About "The Hub" neighborhood in San Francisco
CELEBRATING OUR 9TH ANNIVERSARY
Specializing in books on San Francisco & California history,
the built & the natural environment,
politics & social justice,
cooking, food & farming,
select literature, noir, art, & children's books,
mostly new, some used
Voted SF Weekly Best of Award 2010
BEST NEW BOOKSTORE!
(All events are free unless otherwise noted)
Wednesday, January 10, 7pm
Blasphemy is holy—and exciting, outrageous literature in Treyf Pesach (Unkosher Passover). Novelist Paul Auster declares that this book "strikes with all the force of an exploding bomb—because it speaks the truth." This collection of poems presents radical departures from traditional rituals, formats and conventions: alternative Passover Seders, Yom Kippur liturgy, Thanksgiving prayers, psalms and other poems in the form of proclamations, resolutions, jazz improvisations, incantations, rants, orations, comic monologues, oil spills, life spills, songs, visions, undocumented documents, borders, suns, farewells, minutes of meetings, talk-stories, and all accompanied by provocative drawings of Treyf Passover Seder plates by artist Charles Steckler. In this book the symbolic plate is arrayed with treyf (un-kosher food) and the story of the Exodus with untypical meanings, whiskey instead of wine, recounting the continual slavery of wars and military occupations. Hilton Obenzinger writes poetry, fiction, history, and criticism, and is the recipient of the American Book Award. According to poet Diane di Prima, "he is the American Jonathan Swift."
Wednesday, January 24, 7pm
James Brook will read from his translation of Victor Serge, A Blaze in a Desert: Selected Poems (PM Press)
Stephen Kessler will read from his translation of Luis Cernuda, Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems (Black Widow Press) Victor Serge (1890-1947) played many parts, as he recounts in his indelible Memoirs of a Revolutionary. The son of anti-czarist exiles in Brussels, Serge was a young anarchist in Paris, a syndicalist rebel in Barcelona, a Bolshevik in Petrograd, a Comintern agent in Central Europe, a comrade of Trotsky, a prisoner of Stalin, a dissident Marxist in exile in Mexico . . . He was also a the author of a series of “witness novels,” as well as a poet in the great arc of French poetry from Baudelaire to Surrealism. Like other poets in that tradition, Serge was in essence a deeply politicized poète maudit, a critical outsider, or, in his words, “a torn man of Eurasia.”
In A Blaze in a Desert: Selected Poems, Serge bears witness to decades of revolutionary upheavals in Europe and the advent of totalitarian rule; much of the poetry was written during the “immense shipwreck” of Stalin’s ascendancy. In poems datelined Petrograd, Orenburg, Paris, Marseille, the Caribbean, and Mexico City, Serge composed elegies for the fallen who, like him, endured prison, exile, and bitter disappointment in the revolutions of the first half of the twentieth century. A Blaze in a Desert includes Serge’s one published book, Resistance (1938), and an unpublished manuscript, Messages (1946), as well as his last poem, “Hands,” written the day before his death in Mexico City.
“Victor Serge was a major novelist, a revolutionary, and a historical witness, so it is perhaps not surprising that his poetry has been overlooked. But his poetry is for real. It is as grounded in specifics as you might expect from a fighter in some of the twentieth century’s great struggles, and as visionary as you’d hope from a disciple of Rimbaud and a friend to the Surrealists. Reading it is like coming upon an unsuspected corridor in the house of literature. James Brook’s lucid translation does it full justice.” -- Luc Sante, author of The Other Paris
James Brook is a poet whose translations include works by Guy Debord, Henri Michaux, Gellu Naum, and Benjamin Péret. He is the principal editor of Resisting the Virtual Life (with Iain Boal) and Reclaiming San Francisco (with Chris Carlsson and Nancy J. Peters). The New York Times named his translation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s The Prone Gunman a Notable Book.
Luis Cernuda (1902-1963) was a leading member of Spain’s fabled Generation of 1927. In 1938, during the civil war, he left the country, never to return. He lived in Great Britain for most of the next decade, migrated to New England, where he taught at Mount Holyoke College, and spent the last eleven years of his life in Mexico. In the 1961-62 academic year he taught literature at San Francisco State, and in 1962-63 at UCLA. Cernuda’s triple alienation as a poet, an exile, and an openly gay man, combined with his great lyric gift, have given his poetry enormous resonance with poets and readers in Spain and Latin America and made him one of the most influential and revered modern poets in the Spanish-speaking world.
Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems is Stephen Kessler’s generous selection from Cernuda’s work up to 1950, to complement his earlier translations of Desolation of the Chimera: Last Poems and Written in Water: Prose Poems. From early experiments with surrealism through the increasingly classical clarity and eloquence of his years of exile, Cernuda explores themes of desire, beauty, heartbreak, time, fate, and nostalgia with a love-hate longing for his native Andalucía and grief for his country through the horror and tragedy of war and dictatorship.
Stephen Kessler is a poet, essayist, editor, and translator whose versions of Luis Cernuda have received a Lambda Literary Award, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the PEN Center USA Translation Award. His translation of Save Twilight: Selected Poems by Julio Cortázar received a Northern California Book Award. He is also the editor and principal translator of The Sonnets by Jorge Luis Borges. www.stephenkessler.com
Sunday, February 11, 5:30pm
Hosted by editor, Denise Sullivan, featuring contributors Sylvia J. Martinez, Shizue Seigel, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and special guests.
Sylvia J. Martínez is a writer and adult school ESL teacher. Her work has appeared in In Media Res: Stories from the In-Between (WriteSpace 2016), The East Bay Review, Cipactli, Word Riot, Tattoo Highway, and the San Francisco Examiner, among others. She earned her MFA from San Francisco State and is working on her first collection of stories.
Shizue Seigel is a third-generation Japanese American writer and visual artist who has lived in San Francisco since 1958. She loves the city’s ever-changing diversity, but misses the Fillmore, the old Mission and Japantown, fog and foghorns, working docks, the Belt Line. Her books include In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese Americans during the Internment and Standing Strong: Fillmore and Japantown. Her latest project, Endangered Species, will be out in 2018.
Barbara Stauffacher Solomon is a Swiss-trained graphic designer with a masters degree in architecture. An award-winning landscape artist, she conceived the signage and supergraphics at The Sea Ranch and Ghirardelli Square and the Ribbon of Light along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. paper.
Denise Sullivan is a fourth-generation San Franciscan. She writes about music, arts, and culture and her hometown, and is the author of six titles, including Keep on Pushing: Black Power Music From Blues to Hip Hop and a chapbook, Awful Sweet. She is at work on the biography of singer-songwriter Eugene McDaniels, composer of the contemporary jazz standard, "Compared To What," and the San Francisco memoir, Sunnyside Up, set in the Ingleside District.
Nonstop Metropolis, the culminating volume in a trilogy of atlases, conveys innumerable unbound experiences of New York City through twenty-six imaginative maps and informative essays. Bringing together the insights of dozens of experts—from linguists to music historians, ethnographers, urbanists, and environmental journalists—amplified by cartographers, artists, and photographers, it explores all five boroughs of New York City and parts of nearby New Jersey. We are invited to travel through Manhattan’s playgrounds, from polyglot Queens to many-faceted Brooklyn, and from the resilient Bronx to the mystical kung fu hip-hop mecca of Staten Island. The contributors to this exquisitely designed and gorgeously illustrated volume celebrate New York City’s unique vitality, its incubation of the avant-garde, and its literary history, but they also critique its racial and economic inequality, environmental impact, and erasure of its past. Nonstop Metropolis allows us to excavate New York’s buried layers, to scrutinize its political heft, and to discover the unexpected in one of the most iconic cities in the world. It is both a challenge and homage to how New Yorkers think of their city, and how the world sees this capitol of capitalism , culture, immigration, and more.
Contributors: Sheerly Avni, Gaiutra Bahadur, Marshall Berman, Joe Boyd, Will Butler, Garnette Cadogan, Thomas J. Campanella, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Teju Cole, Joel Dinerstein, Paul La Farge, Francisco Goldman. Margo Jefferson, Lucy R. Lippard, Barry Lopez, Valeria Luiselli, Suketu Mehta, Emily Raboteau, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Luc Sante, Heather Smith, Jonathan Tarleton, Astra Taylor, Alexandra T. Vazquez, Christina Zanfagna
Interviews with: Valerie Capers, Peter Coyote, Grandmaster Caz, Grandwizzard Theodore, Melle Mel, RZA
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