Monday, March 26, 2012

Click here for the schedule for the LA Times Festival of Books in April.

On Saturday, April 21, I'll be on a panel with Henri Cole, Bruce Smith, and Carl Phillips in the morning; I'll be reading from THE PUBLIC GARDENS: POEMS AND HISTORY in the afternoon. (The book is going into its second printing--please ask your local public or school or college library to order a copy from Baker & Taylor, Small Press Distribution, or other booksellers.)

Lots of other great things on the program on both days of the festival. Check it out.

                                                        LA Times Festival of Books

Hecho in other former colonies

Friday, March 16, 2012

Love & Work (author bio)

 "Certainly these ashes might have been pleasures."

        ROBERT DUNCAN - "This Place Rumord to Have Been Sodom"

LINDA NORTON is the author of THE PUBLIC GARDENS: POEMS AND HISTORY (Pressed Wafer, 2011; introduction by Fanny Howe), a hybrid work of poetry and memoir and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for poetry, 2012. 
Her poems, essays, and collages have appeared in many journals including Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Poetry Flash, Five Fingers Review, Eleven Eleven, Zen Monster, Ambush, Colorado Review, Volt, and in several anthologies: AS IF IT FELL FROM THE SUN, EtherDome; AL-MUTANABBI STREET STARTS HERE, PM Press; NEW CALIFORNIA WRITING, Heyday Books. In 2014 Irish writer Dermot Healy chose her memoir "Pearl Paint" for inclusion in the annual FISH anthology. She has also published a chapbook, HESITATION KIT (EtherDome Press, 2007).

Norton grew up in Boston and spent many years in New York; half of THE PUBLIC GARDENS is a prose memoir called “Brooklyn Journals.” She lives in Oakland with her daughter Isabel and is a senior editor at The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.  

You can read Andrew King's Kenyon Review interview with Linda Norton here and Alison Peter's  East Bay Express review of THE PUBLIC GARDENS here. A few poems from the book ("Self Portrait as a Meadow" and "Patterns for Arans") are posted at the Poetry Foundation online.

     Art, Music, Collaboration

Norton's art work has been exhibited at the Kitchen in New York, the Morrison Room at UC Berkeley,  Cafe 504 in Oakland, and, in 2014, at the Dock Arts Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon, Ireland.

Her collages illustrate her online essay "The Great Depression and Me" (Counterpath Press) and have also appeared on the covers of several books, including THE PUBLIC GARDENSHESITATION KIT, AS IF IT FELL FROM THE SUN, and volumes of poetry by Claudia Rankine and Julie Carr.

"Landscaping for Privacy," her collaboration with composer Eve Beglarian, is available on iTunes and on the CD “Tell the Birds.” 

Beglarian recently composed and performed a new piece with lyrics by Norton ("Wet Psalm") as part of her River Project

Norton was a resident at the Guthrie Centre in Ireland in 2015 and at the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Texas in the summer of 2002. In 2014 she was awarded a William Dickey Fellowship at San Francisco State University, where she taught Creative Reading 302 in spring of 2016.

      University of California Press 

Norton worked for the University of California Press in Manhattan (1987-1995) and then in Berkeley (1995-2001), publishing trade and scholarly books in many fields, including history, politics, biography, music, art, literature, current events, and classics. She founded the New California Poetry series for UC Press with Calvin Bedient, Robert Hass, and Brenda Hillman.

     History, Research, Advocacy

Norton has conducted interviews for NPR’s Storycorps Griot series and has worked as a historical consultant for the Peralta Hacienda, a community museum in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. She serves on the advisory board of the Irish American Crossroads Festival and worked as a researcher and writer on Cary Virtue's documentary film about the last piano bar in Oakland.  From 2007-2012 she was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in Alameda County.

In 2014 she received a Creative Work Fund grant for "Home and Away," a collaboration with the Peralta Hacienda Historical Museum and Park in Oakland. In an exhibit, interviews, workshops, field trips, writing, and public events, Norton and community members explore issues around the growth of prisons and prison populations in California and questions about freedom and history. 

From 2007 to 2012, Norton was a CASA (a Court Appointed Special Advocate) for youth in the foster care system in Alameda County.


Introduction by Fanny Howe

Pressed Wafer, Boston 2011   ISBN 978-0-9831975-1-5   $14.00
A memoir of place (Boston, New York, Oakland and San Francisco) and of the commons—gardens and libraries, streets and subways, marriage and family—and a hybrid work of poetry and prose, THE PUBLIC GARDENS is a documentary (with lyrics) of a life lived in, around, and for books. 

"THE PUBLIC GARDENS is a brilliant, wonderful book, a sort of a wild institution, intense and readable. Linda Norton looks at the world like a dog who likes to tear apart couches—repressed but not for long. Though full of shame, this book is shameless. A life is freely divulged as are the multitude of homeopathic bits from the author's reading list. The overall experience of moving through THE PUBLIC GARDENS's shuttling prose and poetry is quietly breathtaking. I have felt and learned much from this book! Her 'Gardens' are both organized and entirely disorderly—anything and anyone from any point in history might saunter through, and that's the meaning of public isn't it? I find myself loving this writer's mind, light touch, and generous heart and I, reader, didn't want to go when it was done. My bowl is out. More!"Eileen Myles

“Have you ever heard Dinah Washington sing ‘This Bitter Earth’? Have you ever seen the movie by Charles Burnett called Killer of Sheep? This little book, THE PUBLIC GARDENS, conjures up the experience of that movie and that song, the fate of families and neighborhoods in 20th-century America. Although the title of the book shows that its ultimate point of reference is Boston, the work inside travels through New York and Oakland. Part poetry, part notebooks, it is a model of the camera made human, made humanist, a part of arm, leg, hand, a moving-picture taker pregnant with literature. What she sees, we have all seen and passed by. But she has paused to note it. 

Steeped in the language of Scripture and Emerson, the poetry here is fresh and wild, cultivated and desperate. Linda is Sicilian but everything in her is modern. She hates what she loves. This makes her lonely, inspired, uprooted, still hunting, and blissed out whenever possible. She documents her losses and loves, both as a free person and a mother, and every word she writes has the bittersweet taste of Dinah Washington."Fanny Howe 

She looks back on her personal history with tough self-reckoning which she then crystal cuts to near sparkling perfection. Her bearing down on experience to yield the truths of life lived has no fluff. .. .  Norton shares her losses: at the death of brother, the unfolding of her marriage, historical readings/visions of society in her visits home to family in Boston, and finally her relocation to California for work. She's found what abides is observing moments of one's life, being aware of what's happening as it happens. There's joy to be found round daily business.” Patrick James Dunagan, Galatea Resurrects, #17, December 2011

“Norton’s rejoinder to suffering, shame, loss, and the drudge of economic necessity is to encounter the world with a keen interest that is by turns plaintive and robustly humorous. . . . Right inside [the] gap of transition and loss, Norton locates a site of empathy and mystery.”-- Elizabeth Robinson, Otis Review

updated 1/2016

at Small Press, your local bookseller, or the Oakland Public Library.
BOSTON, city of poets
including BILL CORBETT.
Read Sebastian Smee's profile of "The Man Who Nourished Boston's Literary Scene"