“Welcome to San Diego,” the book begins, sardonically, given how ill at ease Fredman feels as a young Jew and aspiring poet in his seemingly paradisal hometown. In short chapters that read like prose poems, he retrieves and assembles pieces of memory and sets them against one another, building an exquisite architecture of experiences—as Jew, Californian, poet, drummer, surfer, hippie, and professor—brought into conjunction by attempts to make sense of them, studded with words hefted like stones.
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. California Interest. Poetry.
Stephen Fredman, a native Californian, taught modern American poetry and poetics at the University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana, from 1980-2017. He has written a book of poetry, translated several works from Spanish, and authored five books of literary history and criticism, the latest of which is American Poetry as Transactional Art (2020). He has edited four volumes, including How Long Is the Present: Selected Talk Poems of David Antin (2014) and a critical edition of Robert Creeley's Presences: A Text for Marisol (2018). Currently, he is writing about the impact of John Dewey's philosophy of art as experience on American poetry and performance art.