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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
All events, unless noted, start at 7:30pm
January 26: Rachel Richardson and Martin Rock
February 2: Sandra Hunter and Ruth Thompson
February 13: Norman Fischer and Kit Robinson
February 22: Roof Books Night
March 8: Mutanabbi Street Anniversary Reading
March 24: Omnidawn Night
Rachel Richardson’s new book of poems is Hundred-Year Wave. Victoria Chang says, “Hundred-Year Wave is a gorgeous book that borrows its vast subject matter from new parenthood, marriage, the ocean, whales, and Sylvia Plath….Her gifts are wide and deep like the ocean, as she shows us that ‘we are not lost/ in the vast expanse of lostness.’” A former Stegner fellow at Stanford and a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, she coordinates poetry programming for the Bay Area Book Festival and co-directs Left Margin Lit, a new literary arts center in Berkeley.
Martin Rock’s collection Residuum was chosen for the Cleveland State Poetry Center’s 2015 First Book Award. Erin Belieu says, “Martin Rock’s remarkable debut collection, Residuum, takes on nothing less than making the unsayable (as Heidegger perceives it) ‘legible.’ I find the partial erasure form of this book dynamic, and lyrically fluid. Residuum is also genuinely moving and funny in spots.” A translator from the Japanese widely published in literary journals, he has held senior editorial positions at several journals and is Founding Editor of Loaded Bicycle, an online journal of poetry, art, and translation. Poet-in-Residence at Texas Children’s Hospital, he helps young patients express themselves through writing.
Sandra Hunter’s new book, Small Change, is three short stories. David Treuer says, “Small Change does what great fiction should do. Rather than strive for newness for the sake of novelty, or reinvent language to showcase the writer’s chops, it approaches language in a new way because the material—struggling for life and love in the Middle East—demands it.” Her novel, Losing Touch, was published in 2014. Her honors include a 2014 Africa Book Club Award, a 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, and a 2012 Cobalt Fiction Prize.
Ruth Thompson is the author of three poetry collections Crazing, Woman With Crows, and Here Along Cazenovia Creek. That last collection inspired choreography and a performance by the Japanese dancer Shizuno Nasu. She currently lives in Hilo, Hawai’i where she is creating poetry and dance videos with dancer Jenn Eng and videographer Don Mitchell. She travels to perform and teach workshops on writing from the body, and she owns and operates Saddle Road Press.
Brandon Brown's books include THE GOOD LIFE (Big Lucks Books, 2016), TOP 40 (Roof Books, 2014), FLOWERING MALL (Roof Books, 2012), THE PERSIANS BY AESCHYLUS (Displaced Press, 2011), and THE POEMS OF GAIUS VALERIUS CATULLUS (Krupskaya, 2011), and many chapbooks, including Tooth Fairy (2008) and Memoirs of my Nervous Illness (Cy Press, 2006). Since 1998, he has lived in the Bay Area, where he has programmed literary events, edited small press materials under the imprint OMG!, and written about art and culture for Art Practical and Open Space, the blog and magazine of the SFMOMA. He is a co-editor at Krupskaya, organizes with the Bay Area Public School, and lives in Oakland.
Feb 13th: Norman Fischer and Kit Robinson
Norman Fischer is a poet, essayist, and Zen Buddhist priest. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, his latest poetry collections are Magnolias All At Once (Singing Horse, 2015) Escape This Crazy Life of Tears: Japan 2010 (Tinfish, 2014), and The Strugglers (Singing Horse, 2013). Just out from Chax a collection of tanka (very brief poems): any would be if. In 2015 Universiity of Alabama Press brought out a collection of essays, Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language and Religion. Fischer lives with his wife Kathie on a cliff overlooking the Pacific at Muir Beach.
Kit Robinson was born in Evanston, Illinois, grew up in Cincinnati, went to Yale, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area ever since. He is the author of Marine Layer (BlazeVOX), Catalan Passages (Streets and Roads), Determination (Cuneiform), The Messianic Trees: Selected Poems, 1976-2003 (Adventures in Poetry), and many other books of poetry, including collaborations with Ted Greenwald, A Mammal of Style (Roof) and Takeaway (c_L Books).
Feb 22nd: Roof Books (spd)
March 8th: Mutanabbi Street Anniversary reading
March 20th: Sam Bercholz discusses his book A Guided Tour of Hell
We’ve all heard the stories of someone who has had a near-death experience. They’ve gone toward that white light, seen a vision of heaven, and have lived to tell the tale. But what about someone who took a journey in the opposite direction, not to the heavenly realms, but to the terrifying depths of hell?
Here, Sam Bercholz, the visionary founder of Shambhala Publications and influential figure in disseminating Buddhist teachings and Eastern wisdom in the West, tells his story. After a sextuple coronary bypass surgery, Bercholz experienced a vision of the underworld, a place of unending suffering where human souls go to meet their karmic retribution. We see tyrants and mass-murderers, the selfish and careless, the abusive and power-hungry—all who once thought they were getting ahead on earth now faced with the hard truths of the consequences of their actions in this fiery realm.
Bercholz relayed his story to the renowned Tibetan artist Pema Namdol Thaye, and the result—as you’ll see in the pages here—is truly astounding. Part Dante’s Inferno, part Tibetan Book of the Dead, part Hellboy, the images graphically transport the reader and viewer into the horrifying world Bercholz describes. These paintings are complex, unforgettable, and truly unique, and several prestigious art institutions have already signed for special exhibitions of this work.
The book has already been optioned for film by Stuart MacDonald of Emerald Entertainment, and tickets for a New York City event at The Rubin Museum, featuring the author in conversation with the actor Steve Buscemi, sold out within weeks of going on sale. Praise has been received from writer George Saunders (“A dark thrill to read.”), author and activist Matthieu Ricard (“A fascinating and deeply thought-provoking testimony, powerfully illustrated.”) and Tibetan art expert Robert Beer (“A courageous and subjective account.”).
March 23rd: A Conversation with Elif Batuman and Yuyin Li
Ever since her bestselling collection of essays, The Possessed, was published in 2010, her quirky but highly literary vision of life, literature and language has made readers take notice. A staff writer now for The New Yorker, she has developed a cult-like following, and with the publication of The Idiot, her career reaches an irrepressible crescendo.
The Idiot takes a kind of story that we all think we know well, and turns it completely on its head. Batuman's novel reminds us that to be American means to be from elsewhere. Our heroine, Selin, is the daughter of Turkish immigrants who have made deep sacrifices so that their daughter may be able to experience all the privileges of the American way of life, in particular, when it comes to her education at Harvard. But the weight of that expectation does not sit lightly. “This book is a bold, unforgettable, un-put- downable read by a new master stylist,” Mary Karr wrote, “Not since Don Quixote has a quest for love gone so hilariously and poignantly awry.”
March 24th: Omnidawn Reading