Elegy For My Beat Generation
Feb. 2018 (Lithic Press)
Elegy For My Beat Generation is a masterful river of lyricism, spilling from one perception into the next. In these odes and elegies Cherkovski pays homage to his aging and gone friends from the heyday of all their lives, contemplates his own dwindling days, and attempts to come to grips with ultimate ends.
In the Odes
(Magra Books 2018)
In the Odes is Neeli Cherkovski’s homage to two of the most important influences in his career as a poet, Confucius and Ezra Pound. A mature look, as well as a poetic inventory and self-examination, of what it has meant for Cherkovski to be a poet immersed in the natural world. As Pound looked to Confucius, Cherkovski examines his own work in the light of the 20th century master’s debt to the Confucian tradition.
The Crow and I
R.L. Crow Publications
Neeli Cherkovski continues his poetic exploration started with his PEN Award winning LEANING AGAINST TIME, followed by FROM THE CANYON OUTWARD and now with his THE CROW AND I. Cherkovski, again opens the window to the self as he takes us deeper into his search of time, reason, redemption and love. In this, the third in his series of poetic memoirs, Cherkovski reflects on his sexuality, the lives he has touched and been touched by, and his love of his adopted city, San Francisco. Cherkovski, now a reluctant elder, has found his place in the garden. A place where friends of every sort are welcome to sit, rest their wings, sip a cappuccino and share a life time of wonder with the poet—forever in full flight.
“I first met Neeli Cherovski in the Caffe Trieste in 1977, he sat at the table next to mine, quietly reciting a new poem to a friend. We began a conversation about poetry and painting that has continued for thirty-five years. As his faithful companion I would follow him across the hills of San Francisco day and night, listening to him recite and discuss Lorca, Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Ezra Pound. In his small apartment at 28 Harwood Alley he created a warm and wise shelter for poets young and old, feeding them and caring for their writing. For months at a time he took in Bob Kaufman, Gregory Corso, Marty Matz, and others in need. In the midst of this generous life Neeli wrote poems daily. He celebrated a love and learning in language that is exuberant, vivid, and reflective. Neeli lives for poetry. Long may this great imagination thrive.”—Raymond Foye
“Writing now at the height of his powers, Neeli Cherkovski has evolved into a quintessential San Francisco poet of international stature—speaking not only to our times but back across the ages to those greats of whom he is a certain successor: Whitman and Neruda, Patchen and Pasolini, his poems, hard-earned yet easeful, lyrical but tough.”—Alan Kaufman
Manila Poems (Bottle of Smoke Press)
From the Middle Woods
New Native Press
In FROM THE MIDDLE WOODS, Neeli Cherkovski has done the nearly impossible: he has blended the sacred and the profane, as well as the essences of pristine nature and concrete commerce. Originally inspired by The Confucian Odes, the poems in this collection bring to mind the lovely acrobatics of Tu Fu and Marichiko in translations by Kenneth Rexroth. Cherkovski’s “elemental” poems, sprung from personal experiences, bring to life such landscapes and sensations as the pungent odors of ocean and pine needles along the tree-studded coast of northern California. Here, East meets West and politics meets wilderness head on, yet gently, in Cherkovski’s capable and caring sculptor’s hands. This book is masterful proof that modern irony and self-absorbed narrative do not rule the American literary psyche, nor is true compassion dead in America’s harbors and woods.
From the Canyon Outward
R.L. Crow Publications
With his new collection, Neeli Cherkovski continues the exploration started with his award winning LEANING AGAINST TIME. He once again opens the window to the self and takes us deeper into his search for reason, redemption and love–Cherkovski takes us on a journey through his innermost being, leading us FROM THE CANYON OUTWARD. “I squirm against blurb words like ‘magisterial’ and ‘fully realized’ and God knows–‘profound,’ but Neeli Cherkovski’s new book is a deeply rich work which reminds me of the best of Rexroth’s nature poems, which to me is a major accomplishment. But more than that, there’s a deep philosophical and elegiac edge to the beauty of the words & lines”–David Meltzer.