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John James and Julia Guez
October 5, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pmFree
About The Milk Hours
Winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, The Milk Hours is an elegant debut that searches widely to ask what it means to exist in a state of loss.
“We lived overlooking the walls overlooking the cemetery.” So begins the title poem of this collection, whose recursive temporality is filled with living, grieving things, punctuated by an unseen world of roots, bodies, and concealed histories. Like a cemetery, too, The Milk Hours sets unlikely neighbors alongside each other: Hegel and Murakami, Melville and the Persian astronomer al-Sufi, enacting a transhistorical poetics even as it brims with intimacy. These are poems of frequent swerves and transformations, which never stray far from an engagement with science, geography, art, and aesthetics, nor from the dream logic that motivates their incessant investigations.
Indeed, while John James begins with the biographical–the haunting loss of a father in childhood, the exhausted hours of early fatherhood–the questions that emerge from his poetic synthesis are both timely and universal: what is it to be human in an era where nature and culture have fused? To live in a time of political and environmental upheaval, of both personal and public loss? How do we make meaning, and to whom–or what–do we turn, when such boundaries so radically collapse?
About John James
John James is the author of Chthonic, winner of the 2014 CutBank Chapbook Award. His poems appear in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Best American Poetry 2017, and elsewhere. Also a digital collagist, his visual art is forthcoming in the Adroit Journal, Quarterly West, and LIT. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is pursuing a PhD in English at the University of California, Berkeley.
About In an Invisible Glass Case Which is Also a Frame
A close look at the rigors of our current cultural moment, In an Invisible Glass Case Which Is Also a Frame offers readers a way to navigate vital questions: what does it mean to be “secure”? How do we make art amid complexity? In Guez’s debut, readers will witness realities of income inequality, climate change, and the opioid epidemic alongside a series of reliable antidotes: art, music, humor, and love. “Have we made it across the vast plain of night?” asks one poem. No, not quite. There is more night, but there is singing, too. Rich in its sophisticated engagement of a “still life” series, dilemmas large and small, political and personal, are treated with generosity, curiosity, and a precise investigation of the heart.
About Julia Guez
Julia Guez’s poetry, essays, interviews and translations have appeared in Poetry, the Guardian, PEN Poetry Series, the Kenyon Review, BOMB and the Brooklyn Rail. She has been awarded the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship and the John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation. Guez holds degrees from Rice and Columbia. For the last decade, she has worked with Teach For America; she’s currently a managing director of programming there. She also teaches creative writing at Rutgers and writes poetry reviews for Publishers Weekly. Guez lives in Brooklyn.