Are you interested in literary events? If so, please sign up below to receive invitations to Moe’s Books special happenings. 

Although reading is a solitary activity it can often lead to essential public discussion. For this reason, Moe’s began curating literary events in the late nineties. Since then the “basement series” has become an important part of Bay Area literary culture. Poets and novelists, activists and scholars have been invited to talk about their work. Please join us for a lively and thoughtful conversation in our enormous scholarly bookstore.

If you'd like to listen to past events you can go to the left navigation column and click on the + sign next to Events.

If you are an author who'd like to be considered for a reading, please email

All events, unless noted, start at 7:00pm

April 23: Steve Dalachinsky and Julien Poirier

April 26: Arisa White and Maw Shein Win

April 27: Amanda Nadelberg, David Lau, and Emily Liebowitz

May 4: Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman

May 10: Jacqueline Berger and Michael Brooks Cryer

May 16: giovanni singleton and Carmen Gimenez Smith

May 17: Melissa Stein and C. Dale Young

May 23: Geoffrey G. O'Brien, Jane Gregory, and Wendy Trevino

May 24: Jane Mead and Carol Muske-Dukes

June 5: Alexandra Mattraw, Norman Fischer, and Tiff Dressen

June 20: Moriel Rothman-Zecher, author of Sadness is a White Bird


April 23: Steve Dalachinsky and Julien Poirier

Poet/collagist Steve Dalachinsky was born in Brooklyn (1946) after the last big war and has managed to survive lots of little wars. His book The Final Nite (Ugly Duckling Presse) won the PEN Oakland National Book Award. His latest cds are The Fallout of Dreams with Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach (Roguart 2014) and ec(H)o-system with the French art-rock group, the Snobs (Bambalam 2015). He has received both the Kafka and Acker Awards and is a 2014 recipient of a Chevalier D’ le Ordre des Artes et Lettres. His poem “Particle Fever” was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His books include: Fools Gold (2014 feral press). a superintendent's eyes (revised and expanded 2013/14 - unbearable/autonomedia). flying home, a collaboration with German visual artist Sig Bang Schmidt (Paris Lit Up Press 2015). “The Invisible Ray” (Overpass Press – 2016) with artwork by Shalom Neuman. Frozen Heatwave, a collaboration with Yuko Otomo (Luna Bissonte Prods 2017) and Black Magic (New Feral Press 2017). His column “outtakes” appears regularly in the Brooklyn Rail. His most recent release is With Shelter Gone, a full length 12inch lp on the German label Psych.KG. His latest book is Where Night and Day Become One - the French Poems (a selection 1983-2017) (Great Weather for Media 2018)

Julien Poirier has taught poetry in the New York City and San Francisco public schools and at San Quentin State Prison. He was a founding member of the Brooklyn-based Ugly Duckling Presse Collective. Some of his book are: Out of Print (City Lights, 2016), Way Too West (Bootstrap, 2015), and El Golpe Chileño (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010).

April 26, 7:30: Poetry Flash presents Arisa White and Maw Shein Win


ARISA WHITE’s new book of poems is You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened. Dara Wier says that she’s “a fierceless and tender poet who always brings into view what’s strange and unusual and critical for our survival. Her poems consider what it requires to meditate and meet what’s unknown without flinching.” A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she’s the author of Black Pearl, Post Pardon, Hurrah’s Nest, and A Penny Saved. A northwest regional representative for Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color and creator of the Beautiful Things Project, she curates cultural events and artistic collaborations that center narratives of queer and trans people of color.

MAW SHEIN WIN’s debut full-length collection is Invisible Gifts: Poems. Genny Lim says, “Maw Shein Win’s poems resonate like post-modern haiku. Her idiosyncratic associations touch the heart and defy the intellect in their koan-like logic and arresting imagery.” She is a Burmese American poet, editor, and educator. A frequent collaborator with artists, musicians, and other writers, along with composer and musician Amanda Chaudhary she is part of the musical duo Pitta of the Mind, combining poetry with electronic music; she worked with Los Angeles artist Mark Dutcher to produce the book Ruins of a glittering palace, poetry and images, and her poems are featured in Megan Wilson’s mural Flower Interruption in a special exhibition, Flower Power, at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. She is the first Poet Laureate of El Cerrito.

April 27: Amanda Nadelberg, David Lau, and Emily Liebowitz


Amanda Nadelberg is the author of Isa the Truck Named Isadore, winner of the 2005 Slope Editions Book Prize, Bright Brave Phenomena (Coffee House Press, 2012), and most recently, Songs from a Mountain (Coffee House Press, 2016). She lives in Oakland.

David Lau's books of poetry are Virgil and the Mountain Cat (UC Press) and Still Dirty (Commune Editions). His poetry and essays have appeared in New Left Review, Literary Hub, The Margins, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Boston Review. He is a lecturer at the UC Santa Cruz and the co-editor of the literary journal Lana Turner.

Emily Liebowitz is the author of the book National Park (Gramma Poetry, 2018) and the chapbook In Any Map (The Song Cave, 2015.) Her Poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, jubilat, and various other journals. She co-edits LVNG Magazine and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

May 4: Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman


Tessa Fontaine’s writing has appeared in PANK, Seneca Review, The Rumpus, Sideshow World, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from the University of Alabama and is working on a PhD in creative writing at the University of Utah. She also eats fire and charms snakes, among other sideshow feats. She lives in South Carolina. The Electric Woman is her first book.

Advance praise for The Electric Woman

“With fearless grace and piercing intensity, Tessa Fontaine juxtaposes the thrill of eating fire with the luminous mystery of her mother’s devastating strokes and harrowing transformations. I have never read a book more tender or more true. We all live in a World of Wonders, a world of terror. The Electric Woman delivers us to the potent mercy of unmitigated love, the passion of shared suffering, the resilience of the spirit, and the ecstasies of our transfigurations. The heart breaks, and breaks open—in the divine light of despair, we discover radiant joy: the hidden holiness of every breath, every being, every moment.”
—Melanie Rae Thon

May 10, 7:30: Poetry Flash presents Jacqueline Berger and Michael Brooks Cryer


Jaqueline Berger’s new book of poems is The Day You Miss Your Exit. Maria Hummel says, “This strong, shining collection is erected over the ruins of loss—the passing of both Berger’s parents, and, along with them, the old analog life of the 20th Century. At turns wry, dark, funny, and hungry for meaning, Berger’s poems give new voice to grief and aging at a time when even the ways we remember are changing.” She’s published three previous collections, The Mythologies of Danger, winner of the Bluestem Poetry Prize, Things That Burn, winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry, and The Gift That Arrives Broken, which won the Autumn House Poetry Prize. Her poetry has also been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac Prize.

Michael Brooks Cryer’s debut book of poems is Selected Proverbs. Loren Goodman says, “Cryer’s linguistic Tinguely machines make us feel so many things we almost forget it’s all about the music and romance. Whatever happens, there’s great wisdom in these proverbs: now shut up and listen.” His chapbook, Channels, Frequencies & Sequences, was published in 2017. He’s also an occasional music critic for the Phoenix New Times in Arizona, where he lives.

May 16: Poets giovanni singleton and Carmen Gimenez Smith


Born in New York, poet Carmen Giménez Smith earned a BA in English from San Jose State University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa. She writes lyric essays as well as poetry, and is the author of the poetry chapbook Casanova Variations (2009); the memoir Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else (2010); and the full-length collections Odalisque in Pieces (2009), Milk and Filth (2013), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Cruel Futures: City Lights Spotlight No. 17 (City Lights Publishers, 2018).

Giménez Smith's work explores issues affecting the lives of females, including Latina identity, and frequently references myth and memory. With the publication of Odalisque in Pieces, Giménez Smith was featured as a New American Poet on the Poetry Society of America's website. Her poems have been included in the anthologies Floricanto Si! U.S. Latina Poets (1998) and Contextos: Poemas (1994).

Giménez Smith is the editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol and publisher of Noemi Press. She was appointed as poetry co-editor (along with Steph Burt) at The Nation in 2017 and teaches at Virginia Tech University.

giovanni singleton’s debut collection Ascension, informed by the music and life of Alice Coltrane, received the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her writing has also been exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute’s American Jazz Museum, San Francisco’s first Visual Poetry and Performance Festival, and on the building of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She is founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, a journal dedicated to experimental work of the African Diaspora and other contested spaces. Canarium Books recently published a collection of her visual work entitled AMERICAN LETTERS: works on paper. She was the 2017-18 Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at University of California-Berkeley.

May 17, 7:30: Poetry Flash presents Melissa Stein and C. Dale Young


Melissa Stein’s new book of poems is Terrible Blooms. The New York Times says, “Ms. Stein reminds us that there is no honey—rough, or otherwise—without the sting.” Her first book of poems, Rough Honey, won the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. She’s received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She’s a freelance editor in San Francisco.

C. Dale Young’s new novel-in-stories, The Affliction, is his first collection of fiction. Charles Baxter says, “The linked stories in C. Dale Young’s The Affliction send us off to a magical location, where the fantastical can seem both miraculous and ordinary. These tales treat life-and-death matters with a beautifully eloquent fervor, and, like the stories of Julio Cortázar, they remind us off how varied and unpredictable short stories, like the world itself, can be.” He’s published four collections of poetry, most recently The Halo, and his poetry has been anthologized several times in Best American Poetry. He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He practices full-time as a medical doctor.

May 23: Geoffrey G. O'Brien, Jane Gregory, and Wendy Trevino

Wendy Trevino was born & raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. She is a Grant Writer in San Francisco, where she shares an apartment with her boyfriend, friend & 2 senior cats. She has published chapbooks with Perfect Lovers Press, Commune Editions & Krupskaya Books. Her chapbook #YourHarveyWeinstein was published by Spoilsport Editions – an online press she started with the writer Oki Sogumi – in 2017. Cruel Fiction (Commune Editions, Fall 2018) is her first full-length book of poetry. Wendy is not an experimental writer.

Jane Gregory is from Tucson and lives in Oakland. She is the author of My Enemies (Song Cave, 2013) and Yeah No (Song Cave, 2018), and co-co-editor of Nion Editions, a chapbook press.

Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s next book, Experience in Groups, will be out from Wave Books in April 2018. He is the author most recently of People on Sunday (Wave, 2013) and the coauthor (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets (Minus A Press, 2012). O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.

May 24, 7:30: Poetry Flash presents Jane Mead and Carol Muske-Dukes

Jane Mead’s new book of poems is World of Made and Unmade. C.D. Wright said, “As the laundry room floods and the grape harvest gets done; as Michoacán waits for another time, her beautiful, practical mother is dying. Ashes are scattered in the pecan groves of her own Rincon, her own corner of the world, and the poet, in elementary script, draws a sustaining record of the only feeling worth the struggle.…” She’s authored four previous collections, most recently Money, Money, Money | Water, Water, Water, and her honors include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Lannan Foundation Completion Grant.

Carol Muske-Dukes’s new book of poems is Blue Rose. Linda Gregerson says, “Scathing intelligence and an open heart: the most difficult combination in the world, and bountifully manifest on every page. In the birth room, at the death bed, beneath the falling ash of a California wildfire, before the whole, hurt spectacle of an imperiled and beloved world, these poems remind us what it’s truly like to see and feel.” Author of eight poetry collections, including Sparrow, a finalist for the National Book Award, she’s also published four novels, two collections of essays, and co-edited Crossing State Lines: An American Renga with Bob Holman. She was California Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2011.

June 5 Alexandra Mattraw, Norman Fischer, and  Tiff Dressen

This is a book launch and celebration for Alexandra Mattraws new book, small siren.

Alexandra Mattraw is a Berkeley poet and fourth generation native of Northern California. Her debut full-length book, small siren, was published this spring at Cultural Society. Alexandra is also the author of four chapbooks, including flood psalm (2017), published with Dancing Girl Press. Her poems and reviews have appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, Fourteen Hills, The Poetry Project, VOLT, The Volta, and elsewhere. In Oakland, she curates an art centric writing and performance series called Lone Glen, now in its seventh year.

About small siren:

“When good poetry hits, it animates the actual, it becomes the actual. That’s small siren: a serious romp of constructive music that is what it says. Science and nature unlock their mysteries by being precise; in small siren the words — cut, spliced, compressed — form units of attention enacting the physical world so precisely that even the sun and the moon ride their arcs untroubled. Across cities and seas, Alexandra Mattraw’s language isn’t attached to images; it comes out of them, like a birthright. The authenticity is declarative and unmistakable: ‘A sign is a block, an island, a cloud, a clock.’ She makes it real.”
— Aaron Shurin

“Though cradled by earth, Mattraw’s poems wander through a new human condition. Or are the songs of spirits who won’t tiptoe around their biographers. Through the unregistered versions of ourselves, we can read these poems and worry about having regular bodies later. Here is a beautiful lesson or wager that on a page you can risk your dreams.”

—Tongo Eisen-Martin

“In Alexandra Mattraw’s much-awaited first book, small siren, we encounter a poet of extraordinary observation and inquiry. An enchantment and engagement with the world commences: “when is a voice a piano,’ “repetition needs to believe,’ “what grew before you could speak’ build a kind of groundswell where Mattraw puts her ear to the hardscape of 21st century America and its global environs: Sao Paolo, Iceland, New Zealand. Ultimately, notions of country and categories break down. What we find is heresy, hearsay, and yes, wishes. Throughout, what survives is a relationship of love and courage, of errors and triumph. A human relationship of lovers, of family. This is a book of wonder and awe and strength. When the world goes down, I want to be in Alexandra Mattraw’s boat.”

—Gillian Conoley

Norman Fischer is a poet, essayist, and Zen Buddhist priest. The latest of his more than twenty-five prose and poetry titles are (poetry) any would be if (Chax, 2017) and Magnolias All At Once (Singing Horse, 2015). Forthcoming in 2018 from PURH in France is his serial poem On a Train at Night. And from Talisman the poem Untitled Series: Life As It is. His latest prose works are What Is Zen? Plain Talk for a Beginner’s Mind, and Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language and Religion. He is the founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation (, a network of Zen meditation groups and other projects. His books are distributed by Small Press Distribution in Berkeley, CA.

Tiff Dressen was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. SONGS FROM THE ASTRAL BESTIARY (lyric& Press, 2014) is their first full-length collection of poetry. They recently migrated from Oakland to the Portola neighborhood of San Francisco and work in the Office of Research at UC Berkeley. They are the author of Keeper (Woodland Editions, 2005), Because Icarus-children (WinteRed Press, December 2010) and for Aeolus: variations on the element (co-published by the g.e. collective and Poetry Flash, 2011). Their work has appeared in many journals including New American Writing, VOLT and 26: A journal of poetry and poetics, and YewJournal. They enjoy spending time at the SF Center for the Book honing their typesetting and letterpress printing skills.

June 20: Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Moe's welcomes Moriel Rothman-Zecher, author of Sadness is a White Bird.

"Ultimately, “Sadness is a White Bird” is a nuanced examination of what it is like to be just one person at the front line of a century-old conflict. Rothman-Zecher delicately tells one deeply unique story without claiming to explain every individual’s experience or devaluing experiences unlike his own. Written in beautiful prose, with sentences that will leave you tearing up on the bus ride to work, Rothman-Zecher complicates our worldview and forces us to look internally, examining how we hold ourselves and our world morally accountable." The Daily Californian