Bill Berkson

Bill Berkson was a poet, critic, teacher, and sometime curator. Born in New York in 1939, he was the author of many books and pamphlets of poetry, including Serenade; Fugue State; a volume of his 1960s collaborations with Frank O’Hara entitled Hymns of St. Bridget & Other Writings; the deluxe portfolio Gloria with etchings by Alex Katz; and more recently, Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently; Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems; Goods and Services; and Lady Air. Four recent word-and-image collaborations are BILL with Colter Jacobsen; Ted Berrigan with George Schneeman; Not an Exit with Léonie Guyer; and Repeat After Me with John Zurier. During the 1960s he was an editorial associate at ARTNews, a regular contributor to Arts, guest editor at the Museum of Modern Art, and an associate producer of a program on art for public television, and taught literature and writing workshops at the New School, at Yale University, and in Poets in the Schools programs. After moving to Northern California in 1970, he began editing and publishing a series of poetry books and magazines under the Big Sky imprint. He has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, Artspace, the Poets Foundation, the Fund for Poetry, and the Briarcombe Foundation. He is a corresponding editor for Art in America and has contributed to such other journals as Artforum, Aperture, Modern Painters, and artcritical. He is professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught art history and literature for many years. Books of his criticism include The Sweet Singer of Modernism and Other Art Writings 1985–2003; Sudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981–2006; and For the Ordinary Artist. He was the Distinguished Paul Mellon Fellow for 2006 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and recipient of the 2010 Balcones Prize for Poetry.