Friday, Mar 27, 2020 7:00 PM
In the basement of the store.
2476 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley
Unfortunately, this event has been postponed until further notice. We apologize.
Our Omnidawn book parties are legendary! Join us to get a first look at their latest titles. Hear great readings and meet the poets:
Desirée Alvarez RAFT OF FLAME
winner of Omnidawn's Lake Merritt Book Prize,
selected by Hoa Nguyen
"The poems in Raft of Flame address inheritance haunted by colonial violence and genocide. The ghosts in the archives speak inside the poems, addressing heritage next to loss. ‘I don’t see my face, owl says before soaring, / as the future is born of slave and colonizer / on the ledge of the window.’ Here we have the mysteries of mixed culture through the art made by the artists of the ancient Americas and Spain. Here a speaker asks, ‘I’m here to see where / I come from to stop the din of not knowing.’ The poems time-travel across regions, cultures, and centuries. Alvarez frets history, speaks to historical image-making, religion, and art. The poems invent new perspectives, speak in masks, present cinematic panoplies, are many-tongued, always clear-eyed. Richly they assemble, speak to story with mythic address as they sing and range. These poems are fire."
--Hoa Nguyen, author of Violet Energy Ingots and Judge of Omnidawn’s Lake Merritt Prize
Anthony Cody BORDERLAND APOCRYPHA
winner of the Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize,
selected by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
"Read Cody’s investigations, these beyond-poems, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, Mexican Indian lands, the untold occupations of America — as if you are hanging on that open-air killing tree. Notice the vortex of existence, yours, ours, the trapezoids of punishments, the dotted lines and splattered shapes of skin-text and the searing howls cut down the middle of the word bodies, usurpation, rape and theft bursting across the emptiness pages, terminations and exiles pinned on the Race Grid. Open these scrolls and peer at half-humanity America cutting you down, dangling — there is no wall after all, just a mirror of executions, “reach for the hand of a friend” “in a dream”, you are the “savage captured,” the “KickingSingingKickingSinging chant”, you are the segmented ink-jitters on Cody’s pages, you are the “atomic” Brown radiating yourself out of the 1850’s into this present of border mania. Read Cody ’s script, like no other — a photo-zoom of tragic roots and revelations, cartographies of “power and control,” and the transcendence of innocent bodies, somehow — American soul. Cody presents what has not been revealed, what must be said. This one-of-a-kind-book settles all cases against all border-crossers. It is possible: a brave, bold syntax, an unseen intelligence of ourselves, a new America. Bravo for these compassionate and brutal time-spaces, this brisling land voice— an exemplar of a bursting literature. Everything starts over now."
---Juan Felipe Herrera
Jennifer Hasegawa LA CHICA'S FIELD GUIDE TO BANZAI LIVING
"In the West, the word “banzai” was mostly recognized as the WWII battle cry of kamikaze pilots, but in truth, the word literally means 10,000 years and is associated with wishes for long life and celebration. It is a word that is both complex and compelling. The same could be said for the poems in Hasegawa’s La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living. The collection takes us from Hawai‘i to the U.S. Continent to Babylon to outer space, and Hasegawa’s use of story is both empowering and arresting. . . . What I admire most about Hasegawa’s poems is how she uses darkness to reveal what the world today desperately needs—the presence of light."
---Lisa Linn Kanae, author of Sista Tongue
David Koehn SCATTERPLOT
"David Koehn’s Scatterplot is a book full of names and near-misses best described by its attention to narrative…when it is the narrative we associate with dreams! Or as Koehn himself says, “I was stumbling around the aisles of a dream.” This line in particular has everything to do with what I love most about this book. Every poem throws itself headlong into litanies of images reminding us that, even when we are lost or dying or anxious, we are still very much alive."
----Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition
Craig Santos Perez HABITAT THRESHOLD
(Rusty will present Craig's work as he requested; he is very sorry not to be able to attend! HABITAT THRESHOLD will be available tonight for purchase)
"Craig Santos Perez returns poetry to its ancient vocation: not only to sing of the dark times, in a public voice, but to sing in and against the darkness. Always exquisite in his attention to the placement of words for power, beauty, and insight, with Habitat Threshold Perez raises poetry to earth magnitude: his pastorals, odes, sonnets, haikus, recyclings, occasional verse, lullabies, and chants sing plainly and with great precision of the vast and intricate inequalities in and through which world-ecology enmeshes us. These are songs of protest, to be recited in places of public debate and decision, and to be learned by children, but also love songs, for family, place, plant and animal, celebrating the many-hued lifeways of humans and their others. The poems find music in inconvenient truths, with a sobering and detailed indictment of our Capitalocene footprint. Habitat Threshold asks us to change our lives: it is motivating, necessary, and inspiring work." --Jonathan Skinner, poet, editor, and founder of Ecopoetics.
LM Rivera AGAINST HEIDEGGER
(LM Rivera has made a short film for the Moe's/Omnidawn night attendees' viewing pleasure and provocation. We are very grateful. AGAINST HEIDEGGER will be available tonight for purchase)
"Offering unexpected sojourns in thinking, Rivera’s whirlwind of well-weighted words is filled with surprising, beautiful, and haunting linguistic collisions and juxtapositions. Rivera’s postmodern poetry helps disclose what Heidegger meant when he proclaimed that we don’t speak language; language speaks us. I thus hear Rivera’s ‘against’ less as ‘opposed to’ and more as ‘leaning on’—leaning on or into ‘an abundant emptiness’—in the quest to go further, ‘again and again,’ into those questions we grow into and beyond, as the answers we embody generate new questions, opening pathways perhaps (‘with all ambiguity intact’) into a future we might still share."
--Iain Thomson, author of Heidegger, Art, and Postmodernity