Elaine Kahn discusses her new book, Women in Public, and reads two poems in an interview with City Lights.
In Women in Public, the debut full-length collection by poet/musician Elaine Kahn, personal philosophies and collective admissions are put through the corporeal grinder, harnessing the sensual as a medium for the cerebral in order to negotiate the “feminine condition” of being simultaneously othered and consumed. In this interview, Eliane discusses her writing process, the inspiration behind her poems, and reads from her book.
City Lights celebrated the release of Women In Public, No. 13 in the City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series, on March 10, 2015 where Elaine Kahn was joined by Ali Warren, author of Here Comes the Warm Jets (City Lights Spotlight No. 10) to read several of their poems.
In Women in Public, the debut full-length collection by poet/musician Elaine Kahn, personal philosophies and collective admissions are put through the corporeal grinder, harnessing the sensual as a medium for the cerebral in order to negotiate the “feminine condition” of being simultaneously othered and consumed.
By turns seductive and self-deprecating, Women in Public navigates a world where the erotics of the body and mind do battle against the constructs that would demean and define them, using lyric, fragment, humor, and repetition to create a space flexible enough to hold the many contradictions of reality. Where expectations and desires can be piled too easily upon the body, Kahn digs in her heels, writing in attempt to liberate physical form from society’s confines.
Sandip Roy celebrates the release of his new book, Don’t Let Him Know, with Davia Nelson of the Kitchen Sisters and City Lights Book Store.
Moving from adolescent rooftop games to adult encounters in gay bars, from hair salons in Calcutta to McDonald’s drive-thrus in California, Don’t Let Him Know follows the trajectory of a family, the struggle between having what we want and doing what we feel we must – and the sacrifices we make for those we love. Tender, powerful, and beautifully told, Don’t Let Him Know marks the arrival of a brave new voice.
Sandip Roy is Senior Editor at the popular news portal Firstpost.com and blogs for the Huffington Post. He has been a longtime commentator on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio programme in the US, and has a weekly radio postcard for public radio in the San Francisco Bay Area. For years he was a radio host on KALW in San Francisco. He is also an editor with New America Media. Sandip has won several awards for journalism and contributed to various anthologies including Storywallah!, Contours of the Heart, Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India, Out! Stories from the New Queer India, New California Writing 2011 and The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India. Sandip lives in Kolkata.
Richard Kenvin celebrates the release of his new book, Surf Craft: Design and the Culture of Board Riding at City Lights Bookstore by reading the first two chapters and answering questions.
In his text, Richard Kenvin looks at the craft and design of surfboards from a historical and cultural perspective. He views board design as an exemplary model of mingei, or art of the people, and the craft philosophy of Soetsu Yanagi. Yanagi believed that a design’s true beauty and purpose are revealed when it is put to its intended use. In its purest form, the craft of board building, along with the act of surfing itself, exemplifies mingei. Surf Craft pays particular attention to Bob Simmons’s boards, which are striking examples of this kind of functional design, mirroring the work of postwar modern California designers.
Surf Craft is published in conjunction with an exhibition at San Diego’s Mingei International Museum.
George Herms celebrates the release of his new book, The River Book, at City Lights Bookstore with a guest appearance by Diane di Prima.
The River Book is the first-ever comprehensive publication on acclaimed and pivotal California assemblage artist George Herms (born 1935). The handsome, two-volume slipcased book covers his earliest works from the 1960s, through his influential assemblages from the 1970s to today, as well as his work on such films as Easy Rider, his set designs for poet and playwright Michael McClure and dancer/choreographer Fred Herko, and his fascinating collaborations with, among others, Diane di Prima and Wallace Berman, for his LOVE Press series of hand-printed books. Interspersed throughout are comments by Herms on various works and on his creative ethos. Also included is a trove of never-before-seen archival photographs of Herms’ friends, such as Wallace and Tosh Berman, Fred Herko, Diane di Prima, Kirby Doyle and Ray Johnson, as well as of Herms himself. A bonus DVD showcases the entirety of Herms’ opera The Artist’s Life. Renowned art critic Dave Hickey provides an insightful look at the artist and his milieu, and the artist himself offers witty and informative text throughout. This is truly an essential book for anyone interested in California art, the Beats, avant-garde theater and film, and fine-art printing.
Author and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz discussed her new book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the Unites States, at City Lights Bookstore.
Today, in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized indigenous communities and nations comprising nearly three million people. These individuals are the descendants of the once fifteen million people who inhabited this land and are the subject of the latest book by noted historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the indigenous peoples was genocidal and imperialist—designed to crush the original inhabitants. Spanning more than three hundred years, this classic bottom-up history significantly reframes how we view our past. Told from the viewpoint of the indigenous, it reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the U.S. empire.
Hosted by Wave Books Editor at Large Matthew Zapruder, with authors Garrett Caples, Anthony McCann, Hoa Nguyen, Cedar Sigo, & Rachel Zucker reading from their recent books published by Seattle-based poetry publishing house Wave Books.
Wave Books is an independent poetry press based in Seattle, Washington, dedicated to publishing exceptional contemporary poetry, poetry in translation, and writing by poets. The press was founded in 2005, merging with established publisher Verse Press. By publishing strong, innovative work in finely crafted trade editions and hand-made ephemera, we hope to continue to challenge the values and practices of readers and add to the collective sense of what’s possible in contemporary poetry.
In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.
Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.
The book release party for Deep Code by John Coletti, no. 12 in the City Lights Spotlight Series. John Coletti reads from his new collection, with an appearance from Micah Ballard, author of Waifs and Strays (CL Spotlight No. 6), who reads “greatest hits” and new work.
Deep Code explores “side language,” as a subset of other languages, whether slang or metaphor, to both communicate and obfuscate.
Combining a bent lyric perception with a fragmentation redolent of French cubism, Coletti portrays contemporary urban experience, from power relations and personal loss to nights among city dwellers recording their convivial distress, glad and dissolute at once. Part teddy bear fleeing the cultish outlines of the American northwest, part Apollinaire in Brooklyn, Coletti culls his materials from the ether and assembles them into resonant structures at once intensely personal and strangely universal—a little outrageous—both confusingly lovely and apt in their ungainliness. Lines like “I’m nearly home is what everyone says” and “triceratops & the bad glue / that made us good friends,” only begin to demonstrate the astute linguistic eye and deft line break sense of John Coletti.
Praise for Deep Code:
“A sonic surrealist typewriter clacks in rhythm across Colletti’s brow. Read it in his sweet-eye glance: poetry grams of tender touch. Tuff cookie meat! & mystery. Shit is electric wire awesome stuff.”––Thurston Moore
“Deep Code is a theory of expressive subterfuge performed as piecemeal continuities. Its poems are distressed & fine like all the chances we forget we’re free to make for one another, edged to mellow like the contours of a party felt in general & intimate perception.”––Dana Ward
About the Author:
John Coletti is the author of the book Mum Halo (2010) and the chapbooks Same Enemy Rainbow (2008) and Physical Kind (2005). With Anselm Berrigan, he is the author of the limited edition Skasers (2012). He has served as editor of The Poetry Project Newsletter and co-edits Open 24 Hours Press. Other projects include a collaborative print with artist Kiki Smith, a chapbook collaboration with Shana Moulton, and a libretto for Excelsior, an opera composed by Caleb Burhans commissioned by Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble which premiered in 2013.
John Coletti talks to Garrett Caples about his book, Deep Code.
Garrett Caples is the editor of the City Lights Spotlight Series, of which Deep Code is the 12th edition.
In this interview, John Coletti reads the poem “Gasoline: Toys” from the collection and talks about the story behind its composition. The two discuss the difference between the form in this new collection and his last book, Mum Halo, and much more.