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BOOKSMITH: Terese Svoboda with Dean Rader / Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet

September 17, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0

Booksmith hosts a special evening with NY-based Terese Svoboda, in town as a Headlands Artist In Residence and to celebrate the publication of Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet. Joining her is Dean Rader (Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry). We’d love to see you there!


Anything That Burns You is the first full-length biography of Lola Ridge, a trailblazer for women, poetry, and human rights. Terese Svoboda takes the reader on a fascinating journey that follows Ridge’s life from her childhood as an Irish immigrant in the mining towns of New Zealand to her years as a budding poet and artist in Australia, and then to San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, where she flourished as a poet and editor of the avant-garde journals Others and Broom. By the 1920s, Ridge was at the center of modernism: good friends with William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore, while promoting the careers of Hart Crane and Jean Toomer, in addition to writing brilliant socially critical poems. At one time considered one of the most popular poets of her day, Ridge later fell out of critical favor due to her impassioned verse that looked head-on at the major social woes of society, infused with a radical belief in freedom that she gleaned from her mentors Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger. Certain to revive the legacy of this unique artistic figure-as unforgettable as Virginia Woolf or Frida Kahlo-this lively portrait gives a veritable who’s who of all the key players in the arts, literature, and radical politics of her time, in which Lola Ridge stood front and center.




“Svoboda resurrects the fascinating life and work of Lola Ridge. A lively, complex portrait emerges … of a talented, driven woman for whom ‘art and activism were one’ and who deserves remembrance not just as ‘a fulcrum of modernism’ but a premier poet in her own right.” – Publishers Weekly

“Radical, modernist, fiery, glamorous, feminist- adjectives and categories can only gesture toward the enduringly significant life and works of the poet Lola Ridge, whose story has been gracefully told, with her poems lucidly understood, by Terese Svoboda.” – Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate Consultant to the Library of Congress

Anything That Burns You tells the riveting story of Lola Ridge, a revolutionary and influential poet of her time, now (like so many female artists) lost to history. Terese Svoboda has written a brilliant biography, as original as it is compelling, and a fascinating exploration of literary legacy… A poet herself, Svoboda’s insights are startling and apt, and she constructs a colorful, well-researched background for re-considering Ridge’s considerable achievements. We need more books like this one.” – Rene Steinke, Author, Holy Skirts

“Magisterial” – Ted Galloway, Washington Post


A Guggenheim fellow, Terese Svoboda is the author of 18 books, including seven books of poetry. Professor Harriman’s Steam Air-Ship(poetry) is her most recent. Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet (biography) appeared in paper in 2018, andGreat American Desert (stories) will be published next year. She has won the Bobst Prize in fiction, the Iowa Prize for poetry, an NEH grant for translation, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, a Jerome Foundation prize for video, the O. Henry award for the short story, a Bobst prize for the novel, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay. She is a three time winner of the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and has been awarded Headlands, James Merrill, Hawthornden, Yaddo, McDowell, and Bellagio residencies. Her opera WET premiered at L.A.’s Disney Hall in 2005. “Terese Svoboda is one of those writers you would be tempted to read regardless of the setting or the period or the plot or even the genre.” –Bloomsbury Review.

Dean Rader published three books in 2017: Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry (Copper Canyon Press); Suture, a collection of collaborative sonnets written with Simone Muench (Black Lawrence) and the anthology Bullets Into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, with Brian Clements & Alexandra Teague (Beacon Press). He writes regularly for The San Francisco Chronicle, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, and The Huffington Post and is a professor at The University of San Francisco. In their review of Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry, Publishers Weekly wrote: “few poets capture the contradictions of our national life with as much sensitivity or keenness.”



RSVP appreciated but not required.



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