Light and Shade

Poetry by Tom Clark, with an introduction by Amy Gerstler

April 1, 2006 • 6 x 9 • 368 pages • 978-1-56689-183-7

Tom Clark’s poetic testament is essential for all readers of progressive American poetry.

Essential for all readers of progressive American poetry, this collection encompasses the exhilaration and joy, madness and sorrow of the last forty years with a lyric intensity that, in the words of the poet Robert Creeley, offers a “wry and securing truth.” A generous selection from the poet’s career, Light and Shade is a major release from one of the country’s most influential poets and critics.

About the Author

Tom Clark has served as poetry editor of the Paris Review and as a poetry critic for the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. He has published numerous poetry collections and a number of critical biographies, including lives of baseball great Mark Fidrych and writers Jack Kerouac and Charles Olson. He lives in Berkeley and teaches at New College of California.

Amy Gerstler is a literary critic whose own poetry has received a National Book Critics Circle Award.


“Tom Clark, the lyric imp of American poetry, has delivered many decades’ worth of goofy, melancholic, cosmic, playful, and wiggy poems. I can never get enough of this wise guy leaning on the literary jukebox, this charmer who refuses to part with his love-sick teenage heart. And here are hundreds of Clarks in one volume—who can resist?” —Billy Collins

“Tom Clark, the finest writer of lyric poetry in America today, brings an effortless grace to this incisive, sorrowful and sublime volume. Here, over forty years of moments recorded in a poetry lit by transcendental landscapes and maritime reveries, ‘The calm that nature breathes grows large,’ and a brilliant, tough serenity evolves. A book to be treasured for its skill, insight and often savage humor.” —Joanne Kyger