What an incredible event — 720 Records was standing room only! Many thanks to our generous friend, Nate, for allowing us to use his store space, and to the many guests and attendees of the night. Below are the introductions we shared as well as some photos.

Lauren Russell is currently a graduate student of the MFA writing program at the University of Pittsburgh and comes to us by way of Los Angeles and New York city. Her chapbooks include The Empty Handed Messenger (Goodbye Better) and Dream-Clung Gone (Brooklyn Arts Press). Her work could be the love child of Michel Foucault and a tortoise shell cat, objectively remorseless with its gaze into what we culturally construe as “psychic well being.” She charms and terrifies us by turns, her whimsical word play coupling with the recognition of what our mad society has wrought onto ourselves. (SJL)

Yona Harvey teaches for the Creative Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University and her first poetry collection, Hemming the Water, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. Yona’s poems beg the questions: How does a poem get made? What are its materials? Language, in Harvey’s poems, comes from a range of sources, including the quotidian — music reviews, fashion magazines, grammar primers, and cookbooks. The poems re-imagine what’s possible given the material that we experience everyday — the material that we take for granted — and casts this language into a new realm as if to command us to look at it again, to re-think what we thought we already knew about its powers. Harvey’s poems, as they recycle and reinvent might bring us to the ends of language, a butting up against those ends. (DLM)

Evie Shockley grew up in the shadow of southern trees and now teaches as an Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University New Brunswick. As a poet, Evie writes through and feels strongly the traces of history at work upon our cultural consciousness. In her writing, we see how we are products of our era, which was in turn shaped by what came before. But in her whimsical, determined, vigorous prosody, these traces of history needn’t be pine coffins lined with pretty verse. The past is black — in all the glorious subtle shades of the word — a rich sod to till and draw nourishment from, to nurture ourselves with knowledge and understanding. It is alive and speaks even now to us with a challenge to be great — more human, more attuned, more inquisitive and alert to the world we move in and shape. There’s a strange and tender delight in her work, and I think you will love her.  (SJL)

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