Editor of the City Lights/Spotlight Poetry series Garrett Caples interviewed poet Alli Warren before she embarked on her October East Coast tour. Back in the Bay Area, Alli Warren reads Thursday, Dec. 5th at the Poetry Center in San Francisco.
They discussed Here Come the Warm Jets, Warren’s first full-length book, what it’s like to have a debut book out with City Lights, and why Warren chose the Brian Eno reference for her title.
“Warren’s first book of poems is highly self-reflective, interestingly interrogative, and a lot of fun.”—Booklist
“Without a doubt, she is one of the best young writers in the Bay Area.”—SF Weekly
Charged with swagger and sensuality, tenderness and cold fact, the 10th Spotlight series installment, Here Come the Warm Jets, is the brash debut volume by Bay Area poet Alli Warren. Taking its title from the Brian Eno classic, Jets jumbles gender, class, and space-time perspectives into a chorus of contemporary idioms and lyrical longings. Against the daunting backdrop of contemporary political-economy, Warren launches her missives of desire, in writing that is at once raw and sly. From the Bishop of Worms to Flipper to E-40, nobody’s safe from the easy virtuosity with which she makes language sing.
An Army of Lovers begins with the story of two poets, Demented Panda and Koki, united in their desire to write politically engaged poetry at a time when poetry seems to have lost its ability to effect social change. Their first project is more than a failure, resulting in a spell that unleashes a torrent of raw sewage and surrealistic embodiments of consumerist excess and black site torture techniques. Subsequent chapters feature an experimental composer (Koki?) and a performance artist (Panda?) whose bodies are literally invaded with the ills of capitalism, manifested through leaking blisters and other maladies, as well as a radical remix of a Raymond Carver story, questioning “What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry.” The novel concludes with Panda and Koki returning to the site of their failed collaboration to conjure up a more utopian vision of “an army of lovers.” Fantastical, lyrical, whimsical and wildly experimental, An Army of Lovers is as serious as it is absurd.
Robert Antoni and Lucy Corin reading from their new works and discussing literature:
As Flies To Whatless Boys, by Robert Antoni, Akashic Books
One Hundred Apocalypses, by Lucy Corin, McSweeney’s Books
Co-sponsored by Akashic Books and McSweeney’s
As Flies To Whatless Boys: Tragedy and humor meet in an adventure-packed, historical novel about a British incursion into the island of Trinidad in 1845.
One Hundred Apocalypses: Lucy Corin’s dazzling new collection is powered by one hundred apocalypses: a series of short stories, many only a few lines, that illumintae moments of vexation and crisis, revelations and revolutions. At once mournful and explosively energetic, One Hundred Apocalypses makes manifest the troubled conscience of an uneasy time.
Robert Antoni is the author of the landmark novel Divina Trace, for which he received a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and an NEA grant. His other books include Blessed Is the Fruit, My Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales, and Carnival. He was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow (for his work on As Flies to Whatless Boys), and recently received the NALIS Lifetime Literary Award from the Trinidad & Tobago National Library. He now lives in Manhattan and teaches in the graduate writing program at the New School University. Visit: www.robertantoni.com/
Lucy Corin is a fiction writer whose work has appeared in journals including American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Conjunctions, and Tin House Magazine, and in anthologies such as Algonquin’s New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best (1997 and 2003), and The Iowa Anthology of Innovative Narrative. Her novel, Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls was published by FC2 in 2004. She was a Walter E. Dakin fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2006, and Margaret Bridgman Fellow at Bread Loaf in 2008. McSweeney’s Books published her short story collection The Entire Predicament in 2007. She’s a 2012 recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize. Ms. Corin is an Associate Professor of English at U.C. Davis. Visit: http://lucycorin.com
Cool, Gray City of Love brings together an exuberant combination of personal insight, deeply researched history, in-depth reporting, and lyrical prose to create an unparalleled portrait of San Francisco. Each of its 49 chapters explores a specific site or intersection in the city, from the mighty Golden Gate Bridge to the raunchy Tenderloin to the soaring sea cliffs at Land’s End.
This unique approach captures the exhilarating experience of walking through San Francisco’s sublime terrain, while at the same time tying that experience to a history as rollicking and unpredictable as the city herself. From her absurd beginnings as the most distant and moth-eaten outpost of the world’s most extensive empire, to her instantaneous fame during the Gold Rush, from her apocalyptic destruction by earthquake and fire to her perennial embrace of rebels, dreamers, hedonists and misfits of all stripes, the City by the Bay has always followed a trajectory as wildly independent as the untrammeled natural forces that created her.
This ambitious, eclectic, and beautifully written book draws on everything from on-the-ground reporting to obscure academic papers to the author’s 40-year life in San Francisco to create a rich and insightful portrait of a magical corner of the world. Complete with hand-drawn maps ofthe 49locations, this handsome package will sit comfortably on the short shelf of enduring books about places, alongside E. B. White’s Here is New York, Jose Saramago’s Journey to Portugal, or Alfred Kazin’s A Walker in the City.
Gary Kamiya was a co-founder of the online magazine Salon.com and its longtime executive editor where he wrote about politics, literature, the Middle East, sports, music, art, race, travel, and film, among other subjects. He has written for The New York Times Book Review, Sports Illustrated, Artforum and many other magazines. His first book, Shadow Knights: The Secret War Against Hitler, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2010.
Responsible for such landmark publications as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Naked Lunch, Waiting for Godot,The Wretched of the Earth , and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Grove Press was the most innovative publisher of the postwar era. Counterculture Colophon tells the story of how the press and its house journal, The Evergreen Review, revolutionized the publishing industry and radicalized the reading habits of the “paperback generation.” In the process, it offers a new window onto the 1960s, from 1951, when Barney Rosset purchased the fledgling press for $3,000, to 1970, when the multimedia corporation into which he had built the company was crippled by a strike and feminist takeover.
Grove Press was not only responsible for ending censorship of the printed word in the United States but also for bringing avant-garde literature, especially drama, into the cultural mainstream as part of the quality paperback revolution. Much of this happened thanks to Rosset, whose charismatic leadership was crucial to Grove’s success. With chapters covering world literature and the Latin American boom, including Grove’s close association with UNESCO and the rise of cultural diplomacy; experimental drama such as the theater of the absurd, the Living Theater, and the political epics of Bertolt Brecht; pornography and obscenity, including the landmark publication of the complete work of the Marquis de Sade; revolutionary writing, featuring Rosset’s daring pursuit of the Bolivian journals of Che Guevara; and underground film, including the innovative development of the pocket filmscript, Loren Glass covers the full spectrum of Grove’s remarkable achievement as a communications center of the counterculture.
Writer, performer and independent film actress, Beth Lisick has made a career of opening her life to her readers in all of its messy, smart hilarity, but the stories in Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames don’t usually find their way into a memoir. With her trademark humor and sly intelligence, writing in short flashes the way these episodes tend to pop up in memory, Lisick recounts her most embarrassing moments with gusto. The results is a candid and wickedly funny collection of everyday mortification.
Here she is chatting with City Lights staffer Jolene Torr about the bad judgments and free-floating regrets that keep her up at night, and why she’s okay with writing about what most people would rather forget than relive.
“. . . a strangely touching and engaging portrait of the artist as a young screwup.”—Booklist
“. . . the ultimate joyride for those of us who enjoy cringe-worthy embarrassment, genuine pathos, and an overdosing amount of schadenfreude.”—Michael Ian Black
“This book is fucking great.”—Kathleen Hanna
“. . . a laugh-out-loud series of short, revelatory confessions propelled by curiosity and an acute desire to experience the world. . . . Lisick does it with aplomb and even exuberance.”—SF Weekly
“I laughed and cringed and cared more and more. Thank you, Beth Lisick, it was and continues to be worth all the struggles.”—Matthew Zapruder
“Speaking as someone who hates everything, I love this book.”—James Greer
“. . . hilarious, heartbreaking, compassionate, pitch perfect, utterly original.”—Joyce Maynard
“Lisick’s writing reminds us how simultaneously wonderful and terrible it is to be alive.”—Kim Wong Keltner
Come celebrate the release of the latest issue of ZYZZYVA—the Spring issue, No. 97. Since 1985, the acclaimed literary journal focused on the West Coast and headquartered in San Francisco has been publishing the best in fiction, prose, poetry and art.
Local contributors Herbert Gold, Lori Ostlund, Christian Kiefer and Debbie Graber read from their work in the Spring issue. Editors Laura Cogan and Oscar Villalon will host.
Herbert Gold’s novels include Birth of a Hero (1951), The Man Who Was not With It (1956), and Fathers (1967). His nonfiction work includes the book Haiti: Best Nightmare on Earth (2001) and his memoir Still Alive! A Temporary Condition. He lives in San Francisco.
Lori Ostlund’s story collection The Bigness of the World (University of Georgia Press) was awarded the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award. She lives in San Francisco.
Debbie Graber’s work has appeared in Inlandia: A Literary Journal. She lives in Southern California.
Christian Kiefer’s first novel is The Infinite Tides (Bloomsbury USA), which comes out in paperback in May. He lives in Northern California.
Laura Cogan is the Editor of ZYZZYVZ
Oscar Villalon is the former book editor at the San Francisco. His reviews appear on NPR.org and KQED’s “The California Report.” He is the Managing Editor of ZYZZYVA.
ZYZZYVA publishes the best prose, poetry, and visual art produced by West Coast writers and artists—along with the occasional piece from east of California. Since 1985, they’ve published such writers as Sherman Alexie, Raymond Carver, Aimee Bender, Po Bronson, F.X. Toole, Haruki Murakami, Richard Rodriguez, and Daniel Handler; poets such as Kay Ryan, Adrienne Rich, Matthew Zapruder, Czeslaw Milosz, W.S. Di Piero, and Francisco X. Alarcon, and have featured work from such artists as Ed Ruscha, Sandow Birk, Laurie Anderson, Richard Diebenkorn, and Wayne Thiebaud.
The vast majority of all email sent every day is spam, a variety of idiosyncratically spelled requests to provide account information, invitations to spend money on dubious products, and pleas to send cash overseas. Most of it is caught by filters before ever reaching an in-box. Where does it come from? As Finn Brunton explains in Spam, it is produced and shaped by many different populations around the world: programmers, con artists, bots and their botmasters, pharmaceutical merchants, marketers, identity thieves, crooked bankers and their victims, cops, lawyers, network security professionals, vigilantes, and hackers. Every time we go online, we participate in the system of spam, with choices, refusals, and purchases the consequences of which we may not understand. This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam’s entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms — spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves.
New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut
published by Duke University press
B. Ruby Rich designated a brand new genre, the New Queer Cinema (NQC), in her groundbreaking article in the Village Voice in 1992. This movement in film and video was intensely political and aesthetically innovative, made possible by the debut of the camcorder, and driven initially by outrage over the unchecked spread of AIDS. The genre has grown to include an entire generation of queer artists, filmmakers, and activists.
As a critic, curator, journalist, and scholar, Rich has been inextricably linked to the New Queer Cinema from its inception. This volume presents her new thoughts on the topic, as well as bringing together the best of her writing on the NQC. She follows this cinematic movement from its origins in the mid-1980s all the way to the present in essays and articles directed at a range of audiences, from readers of academic journals to popular glossies and weekly newspapers. She presents her insights into such NQC pioneers as Derek Jarman and Isaac Julien and investigates such celebrated films as Go Fish, Brokeback Mountain, Itty Bitty Titty Committee, and Milk. In addition to exploring less-known films and international cinemas (including Latin American and French films and videos), she documents the more recent incarnations of the NQC on screen, on the web, and in art galleries.
from Akashic Books
Ian Svenonius’s experience as an iconic underground rock musician–playing in such highly influential and revolutionary outfits as The Make-Up and The Nation of Ulysses–gives him special insight on techniques for not only starting but also surviving a rock ‘n’ roll group. Therefore, he’s written an instructional guide, which doubles as a warning device, a philosophical text, an exercise in terror, an aerobics manual, and a coloring book.
This volume features essays on everything the would-be star should know to get started, such as Sex, Drugs, Sound, Group Photo, The Van, and Manufacturing Nostalgia. The book will also have black-and-white illustrations. Supernatural Strategies will serve as an indispensable guide for a new generation just aching to boogie.