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Katie Ford with Katie Peterson / If You Have to Go

September 24, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0

Booksmith hosts a special evening with Katie Ford, to celebrate her new poetry collection If You Have to Go. Joining her for a reading and conversation is the poet Katie Peterson! Please join us.


The poems in Katie Ford’s fourth collection implore their audience—the divine and the human—for attention, for revelation, and, perhaps above all, for companionship. The extraordinary sequence at the heart of this book taps into the radical power of the sonnet form, bending it into a kind of metaphysical and psychological outcry. Beginning in the cramped space of selfhood—in the bedroom, cluttered with doubts, and in the throes of marital loss—these poems edge toward the clarity of “what I can know and admit to knowing.” In song and in silence, Ford inhabits the rooms of anguish and redemption with scouring exactness. This is poetry that “can break open, // it can break your life, it will break you // until you remain.” If You Have to Go is Ford’s most luminous and moving collection.



“In every poem in If You Have to Go, Katie Ford risks seeing—she must, because from her first book onward, but never more so than here, her poems have been poems that have seen. Here, Ford has seen the end of a marriage, and in her great refusal to make the world weep as she weeps, she finds herself at times almost unbearably at odds with a world she sees unchanged by her suffering, and so she sees the world—‘everyone thrashes / against a wall / in this life.’ Ford becomes stronger with each book, and is among the best poets of our generation.” – Shane McCrae


“With the publication of her first book, Katie Ford established herself as a distinct and powerful voice in American poetry, and in subsequent books her aesthetic has evolved of necessity to meet the demands of new urgencies. Here, she goes to the bottom of loss to explore the relationship between uncertainty, desire, and belief as well as the relationship between faith in the human and faith in a God. At times it seems that only the careful speaking of the heart-made thought stands between this speaker and an abyss. This is a complex, riveting, and heartbreaking book.” – Jane Mead



Katie Ford is the author of three previous poetry collections: Blood LyricsColosseum, and Deposition. The recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Reading Prize, she teaches at the University of California, Riverside. Katie’s author photo was taken by Helge Brekke.



Katie Peterson is the author of four books of poetry, This One Tree,Permission, and The Accounts. Her fourth collection, A Piece of Good News, will be published by FSG in February 2019. The winner of the Rilke Prize in Poetry from the University of North Texas, she is Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of California, Davis. Katie’s author photo was taken by Jackson Frishman.



RSVP appreciated but not required.


September 24, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
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The Booksmith
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The Booksmith
1644 Haight St
San Francisco , CA 94117 United States
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