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Brian Teare & Dana Levin - Night of Poetry & Discussion

Left Bank Books & St. Louis Poetry Center present Brian Teare & Dana Levin for a Night of Poetry & Discussion! Critically acclaimed poets Teare and Levin will discuss themes from their newest books, focusing on transforming oppressions of body and family—chronic illness and abusive family environments. They will share poetry from their books, speaking to those themes. The evening will take twists and turns as the poets discuss connections between their works, creating a very unique event.

Teare & Levin will personalize and sign copies after the presentation!

Join us at Left Bank Books
399 N Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
Watch the livestream on Left Bank Books' YouTube Page
About the Authors:

A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, Brian Teare is the author of seven critically acclaimed books, including Doomstead Days, winner of the Four Quartets Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent publications are a pair of book-length ekphrastic projects exploring queer abstraction, chronic illness, and collage: the 2022 Nightboat reissue of The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven, and the fall 2023 publication of Poem Bitten by a Man. An Associate Professor of Poetry at the University of Virginia, Brian lives in Charlottesville, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books. 

Dana Levin is the author of five books poetry. Her latest is Now Do You Know Where You Are (Copper Canyon Press), a 2022 New York Times Notable Book and NPR “Book We Love.” Other books include Banana Palace (2016) and Sky Burial (2011), which The New Yorker called “utterly her own and utterly riveting.” Recent poems and essays have appeared in Poem-a-day, Best American Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and Poetry, among other publications. She is a grateful recipient of many honors, including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN, and the Library of Congress, as well as from the Rona Jaffe, Whiting, and Guggenheim Foundations. With Adele Elise Williams, she co-edited Bert Meyers: On the Life and Work of an American Master (2023) for the Unsung Masters Series. Levin serves as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Maryville University in St. Louis.


About the Book:

Poem Bitten by a Man

Collaged from journals and notebooks kept during a period of chronic illness, economic precarity, and heartbreak, Poem Bitten By a Man captures crisis by cutting up the record of a queer life lived in devotion to poetry and visual art.

A medical emergency, a road trip, a breakup, and a paean to the power of creative process-- Poem Bitten by a Man is for everyone who has tried against the odds to make a life in art, whether they succeeded or not. Using somatic language captured through a notebook practice, Teare recontextualizes the work of Agnes Martin, Jasper Johns, and others via art criticism, psychoanalysis, biography, queer theory, and historical document to honor writers, artists, and thinkers who sustain us when nothing else does.

"I'm always moved (and changed) by Brian Teare. It's already a part of my mind what he makes and says this rich stark work affects me so deeply. Here to read means avidly copying into my notebook from his because what it is, this book, is heart and pain and the loosened materiality of all of it, the bodily records of his life and art and him copying thoughtfully from Jasper Johns and Agnes Martin everyone all pouring our secret public thoughts into so many cups, it's dark & luminous reading this potion." --Eileen Myles

"Ekphrasis involves voicing what art can't speak. Teare's expansive response to the art of Agnes Martin and Jasper Johns--touching on visionaries such as Ruth Asawa, Jay DeFeo, Sam Gillian as well--does this ever so differently. While probing the conditions allowing the artists to transmute biography and turn away from turmoil, he sounds out their findings, letting them undergird his bodily experience of precarity, illness, and queer love. Behold the poet's gorgeous turn toward!" --Mónica de la Torre

"Teare, struggling with illness, searches for lost balance through an intense engagement with the painting of Agnes Martin. These achingly beautiful poems demonstrate the ways that, as Dickinson puts it, 'After great pain, a formal feeling comes.'" --Rae Armantrout


Now Do You Know Where You Are

  • Previously selected for major prizes by Nobel prize-winning poet Louise Glück
  • Levin's book are consistently well reviewed and critically-acclaimed
  • Has published with Copper Canyon Press since her debut in 1999
  • This particular book has many poems sparked, informed, or reshaped by the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath
  • The book hinges upon the poet's move from Santa Fe to St. Louis
  • Memoir hybrid: personal meditations on the body, grief, and place
  • Poems about the poet's own medical and homeopathic history
  • The book revolves around three key sequences: "Two Autumns, Saint Louis," "Pledge," and "Appointment"-the first two are very much poems "about" America/place post-election, and "Appointment" is very much about healing and the body
"Dana Levin channels the collective pandemic subconscious and Trump-era bewilderment in these jagged, jumpy poems that ponder 'the question / of whether this world, which I prefer to think of in the past / tense, will flourish.' She's good company during the days' dark hours but holds out hope that we may yet save ourselves if only we can communicate and 'change goes viral.'"-- NPR, "Best Books of 2022"
"Her sly poems interrogate the most profound questions of human life while staying rooted to the concrete language of ordinary experience. . . . The last poem, 'Now Do You Know Where You Are, ' begins, 'It is another way of saying WAKE UP.' That's exactly the effect this collection will exercise on readers."-- Ron Charles, Washington Post
"[Levin] highlights the sacrosanct importance of connection with others and the world, how fragile each of us is individually and how dependent we are on each other to find our place in the world and society. Addressing [C.D. Wright] as 'Spirit I only met once, ' Levin leaves us with this thought: that our lives are inextricable from one another, whether we meet in passing, only once, or not at all."-- Los Angeles Review of Books
Monday, September 11, 2023 - 6:00pm

LBB @ Tower Grove Pride

Left Bank Books and Left Bank Books Foundation are so happy to be at Tower Grove Pride again this year!

Our booth will feature an excellent curated selection of books and gift items featuring LGBTQIA+ issues and authors. We are proud to have featured signings by authors Esme Symes-Smith and Rafael Frumkin from 12pm - 2pm on Saturday and S.L. Coney from 12pm - 2pm on Sunday. The Left Bank Books Foundation will have a station for writing postcards to Missouri legislators about anti-trans healthcare legislation and continuing efforts to ban books in our state. There will also be a way to sign up to receive a free banned book from Left Bank Books Foundation's Literacy & Justice Project, or donate to support that continuing effort. While supplies last, visitors who write a postcard, make a donation, or buy a book or gift will receive 1 free special edition Left Bank Books Pride Rainbow vinyl bag! We will be present all weekend, so swing by our booth for a visit! 

Special thanks to independent book publisher Sourcebooks for sponsoring the Left Bank Books Foundation Tower Grove Pride booth and vinyl bags and providing several Sourcebooks titles for sale and giveaway through the Literacy & Justice Project!




Saturday, September 23, 2023 - 11:00am

Michael Harriot - Black AF History

Left Bank Books and Schlafly Public Library present beloved columnist Michael Harriot, who will discuss the book that Dr. Ibram X. Kendi says, "evokes the full range of human emotions," Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America. Harriot will be in conversation with Left Bank General Manager Danielle King, and will sign following the talk; purchase Black AF History from Left Bank Books to join the signing line.
Join us at Schlafly Public Library
225 N Euclid Ave
St. Louis, MO 63108
Watch the livestream on Left Bank Books' YouTube Page
About the Author:
MICHAEL HARRIOT is a critically acclaimed poet, journalist, and broadcaster. He's a senior writer for TheRoot.com, and his work is often cited by outlets and individuals from the New York Times and the Washington Post. Harriot holds a degree in mass communications and history from Auburn University and an MA in macroeconomics from Florida State University.
About the Book:
From acclaimed columnist and political commentator Michael Harriot, a searingly smart and bitingly hilarious retelling of American history that corrects the record and showcases the perspectives and experiences of Black Americans.

America's backstory is a whitewashed mythology implanted in our collective memory. It is the story of the pilgrims on the Mayflower building a new nation. It is George Washington's cherry tree and Abraham Lincoln's log cabin. It is the fantastic tale of slaves that spontaneously teleported themselves here with nothing but strong backs and negro spirituals. It is a sugarcoated legend based on an almost true story.

It should come as no surprise that the dominant narrative of American history is blighted with errors and oversights--after all, history books were written by white men with their perspectives at the forefront. It could even be said that the devaluation and erasure of the Black experience is as American as apple pie.

In Black AF History, Michael Harriot presents a more accurate version of American history. Combining unapologetically provocative storytelling with meticulous research based on primary sources as well as the work of pioneering Black historians, scholars, and journalists, Harriot removes the white sugarcoating from the American story, placing Black people squarely at the center. With incisive wit, Harriot speaks hilarious truth to oppressive power, subverting conventional historical narratives with little-known stories about the experiences of Black Americans. From the African Americans who arrived before 1619 to the unenslavable bandit who inspired America's first police force, this long overdue corrective provides a revealing look into our past that is as urgent as it is necessary. For too long, we have refused to acknowledge that American history is white history. Not this one. This history is Black AF.

"Michael Harriot has done it. Written a book that evokes the full range of human emotions. Laughter. Rage. Sadness. Love (of Black resistance). Hate (of anti-Blackness). More laughter. Constant thinking and connecting and discovering. What an experience. But how can this book be anything less when it is Black AF History." -- Ibram X. Kendi, Award-winning author

"This is history as it should be told: straight, no chaser; unvarnished and unembossed. Michael Harriot, the Samuel L. Jackson of the written word, strikes again, weaving fascinating facts, scathing humor and pieces of his own life story to detail the stony road we trod." -- Joy Reid, Host of The ReidOut on MSNBC

"The story we've been told about America has always been redacted. With Black AF History, Michael Harriot removes the redacted parts and replaces them with griot-level storytelling. This is what everyone wishes their high school courses were actually like. Halfway through, you realize that this is not even a book about Black history, it's about how American history is Black AF." -- Pharrell Williams, Grammy Award-winning producer and musician

"Michael Harriot tells the most shocking (not shocking) stories of Black History I've ever heard. Every story is unbelievable yet, unfortunately, completely believable. Black AF History should be taught in every school across America." -- Amber Ruffin, comedian and host of The Amber Ruffin Show

"If I ever won an election for political office, I would have them swear me in on a copy of Black AF History. Michael Harriot is too funny to be this smart. Now, I have to go google how to ship a case of these to Ron DeSantis." -- W. Kamau Bell, Award-winning television host and stand-up comedian

Friday, September 22, 2023 - 6:00pm