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Ted Berrigan


Ted Berrigan was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 15, 1934. He attended Providence College for a year before joining the army in 1954 at the age of 19. After serving in Korea he received a BA in English from the University of Tulsa in 1959 and an MA in 1962. Berrigan moved to New York in the early 1960s where he edited and published C Magazine and C Press Books, wrote art criticism, and collaborated with writers and artists Ron Padgett, Joe Brainard, and Anselm Hollo.

Berrigan taught at the St. Mark's Poetry Project and was writer-in-residence/visiting poet at the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Yale University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Essex in England, Northeastern Illinois University, and the Naropa Institute. In 1979 he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Berrigan was a central figure in the second generation of the New York School of Poets, which included Ron Padgett, Anne Waldman, Jim Carroll, and Anselm Hollo. He was the author of more than 20 books, including The Sonnets (1964), Bean Spasms (with Ron Padgett and Joe Brainard) (1967), Poems, In Brief (1971), Red Wagon (1976), and A Certain Slant of Sunlight (1988). Ted Berrigan died on July 4, 1983.

A Selected Bibliography


A Certain Slant of Sunlight (1988)
A Feeling for Leaving (1975)
Back in Boston Again (1972)
Bean Spasms (1967)
Carrying a Torch (1980)
Clear the Range (1977)
Great Stories of the Chair (1998)
In a Blue River (1981)
Living with Chris (1965)
Many Happy Returns (1967)
Memorial Day (1971)
NOH (1969)
Nothing for You (1977)
Peace (1969)
Red Wagon (1976)
Selected Poems (1994)
So Going Around Cities: New & Selected Poems 1958-1979 (1980)
Some Things (1966)
The Drunken Boat (1974)
The Sonnets (1964)
Train Ride (1971)
Yo-Yo's with Money (1979)

Ted Berrigan

By This Poet


A Certain Slant of Sunlight

In Africa the wine is cheap, and it is
on St. Mark's Place too, beneath a white moon.
I'll go there tomorrow, dark bulk hooded
against what is hurled down at me in my no hat
which is weather: the tall pretty girl in the print dress
under the fur collar of her cloth coat will be standing
by the wire fence where the wild flowers grow not too tall
her eyes will be deep brown and her hair styled 1941 American
      will be too; but
I'll be shattered by then
But now I'm not and can also picture white clouds
impossibly high in blue sky over small boy heartbroken
to be dressed in black knickers, black coat, white shirt,
      buster-brown collar, flowing black bow-tie
her hand lightly fallen on his shoulder, faded sunlight falling
across the picture, mother & son, 33 & 7, First Communion Day, 1941--
I'll go out for a drink with one of my demons tonight
they are dry in Colorado 1980 spring snow. 

Easter Monday [excerpt]

Chicago Morning

To Philip Guston

Under a red face, black velvet shyness
Milking an emaciated gaffer. God lies down
Here. Rattling of a shot, heard
From the first row. The president of the United States
And the Director of the FBI stand over
a dead mule. "Yes, it is nice to hear the fountain
With the green trees around it, as well as
People who need me." Quote Lovers of speech unquote. It's
                                 a nice thought
& typical of a rat. And, it is far more elaborate
Than expected. And the thing is, we don't need
                                 that much money.
Sunday morning; blues, blacks, red & yellow wander
In the soup. Gray in the windows' frames. The angular
Explosion in the hips. A huge camel rests
                                 in a massive hand
Casts clouds a smoggish white out & up over the Loop, while
Two factories (bricks) & a fortress of an oven (kiln)
Rise, barely visible inside a grey metallic gust.
                                 "The Fop's Tunic."
She gets down, off of the table, breaking a few more plates.
Natives paint their insides crystal white here (rooms)
Outside is more bricks, off-white. Europe at Night.

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