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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Berkeley Prelude: A Lyrical Memoir, 1970-1975

Berkeley Prelude: A Lyrical Memoir, 1970-1975 is the latest book of poetry by Dr. Mark Smith-Soto (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures). In it, there are two narrators and the poet himself plays both parts. One is Mark Smith-Soto as he was in California in the 1970s; the other resides in the present. Each poem has two parts; in the first, he speaks of himself in the third person and in the second, in the first person.  As one critic observed, “By making his earlier self be a he instead of an I, Smith-Soto is simultaneously creating psychological accuracy and opening up questions about the contiguity of the self.” Another  wrote, “In the end, Berkeley Prelude cautions that when you look back, the face you don’t recognize might be your own.”

The book was published by Unicorn Press in Greensboro in two separate editions. Unicorn describes the editions as follows:  “The author signed 26 hardbound copies, lettered A through Z. An additional 50 hardbound copies and 225 bound in paper were produced by Unicorn Press.” It seems fitting that even the physical properties of the poems should represent yet another duality.

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