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Going Down The River In A Hayloft Coffin: the evocative years of Robert Peters

Format: CD/MP3
Genre: Spoken Word
Recommended Tracks:  5,10, 21,35,46
Release Date: 11/1/2009

These forty nine poems, set to music, are strung with a tinge of Gothic & glaciated  enchantments sequentially evoking how a poet thaws and carves out his destiny distancing himself from his primordial Wisconsin roots.  These poems start off with winning tales of model T’s, berry picking, sexuality among North wood folks and other vivid back-wood encounters.  There are  variances of deer hunting and fishing expeditions fleshed out.  The sequence forges to the present covering eulogies to his beloveds and poignant elegies to the folk who were such integral parts of the poet's life.  In the midst of these violent, visceral, celebratory, and elegant tales there’s a silver cord that keeps these images astonishingly alive with high voltage and renderable music and lyrics.  Robert Peters is a poet, critic, scholar, playwright, editor, and  actor born in an impoverished rural area of northern Wisconsin in 1924.

Music composition by Harlan Steinberger.

Bio: Robert Peters' poetry career began in 1967 when his young son Richard died unexpectedly of spinal meningitis.  the book commemorating this loss, Songs for a Son, was selected by poet Denise Levertov to be published by W.W. Norton in 1967, and it still remains in print.

After serving in World War II, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, majoring in English.  He received his B.A., in 1948, his M.A., in 1949, and his doctorate in 1952.

His field of study was Victorian literature ad he received a Fullbright Fellowship  to Cambridge, England in the 60’s.  His teaching career tok him to Wayne State University, Boston University, Ohio Wesleyan, University of Idaho in the city of Moscow, University of Riverside, and then the University of California Irvine, where he first taught in 1967.

Peter is a prolific poet, having published some thirty poetry boks, and he is an important contemporary critic of American poetry–– he has assessed over 400 contemporary poets and critics.  He also wrote Poetry reviews for the Los Angeles Times.

His publishers include: W.W. Norton, Wayne State University Press, Crossing Press, New Rivers, Cherry Valley Editions, Unicorn Press, GLB Publishing, Paragon House and University
 of Wisconsin.

In the Fall of 2001, the 40th volume of his Familial Love and Other Misfortunes was published by Red Hen Press.  Peters has served as a contributing editor for the American Bok Review, Contact II, and Paintbrush.

His poetry covers a wide rage of themes and forms, from intensely  personal volumes of private celebrations and losses –– the death of a son, the break-up of a marriage, and his rural Wisconsin origins–– to excursions into the psyches of a vast gallery of historical eccentrics.

Peters has also judged competitions for fellowships and prizes for the Poetry Society of America and PEN International.  He has enjoyed Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and won the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award of the Poetry Society of America.

Quotes: “The fascination with the dead, with the rotting with pigs rooting into the earth, a poem about a primal scene in a root cellar, discovering sex and the underground, taboo, death-related experience – this is what all of Peters’ poetry is about which gives it great originality and power” – Diane Wakoski, American Poetry.

“As a fascinating exercise in obscure lives retrieved, as a joint effort in painful and exultant memory, this rich memoir has playful seriousness and inventive charm which characterizes the work of Robert Peters”  Thomas Kennaly, author of Schindler’s List.

Hen House Studios,
P.O. Box 742,
Venice, CA 90294
310- 823-4492


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