12:10 p.m. First Thursdays During the School Year: Best Lunchtime Reading

Lunch Poems

If you hunger for both lunch and literature, you’re not alone. Join the hundreds of people who gather during their lunch break at Cal on the first Thursday of the month to listen to poetry. One of the state’s most successful reading series, Lunch Poems was started in 1996 by former poet laureate and current Cal Professor Robert Hass. The event has drawn such luminaries as Ishmael Reed, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, and Cal Nobel Prize-winner Czeslaw Milosz. Although the readings last for only half an hour, you might want to get there early, because typically two-hundred-plus people show up for their literary snack (Milosz’ reading attracted some four hundred). The 2002-’03 season, which just ended this month with a student reading, brought the likes of such prize-winning, high-caliber poets as Brenda Hillman, Li-Young Lee, Adrienne Rich, Cornelius Eady, and Luis Rodriguez. When school kicks up again in September, so will Lunch Poems.

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