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Book Launch for Heidi Van Horn’s Belated Poem, with Sarah Heady and Nancy Au

November 9, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm PST


The Bindery hosts San Francisco poet Heidi Van Horn for her debut collection, Belated Poem. Reading with her are poet Sarah Heady and fiction writer Nancy Au. Please join us!

Belated Poem (Drop Leaf Press, 2019) is a book-length sequence of text + image diptychs distilling landscape, color, and language into a poetics of interiority. Van Horn’s spare lines and arresting photographs are narratively linked yet marked by rupture, elusion, and unsettledness. Deploying vocabularies of intimacy and ephemerality as deftly as those of abstraction, physics, and geologic time (volcanic island-building; fault-block mountains), Belated Poem ultimately speaks in human terms: perception and consciousness, shadow states, and severance at the seam of Self and Other.

Heidi Van Horn is a poet who takes lots of photographs. Her multi-disciplinary practice explores the complexity of selfhood and the space of the encounter. Heidi recently joined the editorial staff at Drop Leaf Press, where she will be focusing on artist + poet collaborative works. She is also co-authoring, with David Makaaha Kwon, “House of David,” a poetic assemblage exploring the personal and political geography of mass incarceration. Heidi received her BA in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and her MFA in Poetry from San Francisco State University. She has worked as the assistant director of the UC Berkeley Public Service Center and currently serves as a youth justice mentor. She lives in San Francisco with her children. More at hvanhorn.com.

Sarah Heady is a poet and essayist interested in place, history, and the built environment. She is the librettist of Unfinished: An Opera, a new work about the death and life of a women’s college, currently in development with composer Joshua Groffman and producer Vital Opera. Sarah is also the author of Niagara Transnational (Fourteen Hills), winner of the 2013 Michael Rubin Book Award, and Tatted Insertion, a letterpress collaboration with book artist Leah Virsik. Her manuscript “Comfort” was a finalist for the 2019 Ahsahta Press Sawtooth Poetry Prize and the 2017 National Poetry Series. Sarah is a co-editor of Drop Leaf Press, a small women-run poetry collective. More at sarahheady.com.

Nancy Au is an Oakland-based writer and co-founder of The Escapery. She received her MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She teaches creative writing (to biology majors!) at California State University Stanislaus. Her writing appears in Redivider, Gulf Coast, Michigan Quarterly Review, Jellyfish Review, Lunch Ticket, Pithead Chapel, The Forge Literary Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. She is the winner of Redivider’s 2018 Blurred Genres Contest and The Vestal Review’s 2018 VERA Flash Fiction Prize, and her flash fiction is included in The Best Small Fictions 2018. Her debut full-length collection, Spider Love Song and Other Stories, published by University of Cincinnati’s Acre Books, just launched this September. More at peascarrots.com.

Belated Poem speaks in a mesmerizing incantation of precision and haunting as it seeks to observe and record the vast geographies of the interstices between people. A poet with a barometer, a scientist in a fugue state, Van Horn converges photography, text, and space in order to trace the complicated textures of intimacy and distance, attachment and rupture, amid the debris of an altered relationship. From the subtle doubling in her photographs and the spatial undertow of her lines emerges a lyrical sequence that, in its unearthing of “your body next to mine at the event horizon,” also unearths the inconsolable beauty of the interior terrain and those places that are hardest to voice.”  – Jennifer S. Cheng

Belated Poem greets time after its becoming – exceeding a certain intensity – a relational experience or a lesson that befalls us in space. In the aftermath of “the jade- / blue slope of a line” or “the cusp of the caldera,” we become offspring of the “event horizon.” Here are vital forces – landscape, creative, combinatorial – shifting, intimate, foreshadowing and spilling us into “catastrophic events” or “a nest / out of dark matter.” Image and poem in this beautiful sequence confirm the open-ended aliveness of traces and our distributed brave interface with the world.” – Hazel White


November 9, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm PST
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Drop Leaf Press
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San Francisco , 94117 United States
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