Ted Berrigan Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Ted Berrigan (BEHR-ih-gan) is primarily known as a poet. However, he has edited collections of poetry as well as works about poetry, including a book by underground artist and poet Tom Veitch, Literary Days: Selected Writings (1964), which he edited with Ron Padgett. He founded and was the primary editor for the poetry press C Press in New York for several years, publishing collections by such poets as Kenward Elmslie, Dick Gallup, Joe Ceravolo, Michael Brownstein, and his frequent collaborator Padgett. He also served as the organizer of and an instructor for the very successful St. Mark’s Poetry Project in New York City.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Ted Berrigan’s most famous collection, The Sonnets, won the Poetry Foundation Award and placed Berrigan on the literary map of American poetry. In 1967, he won a Poetry Foundation Grant and a National Anthology of Literature Award for an interview with John Cage. He supported and influenced a number of rising stars of poetry through his work with the C Press and through his work with the St. Mark’s Poetry Project. Like such contemporaries as poets Padgett and Frank O’Hara, Berrigan believed in wedding the everyday to the ephemeral, and as an artist, editor, and teacher, he significantly influenced a generation of poets to come. He was awarded a Community Arts Project (CAPS) grant in 1977 for his collection Nothing for You. In 1979, he received a National Endowment for the Arts grant.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Clark, Tom. Late Returns: A Memoir of Ted Berrigan. Bolinas, Calif.: Tombouctou Books, 1985. Includes interesting material from the end of Berrigan’s life.

Notley, Alice. Introduction to Selected Poems, by Ted Berrigan. New York: Penguin Books, 1994. Written by Berrigan’s wife.

Ratcliffe, Stephen, and Leslie Scalapino, eds. Talking in Tranquility: Interviews with Ted Berrigan. Bolinas, Calif.: Avenue B, 1984. Shows both the man’s humor and the seriousness with which he regarded poetry.

Rifkin, Libbie. Career Moves: Olson, Creeley, Zukofsky, Berrigan, and the American Avant-Garde. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000. This study of four major American poets— Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Louis Zukofsky, and Berrigan—addresses the question of how writers craft their careers.

Waldman, Anne. Nice to See You: Homage to Ted Berrigan. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1991. An excellent book.