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.
Thomas Page McBee speaks to City Lights about his new book, Man Alive. In this recording of the interview, McBee talks about his writing process and how he came to write the memoir. He also talks about his work in The Rumpus and what lays ahead for him in his literary career.
For more about Man Alive, go here.
Full recording of the book release party for Man Alive. Thomas Page McBee is introduced by City Lights publisher Elaine Katzenberger. Thomas reads from the book as well as his new material and takes questions from the audience about the book and his current/forthcoming projects.
What does it really mean to be a man?
Man Alive engages an extraordinary personal story to tell a universal one—how we all struggle to create ourselves, and how this struggle often requires risks. Far from a transgender transition tell-all, Man Alive grapples with the larger questions of legacy and forgiveness, love and violence, agency and invisibility.
“Thomas Page McBee’s Man Alive hurtled through my life. I read it in a matter of hours. It’s a confession, it’s a poem, it’s a time warp, it’s a brilliant work of art. I bow down to McBee—his humility, his sense of humor, his insightfulness, his structural deftness, his ability to put into words what is often said but rarely, with such visceral clarity and beauty, communicated.”—Heidi Julavits, author of The Vanishers and The Uses of Enchantment
A short conversation between Mylene Fernández-Pintado, the author of A Corner of the World, and Dick Cluster, the translator. They talk about how they met and started to work together and also comment on the translation process of A Corner of the World.
About A Corner of the World:
A cautious, reserved professor of Spanish Literature, Marian has no idea that her quiet life is about to be turned upside down. When she’s asked to review the work of a young, ambitious first-time novelist, she meets Daniel, and their love affair leads her to question both the choices she’s made so far in her life and the opportunities she might yet still have.
Theirs is the story of an intense and impossible love, set in today’s Havana, a city where there can be no plans, where chance is the order of the day and a fierce sense of loyalty and pride coexists with the desire to live beyond the island’s isolation.
A recording of the book party for A Corner of the World with opening remarks by publisher Elaine Katzenberger followed by a reading of the book in the original Spanish by Mylene Fernández-Pintado and English by translator Dick Cluster. Mylene Fernández-Pintado traveled from her home city of Havana (via Switzerland) to read from her own work and discuss the book with the translator, Dick Cluster.
Mylene Fernández-Pintado’s narrative obsessions revolve around the stories we tell ourselves to justify our actions: infidelity, promises not kept, or why live in a country cold and alienating instead of the homeland that we so painfully miss. Winner of the David Award (1998) from the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC) for her book Anhedonia. Her novel Otras Plegarias Atendidas won the Italo Calvino Prize in 2002 and the Critics’ Award in 2003. The novel was published by Editorial Marco Tropea in Italy. Her short stories appear in anthologies in Cuba and abroad, and have been translated into English, French, Italian and German. She lives between Havana and Lugano, Switzerland.
Praise for A Corner of the World:
“What I liked most about A Corner of the World, Mylene Fernández-Pintado’s wonderful novel, is how superbly human it portrays its characters. They are neither political or apolitical, and both brave and uneasy, living in a 21st century Cuba that does not easily conform to expectation. A Corner of the World is about desires and dreams, and, of course, about love.”—Achy Obejas
“Love in Havana, love found and mislaid. In thoughtfully chosen words—just those needed, and no more—Mylene Fernandez offers us a magnificent gift. Her story of lost love and the difficult pursuit of literature is at the same time an X-ray of life in Havana, set in a present where glimpses of the future have not yet arrived.”—Leonardo Padura, author of The Man Who Loved Dogs and the Mario Conde novels of Havana