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Poets Cafe
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Category: Spoken Word
Location: North Hollywood
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March 11, 2018 05:50 PM PDT

Yun grew up in rural southwest China and began writing poetry when she was 12. Her father was a political dissident who was brutally persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. He convinced her to become a scientist to escape political persecution. Wang majored in Physics at Tsinghua University when she was 16. She came to the U.S. for graduate school in Physics in 1985, and got a Ph.D. in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1991. She was a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at University of Oklahoma from 2000 to 2017. She is currently a Senior Research Scientist at California Institute of Technology. She is the author of the cosmology graduate textbook, “Dark Energy” (Wiley-VCH, 2010). Her research focuses on exploring the nature of dark energy, the mysterious cause for the accelerated expansion of our universe. She was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012.

Yun Wang is the author of two poetry books ("The Book of Totality", Salmon Poetry Press, 2015; and "The Book of Jade", Winner of the 15th Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, Story Line Press, 2002), two poetry chapbooks ("Horse by the Mountain Stream", Word Palace Press, 2016; "The Carp", Bull Thistle Press, 1994), and a book of poetry translations ("Dreaming of Fallen Blossoms: Tune Poems of Su Dong-Po", White Pine Press, forthcoming 2019). Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals, including The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, Salamander Magazine, Green Mountains Review, and International Quarterly. Her translations of classical Chinese poetry have been published in The Kenyon Review Online, Salamander Magazine, Poetry Canada Review, Willow Springs, Connotation Press, and elsewhere.

March 07, 2018 11:49 AM PST

Blakeslee Steven's was first published in The American Poet, 1965. Steven's work has regularly appeared in various publications since in the U.S., Australia and Germany. Publishers include but are not limited to : Perspectiv, Poetsfeet, Louder Than Bombs, Venice West Review, (SIC) Vice & Verse, Black Tape Press, Home Planet News, L.A. Emissions, Fifth Sun, Artfax, Rhyme Scheme and Newsletters, among others. In 1995 his book America & A.I.D.S. Poems was published by Rose of Sharon Press in Los Angeles. Blakeslee's poems and plays have been performed on radio in the US and internationally. He often collaborates with European and African musicians on poetry and music.

S.A. Griffin is a Los Angeles-based poet, DJ for killradio.org and co-editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. He received the Firecracker Award as best in alternative press, and was named Best Performance Poet by Wanda Coleman for the LA Weekly in 1989. Griffin has traveled extensively throughout the Western United States and Canada with Los Angeles-based poetry/performance ensemble the Carma Bums.
Widely published and anthologized as a poet, he has also written for the LA Weekly and is a contributing writer for The Underground Guide to Los Angeles, which remained on The Los Angeles Times' bestsellers list for nine weeks.
Griffin served honorably as a clerk typist in the United States Air Force from 1972–1976, and was stationed at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. He was an accomplished vocalist and performed as the lead singer with a local rock cover band while serving in Alaska.
Griffin is also a Dramalogue Award recipient, having played roles in films by notable film directors, including Oliver Stone's World Trade Center (2006), Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider (1985), and Ivan Reitman's Twins (1988). His notable television guest star credits include Perry Mason, Matlock, Alien Nation, Designing Women, Melrose Place, Las Vegas, Dexter, and Days of Our Lives. He appears as Dr. Osiris in the ride film In Search of the Obelisk directed by Douglas Trumbull.
Griffin has appeared in over 150 commercials, and was awarded the Kari Award Canada, as Best Actor in commercials.

February 04, 2018 06:50 PM PST

Douglas Manuel was born in Anderson, Indiana. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and a MFA from Butler University where he was the Managing Editor of Booth: A Journal. He is currently a Middleton and Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. He has served as the Poetry Editor of Gold Line Press as well as was one of the Managing Editors of Ricochet Editions. His work is featured on Poetry Foundation's website and has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Los Angeles Review, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. His first full length collection of poems, Testify, was released by Red Hen Press in the spring of 2017.

"In his breathtaking debut, Testify, Douglas Manuel charts the raw emotional complexities and the impossible daily reckonings that confront a young black man coming of age today in America. Faced at every turn with condescending, fixed assumptions about his 'proper' role in his community and culture, the speaker faces each indictment with a stunning and searing intelligence. Each powerful testimony in this collection stands as evidence of an eloquent and dramatic new voice in American poetry."

--David St. John

"In Douglas Manuel's Testify the act of witnessing is by turns burdensome and bittersweet, narrative and lyrical, ecstatic and irreverent. Here the holy words are the ones that offer no easy epiphanies yet grant us dazzling, off-kilter compassion and a strange, surprising grace. These potent poems testify to those ambivalent moments that might rend or right us, as when an interracial couple drive past a truck with a Confederate flag painted on its back windshield and from which a little boy turns to smile and wave: his 'blond hair // split down the middle like a Bible / left open to the Book of Psalms.'"

--Anna Journey, author of The Atheist Wore Goat Silk

A book of elegiac ambivalence, Testify's speaker often finds himself trapped between received binaries: black and white, ghetto and suburban, atheism and Catholicism. In many ways, this work is a Bildungsroman detailing the maturation of a black man raised in the crack-laden 1980s, with hip-hop, jazz, and blues as its soundtrack. Rendered with keen attention to the economic decline of the Midwest due to the departure of the automotive industry, this book portrays the speaker wrestling with his city's demise, family relationships, interracial love, and notions of black masculinity. Never letting anyone, including the speaker, off the hook, Testify refuses sentimentality and didacticism and dwells in a space of uncertainty, where meaning and identity are messy, complicated, and multivalent.

February 02, 2018 09:58 PM PST

Aram Saroyan is an American poet, novelist, biographer, memoirist and playwright, who is especially known for his minimalist poetry, famous examples of which include the one-word poem "lighght" and a one-letter poem comprising a four-legged version of the letter "m". There has been a resurgence of interest in his work in the 21st century, evidenced by the publication in 2007 of several previous collections reissued together as Complete Minimal Poems.

Holly Prado is a poet from Nebraska. Her recent publications (2012) include poetry featured in the literary review Malpais Review and in Askew magazine; in Chiron Review (2014) and regularly on the poetry/art blog timestimes3.blogspot.com. She and her husband, Harry Northup, are founding members of Cahuenga Press, a poets publishing cooperative which has been publishing books of poetry since 1989.

Harry Northup has had ten books of poetry published, the last one being Where Bodies Again Recline (Cahuenga Press). He received his B.A. in English from C.S.U.N., where he studied Verse with Ann Stanford. Northup has made a living as an actor for thirty-four years, acting in thirty-seven films, including Taxi Driver (1976 Palme d’Or winner at Cannes), Over the Edge (starring role) & The Silence of the Lambs (1991 Oscar winner for Best Picture).

January 07, 2018 01:19 PM PST

Marsha de la O’s latest book, Antidote for Night, won the 2015 Isabella Gardner Award and was published by BOA Editions. Her first book, Black Hope, was awarded the New Issues Press Poetry Prize. She has published extensively, including recent poems in The New Yorker and forthcoming poems in The Kenyon Review. De La O lives in Ventura, California, with her husband, poet and editor Phil Taggart. Together, they produce poetry readings and events in Ventura County and are also the new editors of the literary journal Spillway.

December 04, 2017 08:31 PM PST

Lois P. Jones, host of Pacifica Radio's Poets' Cafe, interviews producer/director of LOVING VINCENT, Hugh Welchman. A year after the death of the artist, Vincent van Gogh, Postman Roulin gets his slacker son, Armand, to hand deliver the artist's final letter to his now late brother, Theo, to some worthy recipient after multiple failed postal delivery attempts. Although disdainful of this seemingly pointless chore, Armand travels to Auvers-sure-Oise where a purported close companion to Vincent, Dr. Gachet, lives. Having to wait until the doctor returns from business, Armand meets many of the people of that village who not only knew Vincent, but were apparently also models and inspirations for his art. In doing so, Armond becomes increasingly fascinated in the psyche and fate of Van Gogh as numerous suspicious details fail to add up. However, as Armond digs further, he comes to realize that Vincent's troubled life is as much a matter of interpretation as his paintings and there are no easy answers for a man whose work and tragedy would only be truly appreciated in the future.

October 08, 2017 03:27 PM PDT

Originally broadcast on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles on 12/25/2016. Features original surviving members Phil Proctor and David Ossman. Produced by Marlena Bond

October 01, 2017 09:46 PM PDT

A special tribute to Austin Straus hosted by Suzanne Lummis and includes guests Laurel Ann Bogen, Cecilia Woloch, Linda Albertano and KPFK's own Uncle Ruthie. Born in Brooklyn in 1939, Austin moved to Los Angeles in 1978, and immediately settled into an ongoing renaissance of poetry in Southern California. He was the founder and cohost of “The Poetry Connexion” on KPFK-FM from 1981 to 1996. His guests included many of the most prominent poets in Los Angeles.
His books of poetry include Laureate without a Country, Drunk with Light, and Intensifications. His late wife, the poet Wanda Coleman (1946-2013), and he collaborated on a sequence of poems celebrating their three decades of marriage, The Love Project: A Marriage Made in Poetry. His poems were reprinted in many anthologies, including “Poetry Loves Poetry,” Suzanne Lummis’sGrand Passion, Charles Harper Webb’s Stand Up Poetry, Steve Kowit’s The Maverick Poets, and Men in Our Time: An Anthology of Male Poetry in Contemporary America.
Austin considered himself to be primarily a book artist, and that work can be found in many collections, including Chapman College, Occidental College, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. However, his poems will also remain a steadfast part of the community of poets he joined almost forty years ago.

September 06, 2017 11:24 PM PDT

Boris Dralyuk is the Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is a literary translator and holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from UCLA, where he taught Russian literature for a number of years. He has also taught at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The New Yorker, London Review of Books, The Guardian, Granta, World Literature Today, The Yale Review, New England Review, Harvard Review, Jewish Quarterly, Poetry International, and other journals. He is the author of Western Crime Fiction Goes East: The Russian Pinkerton Craze 1907-1934 (Brill, 2012) and translator of several volumes from Russian and Polish, including, most recently, Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry (Pushkin Press, 2015) and Odessa Stories (Pushkin Press, 2016). He is also the editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution (Pushkin Press, 2016), and co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski, of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015). His website is bdralyuk.wordpress.com

July 26, 2017 07:14 PM PDT

Thea Constantine sits down with her brother Brendan Constantine to discuss and read excerpts from her latest work, Stumptown. Thea was born in New York City to a family of actors and writers. She grew up in Hollywood and spent her youth in the clubs and streets of Los Angeles before finally settling in Portland Oregon. In between adventures, she has worked as an award winning performer, filmmaker, playwright, and giant shrimp. She is a certified facilitator in the AWA method and does weekly writers workshops with PDX Writers. Her short stories have been published in a number of journals, magazines and anthologies.

“You will come to care about this deeply flawed but charming cast of outsiders – like family.” ~ Lesann Berry, author of Passing Judgement, Alternate Endings, and Ambushing the Vigilante

"You’ve seen them darting from street corners and nightclub back alleys, the squatters and addicts, the underage strippers who’ve barely felt their first crush, the hustlers and millennial Cinderellas of the not always velvet underground aching for magic and surrogate connection. Thea Constantine is a Lou Reed for the Pacific Northwest, deep in the thrall of the characters she’s set in motion, and in her skillful and weirdly redeeming crosshatch of modern Portland’s days and nights, we may also see flashes of who we’re busiest avoiding: ourselves." – Alan Rifkin, author of Signal Hill and Burdens by Water

"It's been two weeks since I finished Thea Constantine's 'Stumptown,' and her characters are all still with me. We like being around each other. The place I live is not far from Portland, evidently." - Allan MacDonell, author of 'Prisoner of X' and 'Punk Elegies'

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