E.J. Koh, Mita Mahato, Montreux Rotholtz & Jane Wong
We close out our 2017 year of store readings - taking a few-weeks break for the holidays - with this group reading by four Seattle poets, all with extraordinary debut collections out.
E.J. Koh, part of a memorable reading here with Sherman Alexie and Robert Lashley a year ago, right after the election, is here with A Lesser Love (Louisiana State University Press), winner of the Pleiades Editors Prize. She has also been writing stories and receiving awards for her translation work. “Koh, whose vision fuses American and Korean culture determinedly but nonchalantly, whose distinctive voice can startle as it soothes, and whose invention is a book that delights, disrupts, razes, edifies, and refuses ever to be just one thing. In other words, A Lesser Love is first-rate, intelligent, and pure gold—a triumph.” -Timothy Donnelly
Mita Mahato is here with In Between (Pleiades/Louisiana State University), a just-released volume of her unique, ‘cut paper’ poetry (see this). We hope to have her back in early 2018 for a full evening of this striking work. “Some people use pens to write poems. Mita Mahato uses a scalpel. With surgical precision she cuts into the world’s throwaway materials–newspapers, old dress patterns—and renders from them poetry comics about—what else?—loss. With this technique, Mahato returns dimension and palpability to the things we’ve lost so we can reckon with them in the real world.” —Rich Smith, The Stranger
Montreux Rotholtz’s debut collection, Unmark (Burnside Review), was selected by Mary Szybist for the Burnside Review Press Book Award. Her poems have been widely published in journals around the country. 'To mark' means many things: to stain, to sign, to correct, to celebrate. "Montreux Rotholtz's Unmark ambitiously means much more, performing and undoing those acts, correcting definitions, understandings, and then unraveling those corrections in a headlong, fearless drive toward what is 'just' ... The beautiful, sensual intensity of these poems is haunted, assured: each one leans toward us, 'feeling / for [our] fragile pressures,' to 'clarify [our] ear.'"—Mary Syzbist
Jane Wong, she of Overpour (Action Books), which has been highly praised and gone into many hands since being published a year ago, now comes to the evening from her relatively new home of Bellingham, where she is a professor at Western Washington University. “Jane Wong’s powerful first book weaves together seemingly disparate topics such as war and child’s play, language and exile, debt, animals and nature … Montage-like, the poems are also a kind of philosophy by which I mean they are curious. They ask questions of the world. Not afraid of being earnest, Wong’s voice is both playful and cerebral, weaving in and out of the world—its wars and its violence, poverty and alienation—making a beautiful and smart, strange and new, word elixir.” — Cynthia Cruz.