Live! From City Lights

Tony Serra Reading from his New Memoir, Tony Serra: The Green, Yellow and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer

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Tony_SerraTony Serra recently came by City Lights to read from his new memoir, Tony Serra: The Green, Yellow and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer. What followed was an entertaining, educational, and emotional evening as one of San Francisco’s most luminary intellectuals talked about his life, his work, and his passion.

Tony Serra is a life long civil rights activist and attorney. He is the epitome of a counter-cultural hero. He has spent his life defending society’s marginalized citizens in the courtroom. His role in the Chol Soo Lee case was depicted in the film True Believer and he has gained national prominence for his closing argument techniques. Mr. Serra has consulted with hundreds of professional organizations on various legal issues in multiple forums in 14 different states. He is a life-long tax resister who has spent time in federal prison in protest of what he perceives to be an unjust political and legal system.Serra has served the community as a practicing criminal defense attorney for over 45 years. He has represented: Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, The White Panthers, The Hell’s Angels, Chol Soo Lee, Hooty Croy, Brownie Mary, Bear Lincoln, and many others. He is the recipient of numerous awards that include: ACLU Benjamin Dreyfus Civil Liberties Award, Gideon Equal Justice Award from the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, Lawyer of the Year from the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, as well as numerous others.

Tony Serra: The Green, Yellow and Purple Years in the Life of a Radical Lawyer is available from Grizzly Peak Press.

Eric Baus Talks with City Lights About His New Poetry Collection The Tranquilized Tongue

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Eric Baus stopped by City Lights to talk about his new poetry book, The Tranquilized Tongue

We celebrated the release of The Tranquilized Tongue, the latest in the City Lights Spotlight Poetry series! The Tranquilized Tongue is the 11th installment in the City Lights Spotlight Series, which brings attention to established and up-and-coming innovative American poets.TranquilizedTongue

In the tradition of French poets like Francis Ponge, Pierre Reverdy, and René Char, The Tranquilized Tongue offers a series of prose meditations in the form of surrealist declaratives, each sentence unfolding like an alchemical riddle in which sounds, images, and figures appear, dissolve, and re-emerge to offer a glimpse of a complex unconscious roiling below the surface of everyday reality. Sometimes a paragraph, sometimes a sentence, occasionally just a fragment, each poem in The Tranquilized Tongue is a portal to new perspective on the everyday materials of reality as constituted through language itself. The postmodern classicism of language poetry meets the modernist romanticism of surrealism to startling effect in Baus’s cabinet of curiosities. The eleventh volume of the City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series, The Tranquilized Tongue places Baus alongside such contemporary purveyors of the marvelous and speculative as Andrew Joron and Will Alexander.

Five Questions with Eric Baus

Praise for The Tranquilized Tongue:

“The poems comprising The Tranquilized Tongue propose a unique blend of Persian miniature and habanero pepper. The book is aburst with unremitting predication, each poem a merciless thought machine.”—Nathaniel Mackey

“For over a decade now, Eric Baus has been one of the leading practitioners of a new kind of poem, one that draws as equally on the legacy of surrealism, the nouveau roman, and even the language poets, as it does on the Deep Listening practice of Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Lucier’s forays into resonant sound, the films of Charles and Ray Eames, and the voiceover of Sir David Attenborough narrating our insect and animal worlds. The Tranquilized Tongue speaks to us in a music capable of condensing geologic time into that of a microtonal interval: weird, warped, a little wobbly on its newly-hatched legs, this is a book where the word The will follow you like a gosling.”—Noah Eli Gordon

“Special objects in our multiple world–from eggs to kings, from bees to caskets, from wings to statues–spawn themselves with other teeming objects in a fertile generation of aphoristic actions calmed by the clarity of prose poems framed as linked short stories. The scintillating tensions between febrile nouns, adjectival properties, and active claims all in their phonemic bliss create an elegant surrealism charged with the primary mystery of Baus’s lexicon.”—Rachel Blau DuPlessis, author of Drafts

Eric Baus and Sunnylyn Thibodeaux Reading from their Newest Poetry Collections Live at City Lights!

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TranquilizedTongueWe celebrated the release of Eric Baus’s latest poetry collection, The Tranquilized Tongue, on Tuesday, June 10th, with a special reading from the author himself. Listen to his reading, as well as a reading from Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, Live from City Lights!

In the tradition of French poets like Francis Ponge, Pierre Reverdy, and René Char, The Tranquilized Tongue offers a series of prose meditations in the form of surrealist declaratives, each sentence unfolding like an alchemical riddle in which sounds, images, and figures appear, dissolve, and re-emerge to offer a glimpse of a complex unconscious roiling below the surface of everyday reality. Sometimes a paragraph, sometimes a sentence, occasionally just a fragment, each poem in The Tranquilized Tongue is a portal to new perspective on the everyday materials of reality as constituted through language itself. The postmodern classicism of language poetry meets the modernist romanticism of surrealism to startling effect in Baus’s cabinet of curiosities. The eleventh volume of the City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series, The Tranquilized Tongue places Baus alongside such contemporary purveyors of the marvelous and speculative as Andrew Joron and Will Alexander.

Eric Baus was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1975. He is the author of The To Sound, selected by Forrest Gander for the Verse Prize (Wave Books, 2004), Tuned Droves (Octopus Books, 2009), and Scared Text, selected by Cole Swensen for the Colorado Prize for Poetry (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011). He is a graduate of the MFA program for poets and writers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as well as the PhD program in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Denver. With Andrea Rexilius, he co-edits Marcel Chapbooks. He lives in Denver.

Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics 40th Anniversary Party!

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Jack Kerouac SchoolWe were proud to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at City Lights. It was fantastic night of readings from JKS faculty and guests who have taught in their summer writing program.

City Lights celebrates Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics 40th anniversary.

Hosted by Andrea Rexillus. With readings by Robert Gluck, Juliana Spahr, Cedar Sigo, Eric Baus, Michelle Naka Pierce, and Chris Pusateri.

Founded in 1974 by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, as part of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s 100-year experiment, the Jack Kerouac School continues to honor its historical roots while bringing forward new questions that both invigorate and challenge the current dialogue in writing today. This event will celebrate Naropa’s 40th year and will feature readings by JKS faculty and renowned guests who have taught in the Summer Writing Program.

http://www.naropa.edu/academics/jks/

Kevin Young Reading From His New Collection of Poetry Live at City Lights!

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We were extremely proud to have poet Kevin Young come to City Lights and read from his new collection of poetry, Book of Hours.

Book of Hours from Alfred A. Knopf:

Possibly his most intimate book of poetry yet, Young’s inimitably rhythmic, musical lines will quite literally move its readers. A beautiful book of both grief and birth from the award-winning poet whose work thrills his audience with its immediate emotional impact.

A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of the poet’s father, we witness the unfolding of his grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Young captures the strange silence of bereavement: “Not the storm/ but the calm/ that slays me.” But the poet acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence describing the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing “her face/ full of fire, then groaning your face/ out like a flower, blood-bloom,/ crocused into air.” Ending this book of birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking “What good//are wishes if they aren’t/ used up?” while understanding “How to listen/kevin-young2to what’s gone.”

Kevin Young is the author of seven books of poetry and editor of eight others, including Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels, winner of a 2012 American Book Award, and Jelly Roll: A Blues, a finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. His book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and winner of the PEN Open Award. His next volume of poems, Book of Hours, is forthcoming from Knopf in March 2014. He is currently Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.

“Kevin Young is one of the most talented poets in the United States. With this new book, he should also become known as a major critic.” —San Francisco Chronicle, reviewing The Grey Album

Visit: kevinyoungpoetry.com

 

Kaya Press 20th Anniversary Celebration at City Lights!

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KayaPressLogoCity Lights celebrates the 20th year of Kaya Press with readings by Sesshu Foster, Gene Oishi, Amarnath Ravva, and Shailja Patel!

Kaya Press is a group of dedicated writers, artists, readers, and lovers of books working together to publish the most challenging, thoughtful, and provocative literature being produced throughout the Asian and Pacific Island diasporas. Kaya Press believe that people’s lives can be changed by literature that pushes us past expectations and out of our comfort zone. They believe in the contagious potential of creativity combined with the means of production.

Those Who Read Were:

Sesshu Foster, author of the collection of prose poems about Los Angeles: City Terrace Field Manual

Gene Oishi, whose novel in stories Foxdrum Bebop is released in March 2014

Amarnath Ravva, whose experimental prose memoir American Canyon is being published in March 2014

Shailja Patel, author of the performance/poetry collection Migritude

 

LIVE At City Lights! Peniel E. Joseph Discusses His New Book, Stokely: A Life

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PenielJWe were proud to have professor and activist Peniel E. Joseph stop by at City Lights to talk about his new book, Stokely: A Life.

Peniel E. Joseph in conversation with professor and civil rights scholar Clayborne Carson, discussing Joseph’s new book, Stokely: A Life, on the life of Stokely Carmichael.

Stokely: A Life from Basic Civitas Books.

Stokely Carmichael, the charismatic and controversial black activist, stepped onto the pages of history when he called for Black Power during a speech one Mississippi night in 1966. A firebrand who straddled both the American civil rights and Black Power movements, Carmichael would stand for the rest of his life at the center of the storm he had unleashed that night. In Stokely, preeminent civil rights scholar Peniel E. Joseph presents a groundbreaking biography of Carmichael, using his life as a prism through which to view the transformative African American freedom struggles of the twentieth century.

During the heroic early years of the civil rights movement, Carmichael and other civil rights activists advocated nonviolent measures, leading sit-ins, demonstrations, and voter registration efforts in the South that culminated with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Still, Carmichael chafed at the slow progress of the civil rights movement and responded with Black Power, a movement that urged blacks to turn the rhetoric of freedom into a reality through whatever means necessary. Marked by the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., a wave of urban race riots, and the rise of the anti-war movement, the late 1960s heralded a dramatic shift in the tone of civil rights. Carmichael became the revolutionary icon for this new racial and political landscape, helping to organize the original Black Panther Party in Alabama and joining the iconic Black Panther Party for Self Defense that would galvanize frustrated African Americans and ignite a backlash among white Americans and the mainstream media. Yet at the age of thirty, Carmichael made the abrupt decision to leave the United States, embracing a pan-African ideology and adopting the name of Kwame Ture, a move that baffled his supporters and made him something of an enigma until his death in 1998.

A nuanced and authoritative portrait, Stokely captures the life of the man whose uncompromising vision defined political radicalism and provoked a national reckoning on race and democracy.

Peniel E. Joseph is professor of history at Tufts University and the author of Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour and Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Ford Foundation, and his work has appeared in Souls, New Formations, and The Black Scholar. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Clayborne Carson has devoted most his professional life to the study of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the movements King inspired. Under his direction, the King Papers Project has produced six volumes of a definitive, comprehensive edition of speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications, and unpublished writings. Dr. Carson has also edited numerous other books based on King’s papers. A member of Stanford’s department of history, Carson has also served as visiting professor or visiting fellow at  American University, the University of California, Berkeley, Duke University, Emory University, Harvard University, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, the L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where during 2009 he was Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of that institution’s King Collection.

 

Author Dia Felix Discussing Her New Novel Nochita at City Lights

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87286100978980MWe were proud to talk to Dia Felix about her debut novel, Nochita. She discussed how her childhood molded the narrative and also about her collaborations with the Sister Spit group. Nochita is the latest novel in the City Lights/Sister Spit series.

Daughter to a divorced new age guru, Nochita wanders through the cracks of California’s counter-culture, half feral child, half absurdist prophet. When tragedy strikes she is sent to live with her father, a working-class cowboy with a fragile grasp on sobriety and a dangerously mean fiancée. Stuck with adults chillingly unable to care for her, Nochita takes to the streets, a runaway with nothing to run from, driven forward by desperation, hope and an irrepressible wonder.

Nochita is a poetic novel dazzling in its detail, stylistically daring, by turns hallucinatory, darkly funny and brutally real. At its heart is the singular voice of Nochita, tender and fierce, alone and alive and utterly unforgettable.

Dia Felix is a writer and filmmaker who’s screened films at independent festivals (Frameline, Outfest, San Francisco Film Festival), and performed literary work a lot too (Segue Series, Radar, Dixon Place). Her novel Nochita was published through City Lights/Sister Spit in early 2014. She teaches and mentors teens in experimental film making at Reel Works, a teen film making continuum in Brooklyn. She is an award-winning digital media producer for museums (Exploratorium, Museum of Arts and Design.) She is the founder and editor of Personality Press.

D. Foy & Josh Mohr Reading Live at City Lights!

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We are proud to bring you D. Foy and Josh Mohr reading from their novels at City Lights. D. Foy celebrated the release of his new novel, Made to Break from Two Dollar Radio. He was joined by local literary wonder Josh Mohr for an evening of readings and discussion.

Two days before New Years, a pack of five friends – three men and two women – head to a remote cabin near Lake Tahoe to celebrate the holidays. They’ve been buddies forever, banded together by scrapes and squalor, their relationships defined by these wild times.

After a car accident leaves one friend sick and dying, and severe weather traps them at the cabin, there is nowhere to go, forcing them to finally and ultimately take stock and confront their past transgressions, considering what they mean to one another and themselves.

With some of the most luminous and purple prose flexed in recent memory, D. Foy is an incendiary new voice and Made to Break, a grand, episodic debut, redolent of the stark conscience of Denis Johnson and the spellbinding vision of Roberto Bolaño.

D. Foy has had work published or forthcoming in Bomb, Frequencies: Volume 3, Post Road, The Literary Review, and The Georgia Review. His story, “Barnacles of the Fuzz,” appeared in Forty New Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, edited by Cal Morgan. An essay on the American laundromat will appear in Snorri Bros.’s Laundromat, an homage in photographs to laundromats throughout New York City, available from powerHouse Books.

Josh Mohr is the author of four critically acclaimed novels: Some Things That Meant the World to Me, Termite Parade, Damascudfoys, and The Fight Song.  He lives in San Francisco and teaches fiction writing.

LIVE at City Lights! Book Party for Dia Felix!

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We were proud to celebrate the release of Nochita by Dia Felix here at City Lights! Nochita is the latest novel in the City Lights/Sister Spit series, edited by Michelle Tea! Enjoy this night of reading from Felix and special guest Camille Roy!

Daughter to a divorced new age guru, Nochita wanders through the cracks of California’s counter-culture, half feral child, half absurdist prophet. When tragedy strikes she is sent to live with her father, a working-class cowboy with a fragile grasp on sobriety and a dangerously mean fiancée. Stuck with adults chillingly unable to care for her, Nochita takes to the streets, a runaway with nothing to run from, driven forward by desperation, hope and an irrepressible wonder.

Nochita is a poetic novel dazzling in its detail, stylistically daring, by turns hallucinatory, darkly funny and brutally real. At its heart is the singular voice of Nochita, tender and fierce, alone and alive and utterly unforgettable.

Praise for Nochita:87286100978980M

Nochita shimmers with humor and delight, she burns with stark raving intelligence.”—Mary Gaitskill

“In Nochita, Dia Felix builds an extraordinarily rich and inventive language to carry the kaleidoscopic point of view of her young protagonist. What a pleasure to open a book and find such exuberant and committed artistry. A stunning debut.”
—Janet Fitch