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Enduring Struggle, Enduring Spirits
December 1, 2019 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm PSTFree
ENDURING STRUGGLE, ENDURING SPIRITS: Remembering Steve Abbott and Karl Tierney on World AIDS Day
Location: Latino/Hispanic meeting room, Lower Level, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Steve Abbott and Karl Tierney were two gifted Bay Area writers connected in life by gay literary circles and connected in death by the scorched earth of AIDS. Now two posthumous books celebrate their enduring spirits. Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader brings together a cross-section of artistic work spanning three decades of poetry, fiction, collage, comics, essays, and autobiography. Have You Seen This Man? The Castro Poems of Karl Tierney is a time capsule of San Francisco in the ’80s and ’90s that morphs from observation to humor to hunger to fear, each poem carrying a razor-sharp wit. Join the editors of both books, Jamie Townsend and Jim Cory, along with special guest Alysia Abbott, at a special World AIDS Day event made possible by the James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, Nightboat Books, Sibling Rivalry Press, and, with his trademark kindness, the late Kevin Killian, who organized this event in one of his last acts of generosity. Find more information about the writers and editors below:
STEVE ABBOTT was a poet, critic, editor, novelist, and artist based in San Francisco. Abbott edited the Bay Area periodical Poetry Flash and the influential SOUP Magazine. Abbott was a frequent contributor to The Advocate, The Sentinel, and The Bay Area Reporter. With Bruce Boone, he organized the historic Left/Write conference in 1981. He was also a single father and many of his poems reflect on his relationship with his daughter, Alysia, who in 2013 published the acclaimed memoir, Fairyland. Abbott died of AIDS in 1992.
KARL TIERNEY was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, in 1956 and grew up in Connecticut and Louisiana. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Emory University in 1980 and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas in 1983. That same year, he moved to San Francisco where he dedicated himself to poetry. He was twice a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and a 1992 fellow at Yaddo. Though unpublished in book form during his lifetime, his poems appeared in many of the best literary magazines of the period. He published more than 50 poems in magazines and anthologies before his death. In December of 1994 he became sick with AIDS and took his own life in October of 1995.
JAMIE TOWNSEND is a genderqueer poet, publisher, and editor living in Oakland, California. They are half responsible for Elderly, a publishing experiment and persistent hub of ebullience and disgust. They are the author of several chapbooks including, most recently, Pyramid Song (above/ground press; 2018) as well as the full-length collection SHADE (Elis Press; 2015). An essay on the history of the New Narrative magazine SOUP was published in The Bigness of Things: New Narrative and Visual Culture (Wolfman Books; 2017).
JIM CORY’S most recent publications are Wipers Float In The Neck Of The Reservoir (The Moron Channel, 2018) and 25 Short Poems (Moonstone Press, 2016). He has edited poetry selections by contemporary American poets including James Broughton (Packing Up for Paradise, Black Sparrow Press, 1998) and Jonathan Williams (Jubilant Thicket, Copper Canyon Press, 2005). He lives in Philadelphia.
ALYSIA ABBOTT is the author of Fairyland, A Memoir of My Father, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and an ALA Stonewall Award winner and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. She grew up in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the only child of gay poet and writer, Steve Abbott. As a journalist and critic, she’s written for The New York Times, Real Simple, Vogue, Marie Claire, OUT, Slate, Salon, TheAtlantic.com, TriQuarterly and Psychology Today, among other publications. She holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from New School University and was a contributing producer at WNYC Radio.
EVENT COVER PHOTO: March 8, 1988—Activists in support of the ARC/AIDS Vigil block the entrance to the old Federal Building in San Francisco’s Civic Center before their arrest. The AIDS/ARC Vigils of 1985-1995 remain the longest running act of civil disobedience in San Francisco. Credit: Rick Gerharter