A Certain Slant of Sunlight

By Ted Berrigan


O Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Ted Berrigan
& George Schneeman
Edition, Year
First Edition, 1988

A Certain Slant of Sunlight  is Ted Berrigan’s last poetry collection. The poems were  originally written on 4.5 x 7 inch postcards with drawings by the author; photos of some of the postcards are included. The shape and size of the postcards came to determine a new form for Berrigan, generating small stories, snippets of language that registered emotional states, and other meditations. It is a work of extreme seriousness, reflecting the author’s impending death.


Ted Berrigan
Ted Berrigan (1934-1983), a central figure in the second generation of New York School poets, was the author of more than 20 books, including Bean Spasms, with Ron Padgett and Joe Brainard; Read More

A Certain Slant of Sunlight is an important book because, for one thing, it’s the only one like it. It faces death and observes the community through a various kind of poem which is true to the life being led. […] It’s very deep if you know how to find depth in poetry; it’s courageous, and being that, the reader can take courage from it too. Furthermore, the language, the form (they seem to be simultaneous) of the poems is extraordinary in its ability to negotiate quick dense changes and still maintain transparency and the brevity necessitated by the postcards. These poems suggest a direction in poetry that has yet to be picked up: we’ve all been too obsessed with being “important.” But importance isn’t necessarily where you think it is; it’s really generated by circumstance and is in the flesh and spirit of the poems, not in a presentation of “importance.” These are important poems.

— Alice Notley, “A Certain Slant of Sunlight,” Essays on Poetry


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