Poison Pen Reading Series featuring Justin Jannise, Mark Haber, francine j. harris
Thursday, August 29, 8:30 pm
(Poison Girl, 1641 Westheimer Rd)
Founded and currently organized by UH Creative Writing students and alumni, Poison Pen was voted Houston’s Best Reading Series in 2014 by the Houston Press. Poison Pen brings in three readers on the last Thursday of each month. Poison Pen’s readers are locally and nationally recognizable writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
Conor Bracken reads from Scorpionic Sun
Thursday, September 12, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
Conor will be in conversation with translation enthusiast and Brazos’ own Mark Haber.
Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine was one of the most prodigious, ferocious Moroccan writers of his time—a time defined by political upheaval, repression, exile, and change. His first novel, Agadir, won the Enfants Terribles Prize founded by Jean Cocteau, and his poetry earned him comparisons to Rimbaud, Antonin Artaud, Aimé Césaire, and Édouard Glissant. However, his work has never appeared in English, let alone the U.S. (and even less so—blasphemously—in Texas).
Now, though, it does, in Conor Bracken’s translation of Khaïr-Eddine’s first collection of poems, Scorpionic Sun. Hailed by Johannes Goransson as “a return of a political surrealism when its convulsive bloom is most needed,” this collection of poems showcases Khaïr-Eddine’s vigorous, relentless, “linguistic guerrilla war.” The poems take aim at a wide variety of targets: King Hassan II, the French, pan-Arabism, colonialism, exile, prejudice, and more. Above all, though, his target is the French language itself, which he wields with exhilarating force and dexterity in order to decolonize it, using it to describe without prejudice the land and people of which he is a part.
Conor Bracken is the author of Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour (Bull City Press, 2017), winner of the fifth annual Frost Place Chapbook Competition, and translator of Mohammed Khair-Eddine’s Scorpionic Sun (CSU Poetry Center, September 2019). Recent poems and translations appear or are forthcoming in BOMB, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Waxwing,and elsewhere. Former Moon Papas Island Poet-in-Residence and current assistant professor of English at the University of Findlay, he received his MFA from the University of Houston.
Sarah Adleman reads from The Lampblack Blue of Memory: My Mother Echoes
Friday, September 13, 6:30 pm
(Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street)
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Poetry. Hybrid Genre. “To call Sarah Adleman’s memoir profound and beautiful would be a grossly inadequate attempt to describe a brilliant, deeply moving yet unflinchingly unsentimental exploration of grief I could never in my life have begun to imagine, at least not until now: a blended-genre collage of historical, scientific, autobiographical and deeply spiritual nonfiction, poetry and prose poetry, including the poetry written by Adleman’s wise, remarkable mother. This memoir asks some of the most difficult questions anyone can ask: How is acceptance and forgiveness even possible in the face of unspeakable cruelty and violence? How is it possible even to describe, much less to find the right metaphors for, unspeakable pain and grief? Yet through her most profound struggles, Adleman finds a way, taking us on long journeys by train, across snowy landscapes, even to sweat lodges and Tibet, making a deep dive into such a complex array of extended metaphors that she can finally bring herself, and us, to a kind of understanding and acceptance. Before now, I could not have imagined a more courageous, life-changing memoir than this, yet here it is, a loving tribute to Adleman’s long-grieving father and lost mother.” —Lex Williford.
Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series featuring Colson Whitehead
Monday, September 16, 7:30 pm
(Cullen Performance Hall, Univ of Houston, 4300 University Drive)
Colson Whitehead is, according to George Saunders, “a splendidly talented writer, with more range than any other American novelist currently working – he can be funny, lyrical, satirical, earnest – whatever is needed by the work.” He is the author of seven novels and two works of nonfiction, including his first novel, The Intuitionist, which John Updike in The New Yorker called “ambitious,” “scintillating,” and “strikingly original.” In 2016, Whitehead published the #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, about a young woman’s will to escape slavery and a literal “underground railroad” with engineers and conductors operating a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the South, for which he earned both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award – only the sixth writer ever to win both for the same book.
Named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and others, The Underground Railroad is considered an “American masterpiece” (NPR). Whitehead returns to Houston with his new book The Nickel Boys, “a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight” (Publishers Weekly), based on true events from a boys’ reformatory in Jim Crow-era Florida, about two African American teens whose polarizing world views echo beyond the decades. Whitehead’s many honors include Guggenheim and MacArthur “genius” Fellowships and a Whiting Writers Award. He has taught at many universities, including the UH Creative Writing Program.
Glass Mountain Reading and Open Mic
Tuesday, September 17, 7pm
(Bohemeo’s, 708 Telephone Road)
Glass Mountain is a national undergraduate literary magazine run by undergraduates at UH. Readings will feature a reading by students published in the most recent issue with an open mic to follow. The open mic is open to all. Please visit the Glass Mountain website for more details: https://glassmountainmag.com/
Poetry & Prose New Student Reading
Wednesday, September 18, 5:30 pm
(MD Anderson Library, Honors Commons, UH Campus)
Poetry & Prose is a reading series featuring UH faculty, students, alumni and other well-known writers, that happens right here on campus.
Readings are free and open to the public. Light refreshments are served.
The series is presented by the University of Houston Libraries, in cooperation with the University of Houston Creative Writing Program.