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Shanahan, Charif 2022

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Keetje Kuipers and Charif Shanahan
Zoom

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Not that you would reinvent your life each second, but that you could.
How many lives do we get to live?
What happened at the beginning, that first major intersection: back in NYC,
Back from school, fallen out of school, dropped like a squashed-up napkin,
You did not choose to walk in that direction, you wandered there, then
Stayed. Not because you wanted to stay
But because others wanted to decide who stayed.

– Charif Shanahan, “Fig Tree”

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Watch Charif Shanahan’s 2022 reading with Keetje Kuipers at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Charif Shanahan begins at 1:57 minutes.

Specks of toothpaste fleck the mirror.
A fan spins dust in the hall.
I find “this is it” too vulgar to accept
So I wait for a new starting point
As though life will begin there and then.
Do you know what I mean?
Not what I’m saying, what I mean.

– Charif Shanahan, “While I Wash My Face I Ask Impossible Questions of Myself and Those Who Love Me”

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Watch Charif Shanahan read his work at the San Francisco Public Library:

Read Charif Shanahan’s interview with Poets.org as part of their “emjambments” series:

Charif Shanahan on Making the Unseen Seen through Poetry

Lit Hub is excited to feature another entry in a new series from Poets.org: “enjambments,” a monthly interview series with new and established poets. This month, they spoke to Charif Shanahan, the …

More info on Charif Shanahan⇒

Kuipers, Keetje 2022

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Keetje Kuipers and Charif Shanahan
Zoom

bw+elbow

Fall open, unfold me. Hook and eye
undone with one hand, fingers that know
their way now in the dark. You contain
me: underwire circling my breasts in
half-bangle like the copper bracelets
lemniscating wrists of women who’ve
never worn bras, never held back
their multitudes.

– Keetje Kuipers, “Still Life with Nursing Bra”

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Watch Keetja Kuipers’ 2022 reading with Charif Shanahan at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Keetje Kuipers begins at 22:21 minutes.

Read Keetje Kuipers’ interview with The Adroit Journal:

Issue Twenty-Nine: A Conversation with Keetje Kuipers | The Adroit Journal – The Adroit Journal

The morning of our interview, Keetje texted me to warn me she was feeling “super vulnerable” in a melancholy way. As we began to wander the reserve, the melancholy dissipated, but vulnerability endured. I’m grateful for that. Vulnerability is, as you will soon see, precisely what makes this conversation so special.

I drive through the yellow ribcage of maples
arching the road, past the butch woman I want
to be, raking leaves in her front yard, hair
slicked back at the sides.

– Keetje Kuipers, “Spa Days”

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Watch Keetje Kuipers read her poetry as part of the Alaska Quarterly Review Reading Series:

More info on Keetje Kuipers⇒

Low, Lisa 2022

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Carlina Duan and Lisa Low
Zoom

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But in the privacy
of my own home, I stroke my hair
like a hipster who wants wisdom
from his beard. I can’t stop admiring
myself to my husband, who isn’t
as amazed as I am about follicles containing
2 or 3 strands, or the different lengths
of hair like actual grass. My first
female friend with armpit hair was beautiful
and, of course, white, and I lived for a few years
in a town full of organic gardening, armpit hair,
and white feminism.

– Lisa Low, “Ode to Armpit Hair”

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Watch Lisa Low’s 2022 reading with Carlina Duan at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Lisa Low begins at 19:02 minutes.

Read Lisa Low’s interview with The Massachusetts Review:

10 Questions for Lisa Low

Massachusetts Review

In childhood, I watched strangers speak in slow motion to my mother in a language she started learning when she was five. I watched their lips—their eyebrows like someone holding a toy out to a child.

– Lisa Low, “My Mother’s Body in America”

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Listen to Lisa Low speak with Su Cho and Marianne Chan on The Poetry Magazine Podcast:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/156446/su-cho-in-conversation-with-marianne-chan-and-lisa-low

More info on Lisa Low⇒

Duan, Carlina 2022

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Carlina Duan and Lisa Low
Zoom

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in the basement with a broom. we
were kids, feral. gooseberry jam. real
smart lipped. four-square, too. cool
asphalt, shiny sneaker kings. we
watched the rats after she left
for work. tails: grey cords coiled. school
in the basement, slant windows, we
sat near a tipping sun.

– Carlina Duan, “Nainai Killed Rats”

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Watch Carlina Duan’s 2022 reading with Lisa Low at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Carlina Duan begins at 3:14 minutes.

Read Carlina Duan’s interview with The Cincinnati Review:

Microreview and Interview: Carlina Duan’s “Alien Miss”

A conversation with Carlina Duan about her newest collection, “Alien Miss.”

I don’t want to hear the physics behind everything I do. I know it’s there, lurking like a greyhound moon in between my toothpaste, my thumbs, the body’s scribble. There are skin cells on my jeans. there is plurality in the way I leave myself behind.

– Carlina Duan, “Moon Pull”

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Read Carlina Duan’s interview with Asian American Writers’ Workshop:

Confronting the Author: A Conversation with Carlina Duan

“I wanted to turn to actual living language-and reveal, through poetry, the contradictions or erasures or sometimes comic possibilities imposed by different texts.”

More info on Carlina Duan⇒

May, Jamaal 2022

Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Jamaal May and Ola Faleti
Zoom

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There are birds here,
so many birds here
is what I was trying to say
when they said those birds were metaphors
for what is trapped
between buildings
and buildings. No.

– Jamaal May, “There Are Birds Here”

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Watch Jamaal May perform his poem “Sky Now Black With Birds”:

A lot of it lives in the trachea, you know.
But not so much that you won’t need more muscle:
the diaphragm, a fist clenching at the bottom.
Inhale. So many of us are breathless,
you know, like me
kneeling to collect the pottery shards
of a house plant my elbow has nudged
into oblivion.

– Jamaal May, “Respiration”

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Watch Jamaal May talk about his poetry collection The Big Book of Exit Strategies
Book
:

More info on Jamaal May⇒

Faleti, Ola 2022

Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Jamaal May and Ola Faleti
Zoom

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Moist Guinness bottles cling to our thighs. You taught me how to taste the full-bodied. How to
take a pit and weaponize it, which feels right as we swivel the fruit in our mouths. We separate
red flesh from stem too easy, like the stem was never important for the body’s growth.

– Ola Faleti, “Cherries”

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Read Ola Faleti’s prose piece “On Formative Spaces”:

on formative spaces – ola faleti

To say 2023 has been a whirlwind would be an understatement of the highest order, hence the lapse in posts. Let’s just say I’m in the midst of launching multiple creative ventures/projects (!!!) at the moment.

sadness is the species of knowing; all mirth, sunshine,
cotton candy pink and sticky mouth, pretty horses, dragon…

– Ola Faleti, “because we are ours, no matter the distance”

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More info on Ola Faleti⇒

Sia, Andy 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Andy Sia and Matthew Olzmann
Zoom

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I am a ghostwriter. That is, I am a ghost who writes. I have wanted to write. It seems like such a human thing to do. But I could not even hold up a quill. Everything slips through my flimsy grasp. Undeterred, I begin work on a novel in my mind. I have to work fast, you see, because thoughts keep leaking out of my insubstantial head.

– Andy Sia, “The Ghostwriter”

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Read Andy Sia’s interview with The Massachusetts Review:

10 Questions for Andy Sia

Massachusetts Review

To-day I deploy the fur-trimmed and sequined lids over the paper eyes, I work the apparatus known as the “mouth”: How else am I to dispel us of the charade, Viewer, peel off the loveliest mask of you?

– Andy Sia, “Lion Dance”

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More info on Andy Sia⇒

Olzmann, Matthew 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Blue Hour Reading Series with Andy Sia and Matthew Olzmann
Zoom

bw+elbow

Look at it now! It rockets upward, almost vertical,
beginning in his backyard, puncturing
the cloud cover, and everyone speculates
where it will end. It will end
where all ambitions end: in the ether,
where the body ceases, and a story continues.

– Matthew Olzmann, “Build, Now, a Monument”

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Watch Matthew Olzmann’s 2022 reading at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Watch Matthew Olzmann read one of his poems here:

On Earth, when my wife is sleeping,
I like to look out at the sky.
I like to watch TV shows about supernovas,
and contemplate things that are endless
like the heavens and, maybe, love.

– Matthew Olzmann, “Astronomers Locate a New Planet”

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Read Matthew Olzmann’s interview with Four Way Review:

INTERVIEW WITH Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann’s latest collection, Constellation Route, is out now from Alice James. He has published two previous collections, Contradictions in the Design and Mezzanines, and he has received fe…

More info on Matthew Olzmann⇒

Villar, Richard 2021

Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Reading Series with Richard Villar and Elana Bell
Zoom

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because civil cafesito
and politics cannot coexist
and we do not question
our birth certificates
unless we are agents of Homeland Security
because we were born American citizens
and as such are eligible to die
at a higher rate
in exchange for houses in Orlando
that we do not own.

– Richard Villar, “Always Here”

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Watch Richard Villar’s 2021 reading with Elana Bell at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Richard Villar begins at 20:40 minutes.

The draft in your windows wakes you.
A jazzman reads you D.H. Lawrence,
wishing your waist was muted trumpet,
your moans the notes to Corcovado.

– Richard Villar, “Aubade at 12:56pm”

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More info on Richard Villar⇒

Bell, Elana 2021

Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Reading Series with Richard Villar and Elana Bell
Zoom

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To hold the bird and not to crush her, that is the secret. Sand turned too quickly to cement and who cares if the builders lose their arms? The musk of smoldered rats on sticks that trailed their tails through tunnels underground. Trickster of light, I walk your cobbled alleys all night long and drink your salt.

– Elana Bell, “Letter to Jerusalem”

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Watch Elana Bell’s 2021 reading with Richard Villar at the Chicago Poetry Center:

Elana Bell begins at 5:27 minutes.

What else to call the way the bare branches
I’d bought at the neighborhood bodega
came back to life that winter.
I’d carried them home—dry, wrapped
in paper—stuck them in the square vase,
and, as an afterthought, filled it with water.

– Elana Bell, “Miracle”

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Watch Elana Bell read as part of Poets.org’s P.O.P. series:

More info on Elana Bell⇒