Introducing Ash Smith & Monofonus Press

Malvern Books said a fond farewell to February with two lively literary events. First up, we enjoyed another installment of W. Joe’s Poetry Corner. This month’s esteemed guest was Ash Smith, who began her poetry career in the eighth grade, selling romantic poems to friends who needed a little help in the love-note department! Check out the footage below to hear more about Pigeon of Tears, her writing process, and her lasting admiration for that “word pig” Walt Whitman…

And the following night we hosted a reading with the brilliant folks from Monofonus Press, an Austin-based record label and multimedia imprint. They were celebrating the release of Bad Jobs III, a new memoir from William Z. Saunders (part of a series in which he chronicles his misadventures in the workplace). William was joined on our stage by Karen Davidson, Morgan Coy, and Grant Cross. Morgan (who founded Monofonus) and Karen created the Shadow Healer graphic novel together, and Morgan directed the short movie that you’ll see in the first video below. Grant, meanwhile, shared mostly haiku (“I was going to read no haiku poetry tonight, I was going to take a big plunge, but I got to the edge of the pool and then I decided to put my clothes back on, and so I’m going to read mostly haiku…”)—plus a short poem called “Limp Old Testament.” It was a fun, eclectic reading, and I strongly encourage y’all to watch the clips below and then come by the store and check out our Monofonus Press offerings in person.

An Evening with François Pointeau

Poetry Corner 2015 got off to a wonderful start on Wednesday night when host W. Joe Hoppe introduced us to the fascinating François Pointeau (pictured below).

François Pointeau

François was born in Rennes, France, but moved to the States with his family as a child. He first self-published his poetry collection, Beer Songs for the Lonely, in 2006, and then completely rewrote it in 2013-14. As well as writing poetry, he talks about it on the radio—he’s the producer and host of KOOP Radio’s Writing on the Air, where he interviews poets, writers, and storytellers of all types. (Have a listen: Wednesdays, 6pm, at 91.7FM.)

Check out the footage below to hear “Vacuum Dance,” learn about how the act of (secret) translation can be invaluable to poets, and find out why Baudelaire beats Rimbaud! And be sure to keep an eye on our events calendar for details of W. Joe’s upcoming guests.

An Evening with Cindy Huyser

For the May installment of our Poetry Corner, host W. Joe introduced us to the wonderful Cindy Huyser (pictured below, with W. Joe).

Cindy and W. Joe

Joe and Cindy

Cindy Huyser is a poet, a computer scientist, and a former power plant operator—worthy endeavors all, but I assume you’re here for the poetry rather than, say, linear programming chitchat, in which case… check out the footage below! And be sure to keep an eye on our events calendar for details of W. Joe’s upcoming guests.

An Evening with Vicente Lozano

W. Joe’s Poetry Corner offers something rather special: the chance to get up-close-and-personal with an extraordinary poet. Each month W. Joe Hoppe ever so politely grills his esteemed guest with thoughtful questions on the poetic process, and after the reading inquisitive audience members get to ask a few posers of their own.

W Joe and Vicente W. Joe’s guest this month was Vicente Lozano (above left, with W. Joe), a brilliant poet and the recipient of numerous accolades and fellowships—and now the proud owner of a delightful Malvern Books T-shirt! (The back of the shirt says “A Different Kind of Adult Bookstore,” an allusion to our venue’s rather sordid past.)

T-shirt front

T-shirt back

Be sure to check out our footage from the evening (below). And if it whets your appetite for all things poetic, join us for the next installment of W. Joe’s Poetry Corner, when we’ll be celebrating National Poetry Month with an exhilarating evening of poetry karaoke (here’s how it’s played).

Meet W. Joe & Friends

If you haven’t stopped by Malvern Books for W. Joe’s Poetry Corner, you’re missing out on something quite special. W. Joe Hoppe’s monthly reading series is more than just a poet-reads-from-pages affair (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)—it’s a chance to really get to know a writer and learn more about the messy/maddening/magical work of making verse. With just one poet per Corner, there’s plenty of time to hear a decent selection of their work—and there’s also time for each unsuspecting guest to be thoroughly grilled interviewed by W. Joe (and y’all get to ask questions too, of course).

MinglersIn January, W. Joe introduced us to poet and visual artist David Thornberry, and last week he played host to the brilliant Cindy St. John (pictured below with W. Joe).

Cindy and W. Joe

Cindy read from her forthcoming collection, I Wrote This Poem (Salt Hill), and gamely answered questions from W. Joe and assorted audience members. If you’re curious to hear more, check out our footage below—and be sure to mark your calendar for our next up-close-and-personal poetry night with W. Joe (March 25th!)

Two-For-One Tuesday

I hope your holiday Monday was chock-full of good books, strong coffee, and assorted Presidential celebrations. Today we’re helping to banish the post-long-weekend blues with not-one-but-two! splendid recommendations—we’re generous like that.

Recommendation #1: You should come to Malvern Books tonight at 7pm to hear poet Cindy St. John read from her forthcoming collection, I Wrote This Poem. W. Joe is hosting, and will be taking questions from the audience as well as asking a few of his own.

Recommendation #2: If you’re in need of some startlingly smart reading material, Malvern staff member Taylor Jacob Pate would very much like to press into your hands a copy of the brilliant Bluets by Maggie Nelson. Here’s what Taylor has to say…

1. Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color…

BluetsBluets by Maggie Nelson is a love story like many love stories; a thrilling ride of magic that can only be described as: blue: derelict: tarp flapping in the wind on a rooftop in a gray sky: a grey sky beaten first purple then blue: a tiny cheap locket: salt tears: trinket after trinket: memory of what never happened: what happened:

In a deft & passionate voice readers experience falling in love with the color blue through a series of numbered sections that jolt the reader from Geothe’s Blue to Joni Mitchell’s to Mallarme’s.

This is the dysfunction talking … this is the deepest blue talking, talking, always talking at you.

The intensity & voracity creates a whirlwind that sucks readers in & tosses them about in a mess of confession, sex, love & rock-n-roll.

Academically speaking this book of {what many consider to be} poems proves the value of research & close reading, though as a love story Maggie Nelson stalks the color blue in its physical form as well as in the abstract & theoretical realms. Happy, sad, crazy, lovely, human, human, human this collection is a gem.

229. I am writing this down in blue ink, so as to remember that all words, not just some, are written in water.

232. Perhaps, in time, I will stop missing you.