LYRICS & DIRGES: a one year anniversary worth celebrating

(Charles Kruger)

When “Lyrics and Dirges” takes over Pegasus Books in Berkeley for their monthly reading series, readers will often include nationally known writers along with first time performers recruited from local classrooms. This wide range is part of the plan.

While many bookstores that schedule readings are driven by book sales and “name” authors on promotional tours, the management of Pegasus Books has wisely welcomed “Lyrics and Dirges” as a series curated by writers for writers, with book sales a happy afterthought.

The curators of this series are MK Chavez, Sharon Coleman and Tomas Moniz, each of whom is a dedicated, accomplished writer:

MK Chavez is the author of four books of poetry and is a familiar performing face at many Bay area events. Sharon Coleman teaches at Berkeley City College where she is the faculty coordinator for the highly regarded Milvia Street art and literary journal.  A widely published poet herself, she is also an editor with Poetry Flash and a distinguished translator of French and Yiddish poetry. And Tomas Moniz has made a splash in the local literary pool with his popular Rad Dad—a zine about parenting which won a 2011 “Best Of The Bay” designation from the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

When such accomplished artists decide to devote their time and efforts to hosting a reading series, we should take notice. And people do. “Lyrics and Dirges” regularly attracts an attentive audience of East Bay literary lights and more than a few visitors from San Francisco.

To celebrate their one year “paper” anniversary, the team put together an eclectic and impressive group of writers from nationally known award-winner Beth Lisick to local student and emerging slam poetry star Melani Pelley.

As always, it was a night to remember.

Lisick—fabulous, as always—read from a novel-in-progress; you’re going to have to see it live or wait! Meanwhile, here is a link to one of her past performances. Enjoy:

Shawn Taylor

Milani Pelley

Camile Dungy

Daphne Gottlieb