For Immediate Release
Poetry Foundation Announces Publication of Everything Preserved by Landis Everson
Inaugural winner of the Emily Dickinson First Book Award published by Graywolf Press
October 17, 2006
“Why did Landis Everson stop writing poetry for forty-three years?” asks the New York Times in a recent feature article. This question permeates Everson’s extraordinary debut, which collects poems written between 1955 and 1960 and, after a long silence, poems written between 2003 and 2005.
In 1955, while serving as Karl Shapiro’s teaching assistant at the University of California at Berkeley, Everson made the first of three appearances in Poetry magazine. A friend of poets Robin Blaser, Robert Duncan, and Jack Spicer, Landis Everson became a significant figure of the Berkeley Renaissance in the 1940s and 1950s, which rebelled against the strictures of formalism to bring “unmediated language directly from the poet’s mind” onto the page.
After the Berkeley group disbanded, Everson stopped writing for more than four decades. His rediscovery by the literary journal Fulcrum 3: The Berkeley Renaissance (2004) became the catalyst for his return to poetry. At the prompting of editor Ben Mazer, Everson began writing many of the vivid and spontaneous poems that comprise Everything Preserved.
Landis Everson was born in 1926 in Coronado, California. He lives in San Luis Obispo, California.
The Emily Dickinson First Book Award was created by the Poetry Foundation to recognize an American poet over the age of 50 who has yet to publish a first book of poetry. Everson’s manuscript was selected from more than 1,100 entries in the contest. In addition to publication of his manuscript, Everson received a cash prize of $10,000.
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit www.PoetryFoundation.org.
By Landis Everson
The telephone Jean Harlow picked up
and slammed down three times in 1935
made the cock crow in our heads. The ringing
went on long after we fell asleep
in our beds. I swear
my heart beat faster on a long-dead mattress.
There’s still a chance
another day after
that I can be on the other end of a line,
someone worthy enough for her
to hang up on
on a dime.
“Hang Up,” by Landis Everson, from Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005, published by Graywolf Press. Copyright 2006 by Landis Everson.
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