On Thursday, Nov. 18, the Deep South Reading Series will present a reading by poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge at the Burke-Hawthorne Hall on the UL campus at 7:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge has lived for many years in New Mexico where she taught at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, and became actively involved in the local artistic community. Through frequent trips to New York City, Berssenbrugge also became deeply engaged and influenced by the city's movements of abstract artists, and New York School and Language poets, a milieu that included John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Charles Bernstein, and Anne Waldman.

Her engagement led to many rich collaborations with other artists, including the creation of artist books with Richard Tuttle and Kiki Smith, and theatre works with Shi Zhen Chen, Frank Chin, Blondell Cummings, Tan Dun, and Alvin Lucier.

Berssenbrugge is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, most recently I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems (University of California Press, 2006) and Concordance (Kelsey St. Press, 2006), a collaboration with the sculptor Kiki Smith. Her other collections include Nest (2003); The Four Year Old Girl (1998); Endocrinology (1997), a collaboration with Kiki Smith; Sphericity (1993); Empathy (1989); and The Heat Bird (1983).

Characteristic of her style is a lush mix of abstract language, collaged images, cultural and political investigation, and unexpected shifts between the meditative and the particular. A review of I Love Artists in Publishers Weekly noted: "Berssenbrugge writes what might be called proofs, working sensuously off the language of science to find the divides between elements over which one has control and those over which one does not."

Berssenbrugge is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two American Book Awards, and honors from the Asian American Writers Workshop and the Western States Art Foundation. She has been a contributing editor of Conjunctions Magazine since 1978 and has taught at Brown University. She lives in New Mexico and New York City with her husband, the sculptor Richard Tuttle, and their daughter.

This reading is funded by support from the UL English Department and the Acadiana Center for the Arts.


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