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Rachel Edelman (Dear Memphis) and Sarah Ghazal Ali (Theophanies) with Gabrielle Bates (Judas Goat)

The Booksmith

1727 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

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Booksmith is thrilled to host Rachel Edelman (Dear Memphis) and Sarah Ghazal Ali (Theophanies) to celebrate their new books. With special guest Gabrielle Bates (Judas Goat). Join us!

About Dear Memphis by Rachel Edelman

"What do I know of exile?" asks the speaker in Dear Memphis, standing inside the colliding geographies and intimate economies of the American South. Offering a direct address to the city where the poet grew up, this collection explores the displacement and belonging of a Jewish family in Memphis, Tennessee, alongside their histories of community and environment. The simultaneous richness and spareness of Edelman’s poems sing with their attention to the particular body and what it cannot carry, what it cannot put down. Through letters, visual art, city documents, and dialogue, Dear Memphis excavates ancestry, inheritance, and the ecological possibility of imagining a future.

Rachel Edelman is a Jewish poet raised in Memphis, Tennessee and the author of the debut collection Dear Memphis (River River Books, 2024). Their poems have appeared in NarrativeThe Seventh WaveThe Threepenny ReviewWest Branch, and other publications. A recipient of a 2024 Seattle CityArtist grant, she teaches Language Arts in the Seattle Public Schools, where embodiment and care root her personal, poetic, and pedagogical practice.

About Theophanies by Sarah Ghazal Ali

Moving between the scriptures of the Qur'an and the Bible, these poems explore the complexities and spectacles of gender, faith, and family by unraveling the age-old idea that seeing is believing. Navigating both scripture and culture, the poems in Theophanies work to spin miracles from the mundanities of desire and violence. Through art and music, Pakistani history, and scriptural stories, these poems struggle to envision a true self and speak back against time to the matriarchs of the larger Abrahamic faiths, the mothers at the heart of sacred history.

Sarah Ghazal Ali is a poet, teacher, and editor. She is the author of Theophanies (Alice James Books, 2024), selected as the Editors' Choice for the 2022 Alice James Award. A Stadler Fellow and recipient of The Sewanee Review poetry prize, her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, and other publications. She is the poetry editor for West Branch and an incoming Assistant Professor of English at Macalester College.

About Judas Goat by Gabrielle Bates

Gabrielle Bates's electric debut collection Judas Goat plumbs the depths of intimate relationships. The book's eponymous animal is used to lead sheep to slaughter while its own life is spared, and its harrowing existence echoes through this spellbinding collection of forty poems, which wrestle with betrayal and forced obedience, violence and young womanhood, and the "forbidden felt language" of sexual and sacred love. These poems conjure encounters with figures from scriptures, domesticated animals eyeing the wild, and mothering as a shapeshifting, spectral force; they question what it means to love another person and how to exorcise childhood fears. All the while, the Deep South haunts, and no matter how far away the speaker moves, the South always draws her back home.

Gabrielle Bates is the author of the poetry collection Judas Goat (Tin House, 2023), a New York Times Book Review Shortlist pick and an NPR Best Book of 2023. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Bates currently lives in Seattle, where she works for Open Books: A Poem Emporium and co-hosts the podcast The Poet Salon. Her work has been featured in the New Yorker, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Ploughshares, and the Between the Covers podcast, among other venues, and she has served as visiting faculty for a variety of universities, arts organizations, and museums, including the University of Washington Rome Center and the Tin House Writers' Workshops. www.gabriellebat.es / Twitter: @GabrielleBates

Please note:

  • Masks will not be required for this event, but we are limiting capacity somewhat. For that reason, we can't guarantee we'll have space for walk-ins. The best way to ensure you’ll get a seat is to order the Book + Seat ticket; you can also RSVP for a free seat while they last.
  • We are happy to offer *signed copies* of Dear Memphis and Theophanies: order a Book + Seat ticket bundle if you'd like to pick up a signed copy at the event, or if you just want a signed copy and no admission order here for Dear Memphis and order here for Theophanies.
  • You can order Gabrielle's book here.
  • Safety protocols are subject to change. If we feel it is not safe to gather, as the event gets closer, we will pivot to a virtual event and your registration will remain valid.
  • Questions? Write [email protected].


Refund Policy:

No refunds or returns.

Cancellation Policy:

In the event of cancellation, you will be refunded the price of your ticket within 4 business days.

Rachel Edelman (Dear Memphis) and Sarah Ghazal Ali (Theophanies) with Gabrielle Bates (Judas Goat) poster
The Booksmith
1727 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117