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For the second event in The Poetry Center's premier Tripwire Cross-Cultural Poetics Series, we present Antena, a language justice and language experimentation collaborative, represented by poet-translators Jen Hofer and John Pluecker, reading, in performance, and in conversation. Antena enact their collaborative practice by engaging in topics chosen through audience feedback, free-flowing association, and discussion of current and past projects, culminating in a performance of improvised interpretative poem-making using excerpts out of June Jordan's Naming Our Destiny: New & Selected Poems (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1989) and Antena's own RECLICLADOS LANGUAGES リサイクルされた LENGUAJES RECYCLED 言語 (Libros Antena Books, 2016). The performance is followed by a conversation with the audience.
The Poetry Center presents Brandon Shimoda and Aisuke Kondo, featuring a reading, an art presentation, and conversation. Shimoda reads a new work, written for the occasion, reflecting on the experience and legacy of Japanese American internment during World War II, followed by one long poem from his book The Desert (The Song Cave, 2018). Kondo, Japanese artist and visiting scholar at SF State in Asian American Studies, speaks (with live Japanese-to-English interpretation by Wesley Uenten) on the influence of his great grandfather's migration to the US and his internment during World War II in the Topaz Camp, in Utah, on his own art and creative process, interspersed with a video presentation and slideshow from recent exhibitions. Prior to the event, the audience was invited to join an informal gathering at the Ruth Asawa Garden of Remembrance, a public space designed to commemorate the 19 Japanese American San Francisco State University students incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. The reading and presentation are followed by a conversation between the artists and with the audience (with Japanese-English interpretation by Takeshi Moro). This event, funded in part by a Ford Foundation grant to the Academy of American Poets in support of the Poetry Coalition, is part of a series of nationwide programming during the month of March 2019 in conjunction with the Poetry Coalition, under the theme: "What is it then between us?" Poetry and Democracy, and was co-sponsored by the Department of Asian American Studies at SF State.
The Poetry Center presents Mg Roberts and Geneva Chao reading and in conversation. Mg Roberts reads from not so, sea (Durga Press, 2014) as well as from her forthcoming book Anemal Uter Meck (forthcoming from Black Radish Books, 2017). Geneva Chao reads from One of Us is Wave One of Us is Shore (Otis Books, 2016) and Hilary is Dreaming (Make Now Books, 2016). The readings are followed by a conversation with the audience.
The Poetry Center, as the inaugural event in the Leslie Scalapino 21st Century Innovative Writers Series, presents M. NourbeSe Philip, at McRoskey Mattress Co., San Francisco, in performance and in conversation. Philip reads and performs work from Zong! (Wesleyan University Press, 2008). The reading is followed by a conversation with the audience. The evening was co-sponsored by The Green Arcade. The annual series is supported by the Leslie Scalapino-O Books Fund.