Miami University – Leonard Theater – Oxford, Ohio – 2.26.07
Stephen Rodefer was born in Bellaire, Ohio in 1940 and graduated from Amherst in 1963. He went on to do graduate work at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he studied with Charles Olson, and San Francisco State University. He has taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Diego and been writer-in-residence at Cambridge University. Rodefer is the author of numerous volumes of poetry including The Knife (1965), One or Two Love Poems from the White World (1976), The Bell Clerk's Tears Kept Flowing (1978), Plane Debris (1981), Emergency Measures (1987), Passing Duration (1991), Erasers (1994), and Left Under a Cloud (2000) . His book Four Lectures (1982) won the 1983 Annual Book Award given out by the American Poetry Center. His translations from the French include Orpheus (1983), and he is also, as the critic Hugh Kenner once noted, the only poet other than Basil Bunting to publish readable versions of the poetry of François Villon in English. Critic Maud Ellman writes that "What makes [Rodefer's] work so captivating is [his] ability to orchestrate the most eclectic range of tones and discourses; he balances a Poundian inclusiveness with an unerring musical discipline." Rodefer's poetry is widely anthologized in collections including Iain Sinclair's Conductors of Chaos and Paul Hoover's The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. Rodefer lives in Paris and thus has not read often in the United States in recent years; his reading at Miami was part of a series of readings in the United States ahead of the planned release of a volume of selected poems.