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Against Certainty A tremendous range of voices and writing styles is featured in Against Certainty, including work by well-known writers (Sandra M. Gilbert, Jane Hirshfield, David St. John, Kim Addonizio, and Dana Gioia, new chairman of the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts) and emerging poets from the Bay Area. Rather than focusing on topical or didactic poems, editors Jim Schley and Ann Aspell (co-founders of Chapiteau Press) sought poems that highlight the different ways poets use the resources of their art to contend with worldly events.

A share of the proceeds from sales of Against Certainty are donated by the publisher to Survivors International, a nonprofit organization founded in 1986 and dedicated to providing essential psychological and medical services to survivors of torture who have fled from around the world to the San Francisco Bay Area. In conjunction with publication of Against Certainty, there was a public reading in San Francisco by contributors in autumn of 2003 to raise additional funds for Survivors International.


Wyn Cooper

Wyn Cooper began writing the imaginary postcards in response to a suggestion from the editor of West Branch. “I lived in Bennington when I first moved to Vermont, and knew many historical and geographical tidbits about southern Vermont. I wrote postcards in prose from Halifax, Whitingham, Glastonbury, Readsboro, Putney, Old Bennington, Weston, and Sodom, a town no longer found on most maps,” Cooper said. “I branched out from individual towns to include postcards from times of the year — mud season, July 4th, hunting season, winter — as well as from emotions and states of mind — desire, uncertainty, vanity. I wrote postcards to Vermont from other places, and to people close to me, and along the way I began to miss writing poems, so many of the postcards ended up in verse instead of prose.” More than 30 of the postcards have been published in literary magazines in the U.S. and France.

Cooper has published four books of poems: Chaos is the New Calm (BOA Editions, 2010)The Country of Here Below (Ahsahta Press, 1987), The Way Back (White Pine Press, 2000), and Postcards from the Interior, (BOA Editions, 2005), as well as the chapbook, Secret Address (Chapiteau Press, 2002). His poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, Agni, Verse, Fence, and more than 60 other magazines. His poems are included in 20 anthologies of contemporary poetry, including The Mercury Reader, Outsiders, and Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms.

In 1993, “Fun,” a poem from his first book, was turned into Sheryl Crow’s Grammy-winning song “All I Wanna Do.” He has also cowritten songs with David Broza, David Baerwald, and Bill Bottrell. In 2003, Gaff Music released Forty Words for Fear, a cd of songs based on poems and lyrics by Cooper, set to music and sung by the novelist Madison Smartt Bell. It has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition and World Café, and has been written about in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, and elsewhere.

He has taught at the University of Utah, Bennington College, Marlboro College, and at The Frost Place, where he now serves on the advisory board. He is a former editor of Quarterly West, and the recipient of a fellowship from the Ucross Foundation. He lives in Halifax, Vermont, and helps run the Brattleboro Literary Festival.


Jody Gladding

Jody Gladding is a poet and translator. Her translations include Sylviane Agacinski’s Time Passing (2003, Columbia), Michel Pastoureau’s The Devil’s Cloth (2001, Columbia), and Pierre Moinot’s As Night Follows Day (2001, Welcome Rain). She is the author of Stone Crop, which appeared in the Yale Younger Poets Series, and is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award in poetry. Her translation of Jean Giono’s The Serpent of Stars was a finalist for the 2004 French-American Translation Prize. Her most recent books are The Moon Rose (Chester Creek Press, 2006), and Rooms and Their Airs (Milkweed Editions, 2009) available in a limited letterpress edition and an even more limited slipcovered edition with illustrations by Susan Walp.


Eva Hooker

Eva Hooker was Regents Professor of Poetry at Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota until the spring of 2006. She is now Writer-in-Residence and Professor of English at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Long Minnesota winters, the 2,000-acre nature preserve and monastery which houses Saint John’s, and summers spent on Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, have fed her love of nature.

Her poems have been most recently published in The Harvard Review and The Massachusetts Review, Orion, Shenandoah, Salmagundi, Rivendell and In a Fine Frenzy, an anthology of poems about Shakespeare (University of Iowa Press). The "Winter Keeper" was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in poetry. “The Clothier’s Yard: Church and the Imagination,” an essay in prose strophes on religion and imagination appeared in Leaven for the World: Catholic Reflections on Faith, Vocation, and the Intellectual Life, edited by Tom Landy (Sheed & Ward).


Louise Katz

Louise Katz was born in New York City and grew up in the West Village where she attended the Little Red Schoolhouse. She received her B.A. in English from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Louise lives in New York and spends part of each year in North Carolina. Her poems have appeared in 5AM.

Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. Ilya is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) which won the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year 2004 by ForeWord Magazine.

In addition, Ilya writes poetry in Russian. His work in that language was chosen for “Bunker Poetico” at Venice Bienial Festival in Italy. In late 1990s, he co-founded Poets For Peace, an organization which sponsors poetry readings in the United States and abroad with a goal of supporting such relief organizations as Doctors Without Borders and Survivors International.

Ilya has worked as a law clerk at the National Immigration Law Center, and at Bay Area Legal Aid, helping impovershed and homeless in solving their legal difficulties. Since 2006, Ilya has been teaching in the graduate writing program at San Diego State University. His most recent books include the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (co-edited with Susan Harris, 2010), and Polina Barskova's This Lamentable City (Tupelo, 2010).


Jim Schley

Jim Schley is former co-editor of the literary quarterly New England Review and former editor-in-chief of the book publisher Chelsea Green. He is editor of the anthology Writing in a Nuclear Age (University Press of New England, 1984), and his poems and essays have been featured in Ironwood, Crazyhorse, and Orion, on Garrison Keillor’s radio show The Writer’s Alamanac, and in the books Best American Spiritual Writing 2000, edited by Philip Zalesky (Harper San Francisco, 2000) and Never Before: Poems About First Experiences, edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar (Four Way Books, 2005). In 2000, Schley was selected by then Vermont State Poet Ellen Bryant Voigt to participate in a Readers Digest Foundation-funded program called “The Poet Next Door,” which included purchase of his chapbook One Another for free distribution to Vermont high school students and teachers.

Schley has toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe with experimental theater and dance troupes, and he is an associate of the journalists collective Homeland Productions. He is managing editor of the literary book publisher Tupelo Press, and author of the full-length collection of poems As When, In Season (Marick Press, 2008). He lives in an off-the-grid, solar home that he and his wife built themselves on land owned cooperatively by six families in South Strafford, Vermont.