We are pleased to present Ann Arbor poet Paul Bernstein who will read from his new poetry book, What the Owls Know. He began publishing his poetry as an undergrad at U of M in the 1960s. Paul was not only a member of Ann Arbor’s vibrant artistic and cultural community but also an SDS militant and later editor/writer for the underground paper Up Against the Wall Street Journal. After leaving school he embarked on a varied career as a library worker/weekend hippie, anti-war activist, full-time staff writer for various radical socialist papers, medical editor, and managing editor. Paul resumed writing poetry some 20 years ago and his work now appears regularly in journals and anthologies. He is also a prizewinning amateur country music lyricist and a published photographer. Recent work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Down in the Dirt, Third Wednesday, Muddy River Poetry Review, New Plains Review, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. Paul moved back to Ann Arbor in 2011, where he often attends and/or participates in local poetry events.
The event begins with an Open Mic session when area poets can read their own work or share a favorite poem by another author in a welcoming atmosphere. This is part of a monthly series on the 2nd Thursday of most months in partnership with Les Go Social Media Marketing and Training. Light refreshments, signing to follow.
“In his debut poetry collection, Paul Bernstein takes stock of a life, experiencing the richness and despairs of this material world and anticipating his soul’s inevitable transmigration to the next. Like the owls in the title poem, Bernstein voices wisdom that others may fear, as he and the night birds “lurk in gloom / for ghosts to rise up / from their graves.” These are poems from a man who has seen life stretch both before and behind him, both a youthful traveler “romp[ing] in the cowboy west” and an older, more disillusioned presence “stuck with you, / a dead lump of stone / I can’t move,” a Sisyphus of the heart who awaits eventual relief. Come join Bernstein in his astute poems, which snatch moments of sly joy, meaning, and possible redemption like seeds scattered throughout the rocky ground of a fully-lived life.”
—John F. Buckley, Author, Sky Sandwiches