October 14, 2016 at Moe’s Books in Berkeley.
Molly Bendall, Watchful
Elena Karina Byrne, Squander
Jennifer S. Cheng, House A (selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the 2015 Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize)
Rebecca Gaydos, Güera
Martha Ronk, Ocular Proof
John Wilkinson, Ghost Nets
Jean Daive (tr. Norma Cole), White Decimal
Robert Andrew Perez, The Field
MOLLY BENDALL | Watchful
Molly Bendall is the author of four previous collections of poetry, After Estrangement, Dark Summer, Ariadne’s Island, and Under the Quick. She also has a co-authored, with the poet Gail Wronsky, Bling & Fringe from What Books. Her poems and translations have appeared in many anthologies, including American Hybrid and Poems for the Millenium. She has won the Eunice Tietjens Prize from Poetry, The Lynda Hull Award from Denver Quarterly, and two Pushcart Prizes. Currently she teaches at the University of Southern California.
ELENA KARINA BYRNE | Squander
Elena Karina Byrne’s previous poetry books include The Flammable Bird (Zoo Press) and MASQUE (Tupelo Press). She is currently completing an essay collection: Voyeur Hour: Meditations on Poetry, Art and Desire. A Pushcart Prize winner, her publications include Best American Poetry, Yale Review, Paris Review, APR, Poetry, Verse, Kenyon Review, Volt, TriQuarterly, Denver Quarterly. Former Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America Elena Karina Byrne is Poetry Consultant for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Ruskin Art Club’s Literary Programs Director, and one of the final judges for the Kate/Kingsley Tufts Prizes in Poetry.
JENNIFER S. CHENG | HOUSE A
(winner of the 2015 Omnidawn 1st/2nd Book Prize, selected by Claudia Rankine)
Jennifer S. Cheng is a poet and essayist with MFA degrees from the University of Iowa and San Francisco State University and a BA from Brown University. A US Fulbright scholar, Kundiman fellow, and Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of an image-text chapbook, Invocation: An Essay(New Michigan Press), and her writing appears in Tin House, AGNI, Mid-American Review, DIAGRAM, Tarpaulin Sky, The Volta and elsewhere. Having grown up in Texas, Hong Kong, and Connecticut, she currently lives in San Francisco. www.jenniferscheng.com.
REBECCA GAYDOS | Güera
Rebecca Gaydos was born in Santa Barbara, California, where her mother and father worked as professional ballet dancers. At UC Berkeley, she won the Eisner Prize in Poetry and earned her Ph.D. in English. She has taught literature and writing at Diablo Valley College, San Quentin State Prison, and UC Berkeley. Currently, in addition to writing poetry, she is editing an unpublished novella by poet Larry Eigner and completing a scholarly book on the significance of technoscientific thought in post-World War II American poetry.
MARTHA RONK | Ocular Proof
Martha Ronk is the author of 11 books of poetry and one book of short stories, Glass Grapes. Her most recent poetry books include Transfer of Qualities, Omnidawn 2013, long-listed for the National Book Award and Vertigo, Coffeehouse Press, 2007, winner of the National Poetry Series. She has had several artist residences at Djerassi and MacDowell, won a National Endowment Grant, and the Lynda Hull Poetry Award. Her PhD is in Renaissance literature and she has been a faculty member at Occidental College in Los Angeles and during the fall 2015 at Otis College of Art and Design.
JOHN WILKINSON | Ghost Nets
John Wilkinson is a British poet who has had two distinct careers, in mental health services in the UK as a nurse, social worker, and policy maker, and subsequently as a university teacher in the US where he now chairs Creative Writing and Poetics at the University of Chicago. In historical, critical and reference works, John Wilkinson’s writing has come to be treated as a major force in recent British poetry.
JEAN DAIVE (tr. NORMA COLE) | White Decimal
The publication of Décimale blanche in 1967 marked a major shift in French poetry, introducing an entirely new sensibility. Fifty years later, Norma Cole’s superb new translation is no less exciting. Not only is it a masterful rendition of this classic, capturing all its spare force and uncanny grace, but it also stands in its own right as an important contribution to American poetry. White Decimal is a striking literary event, and an extremely beautiful one.
ROBERT ANDREW PEREZ | The Field
The field marks liminal borders threatening to enlarge into “states”. Thus, the logic of hypnopompia haunts, even overdetermines, the series of poems titled “hypnagogia logia,” conjuring the song of the goat (who, like Ophelia, cannot sing). The field locates itself somewhere between the worlds of of Hannah Weiner and John Berryman where the fitful dreams of freedom remain entangled in a nightmarish “forest of mirrors.” Under multiplying erasures—band, noun, novel, metaphor, etc.—and the multiplication of hes—desire collapses back into the world as such: “elegy is an elegy of elegy.” In such a world there is only the possibility of a “hand” pulling oneself across the chasm—the grave—of generalized, encrypted dissociation.