Murray Silverstein

Murray Silverstein

Murray Silverstein grew up in Los Angeles, California. He wrote poetry in his teens and twenties but set this work aside to become an architect, studying at UC Berkeley in the 1960s. He is the co-author of four books about architecture, including the classic, A Pattern Language (Oxford University Press, 1977) and Patterns of Home (The Taunton Press, 2001). In his 50s, he returned to writing poetry; his work has appeared in Fourteen Hills, Connecticut Review, Zyzzyva, and other literary journals. A partner in the firm of JSW/D Architects, Berkeley, Mr. Silverstein lives in Oakland, California. Any Old Wolf is his first collection of poems.

Master of Leaves

I love the wit and play of Murray Silverstein’s writing. . . . But what I love most in Master of Leaves is its central meditation on presence, on being . . . and the way the poems drive for epiphany: “Learning late to listen. Everything soothed / by darkness; everything close to its lyric core.”—Richard Silberg

Written by a master architect . . . these poems scale up and down to reveal hauntingly self-similar patterns in nature and patterns of human consciousness in nature. Here, language is the erotically charged, generative seed of fresh unfolding. —Dawn McGuire

Any Old Wolf

“Casting a wide-ranging eye over ‘the all-time tragicomic brew’ of contemporary life, Murray Silverstein in these poems encourages us to look at life through the double lenses of humor and compassion. Over and over, he reminds us that ‘the sacrament is to live,’ and to try as best we can to keep ‘delight, all its possibilities’ in clear sight. This is a decidedly human, decidedly felt collection of poems—generous and restorative at once.” —Carl Phillips, author of The Tether

Read poems from Any Old Wolf by Murray Silverstein.

Red Studio

Red Studio (2024) is Murray Silverstein’s third book of poems from Sixteen Rivers Press. His first collection, Any Old Wolf (2007), received the Independent Publisher’s Bronze Medal for Poetry and was followed by Master of Leaves (2014). His poems have appeared in Rattle, ZYZZYVA, The MacGuffin, The Brooklyn Review, West Marin Review, Plainsongs, Nimrod, and Under a Warm Green Linden, among other journals. The senior editor for two Sixteen Rivers anthologies, America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience (2018), which received the Independent Publisher’s Silver Medal for anthologies, and The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed (2010), he also directs the Sixteen Rivers Press Youth Poetry Project, which has published three chapbooks by teen poets: Anthems (2022), Dear Earth (2023), and Our Own Light (2024). A practicing architect for forty years and coauthor of four books on architecture, including A Pattern Language (Oxford University Press) and Patterns of Home (The Taunton Press), Silverstein lives in Oakland, California.

Interview with Mary Ellen Hannibal in the Reader’s Review, Winter 2010

Interview with Claire Guyton in the online edition of Hunger Mountain, Vermont College of Fine Arts

Read Murray’s interview for The Place that Inhabits Us in the Issue 1 edition of POECOLOGY

Read the article about Murray and a few of his poems in The Jewish Daily Forward’s blog The Arty Semite for October 27, 2011.

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