Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday, January 10: BENEFIT READING feat. Dora Malech and Murray Silverstein




The Architecture of Poetry with  

Murray Silverstein and Dora Malech

 “Which comes first, the pile of stones or the poem, the building or the song? That’s a wonderful question.” – Murray Silverstein


Many thanks to our sponsor, 

Dora Malech

 5 PM – 7 PM 

Admission is now FREE, w. door donations encouraged | Includes food & drink
STUDIO ONE | 365 45th St | OAKLAND

Murray Silverstein


3 PM – 4 PM 

$100.00 | Includes admission to 
Readings and Reception and food & drink 

 See below for more information.

At play in the fields of architecture and poetry 

Pictured above: An early image of the home designed by Murray 
and where the Tea Talk will be held.
In this active reverie, this wandering among the elements of architecture and poetry, Silverstein will lead his listeners through the two fields, playing with the ways that they are both opposite and alike, and how they therefore shed light on each other.

“As we might say of a beautiful space, it captures light, so we may say of a stanza with the ring of truth, it stops time, captures it, stops it in its tracks.” – Murray Silverstein


Buy tickets using the Paypal button on the right-hand sidebar OR
Send a check, payable to “Studio One Arts Center,” with “Studio One Reading Series” in the memo. Please send check to the following address:  
Casey McAlduff | 385 Alcatraz Ave | Oakland, CA 94618

Murray Silverstein is a poet and architect. His new collection of poems, Master of Leaves, has just been released from Sixteen Rivers Press. His poems have appeared in RATTLE, Brooklyn Review, Poetry East, West Marin Review, RUNES, Nimrod, Connecticut Review, Zyzzyva, Fourteen Hills, Pembroke Magazine, Elysian Fields and other journals. His first collectionAny Old Wolf (Sixteen Rivers Press), received the 2007 Independent Publisher medal for poetry. Also for Sixteen Rivers, Silverstein served as executive editor for the anthology, The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed. His poems have recently appeared in Chapter & Verse, Poems of Jewish Identity (Conflux Press). A practicing architect and co-author of four books about architecture, including A Pattern Language (Oxford University Press) and Patterns of Home (The Taunton Press), Silverstein lives in Oakland, California. For examples of work from Murray's practice and for information about his firm, please visit
Dora Malech is a poet, professor, and visual artist. She is the author of two collections of poems, Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011) and Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser, 2009). Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry London, Lana Turner, American Letters & Commentary, and Tin House, among numerous other publications. She has been the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and a Writers' Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy, and she has served as Distinguished Poet-in-Residence at Saint Mary's College of California. She is a co-founder and former director of the arts outreach organization the Iowa Youth Writing Project. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she is an Assistant Professor of Poetry in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. She is completing a third collection of poems, As[     ]k, which explores constraint and freedom, permission and transgression.

All proceeds benefit the Studio One Reading Series | Studio One Arts Center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit 
Corporation ID # 94-6000384

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Friday, December 5 @ 7:30 pm, w. Rodney Koeneke, Meg Day, Malachi Black and Ed Roberson

Join us on Friday, December 5 at 7:30 pm for a reading
with Rodney Koeneke, Meg Day, Malachi Black and 
Ed Roberson

 Admission is FREE.

Beer is FREE. Thank you, Lagunitas Brewing Company!

Beverages and snacks will be served.

365 45th Street, Oakland, CA 94609

We hope to see you there! 
Author bios and photos follow below: 

Rodney Koeneke’s Etruria is just out from Wave Books. Earlier collections include Musee Mechanique (BlazeVOX, 2006) and Rouge State (Pavement Saw, 2003). Recent work can be found in The Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Granta, Gulf Coast, The Nation, and at Harriet, where he was August's Featured Writer. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches British and World History at Portland State.

Meg Day, selected for Best New Poets of 2013, is a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014, winner of the 2013 Barrow Street First Book Prize in Poetry) When All You Have Is a Hammer (winner of the 2012 Gertrude Press Chapbook Contest) and We Can’t Read This (winner of the 2013 Gazing Grain Chapbook Contest). A 2012 AWP Intro Journals Award Winner, she has also received awards and fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation, Hedgebrook, Squaw Valley Writers, the Taft-Nicholson Center for Environmental Humanities, and the International Queer Arts Festival. Meg is currently a PhD candidate, Steffensen-Cannon Fellow, & Point Foundation Scholar in Poetry & Disability Poetics at the University of Utah.

Malachi Black is the author of the poetry collection Storm Toward Morning (Copper Canyon Press, 2014).  His poems appear or are forthcoming in journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, Boston Review, AGNI, Narrative, The Southern Review, and Southwest Review, among others, as well as in several recent and forthcoming anthologies, including Discoveries:  New Writing from The Iowa Review; Before the Door of God:  An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (Yale UP); and The Poet’s Quest for God (UK).  The recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship (awarded by the Poetry Foundation in conjunction with Poetry magazine), Black has since been granted fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the MacDowell Colony, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers, the University of Utah, and Yaddo.  Black was featured as the subject of an Emerging Poet profile by Mark Jarman in the Academy of American Poets’ American Poet magazine, and his work has several times been set to music and otherwise featured in exhibitions both in the U.S. and abroad.  He was formerly the Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry at Emory University, and is now an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of San Diego.

Ed Roberson (b.1939 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is author of nine books of poetry and a chapbook, Closest Pronunciation (in the Drinking Gourd Series of Northwestern University Press). His most recent book, To See the Earth Before the End of the World, published by Wesleyan, was a finalist for the 2010 LA Times Book Award and was one of two runners-up for the 2011 Kingsley-Tufts Award. In 2009, The New Wing of the Labyrinth was published by Singing Horse Press. City Eclogue was published in spring 2006, Number 23 in the Atelos series. His collection, Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In, was a winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; his book Atmosphere Condition was a winner of the National Poetry Series and was nominated for the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Award.

He is a recipient of the Lila Wallace Writers’ Award and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award. In 2011, he was presented the Stephen Henderson Critics’ Award for achievement in poetry by the African American Literary and Culture Society at the American Literature Association Conference.

Retired from Rutgers University, Ed Roberson currently lives in Chicago where he taught classes and workshops as Visiting Professor at Columbia College Chicago from 2004-2007. He was also the Visiting Artist in the Center for Writing Arts at Northwestern University, and he taught in the Poetry and Poetics Program as Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago in 2008.  From 2009 until June 2014, Ed has served as Artist in Residence at Northwestern University, teaching in the English Department’s Creative Writing Program. Additionally, he was an instructor at the Cave Canem Retreat for Black Writers from 2008 through 2010. For the Fall 2014 semester he has been the Holloway Visiting Professor at University of California Berkeley.

Ed graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970, where while he was an undergrad research assistant in limnology, he traveled across Canada, through Alaska, Kodiak and Afognak Islands and later to Bermuda with research expeditions. As an expedition member of the Explorer’s Club of Pittsburgh, he has climbed mountains in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes. Ed has worked in the steel mills, been an aquarium diver-tankman in the Pittsburgh Aquazoo, and worked in advertising graphics. He has motorcycled across the U.S. and has traveled in West Africa, Mexico and the Caribbean.

A Conversation: Rodney Koeneke, Sheila Davies Sumner and Casey McAlduff

"Some constellation of ideas about the ancient and contemporary, the dead and reborn, the translated and the silenced, the historical and the disappeared, gradually took shape. Eventually, Etruria—my Etruria, anyway—came to seem like the right place for Jack Spicer to lay down with Sharon Mesmer, or Marianne Moore to fleer in an antiquated hat." 

- Rodney Koeneke 

Casey McAlduff: Your book Etruria (Wave, 2014) is a delight. The poems are thought provoking and have sincere emotion, and they’re also funny and filled with surprising language. The poems remain contemporary despite their complex interaction with ancient civilization and classical history. Many of the poems also contain a language & motion that is reminiscent of Flarf poetry. Even though your poems are clearly intentioned, they have a sense of freedom about them—the reader is never quite sure what will happen next. Can you talk a bit about your involvement with Flarf and how it may continue to inform your work? How has Flarf changed the way you use and approach language?

Rodney Koeneke:  What I tried to take forward from Flarf in Etruria—aside from the humor and surprise I’m glad you found there—is a certain approach to syntax. The language we were mining from the Internet back in 2003 wasn’t especially disjunctive. People were expressing themselves online in the most heartfelt and exposing ways, using everyday speech with a telegraphic directness a lot of us found exciting. It was different from the “eat your parataxis, its good for you” ethos we cut our teeth on in the ‘90s. But it wasn’t Ashbery’s syntactical suavity, either. (He’s gotten flarfier with age though, don’t you think?)

I think I wanted to see—without so much thinking about it, just sitting down and doing it—how much could connect inside a poem, how disparate the contents could grow and still feel semantically whole. In that respect, the poems in Etruria mimic my happier feelings on the Internet, where everything can seem potentially, surprisingly connected through those long link loops you pour your office time into.

That’s just the old problem of form transferred to digital though, isn’t it? I guess Flarf gave me metaphors for working through questions of form—what to record and what to filter, how to shape data into a poem.

Sheila Davies Sumner:  I think you achieved what you set out to do. While reading Etruria, I felt a strong sense of the book’s semantic ‘wholeness’. Despite its multiplicity of tone and style, there seems to be a whole pluralistic reach to the work. Stranger and antigod pass through the community, as well as mythical elders, Dido, Hermes, and Dante who stop by briefly, and the many modern poets dropping in for sustained visits such as O’Hara, Koch, Moore, and Spicer. The community really unifies and solidifies throughout the book into a comfortable neighborhood. I imagine this unity was built through intention and randomness. How did you find your way to it?

RK: Coming up with the title helped clarify what the poems were up to, and how they might settle down together into a book. I’d written the title poem early on in the process, which starts off with Napoleon’s Kingdom of Etruria, the realm he cut whole cloth from Italy and tossed to a Bourbon princeling. Over time, the “Etruria” idea took on more layers. I read D.H. Lawrence’s Etruscan Places (beautiful title) and discovered the work he gave Etruria to do, keeping life in a healthier balance with death, like the ancient Etruscans, who built their cities in parallel with their tumuli until Rome ploughed them both into empire.

On a visit with poets Ben Friedlander and Carla Billiterri, Carla told me that in Italy, “Etruria” still connotes the sophisticated and luxe—“Etrurian Watches, ” “Etruria Organic Food Products,” things like that. (The Romans had been great collectors of Etruscan art.) It was through Brandon Downing, I think, that I learned about Josiah Wedgwood’s model pottery works in industrial Staffordshire, which he named—you guessed it—“Etruria.” (Artes Etruriae Renascuntur, he took for its motto: "The Arts of Etruria are reborn.") My friend Julian Brolaski tells me it’s been cracked, but at the time I was writing, I thought the Etruscan script was still undeciphered, keeping its mysteries since Rome erased it. So there’s the frisson of that.

So some constellation of ideas about the ancient and contemporary, the dead and reborn, the translated and the silenced, the historical and the disappeared, gradually took shape. Eventually, Etruria—my Etruria, anyway—came to seem like the right place for Jack Spicer to lay down with Sharon Mesmer, or Marianne Moore to fleer in an antiquated hat.

CEM:  I too felt a sense of different entities uniting throughout the book. I was especially impressed by how you manage to maintain a coherence of tone across the titles of individual poems, despite the varying subjects and thought processes that the individual poems undertake. Do titles come easily to you? Do you have a strategy for titling your poems?

RK: Some come easy, some don’t. “Etruria” was a no-brainer; “no title,” like the name suggests, was a little tougher. I’m glad you mention tone; that was more on my mind than structure or concept while writing these. I didn’t want a monotone collection, but I hoped for some coherence—maybe a harmony—across the book. Titles helped with that, like in the reprise of poems named for poets, or called after the genres they comment on (“ghazal,” “nocturne,” “epithalamion.”)

SDS: As any reader will see, Etruria is an encompassing book of poems, with its contemporary and lyrical diction, spherical emotions, and then a wonderfully big poetic appetite. I really appreciate the level of evident feeling –– sorrow, humor, love –– and your willingness as a poet to let it fluently occupy the work. 

“... knowing how pale / 
and approximate any discussion of feelings will finally be, despite the / 
originals undeniable power.”

(“Toward a Theory of Translation”, p. 1)

Is this a controversial navigation for you?

RK: Navigation’s the right word! I often felt lost while writing these, not sure where the next line would come from or where it would lead. Any fluency appeared retroactively, looking back from the pier and tracing the wake. Which, when things worked, turned out to be the poem.

That’s a “pale and approximate” process, by its nature. You can’t always account for the end you arrived at, or recover the relationship between the finished poem and the original urge that launched it. If there was any inner controversy in putting the book together, it’s probably in that.

SDS: One poem that particularly strikes me is “Bardic Genetics” (p. 65), which is a poem “essentially about life and death.” You also write “Maybe the dead know how to live more fully.” How do you interpret that line? Do the dead have a better deal?

RK: “Bardic Genetics” chases after D.H. Lawrence’s “Bavarian Gentians,” where death appears as a kind of velvety, “blue-smoking” seduction that leads down to Persephone’s wedding bed.

I don’t especially like the Lawrence poem, but I’m intrigued by the way anthology pieces like that get talked about, the functions we expect them to perform. In a culture that doesn’t enjoy much of a ceremonial connection with the dead, the reverence for poems like Lawrence’s, or artworks of any kind, steps in to fill the hole. So it’s easy to feel, as a “live” reader encountering a dead writer, that the poet did live more fully, if only in leaving behind the poem we’re reading.

Also, the poem itself, in the moment of attention we give to it, is a sort of knowing intrusion of the dead upon the living, like the blue gentians are in Lawrence’s “soft September”: “Whom have you come for, here in the white-cast day?”

I didn’t have this thought out in any front-brain sort of way when I wrote that line, but it formed part of the mood that produced it. Joni Mitchell was probably a little closer to hand: “Don’t it always seem to go / that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”    

SDS: “Bardic Genetics” also “ plays with the relationship of Self & Other: 

“... through the voice of the speaker the reader can feel the /
emotions and thoughts of the author”

It seems as though you’re making a distinction between what is voiced and what is mute. I think of Tolkien who, in his introduction to the Fellowship of the Ring, refers to the “freedom of the reader and the purposed domination of the author.” Is this at all relevant to the poem you've written? 

RK: I like your Tolkien quote! Author as Sauron, reader as Hobbit, poem as Ring.

Your question makes me think how that interplay between author, speaker, and reader, which makes poems so slippery, also makes them good allegories for a certain kind of freedom. Etruria lies closer to the Shire than Mordor, I think. But I hope it also conveys at least a muted sense that Sauron’s at work out there somewhere, like History and Progress and Science and Time, eager to smash the round door.

Rodney Koeneke’s Etruria is just out from Wave Books. Earlier collections include Musee Mechanique (BlazeVOX, 2006) and Rouge State (Pavement Saw, 2003). Recent work can be found in The Brooklyn Rail, Fence, Granta, Gulf Coast, The Nation, and at Harriet, where he was August's Featured Writer. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches British and World History at Portland State.

Sheila Davies Sumner and Casey McAlduff are the co-curators of the Studio One Reading Series.