“If someone came up and started talking a poem at you how would you know it was a poem?” So begins David Antin’s Talking (originally published in 1972), a collection of writings that defy classification. His hilarious, intelligent writing combines a passion for storytelling and improvisation with a unique sensitivity to the relationship between verbal and written language. Antin draws from poetry, fiction, theater, autobiography, and cultural criticism; he touches on politics, social critique, and aesthetic theory. But his central achievement is clear: the creation of new artistic forms.
David Antin was born in New York in 1932, earned a master’s degree from NYU in 1966, and taught at UC San Diego during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, where he helped to revitalize American conceptual photography. He has worked in poetry, performance art, “talk poetry” (improvised spoken-word pieces), and collage. He is fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities and received the 1984 PEN Los Angeles Award for poetry.