Sunday, November 25, 2012

PEN Prison Writing Program fundraiser

 Belladonna editorial board member Cara Benson also works with the PEN Prison Writing Program, which is having a fundraising event tomorrow at The Strand. Help spread the word and attend if you're in NYC!

Monday, November 26 at 7:30PM
The Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway (on the corner of 12th St.), New York City

Join a panel of tremendous writers and actors, including Lili Taylor, Nick Flynn, Touré, Bryonn Bain, Staceyann Chin, and Eric Boyd for a reading of moving, award-winning prose and poetry from the PEN Prison Writing Contest. Proceeds from the event help ensure that PEN's Prison Writing Program continues to promote the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing by providing hundreds of inmates with skilled writing teachers, free Handbooks for Writers in Prison, and a forum where inmates are encouraged to use the written word.

Belladonna board member publication news!

Belladonna editorial board member Barbara Henning has a new chapbook forthcoming from Monkey Puzzle Press! Read more about it here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In Aporia: Akilah Oliver Memorial Reading Event Report

September 19, 2012, 7:00pm
Holding Her Space:
The Second Annual Akilah Oliver Memorial Reading at The New School
“Therefore when I say ‘now that I am done with being dead’ I have declared an alternative self.” –Akilah Oliver, The Putterer’s Notebook

The healthy turnout for In Aporia, the Second Annual Akilah Oliver Memorial Reading, was no surprise to those familiar with Akilah, her exceptional work, and her influence.  Well matched with the social underpinnings of The New School, Akilah’s work is still so current, so present and yet unconcluded. I am surely not the only one who feels this sense today- now that we’ve had this time to grieve the loss of Akilah’s life, we are now grieving the poet’s writings too.

For those in the Belladonna* and New School communities, there is a clear responsibility as experimental writers, artists, activists and scholars to build an archive of her life and work. In Aporia is no doubt a testament to this very need. The fact that this event will happen every year, featuring student readers alongside more seasoned poets, is proof of Akilah’s impact on her students, the Experimental Writing Collaborative, and in the Literary Studies Department.

The following readers performed on September 19th, 2012 at The New School Cafe: Eileen Myles, Nick Von Kliest, Krystal Languell, Wendy S. Walters. Each gave marvelous readings, some representing the Belladonna* Collaborative, and in between readers we watched videos of Akilah performing her work; poems such as “In Aporia” and “The Standstill World” particularly held the space. Eileen had to run out after her last poem to catch a train, but when I thanked her for being there, she said she considered it her duty. I believe many of us share this attitude, and that we each have something particular to contribute to the collective memory about our relationship to the poet and her work.

Approximately one year after Akilah’s death, some members of the community came together under the guidance of Anne Waldman in effort to stake a claim that we would never lose sight of our poet’s great wisdom. There was a realization midway through the conversation that we were Akilah’s archive and held guardianship over her work and potential future titles. Her son, Oluchi McDonald, was another topic that could not be overlooked- both of their deaths have left us with a raw impression of America’s health care system that we cannot reconcile. The issues of health care and women’s rights remain current with the presidential election contest between Obama and Romney- each is a subject Akilah addressed directly in her writing and activism. I often wonder if it is appropriate to separate activism from poetry in speaking of her when she managed to engage with both in such a transformative way. We need to activate Akilah’s wisdom from her poems, essays, interviews and recordings into a continuation of the conversation she began, which must not be allowed to fade.

On the campus of The New School for the memorial reading, I thought of years ahead, when The New School will grow into that big building over on 14th St, and when the Experimental Writing Collaborative will become much stronger than it is now due to Akilah’s continued influence, when we as poets and artists will come back… and back again to continue our mission in remembering a woman we love, whose community loves her and her life’s work- that of a poet, teacher, performer and activist. May we hold the space of Akilah Oliver and her son, Oluchi.

--Karl C. Leone, Intern

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bees in High Court and Everywhere: Event Report!

Friday, October 12, 2012, 7:30 pm
Bees in High Court and Everywhere: A Belladonna* Book Party for Kristin Prevallet and Tonya Foster
Everywhere Here and in Brooklyn by Kristin Prevallet
Swarm of Bees in High Court by Tonya Foster

By around 8 pm, the apartment of poet Lila Zemborain was full of fellow poets, volunteers, and friends of Belladonna, including supporters Liz Roberts and Bill Mazza and board members Emily Skillings and Krystal Languell. Attendees milled around, sipped wine, and admired the books and broadsides for sale until the reading was announced around 8:30. The party settled in the living room as Rachel Levitsky and Marcella Durand reflected on the significance of the occasion and introduced the two poets. Tonya Foster read poems from her forthcoming book Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna, 2013) one of which, "bullet/in," is available as a broadside from Belladonna. Kristin Prevallet read from her books Everywhere Here and in Brooklyn (Belladonna, 2012) and You, Resourceful (Wide Reality Books, 2012), the latter inspiring a guest reading by Prevallet’s nine-year-old daughter. Photographs of the event by Barbara Henning are available for viewing here.

--Rae Winkelstein-Duveneck, Editorial Intern

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Belladonna's September events!

September 19, 2012 at 7pm
In Aporia: The Annual Akilah Oliver Memorial Reading
co-sponsored by Belladonna* Collaborative
Lang Café, Eugene Lang College
65 W 11th Street

The annual Akilah Oliver Memorial Reading at The New School honors the memory of Akilah Oliver, a radical poet, professor, feminist, and activist. The second of this annual reading series, this event will feature the work of Nick Von Kleist, Krystal Languell, Wendy S. Walters, and Eileen Myles.

Friday, September 21, 7:30 PM
Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends Event:
The Third Annual Brooklyn Indie Party!
Greenlight Bookstore
686 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Featuring A Public Space, Akashic Books, Archipelago Books, Armchair/Shotgun, Belladonna Series, Black Balloon Publishing, BOMB Magazine, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, Ig Publishing, Litmus Press, Melville House, Patasola Press, powerHouse Books, Stonecutter, Tin House, Ugly Duckling Presse, and Vulgar Marsala Press
Drinks, refreshments, and music from DJ Johnny Temple

The Brooklyn Book Festival has become one of the premier literary festivals in the country, featuring great authors and publishers from within the borough and around the world. Greenlight is proud to be a vendor at this year’s BKBF, and to participate in the Bookends project: a series of events before and after the Festival to extend the celebration of all things literary throughout the borough. On Friday night, Greenlight once again partners with some of Brooklyn’s best independent book and magazine publishers to throw a Brooklyn-sized party celebrating the spirit of literary independence in Brooklyn with food, drinks and music! Partygoers will mingle with the borough’s great authors and publishers, discover new works, and kick off Brooklyn Book Festival weekend.

Brooklyn Book Festival
Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza
209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201


Sharing a table with Litmus Press at the book fair!

September 24th at 7pm.
WE ARE THEATRE - a speak out against sexism in theatre 
co-sponsored by Belladonna* Collaborative
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014

Guerrilla Girls On Tour! along with 50/50 in 2020 and the Women’s Initiative members of the Dramatists Guild have organized this event because we agree that the continued exclusion of women from the main stages of global theatre is unacceptable.

WE ARE THEATRE is an evening of monologues, skits, songs and scenes about sexism in theatre. Participants include Theresa Rebeck, Kate Bornstein, Shay Youngblood, Brighde Mullins, Caridad Svich, Andrea Lepcio, Honor Molloy, Kathleen Warnock, Laura Shamas, Penny Jackson, Lauren Ferebee, Sheilah Rae, Paula Cizmar, Velina Hasu Houston, Sarah Duncan, Thelma Virata de Castro, Tiffany Antone and Guerrilla Girls On Tour.

To purchase tickets:

For more information visit:



Thursday September 27, 7pm
Transfeminism in Literature: Reading and Discussion
Poets House
10 River Terrace
Suggested donation: $5

What is transfeminism? How does it redefine genre and gender poetics? Join Belladonna* as we host Transfeminism in Literature, a reading and discussion investigating transfeminist theory in contemporary literature, featuring poets Trish Salah, Tim Trace Peterson and critics Nicholas Birns and TL Cowan. Discussion will be moderated by poet Joy Ladin.

This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Trish Salah is a lecturer at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her research addresses the contemporary emergence of transgender literatures and the cultural politics of transnational anti-trafficking movements. Her writing has appeared in a wide range of journals and anthologies, most recently Selling Sex, Contested Imaginaries, Cordite Poetry Review, No More Potlucks and Feminist Studies. Her first book of poetry, Wanting in Arabic, was published by TSAR in 2002, and her new book, Lyric Sexology, is forthcoming.

Tim Trace Peterson is the author of Since I Moved In (Chax Press) and Violet Speech (2nd Avenue Poetry), and the editor/publisher of EOAGH. Peterson is co-editing, with TC Tolbert, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books / EOAGH) and co-editing with Gregory Laynor the forthcoming Collected Writings of Gil Ott (Chax Press). From 2009-2012, Peterson curated the TENDENCIES: Poetics & Practice talks series at CUNY Graduate Center.

Nicholas Birns is on the faculty of Eugene Lang College, the New School, where he teaches courses on post-1900 American and British fiction, literary theory, Shakespeare, and the history of literary genres and traditions. He is the author of Understanding Anthony Powell (University of South Carolina Press, 2004) and the co-editor of A Companion to Australian Literature Since 1900 (Camden House, 2007), which was named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book of the Year for 2008 and of Vargas Llosa and Latin American Politics (Palgrave. 2010). His book Theory After Theory: An Intellectual History of Literary Theory From 1950 to the Early 21st Century appeared from Broadview in 2010, and his edited anthology Cultural Encounter will appear from Salem Press in 2012.

T.L. Cowan teaches feminist and queer performance, literary and cultural studies at Eugene Lang College and in the School of Media Studies at The New School. T.L. has shown work in venues including Montreal’s Edgy Women Festival, Edmonton’s Visualeyez, Poetry Gabriola, and Toronto’s Festival of Original Theatre. Her performance work includes The Twisted She Project—an intermedial collaborative performance collage that deals with the perversities of contemporary queer femininity—and the ongoing video and performance cycle, Forgiving Medjugorje—a meditation on sex, religion, reconciliation and money. She is also co-convener of DYKE CHECK! Queer Takes on the Revolution, a stage for trans* feminist and queer political performance at Dixon Place, and she is the author of GLITTERfesto: An Open Call For A Revolutionary Movement Of Activist Performance Based On The Premise That Social Justice is Fabulous. You can regularly find T.L. concocting GLITTERactions on the streets of New York City, where she lives.

Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University, is the first out transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. She is the author of a recently-published memoir of transition, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders and six books of poetry, including recently-published The Definition of Joy, and two collections that address transgender issues, Forward Fives award winner Coming to Life and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration.

Monday, June 18, 2012

We're back, with links!

We have news and links to welcome you to summer!

HTMLGIANT reposted a review from Nicky Tiso's blog on Ana Bozicevic's chapbook, War on a Lunchbreak, from September 2011 here.

We reissued Bobbie Louise Hawkins' 1973 chapbook Fifteen Poems, which is available for you to learn more about and order here. Bobbie will be reading at the Boulder Book Store in Boulder, CO on July 3.

We announced a sweet subscription deal for 2012-2013, which you can learn more about and order here.

In other book publication news, the complete Elders Series and Akilah Oliver's chapbook The Putterer's Notebook, once out of print, are now all available again.