Poetry Cocktail Hour

Participants in the Poetry Cocktail Hour

It's a tough time for local bookstores, including UPB, what with the social distancing and the sheltering in place. So we're raising funds to help local Bay Area bookstores stay in business, with a series of fundraisers. This event will feature Amber Tamblyn, Alejandro Murguia, Jack Foley, Stephanie Burt, Baruch Porras-Hernandez and Jessy Randall reading for University Press Books.

The authors

Amber Tamblyn is an Emmy, Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nominated actress, writer and director, and the author of 6 books, including the critically acclaimed best sellers, Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution, Dark Sparkler and Any Man. Tamblyn is poet in residence at Amy Poehler's Smart Girls and reviews books of poetry by womxn for Bust Magazine. She’s a contributing writer for the New York Times and New York Magazine's The Cut, and a founding member of the Times Up Organization.

Alejandro Murguía is the author of Southern Front and This War Called Love (both winners of the American Book Award). His non-fiction book The Medicine of Memory highlights the Mission District in the 1970s during the Nicaraguan Solidarity movement. He is a founding member and the first director of The Mission Cultural Center. He was a founder of The Roque Dalton Cultural Brigade, and co-editor of Volcán: Poetry From Central America. Currently he is a professor in Latina Latino Studies at San Francisco State University. He is the author of the short story “The Other Barrio” which first appeared in the anthology San Francisco Noir and recently filmed in the street of the Mission District. In poetry he has published Spare Poems, and this year a new collection Native Tongue. He is the Sixth San Francisco Poet Laureate and the first Latino poet to hold the position.

Stephanie Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor with eight published books, including two critical books on poetry and three poetry collections. Her essay collection Close Calls with Nonsense (Graywolf Press, 2009) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her next poetry collection is Advice from the Lights: Poems (Graywolf, 2017). Her other works include Don’t Read Poetry (Basic Books, 2019); The Poem is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them (Harvard UP, 2016); Belmont (2013); The Art of the Sonnet (Harvard University Press, 2010); Something Understood: Essays and Poetry for Helen Vendler (University of Virginia Press, 2009); The Forms of Youth: Adolescence and 20th Century Poetry (Columbia University Press, 2007); Parallel Play: Poems (Graywolf, 2006); Randall Jarrell on W. H. Auden (University Press, 2005); Randall Jarrell and His Age (Columbia University Press, 2002); and Popular Music (Center for Literary Publishing, 1999).

Jack Foley has published 16 books of poetry, 5 books of criticism, a book of stories, and a 1300-page “chronoencyclopedia,” Visions & Affiliations: California Poetry 1940-2005. He became well known through his multi-voiced performances with his late wife, Adelle, also a poet. He currently performs with his new life partner, Sangye Land. He has presented poetry on radio station KPFA since 1988 and has received two Lifetime Achievement Awards. A new book of Foley’s poetry, When Sleep Comes: Shillelagh Songs has just appeared and Dana Gioia and Peter Whitfield have edited Jack Foley’s Unmanageable Masterpiece—a book about Foley’s book, Visions & Affiliations. He'll be reading with Sangye Land, a life-long poetry enthusiast and Foley’s new partner in both life and performance. She has helped edit manuscripts written by her mother, poet Julie Rogers, and lived with her mother and stepfather, poet David Meltzer, during the final year of his life. She is a student of Buddhism and a volunteer for TLC, Transitional Life Care, a Buddhist end of life non-profit education program located in Alameda.

Baruch Porras Hernandez is a San Francisco writer, stand up comedian, illustrator, and the author of the small poetry collections I Miss You, Delicate and Lovers of the Deep Fried Circle both from Sibling Rivalry Press. His solo show “Love in the Time of Piñatas” got a clapping man from the SF Chronicle and fed the "Baruchador" donut that Dynamo Donuts named after him to sold-out houses at Epic Party Theatre back in December of 2019. He is the creator of Tiny Baruch online comic - and touring show, follow Tiny Baruch's adventures on Instagram, he's a two-time winner of Literary Death Match, he has performed poetry and comedy all over North America, from dive bars to fancy theatres, sexual health clinics, a cave once, and even SF SketchFest.

Michael Warr’s books include Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin (W.W. Norton) (reprinted 2019), The Armageddon of Funk, We Are All The Black Boy, and Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex. He has been published in many magazines, journals, and anthologies and performed in venues across the US and Europe. In 2017 he was named a San Francisco Library Laureate. Other honors include a Creative Work Fund award for his multimedia project Tracing Poetic Memory in Bayview Hunters Point, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His poetry is translated into Mandarin as part of his “Two Languages / One Community” project in collaboration with poet and translator Chun Yu. He has collaborated with musicians, visual and performing artists. His poems have been dramatized for theater, depicted on canvas, and set to original music. Michael is the former Deputy Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora and has extensive experience in community-based arts. He is a board member of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Nazelah Jamison is a performance poet, actor, vocalist, and emcee. She is an East Coast transplant, former organizer of the Oakland Poetry Slam and sometimes reluctant superhero. Her first book of poetry, Evolutionary Heart, was released in Fall of 2016 on Nomadic Press. Nazelah gives the best hugs in the Bay Area.

Jessy Randall's poems, comics, and other things have appeared in Asimov’s, McSweeney’s, Poetry, and The Best American Experimental Writing. Her collection of poems A Day in Boyland (Ghost Road) was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Her other books include The Wandora Unit (Ghost Road, a young adult novel about love and friendship in the high school poetry crowd), Interruptions, (Pecan Grove, collaborative poems with Daniel M. Shapiro), Injecting Dreams into Cows (Red Hen, poems), There Was an Old Woman (Unicorn, prose poems built from nursery rhymes), Suicide Hotline Hold Music (Red Hen, poems and comics), and How to Tell If You Are Human (Pleiades, diagram poems). She is a librarian at Colorado College.

How does it work

We use the conferencing system Zoom. After you sign up you'll get an email with the Zoom access code. (Check that Eventbrite is using your current email address.) You don’t have to join with video, but it’s nice to see faces.

Register at Eventbrite through this link

Event date: 
Friday, June 12, 2020 - 5:00pm
Event address: 
Join Us on Zoom!

Those Halcyon Days

Even though the store takes a hiatus, it’s easy to imagine that long conversation amongst the great minds continuing around the Great Table, in our fancy, if not in Eternity, though we can agree to disagree about that.

How many can you identify?

Some are pretty obvious, others a little obscure. If educated outside the U.S. you might have an advantage in naming two or three. One makes for a fancy pose, but he’s actually a blockhead.

All have made significant contributions, even when shown demonstrably wrong. Nonetheless, we continue to argue with them because even when we argue with them, more often than not, we find them productively wrong.

We look forward to the time when you too can rejoin the conversation.

Front facade of University Press Books

From 1974, University Press Books has stoked the blaze of well over ten thousand minds on fire, carrying new scholarship published by the great university presses in the English-speaking world.

Since our founding, we've added quality fiction and creative non-fiction to our selection, without drfiting from our mission to showcase top new texts introduced by university presses.

Order from us. Visit us. Let well-wrought words churn and burn within.