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

October 19: Jeanne Foster and Alan Williamson

October 20: Omnidawn release party!

October 23: A reading for Philip Whalen

October 26: Raphael Cohen and Jonathan Moody

November 2: A Tribute to Michelle Gillett

November 8: Poets Maxine Chernoff and Gillian Conoley

November 13: Willis and Tony Barnstone

November 15: Hilton Obenzinger reads from Treyf Pesach 

October 19th: Poetry Flash presents Jeanne Foster and Alan Williamson in a translation reading


Jeanne Foster and Alan Williamson will read from their co-translation, from the Italian, of The Living Theatre by Bianca Tarozzi, the first U.S. publication of the celebrated Italian poet. The collection is a journey through the poet’s childhood memories of the difficult conditions of World War II under Mussolini and mid-century changes that changed Italian life, especially for women. Bianca Tarozzi is an acclaimed Italian poet whose many books of poems have received her country’s highest literary honors; she is also author of a novel, Una luce settle (A Subtle Light), and she is the translator of Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, James Merrill, Richard Wilbur, A.E. Housman, Denise Levertov, and Louise Glück into Italian.

Jeanne Foster’s most recent collection of poems is Goodbye, Silver Sister; previous collections include Great Horned Owl and A Blessing of Safe Travel, which won the Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Award. She translated twenty-five poems by Juan Ramon Jimenez in Instants of Faith, and she is co-editor of Appetite: Food as Metaphor.

Alan Williamson’s books of poems include Presence, The Muse of Distance, Love and the Soul, Res Publica, and The Pattern More Complicated: New and Selected Poems. His many books of criticism include Pity the Monsters: The Political Vision of Robert Lowell, Introspection and Contemporary Poetry, Eloquence and Mere Life, Almost a Girl: Male Writers and Female Identification, and Westernness: A Meditation. His other several translations from Italian include a complete version of Pavese’s Death Will Come and Look at Me with Your Eyes. Among his honors are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


October 20th: The Omnidawn release party!


Omnidawn Press returns to Moe's to debut their fall catalog. Come to the best poetry party anywhere, meet the authors and get a first look at their new titles.

Titles/Poets/Guest Readers are as follows:

--kathryn l. pringle—obscenity for the advancement of poetry
GUEST FOR HER IS Rebecca Stoddard

--Laynie Browne—you envelop me
GUEST FOR HER IS Leora Friedman

--Craig Santos Perez—from unincorporated territory [lukao]
& REPRINT — Craig Santos Perez—from unincorporated territory [hacha]
GUEST FOR HIM IS Javier Huerta

-Ewa Chrusciel— of Annunciations

-Norma Cole (translator): Jean Daive—White Decimal

-Henry Wei Leung – goddess of democracy (1st-2nd book prize winner)
HIS READER IS David William Hill

-Joseph Rios--shadowboxing
GUEST FOR HIM IS Javier Huerta

-Laura Neuman— Risk:: Nonchalance (chapbook prize winner)

-POCKET SERIES Susan Terris—Take Two

-POCKET SERIES Hilary Gravendyk : The Soluble Hour (editor: Cynthia Arrieu-King)
GUEST FOR this posthumous collection IS Erica Lewis

guest reader bios:

David William Hill served as assistant editor for two oral history books, Underground America (McSweeney’s, 2008) and Invisible Hands (McSweeney’s, 2014.) His fiction has appeared in Arroyo Literary Review, [PANK], Chicago Quarterly Review, and J Journal: New Writing on Justice, among others. He lives in Vallejo, CA.

erica lewis lives in San Francisco where she is a fine arts publicist. In addition to mary wants to be a superwoman, the second book in her box set trilogy, just out from Third Man Books, her books include daryl hall is my boyfriend (book one), the precipice of jupiter, camera obscura (both collaborations with Bay Area artist Mark Stephen Finein), murmur in the inventory. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rebecca Stoddard is a bay area poet and librarian currently living in Sonoma County. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, Horse less press, webConjunctions, Modern Review, etc. Her chapbook Home? was published by Noemi Press.

Javier O. Huerta is the author of American Copia and Some Clarifications y otros poemas, both published by Arte Publico Press. He studied in the Bilingual Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. Currently he lives in Berkeley, California.

Leora Fridman is author of My Fault, selected by Eileen Myles for the Cleveland State University Press First Book Prize, in addition to five chapbooks of poems, prose, and translations. More at

author bios:

Craig Santos Perez, a native Chamorro from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam), co-edited three anthologies of Pacific literature & authored three poetry books: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (2008), [saina] (2010, PEN Center USA/Poetry Society of America Literary Prize recipient), & [guma’] (2014, American Book Award recipient). He holds an MFA from the UofSF & a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. He is an Associate Professor the UofHawaiʻi, Mānoa.

Laura Neuman is the author of Stop the Ocean (Stockport Flats 2014) and The Busy Life (Gazing Grain 2012). They live in Philadelphia and teach creative and critical writing and literature, variously, at Temple University, Community College of Philadelphia, and The College of New Jersey. The recipient of an award from The Fund for Poetry, they hold an M.F.A. from Bard, and an M.A. in poetry from Temple University.

Hillary Anne Gravendyk's chapbook The Naturalist came out from Achiote Press and her book Harm, published by Omnidawn, was a finalist for the California Writer’s Exchange Award. She taught 20th Century poetry at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. After moving to Oakland in 2003 with her husband Benjamin Burrill, Hillary lived out most of her adult life in the SF Bay Area and Claremont, CA.

Laynie Browne’s most recent books include P R A C T I C E (SplitLevel 2015), Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press 2015) and Lost Parkour Ps(alms), in two editions, one in English, and another in French. Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship, the National Poetry Series Award, and the Contemporary Poetry Series Award. She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and at Swarthmore College.

Ewa Chrusciel is a bilingual poet & translator. Her two previous books in English are Contraband of Hoopoe (Omnidawn) & Strata (Emergency Press). She has also published three books in Polish. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US, Italy, and Poland, such as Boston Review & Colorado Review. She is associate professor of creative writing & poetry at Colby-Sawyer College, New Hampshire.

Susan Terris’ most recent books are MEMOS (Omnidawn Publishing) & GHOST OF YESTERDAY: NEW & SELECTED POEMS (Marsh Hawk Press). She is the author of 6 books of poetry, 16 chapbooks, 3 artist's books, & one play. A poem from MEMOS, first published Denver Quarterly, was selected for Best American Poetry 2015. She's editor of Spillway Magazine & a poetry editor for Pedestal Magazine. 

Joseph Rios was born in Clovis, CA. Joseph’s work has appeared in: Los Angeles Review, Huizache, New Border, Southern Humanities Review, Poets Responding to SB1070, and bozalta. He is a recipient of the John K. Walsh residency fellowship from Notre Dame. Joseph is a VONA alumnus, a Macondo fellow, and graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Los Angeles, CA. 

Henry Wei Leung is the author of a chapbook, Paradise Hunger (Swan Scythe 2012), and the translator of Wawa's Pei Pei the Monkey King (Tinfish, 2016). He earned his degrees from Stanford and the Helen Zell Writers' Program, and has been the recipient of Kundiman, Soros, and Fulbright Fellowships. 

kathryn l. pringle’s fault tree won the Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize, selected by CD Wright. Her two other books are Right New Biology (Factory School) and Temper & Felicity are Lovers (Lost Roads Press). Her honors include the following: Besmilir Brigham Award, Lost Roads Press; Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize; Fund for Poetry Grant 2013; Academy of American Poets Harold Taylor Prize 2005.

October 23rd: A reading for Philip Whalen

A slightly belated (he was born October 20th) birthday reading to celebrate what would have been Philip Whalen's 94th. A host of poets will read from Scenes of Life at the Capital. 

Readers include:

Clark Coolidge
Norman Fischer
Tinker Greene
Owen Hill
Alastair Johnston
Steve P. Lavoie
Denise Newman
Pat Nolan
Laura Waltag

"Scenes of Life at the Capital is Whalen’s longest sustained effort, and his most substantial. Written in the late 1960s while Whalen was studying Zen in Kyoto, it is a meditation on civilization and barbarism, greatness and idiocy, beauty and just doing what you do. Though the title has the air of alluding to a set form in the visual arts (there are pieces from eighteenth-century Japan with similar names), its form is not as widely imitated as Mountains and Rivers Without End, the landscape-scroll form that lends its name to the titles of major works of the mid-’60s by Whalen’s friend Snyder and their contemporary Ashbery. It is a pleasantly miscellaneous title, entirely belying the focused bemusement, anger and relief of the poem of exile that follows."-Jordan Davis, The Nation (2008)

OCTOBER 26: Poetry Flash presents Raphael Cohen and Jonathan Moody


Raphael Cohen is a writer-performer committed to poetry for social change. His debut book of poems is Scrutinizing Lines (2007). His new chapbook, Rebel Elegant, is a single long poem on Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a rising star for the Denver Nuggets basketball team, who was suspended by the NBA when he refused to stand for the national anthem, citing his Muslim conscience and the U.S.’s history of racial and economic oppression. Cohen has performed widely across the U.S. and in Canada, taught, facilitated training at various youth empowerment groups and founded and directed Play at the Margins Press, an independent publishing and event production initiative.

Jonathan Moody’s new book of poems, winner of the 2014 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, is Olympic Butter Gold; Pleiades says, “Jonathan Moody’s second full-length collection of poems…overflows with music, image, and pop culture. The speaker is a natural storyteller, fusing lyric and narrative with a voice that walks the line between youth and experience, playfulness and seriousness.” A Cave Canem graduate fellow, he is also author of the collection The Doomy Poems.

NOVEMBER 2: Poetry Flash presents a Tribute to Michelle Gillett with Erin Gillett, Sarah Miller, Robert Thomas, and Carolyn West


Michelle Gillett’s debut book of poems, Coming About, was selected for publication before her death from lung cancer in 2016. Daniel Tobin says of it, “…Gillett’s insight is Rilkean in its wisdom.…In these fiercely honest poems, knowledge of the fragility of things before ‘the ever-declining light’ keeps pace with a faith that knows always ‘some effect of the light keeps the dusk unfinished,’ staving off the absolute dark. Coming About is a brave and beautiful book by a poet greatly gifted both in her humanity and her craft.” Born in 1948, she lived in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and was active in the arts and literary communities of the Berkshires.

The readers for the event will be:

Erin Gillett, her daughter, who graduated from UC Berkeley with a Masters degree in Architecture and works as an architectural designer and consultant.

Sarah Miller, author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and numerous essays.

Robert Thomas, author of Bridge, fiction, and the poetry collections Door to Door, winner of the Poets Out Loud Prize, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa, and Dragging the Lake. He’s won a Pushcart Prize and received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Carolyn West, poet and storyteller.

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 13th: Willis and Tony Barnstone


Please join us for this very special event. Willis Barnstone, translator of Poets of the Bible joins his son Tony Barnstone for a reading of their work. 

Willis Barnstone's first teaching position was instructor in English and French at the Anavryta Classical Lyceum in Greece, 1949–50, a private school in the forest of Anavryta north of Athens, attended by prince Constantine, the later ill-fated king of Greece, who was then nine years old. In 1951 he worked as a translator of French art texts for Les Éditions Skira in Geneva, Switzerland. He taught at Wesleyan University, was O'Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University, and is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Spanish at Indiana University where he has been a member of East Asian Languages & Culture, and the Institute for Biblical and Literary Studies. He started Film Studies at Indiana and initiated courses in International Popular Songs and Lyrics and Asian and Western Poetry.

His center is poetry, but his books range from memoir, literary criticism, gnosticism, and biblical translation to the anthologies A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now, 1980 (with Aliki Barnstone) and Literatures of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1998 (with Tony Barnstone), and collections of photography and drawings. Funny Ways of Staying Alive, Poems and Ink Drawings, 1993, contains 103 dry brush drawings. His New Faces in China, 1973, a volume of photographs and facing poems, reveals China during the catastrophic Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Children play and smile wildly while austere adults, in identical prison like attire, sit on the pavement in empty Tiananmen Square. In 1966 he founded and was director of Artes Hispánicas/Hispanic Arts, a slick, bilingual journal of Spanish and Portuguese art, literature, and music, published biannually by Macmillan Books and Indiana University. Two of its issues were published simultaneously as trade books: The Selected Poems of Jorge Luis Borges, guest editor Norman Thomas di Giovanni, and Concrete Poetry: A World View, guest editor Mary Ellen Solt. In 1959 he was commissioned by Eric Bentley for the Tulane Drama Review to do a verse translation of La fianza satisfecha, an obscure, powerful play by the Golden Age Spanish playwright Lope de Vega; his translation, The Outrageous Saint, was later adapted by John Osborne for his A Bond Honoured (1966). In 1964 the BBC Third Programme Radio commissioned him to translate for broadcast Pablo Neruda's only play, the surreal verse drama Fulgor y muerte de Joaquin Murieta (Radiance and Death of Joaquin Murieta), which was also published in Modern International Drama, 1976.
Barnstone's pioneer biblical work is The Restored New Testament, Including The Gnostic Gospels of Thomas, Mary, and Judas. In this annotated translation and commentary, he restores the Latin, Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew names to their original form. For Pilate, Andrew, Jesus and James, one reads Pilatus, Andreas, Yeshua, and Yaakov. To reveal the poetry of the New Testament, in the Gospels he lineates Jesus's words as verse and renders Revelation and the Letters of Paul into blank verse. In his introduction he calls Revelation (Apocalypse) the great epic poem of the New Testament.

The Library Journal in its 7/15/09 issue wrote, "In an achievement remarkable by almost any standard, and surely one of the events of the year in publishing, renowned poet and scholar Barnstone has created a new and lavish translation—almost transformation—of the canonical and noncanonical books associated with the New Testament. In part a continuation of his work in The New Covenant, Commonly Called the New Testament (2002) and The Other Bible (2005), and in many ways the completion of the pioneering efforts of other modern translators like Robert Alter, Reynolds Price, and Richmond Lattimore, The Restored New Testament offers a completely new version of familiar and unfamiliar texts, restoring the likely Hebrew forms of names, and strongly emphasizing the poetic and almost incantatory passages that have been obscured within the New Testament. Barnstone also substantially reorders the traditional arrangement of books for reasons he ably expounds in an extended and learned yet accessible preface. The high bar Barnstone has set for himself is the creation of an English-language Scripture that will move poets much as the 1611 King James Version moved Milton and Blake. Only time will tell if Barnstone has achieved his goal, but his work is fascinating, invigorating, and often beautiful."

A Guggenheim fellow, he has four times been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and has had four Book of the Month Club selections. His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The New York Review of Books, and The Times Literary Supplement. His books have been translated into diverse languages including French, Italian, Romanian, Arabic, Korean, and Chinese. Barnstone lives in Oakland, California, with his wife Sarah Handler A full-time writer, he gives poetry readings, often with his daughter Aliki Barnstone and son Tony Barnstone

The son of poet and translator Willis Barnstone and visual artist Elli Barnstone, Tony Barnstone was born in Middletown, Connecticut, and raised in Indiana, Vermont, and Spain. He was educated at Wesleyan University; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of California-Berkeley, where he earned a PhD under poets Robert Pinsky and Robert Hass.

A poet, translator, editor, and writer of fiction, Barnstone has been influenced by such disparate figures as James Wright, Federico García Lorca, and T.S. Eliot. His poems merge crisp, precise imagery with humor, a longer cadence, and an essayistic or narrative arc. As poet Dorianne Laux notes, “The kaleidoscope of voices in Tony Barnstone’s Tongue of War: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki rise from the grit, blood and smoke of World War II to tell their complex tales of fear and brutality. Through charged, yet plainspeaking persona poems, the terrible, gasping truths are brought to light.” In an interview with Rebecca Seiferle for Drunken Boat, Barnstone stated, “I think that the work of poetry can be important, and that each poet needs to find his or her own way to make it so.”

Tongue of War (2009) won both the John Ciardi Prize and the Grand Prize in the Strokestown International Poetry Festival. Barnstone has published several other poetry collections, including The Golem of Los Angeles (2007), which won the Benjamin Saltman Award in Poetry; Sad Jazz: Sonnets (2005); and Impure (1999), a finalist for both the Walt Whitman Prize and the National Poetry Series. He has published numerous translations, including Chinese Erotic Poems (2007), The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry (2005), and Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Selected Poems of Wang Wei (1992). His own work has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, and German. Barnstone has published several textbooks on world literature as well, including Literatures of Asia (2002), Literatures of the Middle East (2002), and Literatures of Asia, Africa and Latin America (1999). In 2012 the duo Genuine Brandish released Tokyo's Burning: WWII Songs, an album based on Tongue of War. Barnstone collaborated with the musicians on lyrics and arrangments.

His honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, as well as a Pushcart Prize, the Paumanok Poetry Award, the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, the Sow’s Ear Poetry Contest, the Milton Dorfman Poetry Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize, and the Cecil Hemley Award.

Barnstone has lived in China, Kenya, and Greece. He currently resides in California, where he is the Albert Upton Professor and Chair of English at Whittier College, and often reads with his father Willis Barnstone, and his sister Aliki Barnstone.

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.