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Cal Calamia (San Franshitshow) and Caroline M. Mar (Special Education)

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Booksmith is thrilled to present an evening of readings and conversation with Cal Calamia (San Franshitshow) and Caroline M. Mar (Special Education). Join us!

This event is free and all ages, but RSVP is required. Event link will be sent to everyone who registers.

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About San Franshitshow by Cal Calamia

San Franshitshow is an emotional reckoning with self, love, and the world that unfolds amidst a turbulent gender transition upon arrival into a new city. It chronicles the pain of loss and of coming to terms with yourself in a world that would prefer you did not: how this struggle impacts every area of your life. It expresses the power of self-acceptance with grace and humor. Calamia’s debut is a unifying force of a memoir—a poignant, tender collection of poetry that will open your heart—every poem as raw as a tear-stained diary page.

Cal Calamia is a bilingual queer trans educator, activist, and poet from Chicago. His performative work has been featured at many spoken word series across The Bay, and his first book San Franshitshow was just published by Nomadic Press. Notable accomplishments include impressing a teacher in kindergarten when he correctly spelled vacation, attending two classes of an MFA program, and often being told his class is a student’s favorite. Find out more about Cal at calcalamia.com. Author photo by Ariel Robbins.

About Special Education by Caroline M. Mar

Special Education is a powerful collection of poems confronting American identity in the 21st century. In large part, it traces a new teacher’s poetic journey to understanding her work and herself. Mar’s poems, which move between free verse and received forms, between the “I” of her speaker-narrator and the voices of colleagues, students, and the world around all of them, investigate a variety of topics—how love is expressed by doing something one hates for a partner who loves it, what a charging bear on a camping trip can reveal about gender, the failures of an education system as depicted through colors and images on a slideshow presentation.

The collection closes on a speaker both more and less certain about her place in the world. Her hometown, as she gazes across it in “Views,” is changing dramatically as she asks, “Why nostalgia / for a place that is still my place?” By the poem’s end, having covered everything from the places where her grandparents died to the effects of the next big earthquake to luxury cars, the speaker has revealed herself to both be inside of and resistant to the machinations of systems that seem prepared to crush her students: education, racism, gentrification, ableism. What does life look like on an everyday scale against the churning of the world? In Special Education, Mar embraces this truth and, in poems that show us what we have yet to learn, employs both her systemic mind and poetic voice to confront the “ugly little loves” that the world makes of us all.

Caroline Mei-Lin Mar is the author of Special Education (Texas Review Press, 2020). A high school health educator in San Francisco, she is doing her best to keep her gentrifying hometown queer and creative. Carrie is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, an alumna of VONA, a member of Rabble Collective, and a board member of Friends of Writers. He work has recently appeared in Nimrod, Storyscape, Pinwheel, and Anomaly, among others, and she has been granted residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Ragdale. You can write to Carrie at P.O. Box 460491, San Francisco, CA 94114 – she’ll (eventually) write you back. Author photo by Jessica Tong-Ahn.

This event is free and all ages, but RSVP is required.