steve Healey, Rain Taxi
Reviews of books by Geoffrey G. O'Brien
Experience in Groups
People on Sunday
- “Another Poem” (on Poets.org)
- “The Flagstad Recording” (on Poets.org)
- “Two Philosophers” (in the American Poetry Review)
- “Poem Beginning to End” (in the Boston Review)
- “Absence of the Archbishop” (for the Poetry Society of America)
- “Thanatopsis” (on the Reclamations Blog)
- “Series” (on Poets.org)
- Two Poems (in The Paris Review)
- Geoffrey G. O'Brien on T. S. Eliot's “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
- Canceled Pastoral: Ashbery’s “The Instruction Manual” and Genre Responsibility
Interviews and Discussions
- Los Angeles Review of Books, with Adam Fitzgerald
- The Claudius App, with Keston Sutherland
- The American Reader, with Daniel Schoonebeek
Lunch Poems reading at UC Berkeley: