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.”

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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

Watch via Facebook 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:

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, ( an exhibition of rubbings from LGBT landmarks, facilitates the monthly Lambda Lit Book Club, and is at work on a new collection of poetry.

BookSwell Read & Relate Watch Party with Made in L.A. Writers

The BookSwell Read & Relate vidchat salon is keeping connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times. Contributors to Made in L.A. Vol. 3: Art of Transformation, discuss the Los Angeles settings they miss visiting and how the city inspires their fiction.

Join Our Watch Party on April 14 at 6 pm Pacific 🍾 🍿 🎉 📺

Tonight 6 pm Pacific

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.