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VIRTUAL: Launch for July Westhale with Katie Tandy / Via Negativa: Poems

July 16, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm PDT

Booksmith and The Bindery host a virtual launch for July Westhale and her new collection of poems Via Negativa. Reading with her is former cofounding editor of Ravishly and The Establishment, Katie Tandy. Please join us!

This will be a virtual event, which you can join here.

We also plan to stream the event live on our Facebook page.

Friends, neighbors: We are pleased to be able to bring you some of our events virtually while our doors are otherwise closed in the interest of public health. If you’d like to support the store, you can still do that in the usual ways:

Buy the book and we’ll deliver it directly to your door.
> Buy one of our gift certificates, which we keep on file and never expire.
Make a donation.

Thank you very much for your support – we’re proud to be a legacy business and a mainstay of the Haight-Ashbury since 1976!

“Via Negativa,” often used to talk about the divine: a way of describing what something is by describing what it is not, is a book about the more difficult, but truer, ways of talking about the ecstatic world. Half grappling with divinity and the many manifestations of gender/the self , and half an ars poetica, Via Negativa is a gorgeous holy dunking, a submersion into a rich field of lyricism and emotion, a mikva that yearns to leave the reader clear-eyed and bright. Diving into verbal lostness, the hatred of poetry, mythology, and the epistemology of identity, this book challenges the tripartite notion of holiness and its relationship to poetic duty.

“July Westhale is a shapeshifting poet of desire and violence, grief and forgiveness, trauma and loss transformed by resilience. After her gorgeous debut Trailer Trash explored the intricacies of class and gender, Via Negativa deftly weaves the sensual with the spiritual, reckoning with a religious inheritance and a powerful faith in pleasure, engaging in bold lyric conversation with the divine. These deliciously subversive poems range from California fires to church pews with equal parts grace and swagger, always charged with eroticism, rooted in the body, showing us again and again “the wildness of ourselves.” Via Negativa left me breathless.” – Diana Whitney

photo of July Westhale courtesy of the authorJuly Westhale is a poet, translator, and essayist living in Oakland, CA. She is the author of Via NegativaTrailer Trash (winner of the 2016 Kore Press Book Award),  The Cavalcade (Finishing Line Press), Quantifiable Data (Alley Cat Books), and Occasionally Accurate Science (Nomadic Press). Her essays, poems, fiction, and translations are published in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies.

When July isn’t writing, she’s teaching and working as an editor for PULP Magazine, a publication devoted to sexuality and reproductive rights. She is also a community educator, working with all ages of students in all types of settings — in after school programs, community colleges, libraries, living rooms, bookstores, fields, etc. Her work focuses on dismantling the inaccessibility of creative writing and bringing it into a contemporary focus as a necessary way for marginalized communities to archive their experiences.

She is currently at work translating Patagonian poet, Rolando Cárdenas (1933-1990), with the hopes that her project will bring English-speaking audiences the work of writers censored and/or disappeared as a result of the 1973 coup d’état in Santiago.

July has received support and funding from the California Humanities Council, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, Alley Cat Books, Poets & Writers, Writing by Writers, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Lambda Literary Foundation.

photo of Katie Tandy courtesy of the author


Katie Tandy is a journalist, playwright, and co-founding editor of PULP, an online arts and culture publication centering sex/uality and reproductive rights. She is working on a forthcoming memoir braiding together stories from her childhood with human physiology. When she’s not writing, she’s singing with the Oakland rock band The Shattucks.





This event is free and all ages.

To have Via Negativa sent to your door, send an email to events@booksmith.com.

RSVP appreciated by not required.


July 16, 2020
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm PDT
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