Events from 2012

A Malawi Anthology

Nda Ku Ona / I See You With My Heart  brings together the voices of African and North American women in an empowering creative dialogue. It is among the first published works by and for Malawian women, and as such, it will have a major impact in raising the level of respect given to women writers. 

Listen to the event. August 15th

Al-Matanabbi Street Starts Here

On March 5th, 2007, a car bomb was exploded on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad. More than thirty people were killed and more than one hundred were wounded. This locale is the historic center of Baghdad bookselling, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th century classical Arab poet al-Mutanabbi, it has been the heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community. This anthology begins with a historical introduction to al-Mutanabbi Street and includes the writing of Iraqis as well as a wide swath of international poets and writers who were outraged by this attack.

This book seeks to show where al-Mutanabbi Street starts in all of us: personally, in our communities, and in our nations. It seeks to show the commonality between this small street in Baghdad and our own cultural centers, and why this attack was an attack on us all. This anthology sees al-Mutanabbi Street as a place for the free exchange of ideas; a place that has long offered its sanctuary to the complete spectrum of Iraqi voices. This is where the roots of democracy (in the best sense of that word) took hold many hundreds of years ago. This anthology looks toward al-Mutanabbi Street as an affirmation of all that we hope for in a more just society.

Listen to the reading featuring Deema Shehabi, Beau Beausoleil, Esther Kamkar, Rick London, Persis Karim, Fred Norman, Zaid Shlah, Summer Brenner, and Owen Hill. September 18th

Noel Anderson Black


Photo by Phoebe Wong

Co-founder with Ed Berrigan of LOG Magazine and publisher of Angry Dog Midget Editions in the late 1990s, Noel Black has since worked as a writer and producer for a wide variety of media outlets including The Stranger and WNYC. He currently works as a producer for KRCC public radio. He is the author of half-a-dozen chapbooks including Hulktrans (Owl Press) and In The City of Word People (Blue Press, 2008). Uselysses was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in late 2011. Noel lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, artist Marina Eckler, and their sons Ursen and Jasper.

Listen to Noel Anderson Black read with Brian Lucas and Cralan Kelder. June 19th

Lindsey Boldt

Lindsey Boldt considers herself an itinerant culture-worker in training. This means she writes poems, plays and prose, co-publishes Summer BF Press with Steve Orth, teaches poetry in public schools and has just begun a new project building a mobile chapbook and pamphlet library. She also works as an editor with The Post-Apollo Press. Her first book, Overboard came out this year from Publication Studio Berkeley.

Listen to Lindsey Boldt read with Steve Dickison and Cole Swensen. October 28th.

Julian Talamantez Brolaski

California-born, Brooklyn-based poet Julian Talamantez Brolaski is the author of  gowanus atropolis  (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011) and an editor at the journal  Aufgabe  and at Litmus Press. Julian has studied with Nathaniel Mackey, Elizabeth Willis, Lyn Hejinian, and Robert Hass, received an MFA from Mills College, and is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley. Xir dissertation is on rhyme and xe currently teaches writing at the New School. Xe also curates vaudeville shows and is the lead singer and rhythm guitar player in the country band Juan & the Pines. New work can be found on Julian's blog  hermofwarsaw.

Listen to Julian Talamantez Brolaski read from his book Advice for Lovers. April 19th.

Conspiracy of Beards

Conspiracy of Beards  is a 30-member a capella male choir which performs exclusively the songs of the legendary poet, novelist, and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.  Since its foundation in 2003, the choir has performed to dozens of enthusiastic audiences around the San Francisco Bay Area.


Photo by Phoebe Wong

Listen to Conspiracy of Beards performing at the Kaya Oakes event. July 11th.

Steve Dickison

Steve Dickison coedited, with David Meltzer, the music magazine Shuffle Boil, edits the small press Listening Chamber, and directs the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University. Disposed, a book of poetry, was published by The Post-Apollo Press. He lives in San Francisco.

Listen to Steve Dickison read with Lindsey Boldt and Cole Swensen. October 28th.

Gloria Frym

Gloria Frym's most recent book of poetry is Mind over Matter. Rae Armantrout asks, “How does the present imprint itself on language, on poetry? Gloria Frym's Mind over Matter shows us that: the outlines of the endless wars, the credit default swaps. But it also shows poetry resisting this…This book makes me want to cheer.” Frym is both a poet and a short story writer; her books of poems include Homeless at Home and By Ear; her story collections include Distance No Object and How I Learned. She teaches at California College of the Arts.

Listen to Gloria Frym reading with Hoa Nguyen. October 9th.

Barry Gifford


Photo by Phoebe Wong

The author of more than forty published works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into twenty-eight languages, BARRY GIFFORD writes distinctly American stories for millions of readers around the globe. He is literary heir of Conrad, of Hemingway, of Algren and Camus, exposing the underbelly of the American Dream in ever surprising twists and turns. His novel Wild at Heart was made into a film by David Lynch, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and his novel Perdita Durango was made into a feature film by Alex de la Iglesia. He cowrote, with David Lynch, the film Lost Highway , and with Matt Dillon, the film City of Ghosts . Gifford has received awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Premio Brancati in Italy. His most recent book is Imagining Paradise: New and Collected Poems.

Listen to Barry Gifford read and discuss his book Imagined Paradise. June 4th.

Cralen Kelder


Photo by Phoebe Wong

Cralan Kelder was born in 1970, growing up in California and The Netherlands. Publications include: Big Deal Rimbaud (smallMinded 2011), Give Some Word (Shearsman 2010), City Boy (Longhouse 2007), and Lemon Red (Coracle 2005). He lives in Amsterdam with the evolutionary biologist Toby Kiers and their children. Kelder occasionally edits Full Metal Poem with Mark Terrill, and Retort with Brentley Frazer.

Listen to Cralen Kelder read with Noel Anderson Black and Brian Lucas. June 19th.

Michael Lerner

Best-selling author Michael Lerner, PhD, is the rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in San Francisco and the editor of Tikkun magazine, one of the most respected intellectual/cultural magazines in the Jewish world. Lerner founded Tikkun in 1986 as “the voice of Jewish liberals and progressives” and as “the alternative to Commentary magazine and the voices of Jewish conservatism.” From the start, the magazine was dedicated to Jewish ethics and to healing and repair of the world, but it has evolved into one of the leading interfaith intellectual magazines in the West and the spur to a new movement. A frequent lecturer and scholar in residence at universities, synagogues, churches, and mosques around the United States, Canada, and England, Rabbi Lerner was, in 2001, awarded a special PEN Award for his stance in breaking the censorship that effectively exists around Israel-Palestinian matters in the U.S. media, and in 2005 the Martin Luther King, Jr./Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award from Morehouse College.

Listen to Michael Lerner discuss his book Embracing Israel/Palestine. January 25th.

Brian Lucas

Brian Lucas' books of poetry include Circles Matter (BlazeVox, 2012), Telepathic Bones (Berkeley Neo-Baroque, 2010), and Light House (Meeting Eyes Bindery, 2006). He contributed drawings to Force Fields (Hooke Press, 2010), a collaboration with Andrew Joron. He resides in Oakland, California and plays in the band Cloud Shepherd.


Photo by Phoebe Wong

Listen to Brian Lucas read with Noel Anderson Black and Cralen Kelder. June 19th.

Jerry Mander

Called the patriarch of the anti-Globalization movement by The New York Times, Jerry Mander is the Founder and Distinguished Fellow of the International Forum on Globalization. He also spent 15 years in the advertising business as president of Freeman, Mander & Gossage, where he produced the famous Sierra Club campaigns of the 1960s that saved the Grand Canyon. He has BS and MS degrees in international economics, and he lives in Northern California.


Photo by Phoebe Wong

Listen to Jerry Mander discuss his book The Capitalism Papers. July 18th.

Jacob Needleman

Jacob Needleman, the acclaimed author of The American Soul and Money and the Meaning of Life, is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University, and a former director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Listen to Jacob Needleman discuss his book An Unknown World. October 10th.

Rachel Neumann

Rachel Neumann, who lives in the Bay area, is the editor of Parallax Press, as well as a popular writer and blogger. Her work has appeared in The VillageVoice, The Nation and many other national and local magazines, and she blogs at

Listen to Rachel Neumann discuss her book Not Quite Nirvana. November 7th.

Hoa Nguyen

Born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Hoa Nguyen studied Poetics at New College of California in San Francisco. With the poet Dale Smith, Nguyen founded Skanky Possum, a poetry journal and book imprint in Austin, TX where they lived for 14 years. The author of eight books and chapbooks, she currently lives in Toronto Ontario where she teaches poetics in a private workshop and at Ryerson University. Wave Books published her third full-length collection of poems, As Long As Trees Last, in September 2012.

Listen to Hoa Nguyen reading with Gloria Frym. October 9th.

Kaya Oakes

Kaya Oakes   is the author of Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture, the poetry collection Telegraph, and cofounder of Kitchen Sink, winner of the Utne Independent Press Award for Best New Magazine. She teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and lives in Oakland.


Photo by Phoebe Wong

Listen to the event., July 11.