The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Back to All Events

False Starts: Bill Berkson and Duncan McNaughton

Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea

Figures in trees screech;
The sun steams, the near air boggles,
Et voilà, the brooding nimbus.

Death, real death, it’s an Old World custom,
A certain semblance of knowing
What’s what, without which nothing works.

Bill Berkson from Expect Delays

Wittgenstein’s Grave

There seems no point to saying so
that I would feel a cessation
within my reach
of my life and equally
of my sleep
a Cinvat
and wake from this still dream
and trammels, free

Duncan McNaughton from Kicking the Feather

Bill Berkson was born in New York in 1939. He moved to Northern California in 1970 and now divides his time between San Francisco and New York. He is a poet, critic, sometime curator, and professor emeritus at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught art history and literature for many years. A corresponding editor for Art in America, and contributing editor at, he has contributed to such other journals as Artforum, Aperture and Modern Painters. His recent books include Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems; BILL, a words-and-images collaboration with Colter Jacobsen; Lady Air; Not an Exit with drawings by Léonie Guyer; Repeat After Me, with watercolors by John Zurier; Snippets; and a collection of his art writings, For the Ordinary Artist. A new collection of his poems, Expect Delays, appeared from Coffee House Press in fall 2014.

Duncan McNaughton, poet, editor, teacher and publisher (Blue Millennium Press, Bolinas), was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1942. With Lewis MacAdams he edited/published Mother magazine (1966-68) and was editor/publisher of Fathar (1970-75). With Louis Patler McNaughton established the Program in Poetics at New College of California in 1980 and co-directed it until 1986. His books include A Passage of Saint Devil (1976), Sumeriana (1977), Shit On My Shoes (1979), Valparaiso (1995), Capricci (2003), Bounce (2006), Altoon’s Frog (2009) and Tiny Windows (2014). McNaughton translated/published Dario Villa's Venere Strapazzata Dai Lunatici * envoi / Venus Ill-Treated by The Odd Ones * envoi (Blue Millennium/GATE, 2001).

False starts is curated by Steven J. Seidenberg (

Bill Berkson–Duncan.jpg
Later Event: February 27
The Lab/or Play