Coming soon from City Lights Publishers’ Spotlight Series is Barbara Jane Reyes‘s Invocation to Daughters, described as “feminist, experimental poetry in the tradition of Audre Lorde and Theresa Kyung Cha.” The book manuscript was developed in part during the poet’s Creative Work Fund collaboration with The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University. Through their partnership, Reyes and the Poetry Center brought together six visiting poets to read, write, and share work, drawing on the Filipino tradition of Kuwentuhan (or talk story).
Invocation to Daughters contains prayers, psalms, and odes for Filipina girls and women trying to survive and make sense of their own situations. The publisher writes, “Writing in English, inflected with Tagalog and Spanish, Reyes unleashes this colonized tongue against sexualized and racialized violence towards Pinay women.”
Barbara Jane Reyes was born in Manila, Philippines and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of four previous books of poetry. She lives with her husband, poet Oscar Bermeo, in Oakland, where she co-edits Doveglion Press.
On Thursday, September 29, poets Denise Newman and Hazel White and their collaborators at the University of California at Berkeley Botanical Gardens celebrated the culmination of their two-year project during which the poets kept weekly studio hours in the garden, led walks, interacted with the garden’s staff, volunteers, and visitors, and developed a layered literary work and website. Guests are welcome to visit the project through the Biotic Portal at Strawberry Creek’s website or Facebook page. The poets’ literary production is an index of language collected from labels, conversations, and interviews at the gardens, and from their readings in science and literature. The website and Facebook page also feature four short films from the project.
In recent weeks, San Francisco’s arts community has been saddened by the deaths of performer and writer Cherylene Lee and filmmaker Lise Swenson, both Creative Work Fund recipients. Swenson received a 2001 Media Arts grant to create Mission Movie in collaboration with Southern Exposure. Lee received a 2011 Literary Arts grant to collaborate with the Center for Asian America Media on her memoir Just Like Really, which was presented as a series of digital media pieces that incorporated footage and images from her life story, and as a book published in late 2015.
Cherylene Lee’s life was celebrated at an event organized by her family and Theater Bay Area on June 19 at Theater Artaud. Artists Television Access is hosting a memorial for Lise on Saturday, July 9 at 8:00 p.m.– an event that will that include screenings of Mission Movie and Saltwater.
Image: Marker indicating the geographic — but not the cultural — center of San Francisco
On Wednesday evening, June 22, at 5:30 p.m., Denise Newman and Hazel White invite visitors to join them at the U.C., Botanical Garden at Berkeley for a poetic walk along Strawberry Creek. The two poets have been in residence at the garden, collaborating with its members, volunteers, staff, other poets, and visitors on “Biotic Portal at Strawberry Creek: Language Experiments 1.” The event is free with admission to the UC Botanical Garden.
Poets Denise Newman and Hazel White have been spending every Friday afternoon in residence at the University of California Berkeley Botanical Garden–collaborating with one another and with the gardening staff on Biotic Portal at Strawberry Creek. Monthly walks are one way the writers are sharing their work with the public, and such a walk is scheduled for May 25, 1-3 p.m. Participants should register in advance. The event is free with garden admission.
Oakland City Hall and its immediate surroundings will welcome the second annual Oakland Book Festival on Sunday, May 22. Among the many presenters and moderators, Creative Work Fund recipient Linda Norton featured in a slide presentation and talk about Agricultural Labor and the WPA alongside filmmaker Nora Sweeney at 11 a.m. in Hearing Room 1 (session moderated by Steve Dickison, director of The Poetry Center at SFSU). Norton also is moderating a 2 p.m. session, “Working with Others: Convivial Research,” at the Chamber of Commerce. The session features Manual Callahan of the Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy; Stefano Harney, who teaches at Singapore Management University, and Fred Moton, who teaches at the University of California, Riverside. Harney and Moton are co-authors of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study and have collaborated on a number of projects. The Creative Work Fund recommends these and other Oakland Book Festival events: Admission to the Festival is free.
On Thursday, May 12, at 6 p.m., poets Barbara Jane Reyes and Eleni Stecopoulos are reading alongside Robin Tremblay-McGaw at the San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library, in the Latino/Hispanic Rooms.
Both Reyes and Stecopoulos are Creative Work Fund grant recipients and both collaborated with The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University. Stecopoulos’s project explored the poetics of healing over two years of panels and readings with writers, artists, and scholars. She will be reading from her most recent book, Visceral Poetics. Reyes is currently collaborating with the Center on Kuwentuhan (Talk Story), for which she has assembled seven contemporary writers who are corresponding, writing, and performing work together. Reyes and the Center presented readings and a collective performance by those writers in April 2016; she now is working on a manuscript related to the project.
Readings at the San Francisco Public Library are free.
On April 21-23, the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University is presenting the fruits of its collaboration with Barbara Jane Reyes, “Kuwentuhan (Talkstory),” a collective performance developed with Filipino American writers. The project kicks-off with a reading by Barbara Jane Reyes and guests on April 21 at 3:30 p.m. in the Poetry Center, HUM 512. It continues that evening at 7 p.m. at Alley Cat Books, and on April 22 at 7 p.m. at Bayanihan Community Center; and it culminates with a collective performance at 7 p.m. on Saturday April 23 at McRoskey Mattress Company. Tickets to the culminating April 23 performance (co-sponsored by The Poetry Center and The Green Arcade) are $5; all other presentations are free.
Featured writers joining Reyes are Javier O. Huerta, Lehua M. Taitano, Angela Narciso Torres, Arlene Biala, Urayoan Noel, and Aimee Suzara.
On Sunday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to noon, poets Denise Newman and Hazel White are leading a walk along the creek that runs through the University of California Botanical Garden in Berkeley. The public is invited to join them and contribute to their year-long project, Biotic Portal at Strawberry Creek, by collecting data and challenging their ordering index. The walk is presented in collaboration with the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive’s Architecture of Life exhibit (but walkers should gather at the Botanical Garden–not at the museum). Participation in the walk is free with garden admission, but advanced registration is required. For more information about the project, join the Biotic Portal page on Facebook. More walks are scheduled for May 25 and June 22, 2016.