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A Reading & Conversation with Richard Blanco, C. Bain, and Michelle Chihara
May 18 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Voices at the Center of American Literature will feature readings and conversations by and with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors to discuss visibility, community, and navigating multiple identities, plus the “own voice” and personal narrative.
Presidential inaugural poet, poet laureate of Miami-Dade County, and recent recipient of the National Humanities Medal Richard Blanco will join gender liminal multidisciplinary artist C. Bain in a conversation, moderated by Los Angeles Review of Books Editor-in-Chief Michelle Chihara, on their identities as queer men, as a Latino immigrant and a gender nonconforming performer, and on finding their space in the literary world and celebrating what makes them unique.
Please join us for what will undoubtedly be an incredible evening of poetry and discussion.
ASL interpreting services will be provided. This event will take place in-person at the Hen House Literary Center in Pasadena, California, and will also be livestreamed on Red Hen Press’s website at redhen.org/virtual, Red Hen’s YouTube Channel, and Red Hen’s Facebook Page.
Michelle Chihara was a reporter, editor, and freelance writer and then went back to graduate school and became an academic. She has published fiction, nonfiction, reportage and essays in a variety of publications, online and off, as well as peer-reviewed research. Her book’s working title is Behave! –Economics & the science of influence in American popular culture. Her most recent essay was about the poker champion Annie Duke and quitting your job. Until 2023, she was Associate Professor of English and director of the program in independent curricular design at Whittier College, where she taught contemporary American literature, media studies, and creative writing. She once sold everything she owned and moved to Rio de Janeiro to live by the beach and practice capoeira for a year. She is now Editor-in-Chief of The Los Angeles Review of Books.
Richard Blanco is the fifth presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history—the youngest, first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. He was also a recent recipient of the National Humanities Medal, awarded by the President of the United States, and is the current Miami-Dade County Poet Laureate. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. He is the author of the poetry collections Looking for the Gulf Motel, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and City of a Hundred Fires; the poetry chapbooks Matters of the Sea, One Today, and Boston Strong; a children’s book of his inaugural poem, “One Today,” illustrated by Dav Pilkey; and Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler. Blanco’s many honors include the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and two Maine Literary Awards. He has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s Fresh Air. The Academy of American Poets named him its first Education Ambassador in 2015. Blanco has continued to write occasional poems for organizations and events such as the re-opening of the U.S. embassy in Havana. He lives with his partner in Bethel, ME.
C. Bain is a gender liminal multidisciplinary artist. His book of poetry, Debridement, was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle awards. His writing appears in BOAAT, Bedfellows Magazine, PANK, them., Muzzle Magazine, the Everyman’s Library book Villanelles, the Rumpus .net and elsewhere. He has a long history in slam and performance poetry, and his plays and performance art works have been presented at Dixon Place, The Tank, The Kraine, The Living Gallery, and the LGBT Center in NYC. He recently had work presented at the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival. A former apprentice at Ugly Duckling Presse, and a Lambda Literary fellow, he has a social work degree from Hunter College and an Art MFA from CalArts. Currently he lives in California and teaches poetry on the internet. More at tiresiasprojekt.com