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

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

September 14: Poetry Flash presents Erica Goss and Gillian Wegener @7:30

September 20: Poets Daniel Rounds Sara Larsen and Andrew Joron

September 21: Poetry Flash presents Brittany Perham and Matthew Siegel @7:30

September 28: Poetry Flash presents Thomas Centolella and Susan Gubernat @7:30

September 30: Nathaniel Tarn and Steve Dickison

October 4: Paul Madonna

November 8: Poets Maxine Chernoff and Gillian Conoley

November 15: Hilton Obenzinger reads from Treyf Pesach 

September 14th: Poetry Flash presents Erica Goss and Gillian Wegener @7:30


Erica Goss’s new book of poems is Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award from Glass Lyre Press. Al Young says, “Erica Goss raps her poem-gavel…tries on robes, viewpoints; she tries out voices, celebrating the sweeping powers of legend and myth. This poet loves the world her poems would save.” A former Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, California, 2013-2016, she is cofounder of Media Poetry Studio, a poetry-and-film camp for teen girls. She is also the author of Wild Place and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Her poems, reviews, and articles are widely published both on-line and in print. 

Gillian Wegener’s new book of poems is This Sweet Haphazard. Dean Rader says, “Everything is brimming in Gillian Wegener’s fantastic new collection of poems…—rivers, bees, the Old Mill Café, forest fires, churches, Neville Bros. Service, the ghosts of Humboldt County, the streets, shops, and citizens of Modesto, and most importantly, the unmapped geography of the human heart.” She’s published a chapbook, Lifting One Foot, Lifting the Other, and a previous full-length collection, The Opposite of Clairvoyance. She coordinates the Second Tuesday Reading Series in Modesto; she is cofounder of the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center, and she’s a former poet laureate of Modesto. 

September 20th: Poets Daniel Rounds Sara Larsen and Andrew Joron


Daniel Rounds's poetry has been featured in Aufgabe, 3rd Bed, Goodfoot, XConnect, Fish Drum Magazine, and American River Review. His first book of poetry, some distant lateral present, was released by Ad Lumen Press in 2014. He lives and works in Sacramento.

Sara Larsen is a poet living in Oakland. She is the author of Merry Hell (Atelos, 2016). Her previous book is All Revolutions Will Be Fabulous (Printing Press, 2014). She is also the author of chapbooks Riot Cops en route Troy and The Hallucinated, among others. From 2008-2011, she co-edited TRY magazine.

Andrew Joron is the author of The Absolute Letter, a collection of poems published by Flood Editions (2017). Joron’s previous poetry collections include Trance Archive: New and Selected Poems (City Lights, 2010), The Removes (Hard Press, 1999), Fathom (Black SquaAre Editions, 2003), and The Sound Mirror (Flood Editions, 2008). The Cry at Zero, a selection of his prose poems and critical essays, was published by Counterpath Press in 2007. From the German, he has translated the Literary Essays of Marxist-Utopian philosopher Ernst Bloch (Stanford University Press, 1998) and The Perpetual Motion Machine by the proto-Dada fantasist Paul Scheerbart (Wakefield Press, 2011). As a musician, Joron plays the theremin in various experimental and free-jazz ensembles. Joron teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University.

September 21st: Poetry Flash presents Brittany Perham and Matthew Siegel @7:30


Brittany Perham’s new book of poems, Double Portrait, was the winner of the 2016 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Claudia Rankine, who says, “Double Portrait, by turns playful, mournful, indulgent, musical, insightful, and all the way human, comes clean about our most driving desires…imaginative and familiar, the result is full of humor that is both rueful and sensual.” A Jones lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University where she was a Stegner Fellow, she is author of the previous collection The Curiosities and co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of the chapbook The Night Could Go in Either Direction. 

Matthew Siegel’s debut book of poems, Blood Work, was winner of the 2015 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Lucia Perillo, who says, “These poems resist the dualities of lyric versus narrative, confessional versus impersonal, real against surreal, formal/improvisational, comic/sad. Matthew Siegel manages to tick off all the boxes at once, while remaining compulsively readable. The trick that he’s pulled off is to make a book that simultaneously tickles you and shakes you by the scruff of your neck.” He, too, is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford.

September 28th: Poetry Flash presents Thomas Centolella and Susan Gubernat @7:30


Thomas Centolella’s new book of poems is Almost Human, winner of the Dorset Prize, selected by Edward Hirsch, who says, “Somehow magical—the way these well-made, oddly elusive, sometimes funny, lyrically discursive and poignantly beautiful poems engage the mysteries.” He’s published three previous collections, American Book Award winner Terra Firma, California Book Award-winner Lights & Mysteries, and Views from along the Middle Way. He’s a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. 

Susan Gubernat’s new book of poems is The Zoo at Night, winner of the Prairie Schooner Prize in Poetry. Mark Svenhold says, “’Beauty is always strange,’ says Baudelaire, and in Susan Gubernat’s brilliant The Zoo at Night, we have a grand tour of the many ways that the world, arriving directly under our noses, can remain, everlastingly, embodied and mysterious.” She is the author of Flesh, winner of the Marianne Moore Poetry Prize, and the chapbook Analog House.An opera librettist, her major work, Korczak’s Orphans, a collaboration with composer Adam Silverman, has been performed at a number of venues.

September 30th: Poets Nathaniel Tarn and Steve Dickison


Nathaniel Tarn is an American poet, essayist, anthropologist, and translator with some thirty books and booklets published in his various disciplines. Born in Paris, Tarn graduated in history and English as a Scholar of King’s College, Cambridge. He returned to Paris and, after some journalism and radio work, discovered anthropology at the Musée de l’Homme, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, and the Collège de France. A Fulbright grant took him to Yale and the University of Chicago where Robert Redfield sent him to Guatemala for his doctoral fieldwork. He completed this work as a graduate student at the London School of Economics. In 1958, a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation sent him to Burma for 18 months after which he became Lecturer in South East Asian Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. In 1970, he immigrated to the US as Visiting Professor of Romance Languages, Princeton University, and became a citizen. Since then he has taught English and American Literature, Epic Poetry, Folklore, inter alia at the Universities of SUNY Buffalo, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, and Manchuria. He now resides in New Mexico. New Directions has just brought out a new collection, Gondwana.

Steve Dickison is author of Disposed (Post-Apollo, 2007) and, forthcoming in 2018, Zora Neale Hurston's Liberation Music Orchestra; guest-editor, with David Meltzer, for the "Shuffle Boil" special issue of Amerarcana; and director of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, teaching there and at California College of the Arts. He lives in San Francisco.

October 4th: Paul Madonna, author of Close Enough for the Angels


Emit Hopper was a one-hit wonder—twice. First as a rock and roller in the 80s, then as a literary darling in the 90s. Now it's twenty years later, and despite his desire to remain a simple laundromat owner, stardom has found him once again. As he’s drawn back into the limelight he meets Julia, a former celebrity chef with an enigmatic past. But when she disappears while hiking with two other women, Emit finds himself chasing down a mystery that promises to leave him forever changed.

From the artist and author of All Over Coffee and Everything is its Own Reward, Paul Madonna uses his signature blend of drawing and storytelling to deliver a beautiful and entertaining novel filled with suspense, surprise, and humor.

November 8th: Poets Maxine Chernoff and Gillian Conoley


Camera is Maxine Chernoff's 16th book of poems. Her previous book, Here, was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, as were 2 of her 6 works of fiction. Her book of stories Signs of Devotion was a NYT Notable Book of 1993. In 2013 she won an NEA Fellowship in Poetry and in 2009 the PEN USA Translation Award for a co-translation of the Selected Poems of Friedrich Hoelderlin. She is former editor of New American Writing and professor and former chair of the Dept of Creative Writing at SFSU. She has taught in Exeter, England, Prague, and St Petersburg, Russia, and was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome in 2016. 

Gillian Conoley was awarded the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her eighth poetry collection, Peace, was named an Academy of American Poets Standout Book for 2014 and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Other books include The Plot Genie, Profane Halo, Lovers in the Used World, and Tall Stranger, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Conoley’s work has received the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Fund for Poetry Award. Conoley’s translations of Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken, appeared with City Lights in 2014, and was named one of the top ten poetry books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly. She co-translated (with Domenic Stansberry) Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto, On Feeble Love & Bitter Love (Molotov Editions, 2016). Conoley is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at Sonoma State University since 1994 and lives in the Bay Area.

November 15th: Hilton Obenzinger reads from Treyf Pesach


This is the East Bay book launch for Hilton Obenzinger's new book, Treyf Pesach:

Blasphemy is holy—and exciting, outrageous literature in Treyf Pesach (Unkosher Passover). Novelist Paul Auster declares that this book "strikes with all the force of an exploding bomb—because it speaks the truth." This collection of poems presents radical departures from traditional rituals, formats and conventions: alternative Passover Seders, Yom Kippur liturgy, Thanksgiving prayers, psalms and other poems in the form of proclamations, resolutions, jazz improvisations, incantations, rants, orations, comic monologues, oil spills, life spills, songs, visions, undocumented documents, borders, suns, farewells, minutes of meetings, talk-stories, and all accompanied by provocative drawings of Treyf Passover Seder plates by artist Charles Steckler. In this book the symbolic plate is arrayed with treyf (un-kosher food) and the story of the Exodus with untypical meanings, whiskey instead of wine, recounting the continual slavery of wars and military occupations. The poems in Treyf Pesach have taken place over the course of years and various occasions, from vicious aggressions, to absurd walls, to smallpox blankets, to oil spouting across the Gulf, and more, all framed by the first months of the Trump regime. Some have been read out loud at Seders, Yom Kippur services, Thanksgiving Day benedictions, Sunday fellowships, and other ceremonies. But those are the exceptions. For the most part Treyf Pesach has been placed under arrest and shoved across the borders of respectability. Hilton Obenzinger writes poetry, fiction, history, and criticism, and is the recipient of the American Book Award. According to poet Diane di Prima, "he is the American Jonathan Swift."

Hilton Obenzinger writes poetry, fiction, history, and criticism. His books include This Passover or the Next I Will Never be in Jerusalem, which received the American Book Award, Cannibal Eliot and the Lost Histories of San Francisco, American Palestine: Melville, Twain and the Holy Land Mania, New York on Fire, a*hole: a novel, and the oral history Running through Fire: How I Survived the Holocaust by Zosia Goldberg. Recently, he has published his autobiographical novel Busy Dying and How We Write: The Varieties of Writing Experience. Born in Brooklyn, he graduated Columbia University in 1969, taught elementary school on the Yurok Indian reservation, nursery school in San Francisco, ran an offset press at a community print shop in San Francisco's Mission District, worked as a commercial writer for business and industry, and taught writing, literature and American Studies at Stanford University. He is currently Associate Director of the Stanford Chinese Railroad Workers in North America project.