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An evening with Desirée Alvarez, Anthony Cody, Jennifer Hasegawa and Kimberly Reyes

Booksmith / Virtual Events

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Booksmith and The Bindery are thrilled to host an evening with Desirée Alvarez, Anthony Cody, Jennifer Hasegawa and Kimberly Reyes. These fabulous writers will read from and discuss their new books.

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

About Raft of Flame by Desirée Alvarez

A painter and poet, Desirée Alvarez engages with the powerful forces of lyric and rhythm to create a collection that moves across time and place. Inspired by Lorca’s passionate cante jondo, or “deep song,” and her own family history with Andalusian flamenco, Alvarez weaves together a time- travelling epic that searches through myth, culture, and nature for the roots of identity. Navigating both her Latina and European heritage through works by artists of the ancient Americas and Spain, Alvarez maps intersections between personal and political history. Searching narratives both fictitious and real, Raft of Flame includes imagined conversations between a conquistador and an Olmec sculpture, between Frida Kahlo and Velazquez, and between The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy and Glinda the Good Witch.

In Raft of Flame, Alvarez constructs and fleshes out a fantastic narrative of personal and cultural history, offering glimpses into the art, history, and land that comprise her story. Her narrative explores how both nature and human populations continue to be trapped in the violence of colonialism. Vivid lyrics interrogate the complexities of mixed race, digging the dualities, upheavals, and casts of characters that underly Alvarez’s identity.

Raft of Flame won Omnidawn's 2018 Lake Merritt Prize.

Desirée Alvarez is a poet and painter living in New York City. Her second book, Raft of Flame, won the Lake Merritt Poetry Prize and was published by Omnidawn in April 2020. Her first book, Devil’s Paintbrush, received the 2015 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Award. Her poetry is anthologized in What Nature (MIT Press, 2018) and Other Musics: New Latina Poetry (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). She has published poems in Poetry, Lit Hub, Massachusetts Review, Boston Review, Fence, and The Iowa Review, been nominated for a Pushcart prize and received the Glenna Luschei Poetry Award from Prairie Schooner. Alvarez’s exhibits her work widely nationally and internationally, and paintings are currently on view at Brooklyn Botanic Garden Conservatory Gallery through November 2020. Celebrating magical connections between animals, plants and humans, her work has received three fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Poets House Fellowship, as well as awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and European Capital of Culture. Alvarez teaches at New York City College of Technology, CUNY and The Juilliard School. 

To have Raft of Flame sent to your door, order here.

About Borderland Apocrypha by Anthony Cody

The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo marked an end to the Mexican—American War, but it sparked a series of lynchings of Mexicans and subsequent erasures, and long-lasting traumas. This pattern of state-sanctioned violence committed towards communities of color continues to the present day. Borderland Apocrypha centers around the collective histories of these terrors, excavating the traumas born of turbulence at borderlands. In this debut collection, Anthony Cody responds to the destabilized, hostile landscapes and silenced histories of borderlands. His experimental poetic reinvents itself and shapeshifts in both form and space across the margin, the page, and the book in forms of resistance, signaling a reclamation and a re-occupation of what has been omitted. The poems ask the reader to engage in searching through the nested and cascading series of poems centered around familial and communal histories, structural racism, and natural ecosystems of borderlands. Relentless in its explorations, this collection shows how the past continues to inform actions, policies, and perceptions in North and Central America.

Rather than a proposal for re-imagining the US/Mexico border, Cody’s collection is an avant-garde examination of how borderlands have remained occupied spaces, and of the necessity of liberation to usher the earth and its people toward healing. Part auto-historia, part docu-poetic, part visual monument, part myth-making, Borderland Apocrypha unearths history in order to work toward survival, reckoning, and the building of a future that both acknowledges and moves on from tragedies of the past.

Borderland Apocrypha won Omnidawn's 2018 1st/2nd Book Prize.

Anthony Cody is the author of Borderland Apocrypha (Omnidawn, April 2020), winner of the 2018 Omnidawn Open Book Prize selected by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and longlist for the 2020 National Book Award in Poetry. He is a CantoMundo fellow from Fresno, California with lineage in both the Bracero Program and Dust Bowl. His poetry has appeared in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, The Boiler, ctrl+v journal, among others. Anthony is a member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle and co-edited How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology. He is a recent MFA-Creative Writing graduate from Fresno State where he continues to collaborate with Juan Felipe Herrera and the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio. Anthony has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and Desert Nights, Rising Stars Conference. He provides communication support to CantoMundo, and serves as an associate poetry editor for Noemi Press.

To have Borderland Apocrypha sent to your door, order here.

About La Chica's Field Guide to Banzai Living by Jennifer Hasegawa

From the small towns strung along the coast of the Big Island of Hawai‘i to the land-locked landscapes of Paraguay to the volcanic surface of Venus, this is a field guide to flora, fauna, and mineralia encountered, real and imagined. Packed tightly into exploratory rocket segments, these poems ignite our gravest flaws to send our grandest potentials into orbit, sprinkling us all with an antidotal salve to viewing any life as ordinary.

Banzai has a literal translation of “10,000 years” and was used by the Japanese as a rallying cry in imperialistic and militaristic contexts. Today, the word has a comparatively neutral translation of “Hurrah!” in Japan and beyond. In La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living, Hasegawa aims to reclaim banzai, recasting the language of war and dogmatic loyalty into the language of a life and poetry created against racism and harmful norms, and toward tolerance and self-acceptance.

Jennifer Hasegawa is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet who has sold funeral insurance door-to-door and had her suitcase stolen from a plastic surgery clinic in Asunción Paraguay. She was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and lives in San Francisco. The manuscript for her first book of poetry, La Chica’s Field Guide to Banzai Living, won the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award from the San Francisco Foundation. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Bamboo Ridge, Tule Review, and Vallum and is forthcoming in Bennington Review and jubilat.

To have La Chica's Field Guide to Banzai Living sent to your door, order here.

About Running to Stand Still by Kimberly Reyes

Histories, stories, lyrics, aspirations, dreams, pressures, and images are spun into a musical tale through a site of convergence: the Black female body. Swarmed by external gazes and narratives, the inhabitant of this body uses her power to turn down this cacophony of noise and compose a symphonic space for herself. By breaching boundaries of racism, sexism, sizeism, colorism, and colonialism, these poems investigate the memories and realities of existing as Black in America. Building from poetic, journalistic, and musical histories, poet and essayist Kimberly Reyes constructs a complex and fantastic narrative in which she negotiates a path to claim her own power.These poems teem with life, a life rich with many selves and many histories that populate in the voice of Reyes's poetic narrator. They sway between negotiations of hypervisibility and erasure, the inevitable and the chosen, and the perceived and the constructed. Reyes's poems offer sharp observations and lyrical movement to guide us in a ballad of reconciliation and becoming.

Kimberly Reyes has received fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, CantoMundo, Callaloo, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in Ireland, the Munster Literature Centre, the Prague Summer Program for Writers, Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Columbia University, San Francisco State University, and other places. She’s written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Associated Press, Entertainment Weekly, Time.com, The New York Post, The Village Voice, Alternative Press, ESPN the Magazine, Film Ireland, The Echo Newspaper, RTÉ Radio, NY1 News, Entropy, The Irish Journal of American Studies, The Best American Poetry blog, poets.org, American Poets Magazine, The Feminist Wire, and The Stinging Fly. She is the author of the poetry collections Running to Stand Still (Omnidawn) and Warning Coloration (dancing girl press), and her nonfiction book of essays Life During Wartime (Fourteen Hills) won the 2018 Michael Rubin Book Award. A second-generation New Yorker, Kimberly was the 2019-2020 Fulbright fellow studying Irish Literature and Film at University College Cork.

To have Running to Stand Still sent to your door, order here.


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