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 email@example.com.
All events, unless noted, start at 7:00pm
May 24: Jane Mead and Carol Muske-Dukes
June 14: Gillian Conoley and Paul Hoover
July 10: Film Critic Joseph McBride
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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 (www.everydayzen.org), 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.
Gillian Conoley’s most recent book of poems is Peace. A. Anupama, in Numéro Cinq, wrote, “White space percolates this lyric, while the current lull in American military actions forms the occasion of this book, Gillian Conoley’s seventh poetry collection. With poems titled “late democracy,’ “[Peace] contrary to history,” and “Trying to Write a Poem about Gandhi,” the work pulls one way and then pushes back another, testing the inner ground for breath.” Others of her collections include The Plot Genie, Profane Halo, and Lovers in the Used World. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, American Hybrid, and Postmodern American Poetry. Her translations include Thousand Times Broken, Three Books, three previously untranslated books of the French poet Henri Michaux. Founder and editor of the literary journal VOLT, she has, among her honors, four Pushcart Prizes, the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from APR, an NEA fellowship, and a Fund for Poetry Award.
Paul Hoover’s new book of poems is The Book of Unnamed Things. Mary Jo Bang says, “Hoover’s concern with language’s representational inadequacy is shared by the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets he’s championed for years….However, his own poems are more direct, more lyrical, and sometimes seethingly and seductively melancholic. Central to all of them (regardless of language’s irrefutable limitations) is his keen intelligence and laconic wit.” Author of fourteen previous poetry collections, he co-edited with Maxine Chernoff the literary magazine New American Writing and co-translated with her The Selected Poetry of Friedrich Hölderlin, which won a PEN-USA Translation Award. Editor, as well, of Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, his honors include an NEA Fellowship, the Frederick Bock Award of Poetry, and the Jerome J. Shestack Prize of American Poetry Review.
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
Ayelet Waldman is the author of A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, the novels Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, and Daughter's Keeper, as well as of the essay collection Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace and the Mommy-Track Mystery series. She is the editor of Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons and of the forthcoming Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation.
Moriel Rothman-Zecher is an American-Israeli writer, poet, and novelist. Born in Jerusalem, he graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in Arabic and political science. A recipient of a 2017 MacDowell Colony Fellowship for Literature, his work has been published in The New York Times, Haaretz, The Paris Review’s Daily, and elsewhere. Moriel lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio with his wife, Kayla, and their dog, Silly Department.
Join film critic Joseph McBride as he discusses the work of Ernst Lubitsch. This is a book launch for How Did Lubitsch Do It, forthcoming from Columbia University Press in June.
"Joseph McBride’s study of Lubitsch matches the breadth and range of his incomparable work on Welles and Ford. Reading it, it is impossible not to want to see each of the director’s greatest films again or for the first time-readers will be driven straight to seek out not only the repertory standards but the silents, the musicals, and the German films. It is especially gratifying to see McBride apply his supple understanding of the intricacies of Lubitsch’s sexual politics to the paradoxes lurking for contemporary viewers, exploring how the films play both against and into feminist readings. McBride doesn’t shy from such explorations, but never leaps to premature conclusions. The book is an act of devotion matched to the heart
of its subject.” – Jonathan Lethem
The new edition of Raymond Chandler's Big Sleep, edited, annotated and prefaced by past and present Moe's staffers.
We've asked a few friends to read their favorite passage from this noir classic. A list of our readers is coming soon.
“Nothing, even a book as singular and archetypal as The Big Sleep, comes from nowhere. What a gift, to see in part how Chandler made it. Under just three names, these annotators number among them two poets, an archivist and literary scholar, a gifted crime novelist, and three sleuths; reading it conveys the vicarious thrill of their innumerable discoveries. Chandler lucked out.”--Jonathan Lethem, from the forward.
A masterpiece of noir, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep helped to define a genre and remains one of the most celebrated and stylish novels of the twentieth century. Now, this comprehensive, annotated edition offers a fascinating look behind the scenes of the novel, bringing the gritty and seductive world of Chandler’s iconic private eye Philip Marlowe into full color. Notes on the historical context of Chandler’s Los Angeles; excerpts from the author’s personal letters and source texts; explorations of the issues of gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity that permeate the story; and important interpretations and clarifications enrich the reader’s understanding and situate the novel within the tradition of crime fiction that Chandler both built upon and made new.
Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) turned to writing fiction at the age of forty-five, after a career as an oil executive. He published his first story in Black Mask in 1933, and his first novel, The Big Sleep, in 1939. Over his lifetime, Chandler wrote seven novels, several screenplays, and numerous short stories, and became the master practitioner of American hard-boiled crime fiction.
Owen Hill is the author of two mystery novels, a book of short fiction, and several books of poetry. He has reviewed crime novels for the Los Angeles Times and the East Bay Express. He was awarded the Howard Moss residency at Yaddo in 2005.
Pamela Jackson is an editor, scholar, and librarian specializing in California literary and cultural history. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and an MLIS from UCLA, and was coeditor, with Jonathan Lethem, of The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.
Anthony Rizzuto is a bookseller, professor of literature, and researcher. He currently teaches British and American literature and history at Sonoma State University.