FEATURED THIS WEEK, 4/3-4/8: sfjazz poetry festival, donde esta mi gente?, kelsey st. press + lorrie moore, sb stokes

Ishmael Reed standing by Brant WardSFJAZZ Poetry Festival
Thursday – Sunday

No one claims to have invented poetry. There is poetry in every people and in every language. Jazz, though, was made in America.

“Jazz, it seems to me, is less about the soloist – however talented – than it is about the complex interweaving of various sounds and voices,” says poet Jack Foley by e-mail. Foley is among those who will perform as part of the second annual SFJazz Poetry Festival, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. Read more »

Baruch Porras-Hernandez by Mark McBethDonde Esta Mi Gente?
Starts Saturday, continues over the next two Saturdays, 7:30pm, Free

Last year, Baruch Porras-Hernandez left his position as patron services manager of Magic Theater, where he worked for nine years, to focus on his own arts organizing. With a grant from Galería de la Raza, Porras-Hernandez has organized a three-evening festival honoring Latino writers, called Donde Esta Mi Gente? (or, Where Are My People?).

“When I went to school for theater I was the only Latino in the entire department,” he said recently from the top of Bernal Heights. “I never thought that that was odd. I just expected spaces to not have people like me. Because they were like me … they just didn’t share my cultural heritage.” Read more »

Lorrie Moore & Mona Simpson @ City Arts & Lectures
Monday, 7:30, $27

Lorrie Moore“Nothing’s a joke with me,” says a Lorrie Moore character in her story “The Jewish Hunter.” “It just all comes out like one.” Many have pointed out that this statement also seems to represent Moore. The popular author of short story collections including Self Help and Birds of America (which won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize), Moore is often known for her humor. But, as The New York Times Book Review put it, she “may be the chief contemporary chronicler of those whose dread makes them unable to turn off the laugh machine;” in other words, there’s a lot more going on in Moore’s work than comic relief. Her writing is fun to read, even when it’s dark. There’s a sense that you’re listening to a friend, or, at least, that this person would understand you and your friends. Moore has just published her first collection of new stories, Bark, since 1998, and appears for a reading and conversation with Mona Simpson and Rick Kleffel as part of the City Arts & Lectures series.

Kelsey St. Press: Embodiment, Gender and Experimental Writing

Amber DiPietra

Tuesday, 5:30pm, Free

Kelsey Street Press has been publishing daring, experimental work for 40 years, including collaborations between poets and visual artists, and a long and growing list of authors’ first books.

Further, the Berkeley-based press has spawned other like-minded publishing houses and helped to broaden conversations about the fluidity between categories too often considered distinct, such as prose and poetry, male and female. To celebrate, the press is kicking off a trio of April events in the area with a reading and conversation that focuses on Embodiment, Gender and Experimental Writing. Panelists include Patricia Dienstfrey, Amber DiPietra, Eleni Stecopoulos, and Nico Peck, and Susan Gevirtz moderates. A reception follows, and Kelsey Street Press books are on display through May 30.

SB Stokes by Ian Tuttle

The Write Stuff: SB Stokes on Re-Testing Desire Through the Work You Produce

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

SB Stokes’ first book of poetry, A History of Broken Love Things, is out now from Punk Hostage Press. He has produced the blog MASS COMMUNICATIONS since 2004 and also can be found on YouTube and Tumblr. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is a founder, event producer and art director for Oakland’s free, annual literary event, Beast Crawl, which happens Saturday, July 12 this year. Read the interview, with an exclusive video »