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Owen Hill

Thursday, July 10th — 7 pm
Poet Owen Hill
book release reading

Owen Hill

Tonight, we’ll celebrate with Owen Hill as he reads poems from his new collection. A Walk Among the Bogus (Lavendar Ink, 2014).  Fellow poet Patrick James Dunagan will open the evening with a few of his own.

Owen Hill comes from a line of Left Coast noir writers who’ve skulked from Hollywood to San Francisco, unafraid to “walk among the bogus.”  Like Chandler, Hammett, Ross MacDonald, beneath the hard-boiled narrative of his novels (the great Chandler Apartments series) runs a precise indictment of corruption, money, and political power. Here is Hill’s poetry— the same no nonsense tone, voice full of gunpowder, ripping the cover off the industrial-entertainment complex. These flinty poems would do a union organizer proud.  — Andrew Schelling

I love hearing the world (its broken beauty is born) through Owen Hill’s ears—his poems make a perfect fusion of song and epigram—they are wise and furious and always just ahead of everyone else.  And you want to be there with him—you want to know what he knows.  He is a magic and necessary poet.  — Joseph Lease

Hill was born and raised in an industrial suburb of Los Angeles. He knocked around a fair bit—baggage service at LAX, union rep, warehouse drone, janitor, “paid” political volunteer, ice cream maker—and other forms of boredom (as a poet said) advertised as poetry.

He landed in the Bay Area where he worked in several bookstores, finally settling into Moe’s in Berkeley, where he can be found today, as a buyer and events coordinator.

Hill had written poetry since puberty but had been shy about calling himself a poet. After taking a workshop with Tom Clark at UC extension he came to believe that poetry was his calling. He has since published seven slim volumes of poetry and read his poems at various venues around the country.

And then there are his mystery novels–

Owen Hill’s breathless, sly and insouciant mystery novels are full of that rare Dawn Powel-ish essence: fictional gossip. I could imagine popping in and out of his sexy little Chandler building apartment a thousand times and never having the same cocktail buzz twice. Poets have all the fun, apparently.  — Jonathan Lethem

Guillaume Appollinaire and Edward Sanders would feast on this thriller of the real Berkeley and its transsexual CIA agents and doppelgangers staging Glock shoot-outs. A mystery of contingencies centering in the reeking Chandler Arms and the quicksand of Moe’s Books.  — Michael McClure

Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.

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