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Berkeley Talks: Poet Alex Dimitrov reads from ‘Love and Other Poems’

The reading was part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly event, Lunch Poems

person with a serious expression
On Sept. 8, Alex Dimitrov read from his new book of poems, Love and Other Poems, as part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly poetry reading series, Lunch Poems. (Photo by Sylvie Rosokoff)

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person with a serious expression

On Sept. 8, Alex Dimitrov read from his 2021 book of poems, Love and Other Poems, as part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly poetry reading series, Lunch Poems. (Photo by Sylvie Rosokoff)

In Berkeley Talks episode 155, Alex Dimitrov reads from his 2021 book of poems Love and Other Poems. The Sept. 8 reading was part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly event, Lunch Poems.

Here’s “July,” one of the poems Dimitrov read during the event:

At last it’s impossible to think of anything
as I swim through the heat on Broadway and disappear in the Strand. Nobody
on these shelves knows who I am
but I feel so seen, it’s easy to be aimless
not having written a line for weeks.
Outside New York continues to be New York.
I was half expecting it to be LA
but no luck. No luck with the guy
I’m seeing, no luck with money,
no luck with becoming a saint.
I do not want you, perfect life.
I decided to stay a poet long ago,
I know what I’m in for. And still
the free space of the sky
lures me back out—not even
canonical beauty can keep me inside
(and beauty, I’m done with you too).
I guess, after all, I’ll take love—
sweeping, all-consuming,
grandiose love. Don’t just call
or ask to go to a movie.
That’s off my list too!
I want absolutely everything
on this Friday afternoon
when not one person is looking for me.
I’m crazy and lonely.
I’ve never been boring.
And believe it or not, I’m all I want.

Alex Dimitrov is the author of three books of poetry — Love and Other Poems, Together and by Ourselves and Begging for It — and the chapbook American Boys. His poems have been published in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Paris Review and Poetry. He has taught writing at Princeton University, Columbia University and New York University, among other institutions. Previously, he was the senior content editor at the Academy of American Poets, where he edited the popular series Poem-a-Day and American Poets magazine.

Lunch Poems is an ongoing poetry reading series at Berkeley that began in 2014. All readings happen from 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. Find upcoming talks on the Lunch Poems website and watch videos of past readings on the Lunch Poems YouTube channel.

Watch Dimitrov’s poetry reading below.

On Sept. 8, Alex Dimitrov read from his 2021 book of poems, Love and Other Poems, as part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly poetry reading series, Lunch Poems.

Listen to other episodes of Berkeley Talks: