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 7:30pm

February 22: Roof Books Night with David Buuck, Jean Day, and Laura Moriarty

February 23: Poetry Flash presents Anita Barrows and Alicia Suskin Ostriker

March 8: Mutanabbi Street Anniversary Reading

March 16: Poetry Flash presents Raphael Block and Thanasis Maskaleris

March 20: Sam Bercholz discusses his book A Guided Tour of Hell

March 23: A Conversation with Elif Batuman and Yuyin Li

March 24: Omnidawn Night

March 30: Poetry Flash presents Katherine Hastings and G. P. Skratz

April 12: Joyce Carol Oates


Feb 22nd: Roof Books with David Buuck, Jean Day, and Laura Moriarty


David Buuck lives in Oakland, CA. He is the co-founder and editor of Tripwire, a journal of poetics, and founder of BARGE, the Bay Area Research Group in Enviro-aesthetics. Recent publications include SITE CITE CITY (2015) An Army of Lovers, co-written with Juliana Spahr (2013) and Noise In The Face Of (Roof Books, 2017)

Jean Day’s new books are The Triumph of Life, soon to appear from Insurance Editions, and Daydream, forthcoming from Litmus Press in June. Her various but not exactly checkered career has included bookselling, marketing, fundraising, union activism, and for the last two decades, working as a scholarly editor. One of her first books, A Young Recruit, was published by Roof in 1988.

Laura Moriarty is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Rondeaux (1990), A Semblance: Selected and New Poems, 1975–2007 (2007), A Tonalist (2010), and Who That Divines (2014). She is also the author of the short novel Cunning (2000) and the science fiction novel Ultravioleta (2006).
In her work, Moriarty engages language and feminism; the poems buckle and fold against the constraints of hybrid, projectivist, and received forms.

Moriarty has served as archive director for the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University and as deputy director of Small Press Distribution. She has taught at Naropa University, the Otis Art Institute, and Mills College. Her honors include a Poetry Center Book Award, a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award in Poetry, a New Langton Arts Award, and a Fund for Poetry grant.

February 23rd: Poetry Flash presents Anita Barrows and Alicia Suskin Ostriker


Alicia Suskin Ostriker’s new book of poems is Waiting for the Light. Daisy Fried says of it, “Ostriker so loves the world, its griefs, traumas, praises, mysteries, and joys, that she teaches us to love the world with her—sometimes desperately, heartbrokenly, never despairingly.” She is a key American poet and critic; her recent poetry collections include The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog; The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems, 1979–2011, and The Book of Seventy. Currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, her honors include the Paterson Poetry Prize, San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, and William Carlos Williams Award. She is also a two-time finalist for the National Book Award.  

Anita Barrows’s new book of poems is We are the Hunger. Susan Griffin says, “An extraordinary collection. Truth telling, and truly pitched, resonant poems telling intimate and necessary stories set in the harshest landsapes of our times, with insight and compassion.” She is the author of Exile and a number of other books of poetry. She’s also a translator of poetry, plays, fiction, and nonfiction from French, Italian, and German, most recently three volumes of Rilke’s work co-translated with Joanna Macy. She’s a practicing psychotherapist and lives in Berkeley.

March 8th: Mutanabbi Street Anniversary reading


Through the efforts of Beau Beausoleil, a poet and San Francisco bookseller, a coalition of poets, artists, writers, printers, booksellers, and readers was created within a short time of the bombing; broadsides of their writings and artwork about this tragic event were printed, and recitations were made in many cities. An anthology was published to honor the cultural achievements of a society that has been forever damaged and to acknowledge that art and visual literacy could support the Iraqi population and others where free expression is threatened.

There will be a reading at Moe's to mark the tenth anniversary of the bombing. Contributors to the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here anthology will read from the book. Please support this ongoing, important project.

March 16th: Poetry Flash presents Raphael Block and Thanasis Maskaleris


Raphael Block’s new book of poems is Strings of Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems. Mirabai Starr says, “This luminous collection of poetry is a love song to the Holy.” Raphael Block’s poetry gives voice to his heartfelt response to our global environmental crisis. Born on a kibbutz, he spent his boyhood playing on the hills of Haifa. His family returned to London as he turned nine, where learning British English shaped his ear for sound. His previous collections are Songs from a Small Universe and Spangling Darkness. He will be accompanied by noted guitar instrumentalist David Field.

Thanasis Maskaleris’s new collection is My Life on the Ragged Paths of Pan: Selected Poems and Translations. Born in Arkadia, Greece, he immigrated to the U.S. at the age of seventeen.  He’s written poetry in both Greek and English and translated extensively from the Greek. He is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Classics, and Creative Writing at San Francisco State. His previous book is The Terrestrial Gospel of Nikos Kazantzakis: Will the Humans Be Saviors of the Earth?

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


(l-r) Andrew Seguin, Daniel Poppick, Donald Justice, Kelli A. Noftle, John Liles, and Mary Hickman

Kelli Anne Noftle—Adam Cannot Be Adam
Kelli Anne Noftle is a visual artist, musician, poet, and business manager who divides her time between Los Angeles and San Diego. Poems and music can be found at Her first book, I Was There for Your Somniloquy, was selected by Rae Armantrout, judge of the 2010 Omnidawn 1st/2nd Poetry Book Prize.

Mary Hickman—Rayfish
This title is the winner of the 2016 James Laughlin Award from THE ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS. Mary Hickman was born in Idaho and grew up in China and Taiwan. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. Hickman is the author of Rayfish (Omnidawn Publishing, 2017) and This Is the Homeland (Ahsahta Press, 2015). She teaches creative writing at Nebraska Wesleyan University and in the University of Iowa International Writing Program’s Between the Lines exchange program.

David Koehn (editor, w/ Alan Soldofsky, editor)—Compendium: a collection of thoughts on prosody, by Donald Justice
In Compendium: A Collection of Thoughts on Prosody, Donald Justice’s insights serve as a sort of de facto taxonomy, an organically designed system that he uses to present his lecture on each respective aspect of the evolution of poetic form. There is no formal thesis here, but rather a kind of scrapbook that has a broader motive. The material possesses no hidden secrets; the treasures lie in plain sight and simply need be discerned to open the artist’s mind to their possibilities.” Donald Justice delighted in the constraint of poetic form and the subtleties of meter. A student of Robert Lowell, John Berryman, and Karl Shapiro at the Iowa Writers Workshop, Justice studied at Iowa, and later at the University of Florida, with Mark Strand, Jorie Graham, James Tate, and Rita Dove. Justice was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and was offered the position of poet laureate, declining only because of ill health. He received the Lamont Award, the Bollingen Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. Speaking about this title will be David Koehn, an editor of th

Andrew Seguin—The Room In Which I Work
This title is our Omnidawn Open winner, selected by Calvin Bedient.
Andrew Seguin is a poet and photographer who was born in Pittsburgh in 1981. He is the author of two chapbooks, Black Anecdote and NN, and his poems have appeared widely in literary journals, including A Public Space, Boston Review, Gulf Coast and Iowa Review. His work often explores the intersection of language and image, and has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and Poets House. Andrew lives in New York City.

Dan Poppick—The Police
Daniel Poppick's work has been recognized with fellowships fromYaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he earned his MFA in 2011. A graduate of Kenyon College, he has taught writing and literature at SUNY Purchase College, Coe College,Victoria University (New Zealand), and the University of Iowa. He lives in Brooklyn, where he co-edits the Catenary Press.
John Liles—Follow the Dog Down​​
This title is the winner of the Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook prize, selected by Brian Teare. John Liles is a poet, science writer, and living mammal. His work is predicated on academic and archival research – a writing process that necessitates achieving an organic/animal understanding of the present surviving phenomenon. Aiming to establish new interdisciplinary space between the arts and sciences, Liles holds to a self-established canon where the scientific must remain true.e text.

March 30th: Poetry Flash presents Katherine Hastings and G. P. Skratz


Katherine Hastings’s new book of poems is Shakespeare & Stein Walk Into a Bar. Annie Finch says, “Katherine Hastings’ poems play with consciousness on many levels. Nature, literature, and human experience catch memorably within the threads of their dense and startling webs.” Her two previous full-length collections are Nighthawks and Cloud Fire. A former poet laureate of Sonoma County, she is the curator of WordTemple Poetry Series and host of WordTemple on NPR affiliate KRCB FM.

G. P. Skratz’s new book of poems is Sundae Missile: the Mass of the Church of the Center that will not Hold, a homophonic translation of the “pre-Vatican Council Latin version” of the Roman Catholic Mass. Andrei Codrescu says, “Until they ever improve the wine and put some jam in the wafers, Catholics will have to be content with GP Skratz’ sound translation of the Mass. It doesn’t beat Bach but it would work for Sinatra.” His previous publications are The Gates of Disappearance and Fun, and Everything Else, co-authored with the late poet Darrell Gray, with drawings by Dave Morice and photographs by Shelly Vogel. With a long history as a poet-performer, he is probably most noted for his production of “The Actualist Conventions” with Darrell Gray, Jim Nisbet, and David Schein. He currently performs poetry and music with Arundo and “twisted roots” music with Smooth Toad.

April 12th: Joyce Carol Oates, A Book of American Martyrs


Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde (a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and the New York Times bestsellers The Falls (winner of the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger) and The Gravedigger’s Daughter. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.

In this striking, enormously affecting novel, Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of two very different and yet intimately linked American families. Luther Dunphy is a zealous evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God’s will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town, while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic but self-regarding doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief.

In her moving, keenly observed portrait, Joyce Carol Oates fully inhabits the perspectives of two interwoven families whose destinies are defined by their warring convictions and squarely—but with great empathy—confronts an intractable, abiding rift in American society. A Book of American Martyrs is a stunning, timely depiction of an issue hotly debated on a national stage but which makes itself felt most lastingly in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.