If you’re near Long Beach tonight, head to The Hump Readings. This month’s featured readers are Joan Jobe Smith and Fred Voss and will be hosted by the lovely and sometimes TRAffIK contributor Ana Badua Margrave
If the names, Joan Jobe Smith and Fred Voss, sound familiar– and you are not familiar with their body of influential work– you may perhaps recall them being mentioned by Clint Margrave (also a sometimes TRAffIK contributor) in his column (‘The Sun Always Rises’) Waxing Literary in L.A. –“Poetry for People Who Pay Rent”
The Hump Readings occur at:
The Borders at the Pike (101 South Pine Ave. Long Beach, CA)
There will also be an open reading. Get there by 6:45 to sign up.
“Fred Voss, a machinist for 32 years, has had three collections of poetry published by the U.K.’s Bloodaxe Books. He is regularly published in magazines such as Poetry Review (London), Ambit (London), Atlanta Review and Pearl, and has twice been the subject of feature programs about his poetry on National BBC Radio 4. In 2008 he was featured at The Ledbury Poetry Festival; in 2011 he and his wife, poet Joan Jobe Smith have been invited to read at the University of Pittsburgh. His latest book, HAMMERS AND HEARTS OF THE GODS from Bloodaxe Books was selected by UK’s leading Socialist newspaper, The Morning Star, as one of the Top Ten Books for 2009. In 2011 he will be featured poet in a hardbound limited edition of DWANG (London, England).
Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, has published 17 books of poetry + her personal War & Peace To Me (for the arduousness of its exhaustive creation): Joan’s Own Good 4 YOU Cook Book (www.pearlmag.com). Before receiving her MFA from UCI she worked 7 years as a go-go girl–the minimum sentence for committing a felony or bad luck for breaking a mirror, sharing a stage with Ike and Tina Turner, Goldie Hawn, Jim Morrison and Dick Dale. A Pushcart Prize honoree, she’s published extensively in the UK (notably the Pow Wow Cafe, a finalist for the 1999 Forward Prize–the UK equivalent of the US Pulitzer) where she’s performed 7 reading tours with her poet husband, Fred Voss, traveling from Scotland, London, Aldeburgh, Hull, Liverpool to Cornwall. In 2011 Sequin Soul is forthcoming from Chance Press and World Parade Books plans to publish Dancing in a River of Stars.”
Don’t be fooled by the smell of barbecue in the air, the popping lids of iced cold beer, and all the smiling people in trunks and bikinis riding bicycles. The source of their pleasure is a scorching gaseous star emitting cancerous UV rays that want to kill them. If anything, stage a revolt this summer: Stay indoors. Defy the sun by opening all the windows and finding a good book to read.
Sure, in this age of the e-reader, a whole library can be taken with you wherever you go, including to all those sunny outdoor places, but have you ever tried to get sand out of a Kindle? Me neither, but it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Plus, there are crowds to contend with. You’re better off in the comfort of your own home. Why throw rent away? The truth is, with the right reading material it won’t matter. Let books take you where you want to go. And why not start at the top with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Sure it’s over six hundred pages of dense reading, but relax, you’ve got all summer! If you don’t read it now when will you ever? Plus, it’s an adventure story. Takes place on the high seas. Perfect for the season. And quit whining about difficult reading, you’re an adult now, time to put the Harry Potter down.
Okay, maybe you’ve just got something against whales (hmm…I’m telling you, you may want to check this book out!). Maybe, you get seasick easily, or I don’t know, something else, like it’s not quite the tale you’re looking for. (more…)
The Sun Always Rises: Waxing Literary in L.A. – “Tête-à-Tête: What the City of Angels Could Learn from the City of Lights”
by Clint Margrave
The truth is I’m a shitty journalist.
The first thing I did after agreeing to write a column about the L.A. literary life was hop on a flight to Paris to cover the Salon du Livre, one of the biggest annual European book festivals, where I spent only two hours, enough time to pick up my press pass, get charged 10 Euros for a feast so moveable it never got made (I did, however, demand a refund), and catch a tête-à-tête conversation with Paul Auster and Salman Rushdie in which I proceeded not to take a single note, conduct a single interview, nor snap a single photograph.
I can’t say the French didn’t try hard to get me there either. From the moment I arrived in this city, I was bombarded with ads for the festival on every train and in every metro station—not to mention the media coverage reminding me of my shirking responsibilities. I shirk you not: Book festivals make the nightly news in Paris. Take that L.A.!
But this is, after all, the literary center of the world, or was anyway, some ninety years ago when just about everybody and their certifiable lovers embarked on Montparnasse and the Latin Quartier to make literary history by holding their own salons du livre—or what might more appropriately be called, salons du liver.
The intersecting edges of these arrondisements also happened to be where I was staying, somewhere between Montparnasse and madness, at a hotel off the Boulevard de Port-Royal, minutes from the cemetery where Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Charles Baudelaire are buried (not to mention Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Marguerite Duras, and Serge Gainsbourg), and steps from the Closerie des Lilas, Le Dôme, and La Rotonde, made famous by the works of Ernest Hemingway.
Of course, I visited none of these places—but I did have a cheese sandwich for lunch at Le Select one afternoon.
I also didn’t go to the relocated Shakespeare and Company or stand outside Gertrude Stein’s rue de Fleurus home and imagine Alice B. Toklas taking my scarf or any of that other stuff literary Americans do when they come to Paris. (Though in all fairness, I’ve done it before, and if you ever get a chance, you should too).
What I did do, however, was spend a cold, sprinkly Sunday afternoon watching my French friend Christophe’s seven-year-old son Iannis and his best friend Clothilde climb the shelves of a playground library (yes, I’m serious) in the Parc de Sceaux, and realize how in this old city, one needn’t any festival to commune with books.
All of Paris is a Salon Du Livre.
Clint Margrave has work forthcoming or most recently published in New York Quarterly, Pearl, 3AM, Chiron Review, as well as in the anthology At the Gate: Arrivals and Departures, published by Kings Estate Press. Currently, he teaches English and Creative Writing at Cal State University, Long Beach. Clint can be contacted at email@example.com