Albert Flynn DeSilver

Letters to Early Street


96 pages



Letters to Early Street by Albert Flynn DeSilver is a whimsical epistolary experiment, a turning of the traditional letter onto it’s poetic ear. Originally begun as letters to a colleague, the writing soon transformed into imaginative discourse with the vagaries of a “muse,” addressing emotions, elements of landscape, and the act of writing itself. Letters to Early Street reconstructs “correspondence” as an exchange of ineffable narrative filled with the pleasures of existence. Life is where odd oppositions find agreeable and virtuous balance; where words are meant to incite the insightful. With humor woven delightfully into each missive, DeSilver takes poetry into a fresh act of communication.

Letters to Early Street is a beautiful collection, lyrical and inventive, in which shapes are to be seen “noodling along a rather lengthy road of torque & vapor.” The world is astonishingly present yet there are “multiple enigmas,” those mysteries and vacancies where beauty clings, as it must, to its cave. Creating a “community nerve garden,” the poetry of Albert Flynn DeSilver is of a high order of attention, like sitting at the rear window of a moving train.
—Paul Hoover

How to shed a dilemma: Be eager/bright and good-hearted/nervous as Albert Flynn DeSilver’s poems, hunkering down (as they are often seen to do) along a bush-strewn hillside to open a can of chili before the fog returns. “A number that charts vacancy’s bucolic spread” —and there’s his music, spoonfuls of it, “eye to air & back,” an alto lift.
—Bill Berkson

Albert Flynn DeSilver’s work is filled with a sunny, kinetic plenitude.
—Richard Silberg

Albert Flynn DeSilver is a poet, teacher, visual artist and publisher living in Woodacre, California. He received a BFA in photography from the University of Colorado, and an MFA in "New Genres" from the San Francisco Art Institute. He is the author of many books and chapbooks including most recently Walking Tooth & Cloud (French Connection Press, 2006) and Some Nature (The Non-Existent Press, 2004). His poems have appeared in dozens of literary journals worldwide including Zyzzyva, New American Writing, Jacket, Poetry Kanto, Van Gogh’s Ear, Hanging Loose, Exquisite Corpse, and many others. He is also the editor and publisher of The Owl Press, publishing innovative poetry and poetic collaboration. He teaches as a California Poet in the Schools in San Francisco and Marin County, California.


Artist Chosen as First Poet Laureate
Rob Rogers


A willingness to put others first - especially young people - helped Woodacre artist Albert Flynn DeSilver earn his position as Marin's first poet laureate.

"We had asked each finalist to bring a poem to recite at the end of their interview," said Jeanne Bogardus, executive director of the Marin Arts Council. "Before (DeSilver) recited his own work, he read a brief poem by one of the young students he had worked with. That spoke volumes. To us, that's what being a poet laureate is all about."

DeSilver, who was not available for comment, was selected last week from among four nominees by the Marin Arts Council, Marin Poetry Center and Marin Cultural Services Commission to act as the county's poetry ambassador. The poet will receive a $5,000 stipend and will be expected to officiate at public gatherings, inspire others in their writing and bring recognition to the history of Marin County poetry.

"My interest in the first place was to bring poetry into the larger community in Marin, to get it out of the community of poets and into the larger arena," said poet Richard Brown, who proposed the idea for a county poet laureate to the Marin Poetry Center in 2007. "Each person selected as poet laureate will have the freedom to decide what they will contribute."

DeSilver began his career as a fine arts photographer after earning a bachelor's degree in photography from the University of Colorado.

Later, he became a poet, earning a master of fine arts degree in new genres from the San Francisco Art Institute and publishing his work in several books, including "Letters to Early Street" and "Walking Tooth and Cloud," as well as literary journals worldwide. He is editor and publisher of The Owl Press.

"He writes about nature, and has an interest in natural history," said Kate Levinson, owner of Point Reyes Books, where DeSilver has read and performed on several occasions. "He and (photographer) Todd Pickering did a book on the Lagunitas Creek watershed, which includes the work he did with students at the Lagunitas Middle School. It's a beautiful piece."

As a volunteer for California Poets in the Schools, DeSilver has worked with students in more than 25 public and private elementary and secondary schools throughout the country, including Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, West Marin Elementary School in Point Reyes Station and the Lagunitas Middle School.

"He really jumps into the imagination of the kids," said Sally Hutchinson, an eighth-grade teacher at the Lagunitas Middle School. "He gets really involved in words and the creation of visual images, yet he has this quiet way about him. In working with kids, that's really a good combination."