Friday, May 18
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to an unexpected illness, Carmen Gimenez Smith will not be participating in the reading tonight. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.
East Bay Booksellers is excited to host a fantastic Friday night of contemporary poetry, featuring Carmen Giménez Smith and MK Chavez, on May 18th at 7pm.
Carmen Giménez Smith
"In the body, through the lyric, and twitching with every sense of the word 'nerve, ' [Cruel Futures] book sings a mongrel nation into and across its cruel futures. Like Neruda in his Plenos Poderes/Full Powers, Giménez Smith has all the mastery she needs to cast a cold eye on her positioning, and ours. In this way Cruel Futures is an autobiography that won't stay in its genre or premise, caring less to author a self than to follow turns of magic in words that might soothe our 'collisions with the living.'"--Farid Matuk
A Latina feminist State of the Union address at the intersection of pop culture and interiority.
Cruel Futures is a witchy confessional and wildly imagistic volume that examines subjects as divergent as Alzheimers, Medusa, mumblecore, and mental illness in sharp-witted, taut poems dense with song. Chronicling life on an endangered planet, in a country on the precipice of profound change compelled by a media machine that produces our realities, the book is a high-energy analysis of popular culture, as well as an exploration of the many social roles that women occupy as mother, daughter, lover, and the resulting struggle to maintain personhood--all in a late capitalist America.
Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of four poetry collections, including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. She was awarded an American Book Award for her memoir Bring Down the Little Birds (2010) and the Juniper Prize for Poetry for Goodbye, Flicker (2012). She also co-edited Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing (2014), an anthology of contemporary Latinx writing. Be Recorder will be published by Graywolf Press in 2019. She now serves on the planning committee for CantoMundo and on the board of RASA, which sponsors the Thinking Its Presence conference on race and art. She serves as the publisher of Noemi Press. She is a professor of creative writing at Virginia Tech and the poetry editor for The Nation.
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“MK Chavez wields a torrential consciousness that exists both as racing music and a suspended realm of human astronomy. Memorials share food with births. Freedom fighters and artists must be one. Patriarchy must answer for its brutalization and farce. Sketches of loves expand the boundaries of poetry. Reading her poetry, I feel invincible. Dear Animal, is the incantation before justice, and truly our return.” – Tongo Eisen-Martin, author of someone’s dead already
MK Chavez will be reading from their most recent collection, Dear Animal, which is a re-imagination of the Linnaean taxonomy from a feminist perspective. This collection is a love letter to the resilient feral female and an exploration of the myriad Animalia that dwell in the margins.
Chavez is co-founder/co-curator of the Berkeley-based monthly reading series Lyrics & Dirges, and the co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival. She believes in literary confrontation and its capacity to obliterate all forms of oppression. Recent and upcoming work can be found in Story Magazine, Aspasiology, and Jam Tarts Literary Magazine.