If you’re in New York this weekend, join Belladonna* and Kundiman for a celebration of what would have been the 60th birthday of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (a full life cycle event in the Chinese/Korean lunar calendar). Nine poets, including Cathy Park Hong, Myung Mi Kim, Sina Queyras, and Anne Waldman, will perform a staged reading from Dictee, Cha’s best known work. There will be birthday cake, projected images, scholarly contextualization, and other surprises. Saturday March 5, at the Bowery Poetry Club, 2pm.
Paris Review co-founder Peter Matthiessen will publish a new novel in the spring of next year. Matthiessen, who won the National Book Award in 2008 for his last novel, Shadow Country, said the new novel centers on “a weeklong meditation retreat at the site of a World War II concentration camp.”
Claudia Rakine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, which won the Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was included in our own list of “Nine Books for the Post-Ferguson Era,” has been adapted for the stage, and previews are beginning in Los Angeles. Graywolf, the independent press behind Citizen, The Empathy Exams and On Immunity: An Inoculation, has interviewed the playwright behind the adaptation about the project and his process. As he explains it, “what makes the book—and the theatre piece—unique is that they expose and illuminate the small, sometimes unintended, and unconscious acts of everyday racism. Subtle, insidious, soul-crushing.”
Elizabeth Bishop famously exchanged letters with Robert Lowell so remarkable they were later collected and published (Words in Air). This Recording has prepared a selection of her letters to Lowell and others, including one edit focused on the year after a lover’s suicide. Pair with a meditation on the relevance of Bishop’s poetry at crucial life moments.
“Did not really sleep: no Xanax / yesterday, which means I won’t sleep, / then the next night is usually OK, / Xanax or no. It’s Christmas Eve / in Spain, the important day. We’ll / break Dorota’s wafer. My mood / is less good than yesterday when / I would call it ‘normal’.” A few new poems by Kathryn Maris at 3:AM Magazine.
Tonight at the Pacific Standard Fiction Series in Brooklyn, Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine (which, according to Edan boasts “one of the best voices to come out of literature in the last…oh, ever, probably”), will be reading with Robert Lopez, author of Kamby Bolongo Mean River. As usual, I’ll be hosting; it would be great to see you there. For more information, see Time Out New York.
Authors, including Jennifer Egan, George Saunders, Ali Smith, and our own Chigozie Obioma, chose their Best Books of 2017 in a two-part series for The Guardian. If you enjoyed that list, make sure to check out our Year in Reading: 2017 series all throughout December.