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Q R Hand and Arisa White
Monday, March 19, 7 pm
Poets! Arisa White & QR Hand
Open Mic Follows
Youth and experience go hand in hand… Arisa White’s debut poetry collection is Hurrah’s Nest. QR’s life in poetry is sketched out in the book Whose Really Blues.
Hurrah’s Nest: A vivid and varied collection that addresses family loyalties, dysfunction, violence, and differences, Hurrah’s Nest is White’s imaginative and emotionally honest exploration of growing up the second oldest, first daughter of seven siblings.
Childhood experiences are looked at with rawness, sensitivity, and crafted with precision: be it the cutting of her dreadlocks, mother’s abortion, drug trafficking, or her sister’s developmental disability, the language is tender and startling.
Hurrah’s Nest—from the confusion of our lives—asks us to make meaning and good from what we’ve bargained and haven’t bargained for.
Arisa is a Cave Canem fellow, an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the poetry chapbooks Disposition for Shininess and Post Pardon; she was selected by the San Francisco Bay Guardian for the 2010 Hot Pink List. Member of the PlayGround writers’ pool, her play Frigidare was staged for the 15th Annual Best of PlayGround Festival.
Whose Really Blues: As it steps from stage to page, the poetry of Q. R. Hand never stops testifying. That the poet has led and continues to lead a full life in a real world crammed with real ignorance as well as actual light these trembling pages make clear. In the title poem of this exciting collection, the poet asks a question:
how do we know the real robert johnson
met the real devil at the real cross roads
just ’cause he says so and his blues intone scripture for the 21st century.
Like a Mobius strip but also like a DNA strand, Q’s heaven and hell twist and stick and wrap themselves around another: a cool but sweaty doo-wop dance pair, coupled to outlast the night.
The poems in this book—as they whisk and yank and ease you through ‘that certain place at / that certain time’—speak directly to the body that houses heart, mind and soul. As they eyeball human cruelty, greed, delusion and color prejudice, dogma of every stripe (campus- or street-triggered), poverty, social justice, science and social philosophy, time as history and time as time, personal geography (Brooklyn, Harlem, Oakland, San Francisco Bay), love’s unchartable behavior and misbehavior—these tough, caring, wayward poems take it all and everything. Forever at play in the fields of the word, Q. R. Hand is a homegrown American original.
Place this book to your ear and hear: ‘All those beautiful fine / all those fine / all those who spread their love along the line / that stretches through heart beat and heart ache.’—Al Young, Poet Laureate of California
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