Noir Genius: Weldon Kees and Jorge Luis Borges

Tomorrow, as night descends on Boyle Heights, I'll be reading a few poems by noir genius Weldon Kees (who should be more famous for his poetry rather than his presumed suicide). I'm a mere accessory to this crime. The key suspects are my fellow readers listed below:

What: Noir Genius: Weldon Kees and Jorge Luis Borges
Join Dana Gioia, Robert Mezey, Jamie FitzGerald, Mariano Zaro, and Lou Matthews for a discussion on the genius of Weldon Kees and Jorge Luis Borges.
When: Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 - 8:30pm
Location: Mariachi Plaza, Mariachi Plaza Gold Line Station (1st / Boyle), near Libros Schmibros Bookshop and Lending Library (I believe this is outdoors so bring a jacket)

Another great opportunity to paint the town noir includes my friend, fiction writer Cheryl Klein, along with some other fantastic writers/performers:

What: Big Noir Open Reading—with Features
When: Sunday, Nov. 6, 3-5 p.m.
Who: Cheryl Klein, Pam Ward, Mike Sonksen
Where: Gemini Manor, 1341 N. Mariposa Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

I hope you'll join us at one or both of these events!

For more on Night and the City: L.A. Noir in Poetry, Fiction and Film, see the Los Angeles Poetry Festival brochure.


Insurmountable Challenges

Dreams over the past week have been full of insurmountable challenges. I was at the gym with some glamorous LA ladies. We were in the locker room getting ready to go, but one of the women had left her quadruplet babies behind. I volunteered to take them home with me. But then I had to face the reality--how was I going to manage quadruplets, along with my own baby girl? How was I going to fit all those car seats into my car?



I was on the road overlooking Makapuu, except it was more a walking path than a road, and I found a rock that looked like Buddha on its convex side and was filled with crystal formations on the hollow innerside. Then there was a baby boy who had a frighteningly large wasp on his face--long yellow body with long white wings. The insect on the baby caused me panic, and soon the air was filled with them--wasps like bomber planes zooming around us.


April 17: She Walks in Beauty Reading in Seattle

Please join me this Sunday for a poetry reading I've curated on behalf of Poets & Writers. As a good friend of mine put it: It will be sweet and deep.

Poets & Writers, Barnes & Noble, and Hyperion/Voice celebrate National Poetry Month with a series of readings inspired by the new anthology She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems. The Seattle reading features a tremendous lineup with Kathleen Flenniken, Jourdan Imani Keith, Rebecca Loudon, Colleen J. McElroy, and Susan Rich.

April 17, 7 PM Barnes & Noble, 2675 Northeast University Village Street. For information about this and other related readings, visit pw.org/poetrymonth.

About the readers:

Kathleen Flenniken’s first book, Famous, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her second collection, Plume, has been selected by Linda Bierds for the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series, and will be published by University of Washington Press in Spring 2012. Flenniken teaches poetry with Writers in the Schools, Jack Straw, and other arts agencies, and she is a co-editor of Floating Bridge Press, a poetry press dedicated to Washington State Poets.

Jourdan Keith, a Hedgebrook alumna, is the City of Seattle ’s 2006-2007 Seattle Poet Populist Emeritus. Her awards include the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs in 2010 for Coyote Autumn and 2004 for the play and solo performance of “The Uterine Files.” An excerpt from her memoir Coyote Autumn is included in the anthology Something to Declare (University of Wisconsin Press). She is the Founder and Director of Urban Wilderness Project, “restoring communities, culture and the environment” by leading storytelling, restoration and wilderness programs rooted in social change.
Rebecca Loudon's most recent collection of poetry is Cadaver Dogs from No Tell Books. She is currently working on Queer Wing-ed, an exploration of the inner life of artist Henry Darger. Queer Wing-ed will be published by Leafe Press in London and the United States. Rebecca is a professional musician and teaches violin lessons to children.

Colleen J. McElroy is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. She was Editor-in-chief of the Seattle Review from 1995-2006. Her most recent collection of poems, Sleeping with the Moon (2007), received a 2008 PEN/Oakland National Literary Award. She is also a writer of creative non-fiction and her latest collections include: A Long Way from St. Louie (travel memoirs), and Over the Lip of the World: Among the Storytellers of Madagascar (finalist in the 2000 PEN USA Research-based Creative Nonfiction category). McElroy is the recipient of the Before Columbus American Book Award, two Fulbright Fellowships, two NEA Fellowships, a DuPont Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. Her next collection, Here I Throw Down My Heart, is scheduled to be published by The University of Pittsburgh Press in 2012.

Susan Rich is the author of three collections of poetry, The Alchemist’s Kitchen (2010) a current finalist for ForeWord’s Poetry Book of the Year Award, Cures Include Travel (2006), and The Cartographer’s Tongue (2000) which won the PEN USA Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review, and Poetry International.