Exciting news! MariNaomi is back with another awesome graphic memoir. Plus, if Bey's Lemonade has you hungering for poetry, you're in luck. May is here, and poetry has sprung from every sidewalk -- or so it seems with all of the poets hitting the mic this month.
Wednesday, May 4: 'Breaking Ground: Black British Writers' at Green Apple Books on the Park, SF.
Bernardine Evaristo's latest novel tells the story of a 74-year-old gay Caribbean London man who has lived in the closet his entire life. Colin Grant is the author of Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and His Dream of Mother Africa, as well as a historian and BBC radio producer. Diran Adebayo is an award-winning novelist and cultural critic, and Karen McCarthy Woolf is known for An Aviary of Small Birds, a poetry collection lauded as "beautiful, painful, and pitch-perfect" by critics. These are just some of the writers in the spotlight during the Breaking Ground tour, which was developed to "highlight the diversity of Black British writing," and writers who've had little access to American readers and audiences. Details here.
Thursday, May 5: Legacy of Poetry Day at Hammer Theater Center, San Jose
"do you know where that is i want to sing / so you can hear me and maybe you can tell me / where to go so you can hear me and just maybe you can tell me where to go," writes Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate, in his City Lights poetry collection Notes on the Assemblage. To answer Herrera's question, one can go to San Jose to hear the legendary poet give a keynote address, following readings by other poet laureates: Al Young (California Poet Laureate Emeritus), Caroline Goodwin (San Mateo County Poet Laureate), Alejandro Murgia (San Francisco Poet Laureate), Amanda Williamsen (Cupertino Poet Laureate) and more. Celebrate Cinco De Mayo by nourishing the mind and heart. Details here.
Monday, May 9: Don DeLillo at City Arts and Lectures, SF
New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani recently described Zero K, DeLillo's latest novel, as a kind of bookend to White Noise. The title comes from a special secret unit in remote Kazakhstan, where patents can opt to transition to the next level before reaching their natural deaths. As with White Noise, the notoriously kinetic author takes on themes of mortality, technology, and the ways that we fall prey to distraction in an attempt to evade our impeding deaths. Disaster, as to be expected, makes an appearance as well. DeLillo will be in conversation with Rachel Kushner, whose novel The Flamethrowers received much attention and accolades (and comparisons to DeLillo) upon its release in 2013. Details here.
Tuesday, May 10: MariNaomi at The Booksmith, SF
Turning Japanese, the latest graphic memoir from MariNaomi, chronicles her experiences working at illegal hostess bars in San Jose and Tokyo. Currently living in Southern California, MariNomi grew up in Mill Valley, and later moved to San Jose where she began working, at 22, at a hostess bar for Japanese expats. The experience sparked a desire to learn Japanese and connect with her neglected Japanese roots. As an accomplished author, illustrator, and creator of the Cartoonists of Color Database and LGBTQ Cartoonists Database, MariNaomi is a force to be reckoned with. Details here.
Friday, May 13: Fresh and Best New Poets Reading at Diesel A Bookstore, Oakland
Three poets head up the latest Fresh and Best reading series edition at Diesel. Julien Poirer's new collection of poetry Out of Print is available through City Lights. The Berkeley-based poet is a founding member of the Ugly Duckling Presse Collective and has published several poetry collections. He'll read with Sierra Ventura, a creative writing student at Mills College, whose poems have been featured in chapbooks like Winter Vomiting Disease and Daria ReRuns. Sean Labrador y Manzano, editor of the journal Conversations at the Wartime Cafe, rounds out the lineup. Details here.