Centennial Celebrations for Nicanor Parra

It’s not every day one of your favorite poets celebrates their 100th birthday, and we weren’t going to let Nicanor Parra’s big day pass without throwing him a rather splendid all-day party!

Parra Party

Parra is hugely popular in his native Chile—and at Malvern Books! We’re big fans of his “anti-poetry,” which confronts even the most serious topic with irreverent humor. And it seems we’re not the only Texans to admire Mr. Parra… we had a great turnout for his birthday bash, with lots of friendly folks stopping by to share their enthusiasm for Chilean literature. There were readings, and singing, and cake (naturally), and even a visit from the man himself (in the form of a recorded poetry reading, though we like to think he was fully there in spirit).

Here’s just a small sampling of our Parra party antics—be sure to check out our YouTube playlist for more videos!

Sean Manning read a selection of Parra poems in both Spanish and English, including the beautiful “Piano Solo,” translated by William Carlos Williams.

Malvernite Annar read a poem by Oscar Hahn, from the collection Ashes in Love (translated by James Hoggard):

Dave Oliphant has translated many Parra poems (including those in After-Dinner Declarations); he shared his memories of meeting and translating the great man.

And what’s a birthday party without a bilingual “Happy Birthday” sing-along? Happy birthday to you, Nicanor Parra!

Saturday Night Special

If you missed Saturday night’s reading at Malvern Books, you missed something rather wonderful (and you should probably keep a closer eye on our schedule—just saying!—so as not to miss out on other awesome stuff, like, for example, tonight’s poetry corner).

Whited and Oliphant

Whited, Slovak, and Oliphant 01

The evening got off to a stunning start with a beautiful performance from jazz guitarist Margaret Slovak (pictured above with our two readers). And we continued in fine style with poetry from acclaimed writers Gary Whited (left) and Dave Oliphant (right). Gary is a man of many p’s: he’s a poet, psychotherapist, and philosopher (with a particular passion for Parmenides). He grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana, and his poetry is imbued with a strong sense of place. And Dave is an old and dear friend of Malvern Books—whilst wearing our publisher’s hat, we released several works from the Oliphant oeuvre, including a number of fantastic poetry collections and translations. Gary and Dave were a superb poetic pairing, as evidenced below in these samples from our Whited & Oliphant playlist.

A Week of Malvern

Here’s a brief and bonny reminder for y’all: events, they are a-happening! Tomorrow night we have another installment of our lively and irreverent Everything is Bigger reading series, in which the delightful Tyler Gobble presents a trifecta of extraordinarily talented writers and gives away whimsical raffle prizes. This month we’re thrilled to have Trey Moody, Nick Courtright, and Thomas Courtney Vance gracing the Malvern stage. (And if you’re curious to learn more about this Bigger business, do check out our footage from past events.)

Everything is Bigger

But wait, there’s more! On Thursday night we’re hosting a gathering of the Finnegans Wake Reading Group of Austin. This event is open to absolutely everyone and no prior knowledge of the book is required, so please do join us as we ponder Joyce’s weird and wonderful masterpiece.

Gary and Dave

And don’t think we’re neglecting you at the weekend. We would never do that! On Saturday night we’re hosting something rather special: an evening of jazz and poetry, featuring live music from Margaret Slovak and Tony Morris and a reading from acclaimed poets Gary Whited and Dave Oliphant (pictured above).

So, we’ve sorted out your evening plans for half of the rest of the week… and if you’re feeling lonely on Friday or Sunday, why not stop by the bookstore and pick up a poetry collection by Dean Young? We have quite the selection (displayed below, with trusty fire extinguisher nearby—because some poems are so good they start fires!) and Mr. Young is awfully good company.

Dean Young books