8.25 X 8.25; Perfect Bound
Edited by Judith Robinson and Michael Wurster
Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange was founded in 1974 by five of us—Dieter Weslowski, Lloyd Johnson, Vic Coccimiglio, J. W. Jansen, and myself—as a voluntary association of local poets. Its purpose was to provide services to local poets, especially those outside the “university loop.” We offered workshops, produced readings and events,and created a network for information.
The core component of PPE has probably always been the open poetry workshop held the first Monday of each month. Initially, it was conducted at Lion Walk Performing Arts Center. Over the years, as circumstances changed, we occupied a number of venues, including The Famous Rider Cultural Center, a conference room in the Joyce Building, and City Books. Since 2011, we have been comfortably ensconced at the Brentwood Public Library.
Despite the fact that workshop members represent varying degrees of poetic expertise, we operate as equals. It’s a great place for poets from novice to master to get helpful comments and feedback on their work. In the last 40 years, dozens (hundreds?) of poets have passed through the workshop. Among those who became nationally known would be Joan E. Bauer, Mike James, Joseph Karasek, Joy Katz, and Arlene Weiner.
An open workshop necessarily produces poems ranging from great to awful, but there has developed an agreement that the general level of poems has never been higher than now. This was acknowledged by Gene Hirsch a few months ago when he suggested we should publish an anthology.
This, dear reader, is what you hold in your hands. Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange Brentwood is not a historical anthology, but a collection of poems from the workshop now, its current members. We hope you enjoy it as much as Judy Robinson and I enjoyed putting it together. —Michael Wurster (from the forward)