Poet's new book hits shelves

by Lydia O'Connor

A local writer and poetry reviewer read excerpts from her new book of poems at Fort Mason.

Barbara Berman, a San Francisco resident since 1987 and Richmond District homeowner since 1995, held the reading from The Generosity of Stars at the Book Bay store at Fort Mason on June 4.

The collection was first published in April 2008.

The poems explore her "experiences as a parishioner at St. Ignatius" and "engagement with science and nature and community and family," she said.

Berman, 56, served on the board for the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library for 10 years and helped raise funds, and donated money in collaboration with her husband Clifford Lee, for renovating the Richmond-Senator Milton Marks and Anza branch libraries. In addition, this year marks her eighth year on the jury for the California Book Awards, sponsored by the Commonwealth Club.

Berman has also supported local causes, such as the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, National Book Critics Circle and World Wildlife Fund.

Each entry from the collection, published by Finishingline Press, was either written or revised in her Richmond District study.

"Every poem in the book owes its creation or revision to the affordable, quiet space we have here," she said.

Berman organized an independent book festival in Washington D.C. in 1979 and has been published in several newspapers and magazines, including the Village Voice, Outlook and Style of the Washington Post and the Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal.

She frequently reviews poetry for the SF Chronicle. Her poetry has also been staged, and set to music, in Washington D.C.

"The Generosity of Stars" is available at Books Inc., the Book Bay and Mrs. Dalloway's Books in Berkeley for $12. It can also be found at the SF Main Library. She encourages interested readers to purchase her book at a local independent bookstore, though it is also available at www.Amazon.com. Signed copies for $14 may be purchased directly from Berman at [email protected].