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This virtual event will feature Melissa Studdard, Jane Wong, and Jos Charles as they discuss their recent publications!
Framed as a job application, and bounding with associative leaps and surrealist underpinnings, Dear Selection Committeeis a subversive, sexy love song to an endlessly messy self and the burning world it inhabits. Full of apostrophic power, these poems shift among registers of loss, desire, and joy as they wrestle with issues such as climate change, addiction, modern distractions, gender presentation, religious questioning, and the nature of pain. Dear Selection Committee attests that although life can feel like a bumpy cab ride to interview for a job you feel uniquely unqualified for if you lay aside the anxieties of self just long enough to peer out the window, you'll see great beauty amidst the chaos.
How To Not Be Afraid of Everything, explores the vulnerable ways we articulate and reckon with fear: fear of intergenerational trauma and the silent, hidden histories of families. What does it mean to grow up in a take-out restaurant, surrounded by food, just a generation after the Great Leap Forward famine in 1958-62? Full of elegy and resilient joy, these poems speak across generations of survival.
A Year & Other Poems: Jos Charles's poems communicate with one another as neurons do: sharp, charged, in language that predates language. "A scandal / three cartons red / in a hedge / in / each the thousand eye research of flies." With acute lyricism, she documents how a person endures seemingly relentless devastation--California wildfires, despotic legislation, housing insecurity--amid illusions of safety. "I wanted to believe," Charles declares, "a corner a print leaned to / a corner can save / a people." Still the house falls apart. Death visits and lingers. Belief proves, again and again, that belief alone is not enough.