112th: Poetry by John James, Julia Guez, Joseph Fasano, and Monica Ferrell
Join us at Book Culture on Friday, October 11th at 7pm for a poetry reading in celebration of the recent lease of The Milk Hours by John James. He will be joined by Julia Guez, Joseph Fasano, and Monica Ferrell.
Winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, The Milk Hours is an elegant debut that searches widely to ask what it means to exist in a state of loss.
“We lived overlooking the walls overlooking the cemetery.” So begins the title poem of this collection, whose recursive temporality is filled with living, grieving things, punctuated by an unseen world of roots, bodies, and concealed histories. Like a cemetery, too, The Milk Hours sets unlikely neighbors alongside each other: Hegel and Murakami, Melville and the Persian astronomer al-Sufi, enacting a transhistorical poetics even as it brims with intimacy. These are poems of frequent swerves and transformations, which never stray far from an engagement with science, geography, art, and aesthetics, nor from the dream logic that motivates their incessant investigations.
Indeed, while John James begins with the biographical—the haunting loss of a father in childhood, the exhausted hours of early fatherhood—the questions that emerge from his poetic synthesis are both timely and universal: what is it to be human in an era where nature and culture have fused? To live in a time of political and environmental upheaval, of both personal and public loss? How do we make meaning, and to whom—or what—do we turn, when such boundaries so radically collapse?
John James is the author of The Milk Hours, selected by Henri Cole for the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize (Milkweed, 2019). He is also the author of Chthonic, winner of the 2014 CutBank Chapbook Prize. His poems appear in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Best American Poetry 2017, and elsewhere, and his work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers Conference, the Academy of American Poets, and Georgetown University's Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he is pursuing a PhD in English and Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley.
Julia Guez's poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and translations have appeared or will soon be forthcoming in POETRY, The Guardian, Boston Review, PEN Poetry Series, BOMB, The Seattle Review and Hyperallergic. Her debut collection, In An Invisible Glass Case Which Is Also A Frame, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in the fall of 2019. Guez has been awarded the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship and The John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation. She holds degrees from Rice and Columbia. For the last decade, Guez has worked with Teach For America; she’s currently the senior managing director of program. She teaches creative writing at Rutgers and writes poetry reviews for Publishers Weekly. Guez lives in Brooklyn and online at www.juliaguez.net
Joseph Fasano is the author of four books of poetry: The Crossing (2018), Vincent (2015), Inheritance (2014), and Fugue for Other Hands(2013), which was nominated for the Poets' Prize, "awarded annually for the best book of verse published by a living American poet two years prior to the award year." A winner of the RATTLE Poetry Prize and the Cider Press Review Book Award, he serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books and as the Director of the Unamuno Poem Project, an initiative aimed at fostering dialogue between English-language and Spanish-language poetics. His writing has appeared in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, The Missouri Review, The Times Literary Supplement, the PEN Poetry Series, Verse Daily, and the Academy of American Poets' poem-a-day program, among other publications. His debut novel, The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing, is forthcoming from Platypus Press in 2020. He teaches at Columbia University and Manhattanville College.
Monica Ferrell is the author of three books, most recently the poetry collection You Darling Thing (Four Way, 2018), named a New & Noteworthy selection by The New York Times and a finalist for the Believer Book Award in Poetry. She directs the Creative Writing Program at Purchase College (SUNY) and lives with her husband and two children in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.