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Anselm Berrigan

Notes from Irrelevance

Notes from Irrelevance

By Anselm Berrigan

  • I at some point decided 
    to be—or became, 
    understanding later— 
    influenced by, potentially,

    This generous book-length poem is an investigation of the author’s unique personal history as it entwines with his present role as poet, citizen, and “one of the six billion-plus.

  • Notes is a stunning statement to a world that has made artifacts of absolutes...
    Michael Brodeur, The Boston Globe

    As a poem addressed to you as much as to anyone, these Notes from Irrelevance are in their fierceness finally, deeply relevant.
    Roy Scranton, Boston Review

    Notes From Irrelevance is a long weave of sentence shimmers with influences of someone who has read and absorbed a rich range, from classics to the most experimental, making each phrasing kinetic with questions about the way he has experienced sound and the sight of letters. 
    Barbara Berman, The Rumpus

    This single stanza, book-length poem is a compilation of such linguistically rich and syntactically varied sentences. Discursive like much of Berrigan’s work, the poem meanders through a day in the life (or perhaps a week or longer), capturing the essence of what life is like for the author, who self-identifies as “currently one / of the six billion-plus.” And though there are autobiographical moments specific to the author, the poem speaks to a wider experience too—to what it’s like to be alive and thinking in America today...
    Gina Myers, New Pages

    Berrigan is always in control–of the line, of the sentence, of the digressions–all in attempt to show that poetry is not a space for tidy representation, but a sprawling performance of thought and experience, a body of vocabularies.
    Nick Sturm, Coldfront Magazine

    How Berrigan can be sad, silly, revelatory, awkward, and brilliantly dismissive in a single long sentence of poetry is his secret. Even narrating a simple stroll through an old neighborhood after canceling a class is inflected with a protean beauty most poets wouldn't dream of trying to convoke in such skeining detail.
    Joshua Marie Wilkinson, West Branch Wired

    Stirring cosmic observations and succinct “micro-meanings” in the same pot, Berrigan creates a single poem that reads like the manifesto of a poet who would never admit he’s writing one...The poem serves as a snapshot of the complexity of day-to-day life, 2011-style.
    Publishers Weekly 

    Notes from Irrelevance reminds me of those movie scenes where the hero has seconds to defuse a ticking bomb by touching two wires together, but isn’t sure which the right ones are. The wires here are the twisting, tensile lines, like the seven-clause stunner that opens the poem; the bomb is the urgency of the poet’s self-interrogation as it works its way through memory, family history, friendships, anxieties, and “uncodable degrees of grief”
    Rodney Koeneke, Poetry Project Newsletter #230 

  • Anselm Berrigan is the author of many books of poetry: Pregrets, (Black
    Square Editions, 2021), Something for Everybody, (Wave Books, 2018), Come In Alone (Wave Books, May 2016), Primitive State (Edge, 2015), Notes from Irrelevance (Wave Books, 2011), Free Cell (City Lights Books, 2009), Some Notes on My Programming (Edge, 2006), Zero Star Hotel (Edge, 2002), and Integrity and Dramatic Life (Edge, 1999). He is also the editor of What is Poetry? (Just Kidding, I Know You Know): Interviews from the Poetry Project Newsletter (1983–2009) and co-author of two collaborative books: Loading, with visual artist Jonathan Allen (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013), and Skasers, with poet John Coletti (Flowers & Cream, 2012). He was the poetry editor for The Brooklyn Rail from 2008 through 2023. With Alice Notley and Edmund Berrigan he co-edited The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (U. California, 2005) and the Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan (U. California, 2011). More recently, he co-edited Get The Money! Collected Prose of Ted Berrigan (City Lights, 2022) with Notley, Edmund Berrigan, and Nick Sturm. A member of the subpress publishing collective, he has published books by Hoa Nguyen, Steve Carey, Adam DeGraff, and Brendan Lorber.  From 2003-2007 he was Artistic Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, where he also hosted the Wednesday Night Reading Series for four years. He teaches writing classes at Pratt Institute and Brooklyn College, and was a longtime Co-Chair in Writing at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts interdisciplinary MFA program. Berrigan was granted an Individual Artists Award from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in 2017, and was also awarded a 2015 Process Space Residency by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and a Robert Rauschenberg Residency by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2014. He was a New York State Foundation for the Arts fellow in Poetry for 2007, and has received three grants from the Fund for Poetry.

Publication Date: September 1, 2011

ISBN# 9781933517544 (5x7.5 80pp, paperback and limited edition hardcover)

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