Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aug 27: Sophie Robinson & Nathanaël in Chicago

Saturday, August 27th
7pm at Myopic Books
1564 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, Illinois

SOPHIE ROBINSON is a poet and performer living and working in London. Her work has been featured in numerous anthologies, and her debut book, A, was published by Les Figues in 2009.

NATHANAËL’s books include We Press Ourselves Plainly, Carnet de délibérations, Absence Where As (Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book) and The Sorrow and the Fast of It. Formerly published under the name Nathalie Stephens, Nathanaël has translated works by Catherine Mavrikakis, Gail Scott, John Keene, and Édouard Glissant. She lives in Chicago.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This weekend: don't miss


Join us for a weekend summer literary festival at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House on North Kings Road in West Hollywood, California. Inspired by the architecture of R.M. Schindler’s House and Studio (1922), Both Sides and The Center will feature literary readings and performances enacting various levels of proximity, intimacy, and distance.

MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069-4509

Suggested donation: $7 each night (no one will be turned away)

Schedule of Events

Friday, 19 August 2011, 7-9 p.m.
Opening reading & reception.

Saturday, 20 August 2011, 5-9 p.m.
Open-house: Participating writers will perform work that considers Schindler’s architecture and the unique ways in which the house commingles inside and outside spaces. Consider: the physicality of space, house as stage, voyeurism, private as public, the strangeness in the familiar and the brutal nature of domesticity.

John Beer, Peripatetics
5:00; 6:00; 7:00; 8:00 (15-20 minutes)

Michael du Plessis, The Twitch of the Tablescape (A Comedy of Manners)
5:00–9:00 (duration)

Jen Hofer & Myriam Moscona, la casa por la ventana / past the open window
5:05 – 5:25; 6:06 – 6:26; 7:07 – 7:27; 8:08 – 8:28 (20 minutes)

Bhanu Kapil, Schizophrene [Remix]
8:00-9:00 (1 hour)

Vanessa Place & Kim Rosenfield, SCUM 1976 (2011)
5:00-9:00 (duration)

Sophie Robinson, the institute of our love in disrepair
5:00-9:00 (duration)

Amarnath Ravva, This Movement is Our Own
5:00–9:00 (duration)

Anna Joy Springer, Inside Voice Oracle
5:30-7:00 (performance for 1-2, 2-10 minutes)

Both Sides and The Center takes it name from a line in Gertrude Stein’s “Rooms,” Tender Buttons. The event is curated by Amina Cain and Teresa Carmody, and is supported through a Cultural Resource Development Grant from the City of West Hollywood and by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.

About the Participants:

John Beer: A Chicago resident, John Beer is the author of the poetry collection The Waste Land and Other Poems (2010). Associative and imaginative, his work has been compared to that of John Ashbery. Poet Lewis Warsh wrote that The Waste Land and Other Poems “embraces and distills ‘the bad dream’ and all ‘the muck’ of the recent past, but the momentum of this book is full speed ahead.” Beer’s criticism has appeared in Verse, the Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, and other magazines. He is a theater columnist for Time Out Chicago.

Michael du Plessis teaches Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California, has published reviews and articles, a poetry chapbook, Songs Dead Soldiers Sing (2008, Transparent Tigers Press). His first novel, The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker, will be published by Les Figues in 2012.

Jen Hofer is a Los Angeles-based poet, translator, interpreter, teacher, knitter, book-maker, public letter-writer, and urban cyclist. Her most recent books are the homemade chapbook Lead & Tether (Dusie Kollektiv, 2011); Ivory Black, a translation of Negro marfil by Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press, 2011); a series of anti-war-manifesto poems titled one (Palm Press, 2009); sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, a translation from Dolores Dorantes by Dolores Dorantes (Counterpath Press and Kenning Editions, 2008); The Route, a collaboration with Patrick Durgin (Atelos, 2008); and lip wolf, a translation of lobo de labio by Laura Solórzano (Action Books, 2007). Recent poems and translations have appeared in Aufgabe, Mandorla, Or, out of nothing, and TRY. She teaches at CalArts, Goddard College, and Otis College, and works nationally and locally as a social justice interpreter.

Bhanu Kapil is a British writer of Indian origin who lives now in Colorado, where she teaches at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Her most recent books of experimental writing are humanimal [a project for future children] (Kelsey Street Press, 2009) and Schizophrene (Nightboat Books, 2011).

Myriam Moscona is from Mexico, of Bulgarian Sephardic descent. She is the author of nine books, from Ultimo jardín (1983) to De par en par (2009). Two of her published books are outside the realm of poetry, yet remain connected to poetry: De frente y de perfil (literary portraits of 75 Mexican poets) and De par en par, which explores the phenomenon of poetry beyond its traditional construction. Moscona has received numerous awards, including the Premio de Poesía Aguascalientes and the Premio Nacional de Traducción; she is a grantee of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte, and she was awarded a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation.

Vanessa Place: Of Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman’s Notes on Conceptualisms, Mary Kelly said, “I learned more about the impact of conceptualism on artists and writers than I had from reading so-called canonical works on the subject.” Kenneth Goldsmith has called Vanessa Place’s work “arguably the most challenging, complex and controversial literature being written today.” Place writes poetry, prose and art criticism; she is also a criminal lawyer and co-director of Les Figues Press. Author of two novels, seven books of poetry, and a nonfiction book on rape, law and culture, Place’s most recent work is available in French as Exposé des Faits, in English as Statement of Facts, and in English/German as Die Dichtkunst.

Amarnath Ravva has a forthcoming chapbook Airline Music (Insert Press/Parrot Series) and was recently published in Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry. He’s currently working on a book about early botanical expeditions called The Glass House.

Sophie Robinson’s work has been published in numerous anthologies including Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010), Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century (Bloodaxe, 2009) and The Reality Street Book of Sonnets (Reality Street, 2008). Her first book, a, was published by Les Figues, Los Angeles, in 2009. She is currently completing a practice-based PhD in Contemporary Poetry and Sexuality, at Royal Holloway in London and is the 2011 Poet in Residence at the V&A.

Kim Rosenfield is a poet and psychotherapist. She is the author of Good Morning—Midnight— (Roof Books 2001), which was named Small Press Traffic’s Book of the Year in 2002, Tràma (Krupskaya 2004), and re: evolution (Les Figues Press 2009). Rosenfield has published and performed extensively in the U.S. and in Europe. She has collaborated with visual artists Jean Foos, Cheryl Donegan, Yedda Morrison, and with choreographer Sally Silvers. Rosenfield lives and works in New York City.

Anna Joy Springer is a prose writer and visual artist. Formerly a singer in the Bay Area bands, Blatz, The Gr’ups, and Cypher in the Snow, she has toured the United States and Europe as a wild feminist punk performer; she has also toured with the all-women spoken word extravaganza, Sister Spit. She is author of the illustrated novella The Birdwisher (Birds of Lace), The Vicious Red Relic, Love (Jaded Ibis, 2011) and a graphic narrative, In An Egg, forthcoming. She received her MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University in 2002, and she is an Assistant Professor of Literature at University of California, San Diego.

About the R.M. Schindler and MAK Center Schindler House: R.M. Schindler (1887-1953) was born in Vienna, where he studied under architects Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1910 Wasmuth portfolio, he came to Chicago in 1914 and began to work for Wright in 1918. Wright sent him to Los Angeles in 1920 to supervise the construction of the Hollyhock House for Aline Barnsdall. Schindler established his practice there in 1922 with his own Kings Road House — a house designed as live-work space for two couples with a shared kitchen and an apartment for guests. Schindler’s work focused on the integration of interior space and exterior space using complex interlocking volumes and strongly articulated sections. He designed over 400 projects, 150 of which were built during his career. These consisted largely of low-cost single family houses for progressive clients. Although the materials and vocabulary of Schindler’s work changed during the span of his career, his principles of design and spatial characteristics were consistent throughout his work. This is true even as his spatial ideas evolved in his late work, including the translucent houses of the mid-1940s to early-1950s. —Kathryn Smith, architecture historian and author of Schindler House

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BLOGFACE: Sandra Simonds

Sandra Simonds reading GIVE A FIG (Les Figues Press), taken at 4pm, August 16th at Goodwill while trying on a dress

Thursday, August 11, 2011

BLOGFACE: Joey Yearous-Algozin

Joey Yearous-Algozin as Shiv Kotecha reading GIVE A FIG (Les Figues), taken August 8th, 5:54 pm EST

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BLOGFACE: Divya Victor & Murphy the Cat

Divya Victor as Sigmund Freud holding Murphy the cat as Dora and Dora as the other Dora while reading GIVE A FIG (Les Figues), taken Monday, August 8th, 8:05 pm EST

Monday, August 8, 2011

BLOGFACE: Lauren Eggert-Crowe

Lauren Eggert-Crowe reading GIVE A FIG (Les Figues), taken August 6th, 1:55 pm EST

Friday, August 5, 2011

BLOGFACE: Nancy Lili

Nancy Lili reading GIVE A FIG (the Les Figues Press blog), taken Aug. 4th, around 8:30 AM

Thursday, August 4, 2011

BLOGFACE: Ana Božičević

Ana Bozicevic reading the Belladonna* blog. Taken August 3rd, Amy King's birthday.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

BLOGFACE: First Two Weeks of August 2011 CONTEST!


What’s your blogface?

For TWO WEEKS ONLY (August 1st-15th), Les Figues Press’ GIVE A FIG blog is posting YOUR blogfaces! Submit a photo of YOU reading one of the blogs listed below, and be entered  to win a set of specially chosen books (see below!) submitted from the following presses with blogs:


  • Take a photo of yourself reading one of the blogs of the presses mentioned above (click the links above to access their blogs)
  • Send that photo to giveafig[at]gmail[dot]com with “BLOGFACE” in the subject line
  • In the body of the email include your name, the time the photo was taken, and the name of the blog you’re reading 

We'll feature your photos on our blog until August 16th, when one winner will be picked at random!


Lyn Hejinian and Carla Harryman

“This book is important to me on a personal level because it was the first title I helped prepare for publication as part of the Belladonna* Collaborative. It's a wild and radical book and as I read the last draft before we sent it to the printer, I was starting a new phase of my own life. We decided to issue two covers in the spirit of collaboration, and simultaneously I was getting to know Rachel Levitsky, Belladonna*'s founder, better as well through our own collaboration.”— Krystal Languell, Collaborative Member of Belladonna* and Founding Editor of Bone Bouquet


I started this magazine as I was finishing my MFA at New Mexico State University, while my tenure as an editor for Puerto del Sol was coming to a close. The magazine's mission is to promote the work of female-identified poets and writers in the face of a masculinist publishing culture.”—Krystal Languell

Camille Roy

“Each month, Futurepost features four intimately different responses to a Futurepoem book.  We pick the people and they pick the form of their response.  So far our responses have come in the form of sound art, graphic representations, bibliographical indices, epistolary romances, manifestos, and every variety of poem.  This month we're featuring Camille Roy's Sherwood Forest, a book of poetry that our first responder Betsy Fagin calls, ‘an investigative journey through an urban landscape of menace in which the passively observed turns active, engaged and participatory.’  Each response is a different portal through which to enter Sherwood Forest.  Step inside!”—Christopher Martin, Futurepoem books editor and Futrepost blog curator

Mathew Timmons

"I'm so excited to feature 
Mathew Timmons’ The New Poetics. Here's an excerpt from the description on our site: '
A cross-referenced encyclopedia of all things New, Mathew Timmons’ The New Poetics challenges the prevailing obsession with the emergent and the reinvented by remaking The New itself in the image of the banal.' A book birthed from the internet, The New Poetics bridges the gap between the worlds of pop culture, between the HTML and the physical."
—Chris Hershey-Van Horn, PR Intern at Les Figues Press and BLOGFACE Contest Curator 

Johannes Göransson

“I chose Johannes Göransson’s book because LSU Student James Bellard was arrested after reading Johannes's book and writing (as assigned by his professor) an "imitation" poem. Bellard accidentally left a copy of said poem in the LSU library. Also, he was dressed as a leprechaun at the time. I’m sending this book because I hope that more people will read it and imitate it and be arrested. If everyone is arrested, we’ll have enough people to take over all the prisons. When we free ourselves, we can also free the current 66% of inmates who are non-violent offenders and thus shouldn’t be in prison anyway. I’m sending this book because I am sick to fucking death of all our country’s cruel systems. The absurd and unremitting violence of Johannes’ book is comfort and companionship during these dark days.”—Christian Peet, Founder and Editor in-Chief of Tarpaulin Sky

Show us your BLOGFACE!

Featured Fig: Jennifer Calkins

1. Tell us a little bit about your aesthetic inclinations?

Like the best ornithological taxonomists, of which I’m not, I’m a splitter—when I write, I find myself breaking into what I’ve already written—maybe second guessing it, maybe just throwing something next to it that sheds some different sort of light on it. My ultimate goal is some sort of dimensionality to the work in the way that setting up a decent house of cards requires undercutting and opposition.

Essentially, I do not believe language can ever be truthful on its own. It needs space and opposition for something real to emerge. “Literary” work that doesn’t recognize this seems to me problematic.

2. Where did you come from and are you happy that you're no longer there?

I came from San Diego; and I come from a line of folks on either side that headed out to California in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. I am both happy and not happy. I have to say, the quail, the desert and the ocean are three big reasons I am not glad I’m no longer there.

3. What does your work demand? What does it offer?

My work demands that the reader bloody well relax and let the work do what it needs to do. It offers, I hope, a space of fusion—the fantastic, perhaps, but also the biological and the historical. It also often offers quail.

4. Where do you do what you do?

Wherever I can—I don’t have much choice right now though I’d rather be doing it in the ocean or in Mexico surrounded by quail.

5. If push came to shove...

I get out my hammer

6. Please tell us about beauty, belief or bawdry. You may begin.

Isn’t beauty why we war? Or is that too simple? I suppose we war because of pettiness and power. Beauty is in the vast time of the earth and the 4.5 billion years life has been evolving on her. Beauty is also dirty dishes in a certain light and certain writings and my children, of course. Belief is everything but is an especial challenge for me. That is why I need to spend time with the quail—that is where my belief comes back. Bawdry is what is inside but is tamped down in the presence of other.

7. As Gertrude Stein says "let us why why." Please proceed.

I am wearing a green ribbon around my neck for luck. I appreciate the color green as I appreciate the fact that sleep has overtaken us and the gentle lift of the water under a boat or under my body. If I were green I might not appreciate it. But I am not. Currently.

8. What does art do to you?

Emily Dickinson and Franz Kafka said it best—I cannot do any better.

9. Who (or what) do you admire?

PJ Harvey (I’m currently obsessed with her new album), quail, the movie Ghost Bird, Emily Dickinson’s work and Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson, my kids, people who are generous—honestly, this could go on and on…Two relatively recent non-figgy books—Julie Carr’s 100 Notes on Violence and Maggie Nelson’s Women, The New York School and Other Abstractions. And of course—all the figs.

10. What is a good question? What questions do you ask?

What the fuck? Honestly, it is a good question.

Some of my specific questions

  1. What are the behavioral differences between Callipepla quail species?
  2. What does it mean that the participants in WWI are pretty much dead? Were the young men who fought DOA home no matter whether they survived or not? Is it true or am I naïve—does the person who was in the battle die there and, if he/she survives, walk out of the valley or the plain a person separate from that other person?
  3. What does California mean?
  4. Is it possible for writing and art to embody another species? Is it useful? Is it necessary?

11.What do you find deeply satisfying?

Field work with quail, yoga and running a trail, discussions of the darkest humor with my children, writing—being completely entered into to a piece of writing, using curled up cats as pillows, lifting chickens.

12. What are your favorite kinds of figs?

Every kind (even the ones with little wasps inside)

JENNIFER CALKINS is an evolutionary biologist, poet and mother. She lives in Seattle with her family and other animals. Her book, A Story of Witchery, was published by Les Figues Press. You can visit her at her website.