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Celebrating RESISTENCIA: Poems of Protest and Revolution
September 13 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Mark Eisner and Tina Escaja with Carolina De Robertis, Romina Funes, Jack Hirschman, Rebeca Lane, Jessica Powell, and more.
Opening statement by Elaine Katzenberger, Executive Director of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
Co-presented by City Lights and The Red Poppy Art House
celebrating the release of
Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution
published by Tin House Books
This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing the internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
Event is free, but registration is required.
Join us in celebrating the launch of Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution, out Sept. 15 from Tin House. With a powerful and poignant introduction from Julia Alvarez, this extraordinary collection is rooted in a strong tradition of protest poetry and voiced by icons of the movement and some of the most exciting writers today. The afternoon will feature an eclectic mix of readings from the likes of Carolina de Robertis, Jack Hirschman, Tina Escaja, and Jessica Powell; hip-hop from the Guatemalan feminist rapper Rebeca Lane; extraordinary video clips of Lawrence Ferlinghetti talking about resistance poetry; words from City Lights’ Publisher and CEO Elaine Katzenberger; music from the 2019 Chilean protests; and more special guests yet to be announced! Co-presented by City Lights Books and The Red Poppy Art House.
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, and was a Kirkus Prize finalist and a NewYork Times Editors’ Choice. Her books have been translated into seventeen languages and have received numerous other honors, including Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize and a NEA fellowship. As a literary translator, De Robertis has rendered award-winning works by Laura Restrepo, Alejandro Zambra, Raquel Lubartowski Nogara, Roberto Ampuero, and Pedro Almodóvar, among others. In 2017, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts named De Robertis on its 100 List of “people, organizations, and movements that are shaping the future of culture.” She teaches at San Francisco State University and lives in Oakland, with her wife and two children.
Mark Eisner, co-editor of Resistencia, host of the launch party: In 2004 Mark was involved in the early stages of the Red Poppy Art House, just as City Lights published The Essential Neruda, a book he had conceived and edited. It was the year of Neruda’s centennial and The Red Poppy Art House and City Lights came together for a series of celebrations, including readings by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the premier of Mark’s documentary on Neruda, narrated by Isabel Allende. In 2017, City Lights published another project Mark had brought them, the first ever English translation of Neruda’s surrealistic venture of the infinite man. Mark asked fellow Resistencia contributor Jessica Powell to translate it; he wrote the introduction. In 2018, Ecco published his Neruda: The Biography of a Poet, a finalist for the PEN/Bograd Weld Prize for Biography. Mark hopes it’s the last thing he ever does on Neruda. Resistencia, in fact, reflects his expansion of the focus into a broader landscape and conversation about the intersections of art, culture, and the possibilities for social change, which The Red Poppy Art House, City Lights, and tonight are all about.
Tina Escaja, co-editor of Resistencia, is a Spanish American author, digital artist, and Distinguished Professor of Romance Languages and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Vermont. She has published extensively on gender and Latin American and Spanish poetry and technology, and is considered a pioneer in electronic literature. Her collection of poems, Manual Destructivista / Destructivist Manual (2016), translated by Kristin Dykstra, was named a top ten bilingual read by Latino Poetry Review for 2017. Among other recognitions, she won the 2003 the Dulce María Loynaz Poetry Prize for her collection Caída Libre, later translated by Mark Eisner and published by Fomite Press. She has served in leadership positions of many organizations, including the Asociación de Estudios de Género y Sexualides and Feministas Unidas.
Romina Funes, poeta, was born in General San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1981. For the past decade, Romina has organized “Letras & Música,” a series that mixes poetry with live music, performed across Buenos Aires. She is also a part of Tawa, a diverse theater company that includes actors with disabilities. Their work premiered at the Universidad Nacional de San Martín in 2017 and continues to be performed in cities and festivals around Argentina, winning awards. Romina has published three books of poetry, and her poems have been anthologized, published in multiple journals, and translated into English, French, Portuguese, and Romanian. She has participated in poetry festivals in Argentina, Canada, France, Cuba, and Mexico, where she sang with Resistencia’s co-editor Mark Eisner.
Jack Hirschman, Resistencia translator, is Poet Laureate emeritus of San Francisco. His powerfully eloquent voice set the tone for political poetry in this country many years ago. City Lights has published two books of his poetry. and his translations are included in a couple of their volumes, including The Essential Neruda. He has also translated Dalton (Spanish), Depestre (French), Pasolini (Italian), Pastakas (Greek), Gervalla (Albanian), Kirsch (German), Glik (Yiddish), Laraque (Haitian), Mayakovsky (Russian), and Stalin (Georgian/Groozy). The Arcanes, Hirschman’s thousand-page masterwork of his own verse, was published in 2006.
Rebeca Lane, contributing poet/rapper, was born Rebeca Eunice Vargas in Guatemala City in the middle of a civil war, named after an aunt who had been kidnapped and disappeared by the military government in 1981. As a teenager she became involved with social movements and with groups of women using art as a means of political expression. Informed by these experiences, she began her own career as a poet and rapper, and, as a self-defined rap feminist and anarchist, has taken her message to international audiences. Her lyrics are about her experience in a female body and the struggle of women against sexism. She also speaks out about social problems in Guatemalan society, like the consequences of war and the lack of justice. She is a founder of Somos Guerreras (We Are Warriors), a project that strives to transform the hip-hop culture by empowering women.
Jessica Powell, Resistencia translator, has published dozens of translations of literary works by a wide variety of Latin American writers, three of which have been published by City Lights: Antonio Benítez Rojo’s novel, Woman in Battle Dress (2015); Pablo Neruda’s book-length poem, venture of the infinite man (2017); and Silvina Ocampo’s The Promise (2019) (co-translated with Suzanne Jill Levine). Jessica has received an NEA Translation Fellowship and was a finalist for the 2016 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Translation, the 2017 Best Translated Book Award and she made the longlist for the 2017 National Translation Award. Her most recent translation was Gabriela Wiener’s Nine Moons (Restless Books, 2020). Jessica translated seven different translations for Resistencia, the most of any contributor, and provided indispensable help, editing many of the others.
The Red Poppy Art House is a neighborhood center for the intersection of cultural and inter-generational artistic engagement located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. The Poppy is an artist-driven organization that seeks to empower and transform society by addressing current social issues that impact our community and society at large through creative processes. Operating from a neighborhood storefront in San Francisco’s Mission District, we demonstrate the unique, powerful, and irreplaceable capacity of intimate community spaces through hosting over 150 diverse performances, exhibitions, workshops, and artist residencies annually.
To learn more visit: The Red Poppy Art House
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Praise for RESISTENCIA
- “Resistencia could not be more timely. It is a stunning collection of revelations and witness. . . . Indispensable.”
—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels
- “Resistencia resists being an easy Latinx experience. While many of these poems are about war and pain, it would be a disservice to characterize them solely as melancholic. Even surrounded in death and destruction, there is a vibrancy in the lines. There is joy. There is living. Beauty’s put forward bravely.”
—David Tomas Martinez, author of Post Traumatic Hood Disorder
- “The poems in Resistencia do not soothe but shake us awake, and they call on us to do what they have done: to witness, to listen, to not only speak but sing.”
—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones
- “Reading these poems, I felt as if this brilliant chorus of writers, living and departed, was delivering a call to action: ‘We have been here all along, fighting. Won’t you join us?’”
—Frances de Pontes Peebles, author of The Air You Breathe