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LIVE! From City Lights
LIVE! From City Lights
The official podcast for City Lights Publishers & Booksellers. Featuring readings and archives. Hosted by City Lights events coordinator Peter Maravelis.
Aug 26, 2021
Aminatta Forna in Conversation with Eula Biss
Aminatta Forna in conversation with Eula Biss, discussing her new book, “The Window Seat: Notes From a Life in Motion,” published by Grove Press. This event was originally broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. Aminatta Forna is the author of the novels “Ancestor Stones,” “The Memory of Love,” and “The Hired Man,” as well as the memoir “The Devil That Danced on the Water.” Forna's books have been translated into sixteen languages. Her essays have appeared in Granta, The Guardian, The Observer, and Vogue. She is currently the Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University. Eula Biss is the author of four books, most recently “Having and Being Had.” Her book “On Immunity” was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Review, and “Notes from No Man's Land” won the National Book Critics Circle award for criticism in 2009. Her essays and prose poems have recently appeared in the Guardian, the New York Review of Books, The Believer, Freeman’s, Jubilat, the Baffler, Harper’s, and the New York Times Magazine. She teaches nonfiction writing at Northwestern University. Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation.
Aug 20, 2021
Francisco Goldman in Conversation with Valeria Luiselli
Francisco Goldman in conversation with Valeria Luiselli, discussing his new novel, "Monkey Boy," published by Grove Atlantic Press. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Francisco Goldman has published four novels and two books of non-fiction. "The Long Night of White Chickens" was awarded the American Academy's Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. His novels have been finalists for several prizes, including, twice, The Pen/Faulkner Prize. "The Ordinary Seaman" was a finalist for The International IMPAC Dublin literary award. "The Divine Husband" was a finalist for The Believer Book Award. "The Art of Political Murder" won The Index on Censorship T.R. Fyvel Book Award and The WOLA/Duke Human Rights Book Award. "The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle," published in 2013, was named by the LA Times one of 10 best books of the year and received The Blue Metropolis "Premio Azul" 2017. His most recent novel, "Say Her Name," won the 2011 Prix Femina Etranger. His books have been published in 16 languages. Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection "Sidewalks;" the novels "Faces in the Crowd" and "The Story of My Teeth;" "Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions" and "Lost Children Archive." She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, an American Book Award, and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Booker Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Writer in Residence at Bard College and lives in New York City. Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation.
Aug 13, 2021
Michael McClure Memorial Tribute
A memorial tribute to Michael McClure with readings and remembrances by Russ Tamblyn, CAConrad, Margaret Randall, Forrest Gander, George Herms, Henry Kaiser, Jerome Rothenberg, Cedar Sigo, Garrett Caples, Paul Nelson, Lyn Hejinian, Andrew Schelling, Amy McClure, Jane McClure, and Joanna McClure. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Michael McClure (1932-2020) was an award-winning American poet, playwright, songwriter, and novelist. After moving to San Francisco as a young man, he was one of the five poets who participated in the Six Gallery reading that featured the public debut of Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem "Howl." A key figure of the Beat Generation, McClure is immortalized as Pat McLear in Jack Kerouac's novels The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. He also participated in the 60s counterculture alongside musicians like Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. He taught for many years at California College of the Arts and lived with his wife, Amy, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation.
2 hr 1 min
Jul 30, 2021
Mule Kick Blues Release Party with Anne Waldman, Eileen Myles, and Garrett Caples
City Lights celebrates the final book by the late Beat Generation legend Michael McClure. Anne Waldman, Eileen Myles, and Garrett Caples read from and discuss the work of the late poet in this book launch for "Mule Kick Blues: And Last Poems" published by City Lights. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Anne Waldman co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, where she still teaches. Her poetry collections include Iovis I, Iovis II, Fast Speaking Woman, Helping the Dreamer, Kill or Cure, and Trickster Feminism. She is a recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award. Eileen Myles is an acclaimed poet and writer who has published over twenty works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and libretto. Their prizes and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Warhol/Creative Capital grant, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Garrett Caples is a poet and freelance writer who lives in San Francisco and is an editor for City Lights, where he curates the Spotlight Poetry Series. He is the author of three full-length poetry collections and a book of essays. He is the co-editor of The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia (California, 2013), Particulars of Place (Omnidawn, 2015) by Richard O. Moore, Incidents of Travel in Poetry: New and Selected Poems by Frank Lima (City Lights, 2016), and Arcana: A Stephen Jonas Reader (City Lights, 2019) He has a Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley. Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation.
Jul 16, 2021
Erica Hunt and Michael Palmer
Erica Hunt and Michael Palmer, reading from their new works: Hunt reading from her new collection "Jump The Clock," published by Nightboat, and Palmer reading from "Little Elegies for Sister Satan," published by New Directions. This event was originally broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. Erica Hunt is a poet and essayist, author of Local History, Arcade, Piece Logic, Veronica: A Suite in X Parts, and Jump the Clock: New and Selected Poems, published by Nightboat Books in November 2020. Her poems and essays have appeared in BOMB, Boundary 2, Brooklyn Rail, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetics Journal, Tripwire, Recluse, In the American Tree, and Conjunctions. With Dawn Lundy Martin, Hunt is the editor of an anthology of new writing by Black women, Letters to the Future. Hunt has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Fund for Poetry, and the Djerassi Foundation and is a past fellow of Duke University/University of Capetown Program in Public Policy. She teaches at Brown University. Michael Palmer is an American born in New York City in 1943 and long resident in San Francisco, nearly all of Palmer's poetry is published by New Directions: At Passages (1995); The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972–1995 (1998); The Promises of Glass (2000); Codes Appearing: Poems 1979–1988 (2001); Company of Moths (2005); and most recently, Thread (2011). He is the translator of works by Emmanuel Hocquard, Vicente Huidobro, and Alexei Parshchikov, among others, and the editor of "Code of Signals: Recent Writings in Poetics." For over thirty years he has collaborated with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation.
Jul 9, 2021
Mary Beth Meehan with Fred Turner
Mary Beth Meehan with Fred Turner, celebrating the launch of their book "Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America" published by University of Chicago Press. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Mary Beth Meehan is a photographer known for her large-scale, community-based portraiture centered around questions of representation, visibility, and social equity in the United States. She lives in New England, where she has lectured at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Fred Turner is Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford University. He is the author of the books "The Democratic Surround" and "From Counterculture to Cyberculture" both published by the University of Chicago Press. Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation.
Jul 2, 2021
Carribean Fragoza in Conversation with Héctor Tobar
Carribean Fragoza in conversation with Héctor Tobar, celebrating the launch of her new book "Eat the Mouth That Feeds You", published by City Lights Books. This event was originally broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Carribean Fragoza was raised in South El Monte, California. After graduating from UCLA, Fragoza completed the Creative Writing MFA Program at CalArts, where she worked with writers Douglas Kearney and Norman Klein. Fragoza is founder of Vicious Ladies, a new website publishing womxn, queer, and non-binary critics of color. She co-edits UC Press's acclaimed California cultural journal, Boom California, and is also the founder of South El Monte Arts Posse, an interdisciplinary arts collective. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications, including Zyzzyva, Alta, BOMB, Huizache, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the co-editor of "East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte" and Senior Writer at the Tropics of Meta. Carribean is the Coordinator of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Award at Claremont Graduate University, and she lives in the San Gabriel Valley in LA County. Héctor Tobar is the author of five books published in fifteen languages, including the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestseller: "Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free." Héctor is also a contributing writer for the New York Times opinion pages and an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine. He's written for The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times and other publications. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, L.A. Noir, Zyzzyva and Slate. His new novel is "The Last Great Road Bum," published by MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Jun 25, 2021
Sesshu Foster & Arturo Ernesto Romo in Conversation with Carribean Fragoza
Sesshu Foster and Arturo Ernesto Romo in conversation with Carribean Fragoza, celebrating the book launch of "ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines," published by City Lights Books. This event was originally broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. Sesshu Foster taught composition and literature in East L.A. for over 20 years, and at the University of Iowa, the California Institute for the Arts, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work is published in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry, Language for a New Century: Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond, and State of the Union: 50 Political Poems. His most recent books are "City of the and "Atomik Aztex." Sesshu was awarded the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry for "World Ball Notebook;" the Believer Book Award for "Atomik Aztex; an American Book Award for "Invocation LA: Urban Multicultural Poetry;" and finalist for the PEN Center West Poetry Prize, as well as the Paterson Poetry Prize, for "City Terrace Field Manual." Sesshu is based in Alhambra, CA. Arturo Ernesto Romo was born in Los Angeles, California in 1980. His artwork, mostly collaborative mixed media works but also drawing, has been circulated internationally. Fluency, agency and folly are central themes in his practice; he sees his artwork as a companion multiplier, folding folds, netting nets. His art-making is pushed through explorations on the streets of East and North East Los Angeles, which feed into an ongoing series of collaborations with Sesshu Foster. He is based in Alhambra, CA. Carribean Fragoza is the author of Eat the Mouth That Feeds You (City Lights), and founder of Vicious Ladies, a new website publishing womxn, queer, and non-binary critics of color. She co-edits UC Press's acclaimed California cultural journal, Boom California, and is also the founder of South El Monte Arts Posse, an interdisciplinary arts collective. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications, including Zyzzyva, Alta, BOMB, Huizache, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the co-editor of East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte and Senior Writer at the Tropics of Meta. Carribean is the Coordinator of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Award at Claremont Graduate University, and she lives in the San Gabriel Valley in LA County.
Jun 18, 2021
Mira Sethi in Conversation with Miranda Popkey
Mira Sethi in conversation with Miranda Popkey, celebrating Mira Sethi's new short fiction collection "Are You Enjoying?" published by Alfred Knopf. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Mira Sethi is an actor and a writer. She grew up in Lahore and attended Wellesley College, after which Sethi worked as a books editor at The Wall Street Journal. She has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. Sethi regularly appears in a mainstream Pakistani drama series on television. She lives in Lahore, Karachi, and San Francisco. Miranda Popkey is a writer, editor, and translator from the Italian. Her writing has appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker’s page-turner blog, The Paris Review Daily, The Hairpin, New York’s magazine “The Cut,” and many others. Her debut novel, “Topics of Conversation,” was published by Alfred Knopf in 2020. She currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband and dog.
Jun 4, 2021
Marie Mutsuki Mockett in Conversation with Garnette Cadogan
Marie Mutsuki Mockett in conversation with Garnette Cadogan discussing her new book "American Harvest: God, Country, and Farming in the Heartland," published by Graywolf Press. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Marie Mutsuki Mockett is the author of a novel, "Picking Bones from Ash," and a memoir, "Where the Dead Pause," and "The Japanese Say Goodbye," which was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award. She has written for the New York Times, Salon, National Geographic, Glamour, Ploughshares, and other publications and has been a guest on The World, Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered on NPR. She is a core faculty member of the Rainier Writing Workshop and a Visiting Writer in the MFA program Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California. She lives in San Francisco. Garnette Cadogan is the Porter Distinguished Visiting Professor for the 2020-2021 academic year. Born and raised in Jamaica, Garnette Cadogan is an essayist, a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University.
May 28, 2021
Rachel Kushner in Conversation with Dana Spiotta
Rachel Kushner in conversation with Dana Spiotta celebrating the launch of Rachel Kushner's "The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020," published by Scribner. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Rachel Kushner is the bestselling author of three novels: the Booker- and NBCC Award–shortlisted "The Mars Room;" "The Flamethrowers," a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times top ten book of 2013; and "Telex from Cuba," a finalist for the National Book Award. She grew up in San Francisco and now lives in Los Angeles. Dana Spiotta is is the author of four novels: "Innocents and Others,"(2016), which won the St. Francis College Literary Prize and was shortlisted for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize; "Stone Arabia" (2011), which was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in fiction; "Eat the Document" (2006), which was a National Book Award Finalist in fiction and a recipient of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Aca…
Mar 5, 2021
Héctor Tobar in Conversation with Oscar Villalon
Héctor Tobar with Oscar Villalon discussing Héctor Tobar's new book "The Last Great Road Bum," published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. This event was recently broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. Héctor Tobar is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and novelist. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Deep Down Dark, as well as The Barbarian Nurseries, Translation Nation, and The Tattooed Soldier. Tobar is also a contributing writer for the New York Times opinion pages and an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine. He has written for The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, L.A. Noir, ZYZZYVA, and Slate. The son of Guatemalan immigrants, he is a native of Los Angeles, where he lives with his family. Oscar Villalon is the Managing Editor of Zyzzyva Magazine. He is is the former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and a board member of the Nati…
1 hr 5 min
Feb 18, 2021
Joshua Bennett, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Jesse McCarthy, and Simone White
Joshua Bennett is joined in conversation with Tongo Eisen Martin, Jesse McCarthy, and Simone White to discuss his new book "Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man" published by Belknap Press/Harvard University Press. The prize-winning poet Joshua Bennett argues that blackness acts as the caesura between human and nonhuman, man and animal. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. Joshua Bennett is the author of The Sobbing School, winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and MIT and was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. He is the Mellon Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. Tongo Eisen-Martin is the author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights Books, 2017) and someone's dead already (Boostrap Press, 2015) and his poetry has been fea…
1 hr 34 min
Jan 8, 2021
Maw Shein Win, Nathalie Khankan, Su Hwang, and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
Maw Shein Win with Nathalie Khankan and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo reading from new poetry, Storage Unit for the Spirit House, (Maw Shein Win) and Quiet Orient Riot (Nathalie Khankan), both published Omnidawn. Maw Shein Win is the author of Invisible Gifts: Poems and her chapbooks include Ruins of a Glittering Palace and Score and Bone. Maw is the inaugural poet laureate of El Cerrito (2016–18). She lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nathalie Khankan teaches Arabic language and literature in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and she is the founding director of the Danish House in Palestine. Her work has previously appeared in the Berkeley Poetry Review, jubilat, and Crab Creek Review. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughters. Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Cenzontle, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize (BOA editions 2018), winner of the 2019 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award…
1 hr 10 min
Jan 1, 2021
Mauro Javier Cárdenas and Carlos Fonseca
Mauro Javier Cárdenas in conversation with Carlos Fonseca, discussing Mauro's new novel, Aphasia, published by Farrar Straus Giroux. Mauro Javier Cárdenas, the critically-acclaimed author of The Revolutionaries Try Again—"an original, insubordinate novel" (New York Times)—pens a profound story of literature about a man coming to terms with his dysfunctional Colombian family, as well as his own behavior, as an immigrant in America. Mauro Javier Cárdenas is the author of The Revolutionaries Try Again, which The New York Times called "an original, insubordinate novel." In 2017, the Hay Festival included him in Bogotá39, a selection of the best young Latin American novelists working today.
1 hr 1 min
Dec 25, 2020
City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series 20 in 2020 Celebration: Day Two
Day two of two: a weekend of events celebrating the 20-volume milestone of the City Lights Spotlight Series. Hosted by Garrett Caples (Series Editor). With readings by Andrew Joron, Cedar Sigo, Will Alexander, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Lisa Jarnot, Alli Warren, John Coletti, Elaine Kahn, Edmund Berrigan, and Sophia Dahlin. In September 2020, City Lights is publishing the next two volumes in the Spotlight Poetry Series: No. 19, Facing You by acclaimed Nigerian-American poet Uche Nduka, and No. 20, Natch, the debut collection of Bay Area queer poet Sophia Dahlin.
1 hr 8 min
Dec 18, 2020
City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series 20 in 2020 Celebration: Day One
Day one of two: a weekend of events celebrating the 20-volume milestone of the City Lights Spotlight Series. Hosted by Garrett Caples (Series Editor). With readings by Norma Cole, Anselm Berrigan, Micah Ballard, Cathy Wagner, Eric Baus, Julien Poirier, David Brazil, Barbara Jane Reyes, Carmen Gimenez Smith, and Uche Nduka. In September 2020, City Lights is publishing the next two volumes in the Spotlight Poetry Series: No. 19, 'Facing You' by acclaimed Nigerian-American poet Uche Nduka, and No. 20, 'Natch,' the debut collection of Bay Area queer poet Sophia Dahlin.
1 hr 4 min
Dec 4, 2020
Alison Mosshart, Sheree Renée Thomas, and Robert Gordon
Third Man Books (the publishing imprint of Jack White's Third Man Records) returns to City Lights to launch three new titles: IT CAME FROM MEMPHIS by Robert Gordon, CAR MA by Alison Mosshart, and 9 Bar Blues by Sheree Renée Thomas. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom. Robert Gordon is a writer and a filmmaker, a native Memphian who has been exporting the city's authentic weirdness since long before his first book, It Came From Memphis (1995). Alison Mosshart is best known for her work in her musical duo The Kills, as well as fronting the Grammy nominated rock n’ roll band, The Dead Weather. Her 5 major solo exhibits: "Fire Power," Joseph Gross Gallery in NYC, 2015, "Fire Power Los Angeles," Maxfield in Los Angeles, 2017, "Tonight Only," Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 2016, "Side Effects," Panteon in Mexico City, 2018, and "Los Trachas," FF-1051 Gallery in Los Angeles, 2018. Sheree Renée Thomas imagines stories that are sonic rituals, works that cultivate and affirm the ma…
Nov 27, 2020
Gary Kamiya and Paul Madonna 10.20.2020
Gary Kamiya with Paul Madonna, celebrating their new book, Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages through the Unknown City, published by Bloomsbury Books.From two bestselling, prizewinning, and critically acclaimed contemporary chroniclers of San Francisco comes a rich, illustrated, idiosyncratic portrait of this great city. Gary Kamiya is a writer, journalist, and historian. He is the author of the bestselling book Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco and the history column "Portals of the Past" (soon to be a podcast) which appears every other Saturday in the San Francisco Chronicle. He also offers unique walking tours by appointment and is available as a speaker about all things San Francisco. Paul Madonna is a San Francisco-based artist and writer. He is the creator of the comic series "All Over Coffee" and the author of four books, All Over Coffee, Everything is its Own Reward, On to the Next Dream, and Close Enough for the Angels. He is the Comics Editor for TheRumpus.ne…
1 hr 1 min
Nov 20, 2020
Zoetrope Fall 2020 Issue Celebration
City Lights celebrates the award-winning literary periodical's fall issue. Editor Michael Ray and Managing Editor Manjula Martin are joined by several contributors in an afternoon of readings and celebrations. Guests include Frances de Pontes Peebles, Patrick Dacey, and Daniel Orozco. Founded by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997, Zoetrope: All-Story is a quarterly print magazine of short fiction, one-act plays, and essays on film. Among the most celebrated literary periodicals in the world, it has won every major story award, including four National Magazine Awards for Fiction, along with a number of design commendations. The magazine's contributors comprise the most promising and significant writers of our era: Mary Gaitskill, Colum McCann, Rachel Cusk, Jim Shepard, Elena Ferrante, Daniel Alarcón, Karen Russell, Yiyun Li, Jonathan Lethem, Wes Anderson, Elizabeth McCracken, David Mamet, Ha Jin, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Pedro Almodóvar, Ethan Coen, Yoko Ogawa, Charles D…
1 hr 27 min
Nov 20, 2020
Eileen Myles reading from their new book, For Now, published by Yale University Press. In this raucous meditation, Eileen Myles offers an intimate glimpse into creativity's immediacy. With erudition and wit, Myles recounts their early years as an awakening writer; existential struggles with landlords; storied moments with neighbors, friends, and lovers; and the textures and identities of cities and the country that reveal the nature of writing as a presence in time. Eileen Myles is an acclaimed poet and writer who has published over twenty works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and libretto. Their prizes and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Warhol/Creative Capital grant, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a poetry award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Nov 13, 2020
Barry Gifford and Rob Christopher
Barry Gifford celebrating the release of his new anthology, Roy's World: Stories 1973-2020, published by Seven Stories Press. Barry Gifford is joined by flimmaker Rob Christopher to explore the rich landscape of his seminal Roy Stores, a tie-in to the new documentary, Roy's World: Barry Gifford's Chicago. Barry Gifford writes distinctly American stories for readers around the globe. From screenplays and librettos to his acclaimed Sailor and Lula novels, Gifford's writing is as distinctive as it is difficult to classify. His novel Wild at Heart was adapted into the 1990 Palme d’Or-winning film of the same name. Gifford lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rob Christopher wrote, directed, and starred in the acclaimed fiction feature Pause of the Clock, which had its World Premiere at the Denver Film Festival in 2015 and screened at the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2016. He wrote the introduction to the young adult edition of Sad Stories of the Death of Kings by Barry Gifford and edited…
1 hr 8 min
Nov 6, 2020
Uche Nduka and Sophia Dahlin
Uche Nduka and Sophia Dahlin: Celebrating City Lights Spotlights Series Vol. 19 & 20. Uche Nduka reading from Facing You, Spotlight Series No. 19, and Sophia Dahlin reading from Natch, Spotlight Series No. 20. Uche Nduka is an itinerant poet and professor living in Brooklyn. He was born in Nigeria, was raised bilingual in Igbo and English, and earned his BA from the University of Nigeria. He left Nigeria in 1994 and settled in Germany after winning a fellowship from the Goethe Institute. In 2007, he immigrated to the United States, where he would earn his MFA from Long Island University, Brooklyn. Sophia Dahlin earned her BA from Bard College and her MFA from the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. Her work has appeared in many journals, including BOMB, Fence, Lambda Literary, Denver Quarterly, and The Recluse. With Jacob Kahn, she edits the chapbook press Eyelet. She lives in Oakland, California, where she teaches with California Poets in the Schools.
Oct 30, 2020
Kerri Arsenault and Kurt Andersen
Kerri Arsenault in conversation with Kurt Andersen discussing their two new books. Mill Town: Reckoning With What Remains, by Kerri Arsenault, (St. Martin’s Press) and Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History, by Kurt Andersen, (Random House). This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom. Kerri Arsenault serves on the board of the National Books Critics Circle, is the Book Review Editor at Orion magazine, and Contributing Editor at Lithub. Arsenault received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and studied in Malmö University’s Communication for Development master’s programme. Her writing has appeared in Freeman’s, Lithub, Oprah.com, and The Minneapolis Star Tribune, among other publications. She lives in New England. Mill Town is her first book. Kurt Andersen is author of Heyday and Turn of the Century and frequently writes for New York and Vanity Fair. He is host and cocreator of the Peabody Award–winning public radio program Studio 360. I…
Oct 23, 2020
Celebrating RESISTENCIA: Poems of Protest and Revolution
Celebrating RESISTENCIA: Poems of Protest and Revolution with Mark Eisner, Tina Escaja, Romina Funes, Rebeca Lane, Jack Hirschman, and Jessica Powell. Co-presented by the Red Poppy Art House and Tin House Books. This event was originally broadcast live via Zoom. Carolina De Robertis, Resistencia translator, a writer of Uruguayan origins, is the author of four novels, most recently Cantoras, which received a Stonewall Book Award and a Reading Women Award. Mark Eisner, co-editor of Resistencia: In 2004 Mark was involved in the early stages of the Red Poppy Art House. Tina Escaja, co-editor of Resistencia, is a Spanish American author, digital artist, and Distinguished Professor at the University of Vermont. Romina Funes, poeta, was born in General San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1981. For the past decade, Romina has organized "Letras & Música.” Jack Hirschman, Resistencia translator, is Poet Laureate emeritus of San Francisco. Rebeca Lane, contributing poet/rapper, was b…
1 hr 24 min
Oct 16, 2020
Jenny Bhatt and Devi S. Laskar
Jenny Bhatt in conversation with Devi S. Laskar discussing Janny Bhatt's new short fiction collection, EACH OF US KILLERS: Stories, published by 7.13 Books. Set in the American Midwest, England, and India the stories in Each of Us Killers are about people trying to realize their dreams and aspirations through their professions. This event was originally broadcast live on Zoom. Jenny Bhatt is a writer, literary translator, and literary critic. She is the host of the Desi Books podcast. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in various venues in the US, UK, and India, including NPR, The Washington Post, Electric Literature, The Atlantic, BBC Culture, Literary Hub, Longreads, The Millions, and others. Her fiction has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and the 2017 Best American Short Stories. Devi S. Laskar is the author of The Atlas of Reds and Blues, winner of 7th annual Crook's Corner Book Prize (2020) for best debut novel set in the South, winner of the 2020 Asian/Pacific Americ…
1 hr 2 min
Aug 21, 2020
John Freeman and D.A. Powell
John Freeman celebrates his new collection of poetry, The Park, published by Copper Canyon Press. He's joined by D.A. Powell, also reading from his own new work. This event was originally broadcast on Zoom. John Freeman is the editor of Freeman's, a literary biannual of new writing, and executive editor of Literary Hub. His books include How to Read a Novelist and Dictionary of the Undoing (forthcoming), as well as a trilogy of anthologies about inequality, including Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, and Tales of Two Planets (forthcoming), which features storytellers from around the globe on the climate crisis. Maps, his debut collection of poems, was published in 2017. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The New York Times. He is the former editor of Granta and is a Writer in Residence at New York University. D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, inc…
1 hr 11 min
Jul 17, 2020
Jennifer Worley discusses her book, Neon Girls: A Stripper's Education in Protest and Power, published by Harper Collins. This event was originally broadcasted via Zoom. Neon Girls is a riveting true story of a young woman's days stripping in grunge-era San Francisco where a radical group of dancers banded together to unionize and run the club on their own terms. Jennifer Worley is a professor of English at City College of San Francisco and recently finished her term as President of the faculty union, AFT 2121. Her film Sex On Wheels, documents the history of San Francisco's sex industry and sex worker activism and has played at film festivals and universities worldwide. Her writing has appeared in Bitch, Captive Genders, Invisible Suburbs, The Queerist, and PRI's Outright Radio. [editor's note: at the time of this recording, City Lights Bookstore was only open for curbside pickup and online order. The store has since opened fully and the hours are 12-8PM every day.]
Jul 2, 2020
Frank Wilderson III and Justin Desmangles
Frank Wilderson III in conversation with Justin Desmangles, discussing Frank's new book, "Afropessimism." This event was originally broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. Professor and chair of African American studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid, Frank B. Wilderson III has received an NEA Literature Fellowship and a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Creative Nonfiction, among other awards. Justin Desmangles is chairman of the Before Columbus Foundation, administrator of the American Book Award, and host of the radio broadcast New Day Jazz, now in its fifteenth year. A member of the board of directors of the Oakland Book Festival, Mr. Desmangles is also a program producer at the African-American Center of the San Francisco Public Library.
Jun 19, 2020
Cara Black and Jacqueline Winspear
Cara Black and Jacqueline Winspear discussing the writing of fiction that takes place in World War II Europe. They explore topics that closely parallel many of the issues of the day as well as discussing the challenge and complexities of placing one's writing in a dynamic historic period. This event was originally broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Peter Maravelis. Cara Black's most recent book is "Three Hours in Paris," published by Soho Press. Jacqueline Winspear's essay "Writing about War" will be published in the new anthology, "Private Investigations: Mystery Writers On The Secrets", "Riddles and Wonders In Their Lives," published by Seal Press. Cara Black, doyenne of the Parisian crime novel, is at her best as she brings Occupation-era France to vivid life in this gripping story about one young woman with the temerity—and drive—to take on Hitler himself. Cara Black is also the author of the bestselling Aimee Leduc Series. The most recent release in that series being "Murder i…
1 hr 36 min
Jun 5, 2020
Katherine Silver in Conversation with Mauro Javier Cárdenas
Katherine Silver in conversation with Mauro Javier Cárdenas, discussing Katherine's new translations of the work of Julio Ramón Ribeyro ("The Word of the Speechless : Selected Stories," published by NYRB) and Juan Carlos Onetti ("A Dream Come True: the Complete Stories of Juan Carlos Onetti," published by Archipelago Press). This event was originally broadcast via Zoom and hosted by Josiah Luis Alderete. Katherine Silver has translated more than thirty books, mostly of literature from the Americas. Her most recent and forthcoming translations include works by María Sonia Cristoff, Julio Ramón Ribeyro, Julio Cortázar, Daniel Sada, Horacio Castellanos Moya, César Aira, and Pedro Lemebel. She has received numerous awards and prizes, including three National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships. She was recently translator-in-residence at the University of Iowa, and is the former director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. In 2019 What Books Press publ…
May 29, 2020
Emerson Whitney discussing and reading from their new book, "Heaven" published by McSweeney's. This event was broadcast live via Zoom, hosted by Caitlyn Wild. At Heaven's center, Whitney seeks to understand their relationship to their mother and grandmother, those first windows into womanhood and all its consequences. Whitney retraces a roving youth in deeply observant, psychedelic prose—all the while folding in the work of thinkers like Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, and C. Riley Snorton—to engage transness and the breathing, morphing nature of selfhood. An expansive examination of what makes us up, Heaven wonders what role our childhood plays in who we are. Can we escape the discussion of causality? Is the story of our body just ours? With extraordinary emotional force, Whitney sways between theory and memory in order to explore these brazen questions and write this unforgettable book. Emerson Whitney is the author of Ghost Box. Emerson teaches in the BFA creative writing progr…
Apr 24, 2020
KimShuck, Thea Matthews, and Kevin Madrigal
"Mapping the Bay," San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck is joined by Thea Matthews and Kevin Madrigal, reading new poetry. Kim Shuck's latest book of poems is Deer Trails, published by City Lights. Kim Shuck is an Ani Yun Wiya (Cherokee)/Polish-American poet, author, weaver, and bead-work artist who draws from Southeastern Native American culture and tradition as well as contemporary urban Indian life. She was born in San Francisco, California and belongs to the Northern California Cherokee diaspora. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She earned a B.A. in Art (1994), and M.F.A. in Textiles (1998) from San Francisco State University. Her basket weaving work is influenced by her grandmother Etta Mae Rowe and the long history of California Native American basket making. She is the winner of the Diane Decorah First Book Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas and the Mary Tallmountain Award for Freedom Voices. In 2017, she was named the 7th Poet Laureate o…
Apr 17, 2020
Roy Scranton reading from his novel, I Heart Oklahoma, published by Soho. Suzie's seen it all, but now she's looking for something she lost: a sense of the future. So when the chance comes to work with a maverick video artist on his road movie about Donald Trump's America, she's pretty sure it's a bad idea but she signs up anyway, hoping for an outside shot at starting over. A provocative, genderqueer, shapeshifting musical romp through the brain-eating nightmare of contemporary America, I Heart Oklahoma! is a book about art, guns, cars, American landscapes, and American history. This kaleidoscopic novel moves from our bleeding-edge present to a furious Faulknerian retelling of the Charlie Starkweather killings in the 1950s, capturing in its fragmented, mesmerizing form the violence at the heart of the American dream. Roy Scranton is the author of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (published by City Lights Books), and co-editor of Fire and…
Apr 10, 2020
Aaron Cohen discusses the subject of his new book, Move On Up: Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power, published by the University of Chicago Press. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews and a music critic’s passion for the unmistakable Chicago soul sound, Cohen shows us how soul music became the voice of inspiration and change for a city in turmoil. Aaron Cohen is the author of Aretha Franklin's 'Amazing Grace' (Bloomsbury). He teaches humanities, journalism and English composition at City Colleges of Chicago and received a Public Scholar fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2016. Cohen's articles have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, DownBeat, Washington Post and The Nation and he is the two-time recipient of the Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).
1 hr 10 min
Apr 7, 2020
STAFF PICK - Chloe Aridjis Reads from Sea Monsters
(From February 2019) Chloe Aridjis reading from her novel, "Sea Monsters," published by Catapult Press. Pulsing to the soundtrack of Joy Division, Nick Cave, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, an intoxicating portrait of Mexico in the late 1980s by this brilliant Guggenheim fellow and Prix du Premier Roman Étranger–winning author. Chloe Aridjis is a Mexican-American writer who was born in New York and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Oxford in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic shows, she lived for nearly six years in Berlin. Her debut novel, Book of Clouds, has been published in eight languages and won the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France. Aridjis sometimes writes about art and insomnia and was a guest curator at Tate Liverpool. In 2014, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in London.
Apr 3, 2020
Gillian Conoley and Donna de la Perrière
Gillian Conoley and Donna de la Perrière reading from their new poetry collections. Gillian reading from A Little More Red Sun On The Human: New and Selected Poems, published by Nightboat Books; Donna de la Perrière reading from Works of Love & Terror, published by Talisman House. Gillian Conoley was awarded the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. A Little More Red Sun on the Human: Selected Poems is forthcoming with Nightboat Books in Fall 2019. Her seventh poetry collection, PEACE, was named an Academy of American Poets Standout Book for 2014 and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Conoley’s work has received the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Fund for Poetry Award. Her translations of Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken, appeared with City Lights in 2014. Conoley is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at Sonoma State University, where she edits Volt. Donna de la Perrière is the a…
Mar 27, 2020
Kal Spelletich in conversation with Catharine Clark, discussing his new project, Significance Machines and Purposeful Robots. 'Significance Machines and Purposeful Robots' was an exhibit of work by Kal Spelletich at St. Mary's College Museum of Art through December 2019 that includes life size praying robots, photos, sound machines, drawings, videos and interactive sculptures which explore the question: can technology do spiritual work? Via audience operated robots that are meditative and violent, Spelletich's work enacts a liberated awareness and pushes his audience to a creative response to in their own lives. City Lights celebrates the release of the catalog for this show. The catalog is enshrined inside a unique artifact produced in a limited edition. The artifact is composed of a suitcase shell that contains a mechanized spinning stone Buddha, LED lights, sound recording of spiritual music, a speaker, laser cut text on acrylic, caliper measuring tool, assorted photos, drawings a…
1 hr 1 min
Mar 24, 2020
STAFF PICK - Little Boy Release Party
(From March 2019) City Lights celebrates the release of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's new novel, Little Boy, published by Doubleday Books with special guests reading passages from the book including: Andrew Sean Greer, Armistead Maupin, Michael Krasny, Maxine Hong Kingston, Shobha Rao, and Julien Poirier. A pre-recorded remark by Lawrence plays at the conclusion. This event was part of our Ferlinghetti 100th birthday celebrations in Spring 2019. In this unapologetically unclassifiable work Lawrence Ferlinghetti lets loose an exhilarating rush of language to craft what might be termed a closing statement about his highly significant and productive 99 years on this planet. The "Little Boy" of the title is Ferlinghetti himself as a child, shuffled from his overburdened mother to his French aunt to foster childhood with a rich Bronxville family. Service in World War Two (including the D-Day landing), graduate work, and a scholar gypsy's vagabond life in Paris followed. These biographical remini…
Mar 20, 2020
Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest Williams reading from her new book, Erosion: Essays of Undoing, published by Sarah Critchton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Introduction by City Lights bookseller Ryan Darley. Erosion are fierce, timely, and unsettling essays from an important and beloved writer and conservationist.Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks; Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and When Women Were Birds, among other books. Her work is widely taught and anthologized around the world. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Harvard Divinity School. She and her husband Brooke Williams divide their time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Castle Valley, Utah.
Mar 13, 2020
A Celebration of Silvina Ocampo
A discussion of Silvina Ocampo, focusing on the two new translations published by City Lights––"Forgotten Journey" & "The Promise"--with the books' translators: Suzanne Jill Levine, Katie Lateef-Jan and Jessica Powell. Opening statement by Elaine Katzenberger, publisher/executive director of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, who also edited these two books. Silvina Ocampo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1903. A central figure of Argentine literary circles, Ocampo's accolades include Argentina's National Poetry Prize and a Guggenheim fellowship. She was an early contributor to Argentina's Sur magazine, where she worked closely with its founder, her sister Victoria Ocampo; Adolfo Bioy Casares, her husband; and Jorge Luis Borges. In 1937, Sur published Ocampo's first book, Viaje olvidado. She went on to publish thirteen volumes of fiction and poetry during a long and much-lauded career. Ocampo died in Buenos Aires in 1993. La promesa, her only novel, was posthumously publi…
1 hr 2 min
Mar 10, 2020
STAFF PICK - The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg's HOWL
(From March 2019, during our Ferlinghetti at 100 celebrations) Ronald K.L. Collins and David M. Skover discuss the subject of their book, "The People v. Ferlinghetti : The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg's HOWL," published by Rowman & Littlefield. Opening statement by Malcolm Margolin. Lawrence Ferlinghetti's name does not appear in any First Amendment treatise or casebook. And yet when the best-selling poet and proprietor of City Lights Books was indicted under California law for publishing and selling Allen Ginsberg's poem, Howl, Ferglinghetti buttressed the tradition of dissident expression and ended an era when minds were still closed, candid literature still taboo, and when selling banned books was considered a crime. Ronald K.L. Collins is Harold S. Shefelman Scholar, University of Washington School of Law. David M. Skover is Fredric C. Tausend Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law. Together they have coauthored several books including The Trials of Lenny Bruce: T…
1 hr 20 min
Mar 6, 2020
Maxim Osipov reading excerpts in Russian of his new book, "Rock, Paper, Scissors and Other Stories," published by New York Review Books in translation. The new edition from NYRB was translated by Boris Dralyuk, Alex Fleming, and Anne Marie Jackson; edited by Boris Dralyuk. Joining Maxim to read passages from the book in English is Sabrina Jaszi. Maxim Osipov (b. 1963) is a Russian writer and cardiologist. In the early 1990s he was a research fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, before returning to Moscow, where he continued to practice medicine and also founded a publishing house that specialized in medical, musical, and theological texts. In 2005, while working at a local hospital in Tarusa, a small town ninety miles from Moscow, Osipov established a charitable foundation to ensure the hospital’s survival. Since 2007, he has published short stories, novellas, essays, and plays, and has won a number of literary prizes for his fiction. He has published five collecti…
Feb 28, 2020
Gibby Haynes reading from his new novel, Me & Mr. Cigar, published by Soho Press. From the wild and wonderful mind of Gibby Haynes––world famous Butthole Surfers front man/lyricist and self-proclaimed eternal Texan adolescent––comes the surreal tale of seventeen-year-old Oscar Lester and his trusted dog, Mr. Cigar. Gibby Haynes is a musician, visual artist, writer, and filmmaker best known as a founding member of the Butthole Surfers, whose outrageous concerts spawned a global cult following and whose albums have sold millions worldwide. He lives in Brooklyn with his family. Me & Mr. Cigar is his first novel.
Feb 25, 2020
STAFF PICK - Elliott Sharp and David Rothenberg
(From June 2019) Elliott Sharp in conversation with David Rothenberg to celebrate the release of two new books: "Nightingales in Berlin: Searching for the Perfect Sound" by David Rothenberg, published by University of Chicago Press and "IrRational Music" by Elliott Sharp published by Terra Nova Books. David Rothenberg is the Series Editor of Terra Nova Books and is distinguished professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the author of many books investigating music in nature, including Why Birds Sing, Survival of the Beautiful, and Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise. His writings have been translated into more than eleven languages and among his twenty one music CDs is One Dark Night I Left My Silent House, on ECM. Elliott Sharp is a composer and multi-instrumentalist. He was awarded the Berlin Prize in Music in 2015 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014. His composition "Storm of the Eye" for violinist Hilary Hahn appeared on her Gr…
1 hr 12 min
Feb 21, 2020
A very special musical episode! Benedicte Maurseth discussing her book, "To Be Nothing: Conversations with Knut Hamre, Hardanger Fiddle Master," published by Terra Nova Press. Benedicte Maurseth is a Norwegian folk musician, composer, and writer. She began her study of the Hardanger fiddle with Knut Hamre at the age of eight. She has toured in Norway and internationally, and has made several recordings on Grappa and ECM. In 2017 she was awarded the NOPA Music Prize for her outstanding contribution to the Norwegian music scene. Terra Nova Books aim to show how environmental issues have cultural and artistic components, in addition to the scientific and political. Combining essays, reportage, fiction, art, and poetry, Terra Nova Books reveal the complex and paradoxical ways the natural and the human are continually redefining each other.
Feb 14, 2020
ZYZZYVA Bay Area Issue Celebration
ZYZZYVA celebrates their 117th issue, the Bay Area Issue with an all-star lineup (in order of appearance): Paul Wilner, Meg Hurtado Bloom, Rita Bullwinkel, Kevin Simmonds, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, and Chia-Chia Lin. Hosted by ZYZZYVA managing editor Oscar Villalon. Paul Wilner is a poet, critic, freelance journalist, and member of the National Book Critics Circle, and a frequent contributor to ZYZZYVA. Meg Hurtado Bloom received her MFA in Creative Writing from St Mary's College of California. Her writing has appeared in Calamity, Lumen, Split Lip, Yellow Chair Review, The Volta, the Columbia Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Rita Bullwinkel is the author of the story collection Belly Up, which won the 2018 Believer Book Award, and is currently being translated into Italian and Greek. Bullwinkel’s writing has been published in Tin House, Conjunctions, BOMB, Vice, NOON, and Guernica. Kevin Simmonds’s books include the poetry collection Bend to It (Salmon Poetry) and Mad for Meat (Sal…
Feb 11, 2020
STAFF PICK - Kevin Killian Reading from Fascination
(From November 2018) Kevin Killian reads from his book, Fascination, published by Semiotext(e) and edited by Andrew Durbin. A memoir of gay life in 1970s Long Island by one of the leading proponents of the New Narrative movement. Fascination brings together an early memoir, Bedrooms Have Windows (1989) and a previously unpublished prose work, Bachelors Get Lonely, by the poet and novelist Kevin Killian, one of the founding members of the New Narrative movement. The two together depict the author's early years struggling to become a writer in the sexed-up, boozy, drug-ridden world of Long Island's North Shore in the 1970s. It concludes with Triangles in the Sand, a new, previously unpublished memoir of Killian's brief affair in the 1970s with the composer Arthur Russell. Fascination offers a moving and often funny view of the loneliness and desire that defined gay life of that era—a time in which Richard Nixon's resignation intersected with David Bowie's Diamond Dogs—from one of t…
Feb 7, 2020
Carmen Maria Machado with Esmé Weijun Wang
Carmen Maria Machado with Esmé Weijun Wang in conversation and celebrating the release of Carmen Maria Machado's In The Dream House: A Memoir, published by Graywolf Press. Event co-sponsored by Asian Women's Shelter, Communities United Against Violence, and The California chapter of Survived and Punished. Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, a finalist for the National Book Award. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is the writer in residence at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her wife. Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of The Collected Schizophrenias and The Border of Paradise. She received the Whiting Award in 2018 and was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists of 2017. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco. RESOURCES: Asian Women's Shelter (AWS) was founded in 1988 to address the needs of women, children and transgender survivors of domestic violence and human…
1 hr 3 min
Jan 31, 2020
Freeman's: The Best New Writing on California with an All-Star Lineup
Celebrating the new issue of Freeman's: "The Best New Writing on California," published by Grove. Hosted by John Freeman with readings by Tommy Orange, Rabih Alameddine, Lauren Markham, H.R. Smith, Shobha Rao, Oscar Villalon, and Jaime Cortez. The sixth Freeman's brilliantly showcases some of the world's best writers grappling with the myths and reality of California today. John Freeman was the editor of Granta until 2013. His books include How to Read a Novelist, Tales of Two Cities, Tales of Two Americas, and Maps, his debut collection of poems. He is executive editor at the Literary Hub and teaches at the New School and New York University. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review and has been translated into twenty languages.
1 hr 11 min
Jan 28, 2020
STAFF PICK - Foucault in California
(From April 2019) Heather Dundas in conversation with David Wade celebrating the release of Foucault in California : A True Story—Wherein the Great French Philosopher Drops Acid in the Valley of Death by Simeon Wade, Foreword by Heather Dundas, and published by Heyday Books. In The Lives of Michel Foucault, David Macey quotes the iconic French philosopher as speaking "nostalgically…of 'an unforgettable evening on LSD, in carefully prepared doses, in the desert night, with delicious music, [and] nice people.'" This came to pass in 1975, when Foucault spent Memorial Day weekend in Southern California at the invitation of Simeon Wade—ostensibly to guest-lecture at the Claremont Graduate School where Wade was an assistant professor, but in truth to explore what he called the Valley of Death. Led by Wade and Wade's partner Michael Stoneman, Foucault experimented with psychedelic drugs for the first time; by morning he was crying and proclaiming that he knew Truth. Foucault in Califo…
1 hr 2 min
Jan 23, 2020
Joyce in Paris with Catherine Flynn
Catherine Flynn celebrating the release of "James Joyce and the Matter of Paris," published by Cambridge University Press, in conversation with fellow UC Berkeley professor Kent Puckett. In James Joyce and the Matter of Paris, Catherine Flynn recovers the paradigmatic city of European urban modernity as the foundational context of Joyce's imaginative consciousness. Beginning with Joyce's underexamined first exile in 1902–03, she shows the significance for his writing of the time he spent in Paris and of a range of French authors whose works inflected his experience of that city. In response to the pressures of Parisian consumer capitalism, Joyce drew on French literature to conceive a somatic aesthetic, in which the philosophically disparaged senses of taste, touch, and smell as well as the porous, digestive body resist capitalism's efforts to manage and instrumentalize desire. This book re-situates the most canonical of Irish modernists in a European avant-garde context while revea…
Jan 17, 2020
Isabella Tree discussing the subject of her new book, Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm, from New York Review Books with an introduction by Eric Schlosser. For many years Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell struggled to make a go as farmers, doing everything they could to make the heavy clay soils of their farm at Knepp in West Sussex as productive as possible, while rarely succeeding in making a profit. By 2000, facing bankruptcy, the couple decided they would try something new. They would hand their 3,500 acres, farmed for centuries, even millennia, back to nature. They would let it go wild. Isabella Tree is an award-winning author, travel writer, and manager of the the Knepp Wildland Project, together with her husband Charlie. She has contributed writing to National Geographic, Granta, The Sunday Times, and The Observer, and her articles have been chosen for The Best American Travel Writing and Reader’s Digest Today’s Best Non-Fiction. Tree is the author of several books, in…
1 hr 3 min
Jan 10, 2020
V. Vale and Rudy Rucker
RE/Search celebrates the release of Issue 19: UNDERGROUND LIVING with V. Vale and special guest Rudy Rucker. V. Vale has traversed the major global underground movements of the past century (including Beatniks, Hippies, Punk, Industrial, kitsch, retro-styles, surrealism, situationism, queer, incredibly strange films and music, performance art, feminism, zines—and more). Along the way, he documented it all, taking over 100,000 photos. Here, for the first time in book form, are 80 "personal" images of underground living, selected from the depths of Vale's vast photographic archive. UNDERGROUND LIVING Includes more than 75 color photos featuring the early Ramones shows, Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, Survival Research Labs, and many more! Rudy Rucker is a mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. The aut…
1 hr 21 min
Jan 7, 2020
STAFF PICK - China Miéville Reads from October: The Story of the Russian Revolution
(From May 2017)China Miéville reads from October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, published by Verso Books. On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville tells the extraordinary story of this pivotal moment in history. China Miéville is the multi-award-winning author of many works of fiction and non-fiction. His fiction includes The City and the City, Embassytown and This Census-Taker. He has won the Hugo, World Fantasy, and Arthur C. Clarke awards. His non-fiction includes the photo-illustrated essay London’s Overthrow and Between Equal Rights, a study of international law. He has written for various publications, including the New York Times, Guardian, Conjunctions and Granta, and he is a founding editor of the quarterly Salvage.
1 hr 6 min
Dec 27, 2019
Anna Merlan discussing the subject of her new book, Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Co. A riveting tour through the landscape and meaning of modern conspiracy theories, exploring the causes and tenacity of this American malady, from Birthers to Pizzagate and beyond. Anna Merlan is a journalist specializing in politics, crime, religion, subcultures, and women's lives. Merlan is a senior staff writer at Vice features. She was previously a senior reporter at Jezebel and staff writer at the Village Voice and the Dallas Observer. Republic of Lies is her first book. She lives in New York.
1 hr 4 min
Dec 24, 2019
STAFF PICK - Jenn Pelly and Greil Marcus Discussing The Raincoats
(From January 2018) Jenn Pelly and Greil Marcus celebrating a new edition in the 33 & 1/3 series, The Raincoats, by Jenn Pelly and published by Bloomsbury Academic. Co-presented by the Rock and Roll Book Club of San Francisco. In this short book – the first on the Raincoats – author Jenn Pelly tells the story of the group's audacious debut album, which Kurt Cobain once called "wonderfully classic scripture." Pelly builds on rare archival materials and extensive interviews with members of the Raincoats, Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Hole, Scritti Politti, Gang of Four, and more. She draws formal inspiration from the collage-like The Raincoats itself to explore this album's magic, vulnerability, and strength. Jenn Pelly is an editor at Pitchfork. Her writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, SPIN, The Wire, and The Village Voice. Pelly's book on feminist punk band The Raincoats was published in October 2017 as part of Bloomsbury's 33 ⅓ series. Greil Marcus is a music journalist, cul…
Dec 20, 2019
Ramesh Srinivasan with Shahid Buttar
Ramesh Srinivasan and Shahid Buttar discussing Ramesh's new book, Beyond the Valley: How Innovators around the World are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow, published by The MIT Press. How to repair the disconnect between designers and users, producers and consumers, and tech elites and the rest of us: toward a more democratic internet. Ramesh Srinivasan is Professor of Information Studies and Design Media Arts at UCLA. He makes regular appearances on NPR, The Young Turks, MSNBC, and Public Radio International, and his writings have been published in the Washington Post, Quartz, Huffington Post, CNN, and elsewhere.
1 hr 32 min
Dec 17, 2019
STAFF PICK - Jeff VanderMeer Reading from Annihilation
(From February 2014) Jeff VanderMeer reads from his novel Annihilation, part one of the Southern Reach Trilogy, published in 2014 by FSG. (Includes a very interesting snapshot of City Lights c. 2014 with Peter Maravelis's intro of upcoming readings at the time..!).
Dec 13, 2019
Savannah Shange in conversation with Patrick Camangian discussing the subject of Savannah Shange's new book, Progressive Dystopia: Abolition, Antiblackness, and Schooling in San Francisco, published by Duke University Press. In Progressive Dystopia, Savannah Shange explores the potential for reconciling the school's marginalization of Black students with its sincere pursuit of multiracial uplift and solidarity. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and six years of experience teaching at the school, Shange outlines how the school fails its students and the community because it operates within a space predicated on antiblackness. Seeing San Francisco as a social laboratory for how Black communities survive the end of their worlds, Shange argues for abolition over either revolution or progressive reform as the needed path toward Black freedom. Savannah Shange is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and principal faculty in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Sa…
1 hr 10 min
Dec 10, 2019
STAFF PICK - Peaches in Conversation with Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens
(From May 2015) Peaches in conversation with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens discussing the book, What Else Is in the Teaches of Peaches, a photograph book chronicling her life and performances with text from Peaches, Yoko Ono, Ellen Page, and Michael Stipe, published by Akashic Books.
Dec 6, 2019
Jairus Victor Grove in Conversation with David Goldberg
Jairus Victor Grove in conversation with David Goldberg discussing the subject of Jairus's book, Savage Ecology: War and Geopolitics at the End of the World, published by Duke University Press. Jairus Victor Grove is Director of the University of Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies and an Associate Professor of International Relations. Dr. Grove received his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 2011. His research focuses on the relationship between disruptive technology and global warfare and also the end of the world. David A. M. Goldberg is a writer, teacher, cultural critic, media developer and native San Franciscan. His work focuses on those nasty spots where racism and digital technology appear to be combining forces to produce a new kind of sentient evil.
1 hr 37 min
Nov 29, 2019
Susan Steinberg reading from her new novel, Machine, published by Graywolf. Machine is a dazzling and innovative leap forward for a writer whose most recent book, Spectacle, gained her a rapturous following. Machine revolves around a group of teenagers—both locals and wealthy out-of-towners—during a single summer at the shore. Susan Steinberg is the author of Spectacle, Hydroplane, and The End of Free Love. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and a Pushcart Prize. She teaches at the University of San Francisco.
1 hr 2 min
Nov 22, 2019
Daniel Handler in conversation with John McMurtrie celebrating Daniel Handler's new novel, "Bottle Grove," published by Bloomsbury Books. A razor-sharp tale of two couples, two marriages, a bar, and a San Francisco start-up from the best-selling, award-winning novelist.
1 hr 11 min
Nov 6, 2019
Mark Arax in Conversation with Kit Rachlis
Mark Arax in conversation with Kit Rachils discussing the subject of his new book THE DREAMT LAND: Chasing Water and Dust Across California published by Alfred Knopf. A vivid, searching journey into California's capture of water and soil–the epic story of a people's defiance of nature and the wonders, and ruin, it has wrought. Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. A former staffer at the Los Angeles Times, his work has appeared in The New York Times and the California Sunday Magazine. His books include a memoir of his father’s murder, a collection of essays about the West, and the best-selling The King of California, which won a California Book Award, the William Saroyan Prize from Stanford University, and was named a top book of 2004 by the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Fresno, California.