Charles Harper Webb

Charles Harper Webb has published twelve books of poetry, including Brain Camp. Webb’s awards in poetry include the Morse Prize, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Felix Pollock Prize, and the Benjamin Saltman Prize. Webb is Professor of English at California State University, Long Beach, where he teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program.

Sidebend World

With eleven full-length books and a spate of major prizes, Charles Harper Webb—once a well-kept secret in the poetry underground—has gained national recognition as a writer of poems that are complex yet reader-friendly. Sidebend World shows clearly why Webb has been called one of the most inventive, incisive, and psychologically astute poets writing in the U.S.A. today, as well as one of the most entertaining.

Webb is celebrated for his use of humor; yet even his funniest poems rise, as the best humor must, from serious concerns. Powered by an uncompromising but compassionate intelligence and an abiding wonder at the beautiful strangeness of the world, Sidebend World explores with clarity and vividness a wide range of emotions—love to hate, tenderness to brutality; yet, above all, Webb is a poet of praise. Metaphors of startling aptness and originality, a distinctive voice at once provocative and endearing, high musicality, propulsive energy, wild imaginative leaps, as well as mastery of diction from lyricism to street-speak, create a reading experience of the first order. These poems go down easy, but pack a wallop. As Robert Frost said poetry should do, Sidebend World “begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

Brain Camp

Powered by a fierce, compassionate intelligence, Brain Camp explores with clarity and vividness a wide spectrum of emotions—love to hate, tenderness to brutality—all from a perspective both universal yet distinctly Webb’s. Metaphors of startling aptness and originality, a voice at once endearing and provocative, high musicality, propulsive energy, wild imaginative leaps, as well as a mastery of diction from lyricism to street-speak, create a reading experience of the first order. These poems go down easy, but pack a wallop. As Robert Frost said poetry should do, Brain Camp “begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

What Things Are Made Of

Charles Harper Webb is celebrated for his use of humor; yet even his funniest poems rise, as the best comedy must, out of deep human drives, sorrows, and needs. Powerful immersions in what it means to be human, these poems explore the spectrum of emotions from love to hate, tenderness to brutality. They can be withering and vulnerable in the same breath. Models of clarity and vividness, they are mysterious when they need to be, ranging from lyric to narrative, from realism to wild surreal flights, powered by a fierce, compassionate intelligence. Metaphors of startling aptness and originality, a voice at once endearing and provocative, high musicality, propulsive energy, wild imaginative leaps, as well as mastery of diction from lyricism to street-speak, create a reading experience of the first order. Uniformly fun to read, these poems go down easy, but pack a wallop. As Robert Frost said poetry should do, What Things Are Made Of “begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

Shadow Ball

New and Selected Poems

An accessible new and selected collection of poems for poetry insiders and general readers. Powerful, passionate, humorous, and often complex, yet fun to read. They go down easy, but pack a whallop.