SPRING 2006 at Small Press Traffic
January 13 - 27 2006
All seats $10 to benefit Small Press Traffic; seating is first come, first served. We hope to see you here!
Poets Theater features poets as writers, directors, producers, and actors. This year’s Jamboree is curated by Del Ray Cross, Brent Cunningham, Kevin Killian, Rodney Koeneke, Konrad Steiner, Eileen Tabios, & Stephanie Young.
Friday, January 13, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Entre acts: Jon Brumit playing his Typewriter-Piano, Electronic Jingletron, and other Instruments of Delight
“Asphodel In Hell's Despite" by John Wieners, directed by Kevin Killian
“Who is the Real JT LeRoy?” Written & directed by Mattilda (a/k/a Matt Bernstein Sycamore)
“Love(r) For Sale: A Tango Deconstructed By E-BAY” Written & directed by Michelle Bautista & Eileen Tabios
“A Play, A Play” by Paolo Javier, directed by Del Ray Cross Curator: Del Ray Cross
Scenes from “The Lady Contemplation” (1662) by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, directed by Elizabeth Treadwell
“A Vinculum” by Chris Vitiello, directed by Mary Burger
Friday, January 20, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
With Mistress of Ceremonies Roxi Power Hamilton
Presented in association with SF Cinematheque Neo-benshi is the result of the dalliance between poets and moving pictures from which is born a new breed of entertainment. Restoring cinema to the theater and casting the movies away from their original dialog, nine writers re-adapt films to their own intent. Subtext and potentials are revealed in the performances to scenes from the following features (all titles are anagrams to protect the guilty).
"Fall Down & Bounce" (1972) A well-loved fire and slice samurai adventure adapted from a well-known japanese manga. benshi: Leslie Scalapino
"No to Torture Inflicted" (1939) Romantic comedy sparring Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and Eve Arden. benshi: Alan Bernheimer
"My High: The Death Thing" (1954) A transpacific flight of both colorful and renegade passengers. benshis: Dodie Bellamy, Colter Jacobsen & Kevin Killian
"Ahem, Conspiracy!" (2000) Macabre tale of a crazy criminal investment banker. benshi: Ronald Palmer
"It's Sweet & So Dry" (1961) A celebration in dance and song of tense race relations. benshi: Dennis Somera
"An Horseman's Option" (1952) A strong woman cornered in the seedy English countryside. benshi: Tanya Brolaski
"By Bob" (1973) From Bollywood, the sweet agony of love bridging the castes. benshi: Summi Kaipa
Friday, January 27, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
3 Short Pieces from “Doings” by Jackson Mac Low, directed by Brent Cunningham
“Hard to Kill: The Selfish Gene Thinks Outside the Box” written & directed by Sean Finney
“Donning Cheadle” written & directed by Geraldine Kim
Short Dramatic Monologue by Margaret Tedesco
“The Late Education of Sasha Wolff, Or, The Son and Heiress” (An Excerpt) written & directed by Shonni Enelow
“Poet’s Survivor” written & directed by Neil Alger
Friday, February 10, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Gloria Frym’s most recent collection of poems, Homeless at Home , won an American Book Award in 2002. A new collection, Solution Simulacra , is forthcoming from United Artists Books in 2006. Frym’s other books include the story collections Distance No Object (City Lights Books), and How I Learned (Coffee House Press); a number of other poetry collections; and a book of interviews, Second Stories: Conversations with Women Artists (Chronicle Books). The Austin Chronicle says “ Gloria Frym's Distance No Object is possibly ahead of its time while masquerading as an elegy for an end to an era.”
Generous, prolific, and beloved, Bernadette Mayer is one of the major figures of her generation of experimental poets. The San Francisco Chronicle calls her “ "One of the most interesting, exciting, and open of late-20th century experimental poets." Mayer joins us from New York in celebration of her new book, Scarlet Tanager, out last year from New Directions. Her other books include Proper Name and Other Stories (1996), The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (1994), The Bernadette Mayer Reader (1992), Sonnets (1989), Midwinter Day (1982), The Golden Book of Words (1978), and Ceremony Latin (1964).
Friday, February 24, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Gillian Conoley’s latest collection, Profane Halo, is just out with Verse Press. Barbara Guest writes of it: “ Out of the old beliefs a new language speaks. We said this yesterday, and today the words are stronger…I am excited by the triumph of this writing.” Conoley’s previous books include Lovers in the Used World; Tall Stranger, nominated for the National Book Critics' Circle Award; Beckon; and Some Gangster Pain. She is Professor and Poet-in-Residence at Sonoma State University, where she is the founder and editor of Volt.
Jane Sprague's chapbooks include monster: a bestiary, break / fast, The Port of Los Angeles, and Fuck Your Pastoral. Her poems have been published in many print and online magazines including How2, Kiosk, Columbia Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Tinfish, ecopoetics, kultureflash, and Bird Dog. She began and curated the West End Reading Series in Ithaca, New York before relocating to Long Beach, California, where she currently lives with her husband and son. She publishes Palm Press: www.palmpress.org.
Friday, March 3, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Burger writes: “Narrative exists in the tension between disbelief and its suspension. The seduction of narrative is that it creates an experience of events in time, but that we are aware, in the midst of this experience, that what we are experiencing is a representation. Narrative is not a window onto the world, a transcription of an interior monologue, or a faithful account of things as they happened, though it may assume any of these guises or others. As participants in narrative, we have the power and the pleasure of being in more than one place at one time—or, of being at more than one time in one place…. Is narrative an engagement with events, or an enactment of events? Is our understanding of time, of events taking place in time, separable from our use of narrative to represent events in time? Or, are all of our understandings of time ultimately instances of narrative?”
Mary Burger is the author of Sonny (Leon Works) and a co-editor of Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative (Coach House Books). She edits Second Story Books, featuring works of experimental narrative. An Apparent Event , an anthology of Second Story chapbooks, will be published in 2006.
Friday, March 17, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Kazim Ali joins us in celebration of his first poetry collection, The Far Mosque, just out from Alice James Books. Publishers’ Weekly writes: “ Painterly minimalism, open-field technique and Near Eastern traditions together give Ali a neatly varied verbal palette for his smart, quietly attractive poems.” Ali is also the author of a novel, Quinn’s Passage, and his essays and poems have appeared in Five Fingers Review, Mirage #4/Period(ical), The Iowa Review , and elsewhere. He teaches at Shippensburg University, publishes Nightboat Books, and has a website at kazimali.com.
Ron Sukenick commented that “Mark Wallace writes like John Hawkes dreaming of Paul Bowles having a gothic nightmare.” Wallace’s books include the poetry collections Nothing Happened and Besides I Wasn’t There, Sonnets of a Penny-A-Liner , and Temporary Worker Rides A Subway. His multi-genre work Haze (Edge Books) appeared in 2004, as did his novel Dead Carnival (Avec Books). He is coeditor of Telling It Slant: Avant Garde Poetics of the 1990s (University of Alabama Press) and A Poetics of Criticism (Leave Books). Wallace currently teaches at CSU San Marcos.
Friday, March 24, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Cohen writes: “What is our obligation as lyric poets to other beings? How are contemporary lyric poems, as they plumb and/or rewire our subjectivities, opening up new modes of ethical relation with the world and other beings? In the lyric’s fantastical mirror animals often serve as figures for human nature. Indeed, our sense of human being is dependent upon an animal Other for its sovereignty—the man/beast dichotomy. We share an undeniable intimacy with animals, but there is a massive gulf between us. In part we are troubled that animals may be watching us and, at the same time, we are troubled that, perhaps, they are not. If only they had language, it would seem, we might understand them—or, because they don’t have language, the common thinking goes, they are fundamentally different than people and can, therefore, be treated inhumanely. But it’s not just language that makes us human, it is also the ability to recognize ourselves in the mirror. In fact, according to Jacques Lacan, for whom language is so central to understanding the human, we enter the phallic order of culture not through *talking* but through gazing at ourselves in *mirrors* as toddlers. And, similarly, in Ethology and the animal rights movement, some animals’ ability to recognize themselves in mirrors (not their ability to use language) has become key in the debate about animal self-consciousness. What do animals have to tell us about our mirrored selves? If mirrors open a passageway into the order of human history and law, then is there a way to look into mirrors—or lyric poems—that would open us to non-human voices and systems?”
Alicia Cohen is a poet, artist, critic, and teacher. Her book of poems, Bear, was published by Handwritten Press in 2000. In 2003 she wrote, directed, and produced a multimedia opera and gallery installation about Portland, Northwest Inhabitation Log. She holds a PhD in Poetics from SUNY Buffalo and was recently a visiting professor of English at Reed College. She is a co-founder of the art space collective Pacific Switchboard in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her husband and new baby.
Friday, April 7, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Tonya Foster joins us from New York City. Her work appears in the Subpress anthology Free Radicals: American Poets Before Their First Books and she is co-editor of The Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art published by Teachers & Writers Collaborative. From her poem "Cinematic Neurosis: An American Journal": "A memory of a thing is only an idea/of the thing without the shape/by which we recognize it—a mountain, an afternoon,/a blueberry, a squat, a pause. You—"
Joanna Fuhrman also joins us from New York, in celebration of her new book, Moraine, just out from Hanging Loose. The Wall Street Journal called her first book, Freud in Brooklyn (2000), "an impressive first collection," and Publishers Weekly called her second, Ugh Ugh Ocean (2003), "a major advance...intellectually challenging...passionate and politically savvy." Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including Lit, New American Writing, The New York Times, American Letters and Commentary, and American Poetry: Next Generation.
Friday, April 14, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Christine Hume joins us in celebration of her 2004 book, Alaskaphrenia (New Issues), which received a Book of the Year Award from Small Press Traffic. The Board’s citation reads, in part: “… the wildly talented Christine Hume hits her stride about two lines into the very first poem, then never lets up all the way to the roller-coaster finish…we find a lucid, warm, disjunction which welcomes the mind and the body to join in as one, several entrances to each of her splendid rooms.” Hume’s earlier book, Musca Domestica (Beacon Press, 2000), won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize.
Shanxing Wang joins us from New York in celebration of his first collection, Mad Science in Imperial City, just out from Futurepoem. Lyn Hejinian calls it: “ a work of genius. It is intended to be so, and it is saturated with the melancholy and exhibits something of the fear that genius in its machinations may produce. The book is also comic, sometimes desperately and more often happily so; the forces of genius are multiple…. [This book] proceeds through involutions and across equations to create an astonishingly original counter to the catastrophe of the contemporary world.”
Friday, May 12, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Maxine Chernoff joins us in celebration of her latest collection of poetry, Among the Names (Apogee, 2005), which Elizabeth Robinson says “suggests poetry as a vehicle for ethics--not in sense of proscribing moral virtue, but as a mode of experience in which acuteness of perception can model both compassion and sharp critique. Chernoff is an alchemically subtle reader of human economies." Chernoff is the author of six collections of fiction and seven books of poetry. She chairs the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State and co-edits New American Writing . Chernoff lives in Mill Valley.
Barbara Jane Reyes is the author of poeta en san francisco ( Tinfish Press, 2005), for which she received the Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award. Juliana Spahr calls the book: “a multilingual litany that forcefully articulates what it means to be living as a woman in a nation of veterans, virgins, and dark angels.” Reyes was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in the Bay Area, and schooled at UC Berkeley and SF State . Her first book, Gravities of Center, was published by Arkipelago Books (2003). She lives in Oakland.
Friday, May 19, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Philip Jenks joins us in celebration of his second book, My First Painting Will Be "The Accuser" (Zephyr Press), which has been nominated for an Oregon Book Award. The Chicago Review described his earlier book, On the Cave You Live In (Flood Editions), as: “Inspired speech recording its own fall into dead letter [….] the poems of Philip Jenks are strange, original, terrifying. A stuttered apocalypse, they affirm our fellowship with all matter while suffering divinity’s perpetual departure from our midst.” Jenks grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and currently teaches at Portland State University in Oregon.
Poet and translator Jennifer Moxley joins us from Maine in celebration of her 2005 book, Often Capital (Flood Editions). Poet Dale Smith writes of Moxley: “ She recharges old forms by dismantling the archaisms and replacing them with her own uses of language. It’s lyric synthesis through a kind of dream narrative, only that dream world brings with it real questions of how to live here and now.” Moxley’s last book, The Sense Record (Edge Books, 2002), received a Book of the Year Award from Small Press Traffic. Her other works include Imagination Verses and Enlightenment Evidence.
Friday, May 26, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
Every year the board of directors of Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center votes a Lifetime Achievement Award to a living writer of distinction. Past honorees have included Barbara Guest, Jackson Mac Low, and Carl Rakosi. The latest recipient of SPT’s Lifetime Achievement Award is Joanne Kyger.
Joanne Kyger made an auspicious debut as the golden girl of the Spicer-Duncan circle of the late 1950s in San Francisco. Within a month of her arrival everyone wanted a piece of Kyger, and she became associated with many of the fluid, mercurial poetry scenes around the “New American Poetry.” Like her best writing, she was everywhere at once, deep inside the Beat movement, all over Japan and India, up and down the San Francisco Renaissance, steeped in Charles Olson’s polis-based soul curriculum, our ambassador to the New York scenes of Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman, the mainstay of Bolinas, and a seer in the Buddhist poetics of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University in Boulder. Those are only the locations; deeper underneath, the substance of her many lives created, over forty-five years, a new poetic freedom. Based on frank and sensual observation, an innovating line, a sometimes acerbic wit, and a devotion to the ‘golden root’ of compassion, Kyger’s poetry continues to win her the admiration of numerous generations.
Joining us for Kyger’s reading will be her friend, the poet Michael Rothenberg, who edited As Ever, Kyger’s selected poems, for Penguin Books in 2002. Rothenberg, author of Unhurried Vision, has recently relocated to the Russian River area and will be on hand to introduce her. We will also show Kyger’s 1968 video, “Descartes.”