The Arrival: A Juneteenth Reading with bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson


June 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture: “Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public. The legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times.”

People across America and around the world are rising up to demand justice because Black lives matter. We are celebrating Juneteenth, its history and its lessons, with poets who’ll share their words with us. At an online gathering featuring bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson, we’ll be raising money for Black Lives Matter LA and other social justice organizations.

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About the BookSwell Read and Relate series

To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live and YouTube. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Fundraising

This event raised $2,850 for Black Lives Matter LA.

Feeling generous? Consider donating to these organizations as well:

About the Writers

bridgette bianca is a poet and professor from South Central Los Angeles. When she is not sharing her own poetry at venues all around Southern California, she co-curates two literary series, Making Room for Black Women and the Women’s Center for Creative Work Reading Series. be/trouble (Writ Large Press) is her debut collection of poetry.
• website: bridgettebianca.com
• IG: Instagram.com/bridgettebianca
• FB: Facebook.com/bridgettebianca

F. Douglas Brown is the author of two poetry collections, ICON (Writ Large Press, 2018), and Zero to Three (University of Georgia, 2014), winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. He also co-authored with poet Geffrey Davis, Begotten (URB Books, 2016), a chapbook of poetry as part of the Floodgate Poetry Series. Brown, an educator for over 20 years, currently teaches English and African American Poetry at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, an all-boys Jesuit school. He is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow, and was selected by Poets & Writers as one of their ten notable Debut Poets of 2014. His poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets, The PBS News Hour, The Virginia Quarterly (VQR), Bat City Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review (CQR), The Southern Humanities Review, The Sugar House Review, Cura Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine. He is co-founder and curator of un::fade::able – The Requiem for Sandra Bland, a quarterly reading series examining restorative justice through poetry as a means to address racism.

Camari Carter-Hawkins is the author of Death by Comb, a stellar body of poetry that seeks to normalize natural hair and find solid ground in an ever-changing world and Write Back to You, a guided journal for writing yourself back into your life. Camari leads journaling workshops all across Los Angeles and beyond. Her poetic works can also be found in Rise: An Anthology of Power and Unity by Vagabond Press and The Best of The Poetry Salon 2013-2018 Anthology. Camari is the 2018 Spoken Word, Voices Heard Women’s Amateur Slam Winner and performs her works nationally. She is the founder of Mama’s Kitchen Press, an anthology press that seeks to publish moments and stories we’ve shared in our mama’s kitchen.
• Instagram: @camaricreative www.instagram.com/CamariCreative
• Website: www.camaricarter.com

Natashia Deón is a NAACP Image Award Nominee and author of the critically-acclaimed novel, GRACE (Counterpoint Press). Awarded the 2017 American Library Association’s Black Caucus Award for Best Debut Fiction, GRACE was also named a New York Times Top Book 2016, a Kirkus ReviewBest Book of 2016, and a Book Riot, The Root, and Entropy Magazine Favorite Book of 2016.

Founder of REDEEMED, a non-profit that pairs professional writers with those who have been convicted of crimes, Deón is a practicing criminal attorney, law professor, and creative writing professor at UCLA and Otis College of Art & Design. Deón is the mother of two and is the creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series’ Dirty Laundry Lit and The Table.

Ashaki M. Jackson is the author of two chapter-length books – Surveillance (Writ Large Press) and Language Lesson (Miel). Jackson is an alumna of Cave Canem and VONA. She is co-founder of Women Who Submit and an executive director for The Offing Magazine. Readers can find her work in Prairie Schooner, Obsidian, 7×7 LA and Faultline among other publications. Jackson earned an MFA (creative writing) from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Ph.D. (psychology) from Claremont Graduate University. She lives in Los Angeles.

Active Giveaway: Signed Copy of Decoding Sparrows by Mariano Zaro

Our journeys to the present moment have all taken different twists and turns and making connections can be remarkably tenuous in our chosen homelands. Author and poet Mariano Zaro brings a potent nostalgia and intimate observations to the task of tracing a journey from his boyhood Spanish village to his coming of age and arrival in California.

DECODING SPARROWS by Mariano Zaro, published by What Books Press: “These poems explore the author’s boyhood in a Spanish village, his coming of age and his arrival to California in his 20’s. A series of characters marginalized by society interact with the speaker and help him understand his uniqueness and difference. Intimacy, sexuality, and desire are expressed in spare, narrative language.”

Head to our Instagram, hit us up with a follow, and tag a friend in the comments to win. See you on our insta!

Do you like fine print? You can read the official rules here.

BookSwell Read & Relate: a salon w/ guest host Mariano Zaro from Poetry LA

Save the date: April 24 at 6 pm

What is said and what is left unsaid in poetry?

How do we communicate across gulfs of understanding and secrets unspoken?

How do we interpret what we hear others say?

Our journeys to the present moment have all taken different twists and turns and making connections can be remarkably tenuous in our chosen homelands. Author and poet Mariano Zaro brings a potent nostalgia and intimate observations to the task of tracing a journey from his boyhood Spanish village to his coming of age and arrival in California.

Join Mariano and his featured guests, including Kim Dower, Alicia Elkort, and Steven Reigns, in a discussion of our journeys, making a literary life in LA, and poetic examinations of memory and destiny.

About BookSwell’s Read & Relate vidchat salon

To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a biweekly virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/824771903

Watch via Facebook Live
https://www.facebook.com/BookSwellClub/live/

Mariano Zaro

Mariano Zaro is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Decoding Sparrows and Padre Tierra. His translations include Buda en llamas by Tony Barnstone and Cómo escribir una canción de amor by Sholeh Wolpé. Zaro’s short fiction has appeared in many magazines. In 2018, he received the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Short Fiction Prize. He is the host of a series of video-interviews with prominent American poets as part of the literary project Poetry.LA. Zaro is a professor of Spanish at Rio Hondo Community College (Whittier, California).

Kim Dower

Kim Dower has published four collections of poetry all from Red Hen Press: Air Kissing on MarsSlice of MoonLast Train to the Missing Planet, and Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave. Widely anthologized and nominated for four Pushcart Prizes, Kim Dower was City Poet Laureate of West Hollywood, from October 2016 to October 2018. She teaches poetry workshops at Antioch University, UCLA Writers Extension, and for the City of West Hollywood Library.

Alicia Elkort

Alicia Elkort’s poetry has been published in AGNI, Arsenic Lobster, Black Lawrence Press, Georgia Review, Heron Tree, The Hunger Journal, Jet Fuel Review, Menacing Hedge, Rogue Agent, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, as well as many others. Her poems have been nominated for the Orisons Anthology (2016), A Best of the Net (2018), and the Pushcart (2017 / 2019). Alicia reads for Tinderbox Poetry Journal. For more info or to watch her two video poems: http://aliciaelkort.mystrikingly.com/

Steven Reigns

Steven Reigns is a poet and educator and was appointed the first Poet Laureate of West Hollywood. He has published the collections Inheritance and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat, and dozens of chapbooks. Reigns is 2019-2020 recipient of The Los Angeles County’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ COLA Fellowship and a fourteen-time recipient of their Artist in Residency Grant. He edited My Life is Poetry, showcasing his students’ work from the first-ever autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBT seniors. Reigns has lectured and taught writing workshops around the country to LGBT youth and people living with HIV. Currently he is touring The Gay Rub, (www.thegayrub.com) an exhibition of rubbings from LGBT landmarks, facilitates the monthly Lambda Lit Book Club, and is at work on a new collection of poetry. www.stevenreigns.com

April 8 Live Literary Podcast Recording for BookSwell Intersections

Watch Now

Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett discusses his novel Dark Corners with Running Wild Press publisher Lisa Kastner at a live recording of the BookSwell Intersections podcast. They talk about amplifying marginalized voices and centering queer people of color in fiction and publishing. Dan Lopez and Sarah LaBrie joined the discussion to recommend books they’ve enjoyed.

Note: this is a live taping of the BookSwell Intersections literary podcast.

“A gripping collection of yarns in which social disadvantages take on monstrous shapes.” — Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus’s starred review gives Dark Corners by Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett the boost that every author craves. In a publishing industry that continues to privilege white and male authors, how did Dark Corners come about and what comes next? BookSwell Intersections literary podcast host Cody Sisco will speak with “Tihi” and with Lisa Kastner, the publisher of Running Wild Press, which published Dark Corners and publishes stories that cross genres and writing that doesn’t fit neatly in a box.

About Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett

Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett is a queer activist, writer, and storyteller. His non-fiction work first appeared in The Splinter Generation in 2007, while Tihi was still an undergraduate, and more recently in The Mary Sue blog in 2015. His first fiction short-story collection Dark Corners debuts in 2019 through Running Wild press. Dark Corners was recently included in the swag bag for George Lopez’s Celebrity Golf Tournament, frequently attended by Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria and many other celebrities. His fiction has elsewhere appeared in the Surreal South Anthology in 2011, transLit magazine, and Oregon Literary Review. He currently works at Demand Progress, leading online campaigns against the overreach of government surveillance. Prior to that, Tihi worked as an online campaigner for the Working Families Party, a progressive third party in the United States, where he combined his storytelling skills and political activism. Tihi has won consumer campaigns against Netflix, UPS, and worked with a coalition to remove David Koch from the Boards of the Smithsonian and PBS. While living in Brooklyn, Tihi produced Rustik Storytellers, a monthly oral storytelling live show in 2013. In 2016 he co-produced PRACTICE, a safe-space live storytelling show designed to encourage new-comers to take up the oral storytelling tradition. As a fluent speaker of Dothraki, one of the languages created for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Tihi recently worked on the upcoming Netflix series Daybreak as a Dothraki Language Consultant. Tihi has a MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University and currently lives in Long Beach, CA.

About Lisa Kastner

Lisa Kastner is a former journalist and corporate communications consultant and journalist. Lisa is credited in over, 20 publications, including Now What? The Creative Writer’s Guide to Success After the MFA and The Resistors by Dwight L. Wilson (edited by Lisa Kastner), which was featured in a Kirkus Reviews story that says the book will “keep you up all night.” Lisa, the founder and executive director of Running Wild Press, has led Pennwriters, Running Wild Writers Community, and the Springfield Writers Group.

She earned an MFA from Fairfield University and her MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Lisa was on Dance Party USA, syndicated on the USA TV network, and appeared on Dancin’ on Air, a regional television program, as a teenager. Her step-mother, Violet Smith, was the director for the arts in Santa Ana, CA, where a concourse at the Santa Ana Airport is named after her. Lisa’s father, Frank Carter, is in the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame, for his service in radio for 50 years. She resides in Los Angeles, California.

About BookSwell Intersections literary podcast

The BookSwell Intersections podcast features book recommendations, interviews with authors, and highlights of upcoming literary events in Los Angeles.

Much like LA itself, the literary scene here is often difficult to navigate. BookSwell Intersections will help you find your way to the authors, events, and new releases that you won’t want to miss.

Cody Sisco hosts the BookSwell Intersections literary podcast along with co-hosts Rachelle Yousuf, Sakae Manning, Dan Lopez, and Sarah LaBrie.