Thursday, April 30, 7pm
Left Bank Books' Facebook Page
To close out National Poetry Month, Left Bank Books presents poets Philip Matthews, John Elizabeth Stintzi, and Leila Chatti on Facebook Live at 7pm on April 30. Join us for this interactive conversation on our Facebook Page and order a copy of the poets' books from Left Bank Books to support authors and independent bookstores: Witch, by Philip Matthews; Vanishing Monuments, by John Elizabeth Stintzi; Junebat, by John Elizabeth Stintzi; and Deluge, by Leila Chatti.
Witch, by Philip Matthews:
Poems merge queer ecopoetics with religious disposition, speaking through a pantheon of mythic figures--from Jesus to Aphrodite--to commune or contend with reality. What emerges is a cumulative awareness of being a physical, energetic body in a fractured world, attempting to heal some part of it while exploring and embracing the gray areas of identity and ambiguity.
Vanishing Monuments, by John Elizabeth Stintzi:
Alani Baum, a non-binary photographer and teacher, hasn't seen their mother since they ran away with their girlfriend when they were seventeen -- almost thirty years ago. But when Alani gets a call from a doctor at the assisted living facility where their mother has been for the last five years, they learn that their mother's dementia has worsened and appears to have taken away her ability to speak. As a result, Alani suddenly find themselves running away again -- only this time, they're running back to their mother. Staying at their mother's empty home, Alani attempts to tie up the loose ends of their mother's life while grappling with the painful memories that--in the face of their mother's disease -- they're terrified to lose. Meanwhile, the memories inhabiting the house slowly grow animate, and the longer Alani is there, the longer they're forced to confront the fact that any closure they hope to get from this homecoming will have to be manufactured. This beautiful, tenderly written debut novel by Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers winner John Elizabeth Stintzi explores what haunts us most, bearing witness to grief over not only what is lost, but also what remains.
Junebat, by John Elizabeth Stintzi:
John Elizabeth Stintzi's unforgettable debut collection, Junebat, grapples with the pain of uncertainty on the path towards becoming. Set during the year Stintzi lived in deep isolation in Jersey City, NJ, these poems map the deep depression the poet struggled with as they questioned and came to grips with their gender identity. Through the invention of the Junebat -- a contradictory, evolving, ever-perplexing creature -- Stintzi is able to create a self-defined space within the poems where they can reside comfortably, beyond the firm boundaries of the gender binary or the plethora of identities gathered under the queer umbrella. As the speaker of the poems finally emerges from depression, the second wing of the book tracks their falling in love with a woman surfacing from the rubble of her own life following the end of her marriage. Challenging, heartbreaking, soaring, and powerfully new, the poems in Junebat demolish false walls and pull the reader towards the dark edges of the mind, showing us how identity doesn't have to be rigid or static, but can be defined by confusion and contradiction, possibility and metamorphosis.
Deluge, by Leila Chatti:
"To write a series of poems out of extreme illness is a bracing accomplishment indeed. In Deluge... Leila Chatti, born of a Catholic mother and a Muslim father, brilliantly explores the trauma." --Naomi Shihab Nye, The New York Times In her early twenties, Leila Chatti started bleeding and did not stop. Physicians referred to this bleeding as flooding. In the Qur'an, as in the Bible, the Flood was sent as punishment. The idea of disease as punishment drives this collection's themes of shame, illness, grief, and gender, transmuting religious narratives through the lens of a young Arab-American woman suffering a taboo female affliction. Deluge investigates the childhood roots of faith and desire alongside their present day enactments. Chatti's remarkably direct voice makes use of innovative poetic form to gaze unflinchingly at what she was taught to keep hidden. This powerful piece of life-writing depicts Chatti's journey from diagnosis to surgery and remission in meticulous chronology that binds body to spirit and advocates for the salvation of both. Chatti blends personal narrative, religious imagery, and medical terminology in a chronicle of illness, womanhood, and faith.
Philip Matthews is a poet from eastern North Carolina whose practice roots in site-specific meditation and performance. He is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Hemera Foundation, and the Wormfarm Institute, and his poems have appeared in Glass, High Chair, and Poetry Northwest, among other journals. He received his MFA Writing from Washington University in St. Louis.
John Elizabeth Stintzi is a non-binary writer who grew up on a cattle farm in northwestern Ontario. In 2019, they were awarded the Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize as well as the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. They are the author of the novel Vanishing Monuments as well as the poetry collection Junebat, and their work has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Fiddlehead, Best Canadian Poetry, Black Warrior Review, and Ploughshares. They currently live and work in Kansas City.
Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of Deluge (Copper Canyon Press, 2020) and the chapbooks Ebb (Akashic Books, 2018) and Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editors' Selection from Bull City Press. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, The Frost Place, and the Key West Literary Seminar, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Cleveland State University, where she is the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing. Her poems appear in The New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, Tin House, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
All you need to do to participate is log in to your personal Facebook account, go to Left Bank Books' Facebook Page, "Like" the page, and wait for the livestream to begin on the page (you may need to refresh the page periodically until the stream begins).