Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series! Browse books while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman. For a full line-up and more information please visit our website at www.friendssfpl.org.
Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library
Tonight we are excited to have Jami Proctor-Xu & Mauro Fortissimo read!
Jami Proctor Xu 徐贞敏 is a poet, essayist, translator, and mother, who writes in English and Chinese. Her chapbook of Chinese poems Shimmers 轻轻的闪光 was published in 2013 as part of the EMS: Du Shi Poetry Series and her full-length Chinese collectionSuddenly Starting to Dance 突然起舞 was published by Yi 翼 Press in 2016. Her chapbook of English poems, Hummingbird Ignites a Star, was published in 2014. A collection of Sylvia Plath’s poems she co-translated with Zhou Zan is forthcoming from Yi Lin Press. She was a visiting scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a writer-in-residence at the Chengdu Gao Di artists village. In 2016, she co-organized the event, Poetry Across Languages, Dialogue and Translation Between Chinese and International Poets, which was held at the BNU International Writing Center. She has read at international poetry festivals in China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the US, and her poems and translations have appeared in journals and anthologies in the US, China, and India. Her poetry is currently part of the exhibit Void/Express(ion) at the Suzhou Biennial. She is a recipient of a 2013 Zhejiang Poetry Award for a non-Chinese poet who has made a contribution to contemporary Chinese poetry.
Mauro Aprile Zanetti is a San Francisco-based storyteller, filmmaker and writer—stringer for the Italian national newspaper, La Stampa. Born in Sicily (Italy, 1974). Thanks to his film critic paper on Martin Scorsese’s remake, Cape Fear, he is selected to join the national jury at the Mostra Internazionale del Cinema di Venezia. He writes the master thesis of his Italian Laurea degree on Gilles Deleuze philosophy, and his experimental docudrama, The Joy. Carnations and Siesta (2002). In 2004, Mille Piani publishes his homonym book-catalog. He writes and directs a docudrama on people with disabilities, DiversabilMente Uguali, editing a monologue after poet, Dario Tumino. In 2006, he collaborates with Italian singer-song writer, Vinicio Capossela for the creation of a video-clip series, Ovunque proteggi, and later directing the live-drama, Nel Niente Sotto il Sole. He writes La Natura Morta de La Dolce Vita—A Mysterious Morandi in the Matrix of Fellini’s Vision (NYC, 2008). In 2013 he moves to San Francisco, where he interviews poet and activist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti for the 2013 Year of Italian Culture in US. He creates and directs a short video series, Cultural Ambassadors Circle, dedicating one to Mr. Ferlinghetti. On 2015 he curates Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s painting exhibition: Fluxare – The European Connexion, editing the booklet, Il Verbo Fluxare.
Work by the poets after the jump:
light in water: walnut creek, huangmei
for Pan Guodong
By Jami Proctor-Xu
you’ll leave us today
i feel this as i swim, eyes open
in wavering yellow light
i swim with your soul
to the line where blues touch
we have no photograph
of your mother, i’ve never seen
but i feel her here with
us in the water
even the expressions of her face
sky above this sky
the yellow light reaches
i feel her calling you back
the light says:
you swam east to be born
to enter the year of goat, yin, and water
moon full, snow falling
orange firework light falling
into frozen wheat fields
frozen rice fields
a life melts into the light of this world
now, in the year of horse, yang, and wood
so you can leave it
The Chronicles of the Skin
By Mauro Aprile Zanetti
1. We were asleep. Around ten pm,
then we heard a whistle, kinda big bang,
Enkidu roaring with a clang or Gilgamesh:
and it all happened so fast: as a light, as a thunder, a blast!
We collapsed, and I was shouting for help
after the clash of the bones and stones and hearts,
and only to find that other people were also in need of help,
oh people, how many left deaf, biting the dust!
2. And, I then realized:
my brothers and cousins all dead.
They were forty, and now they are dead.
My grandfather’s house, a tomb:
destroyed by an incandescent iron – oh bomb!
My grandmother was torn to four pieces in the air;
my aunt is missing, and nieces, with loose hair.
And still I do want to still understand
why you are attacking us, oh man!
Is it survival of the strongest?
Just like that? Like that? Like that?
3. Houses torn down like they are paper:
my cousins were all young,
and one of them was praying
when it happened.
They smelled good even after they had died
and they were smiling, smelling deaths, died
when we were shouting for their bodies with our bodies:
“Maria, Maria, Maria, Maria”.
4. And my cousin… he also had a son who had died;
and a pregnant woman in her ninth month:
a pregnant death giving no more birth, but calling for death;
and her husband who saved money to be prepared
for her giving birth, the birth, a birth, oh my second birth.
Gone, they are all gone!
5. What else could I tell you?
About my cousin Giufà?
His father lost his mind after he had died, alas Giufà!
Now a father sleeps next to his son’s grave.
No right, no left, close to less than a grave
to guard his own son and greet him.
“Allwombing tomb, omniwomb, his mouth”.
He is no longer sane, no longer with brains.
Something fell apart with his head.
And it all happened like it all was an earthquake:
we didn’t see anything, not a break.
I was hit and had lost consciousness,
and fortunately not my wheelchair.
And to my father, who is sensitive,
I had told him I was not harmed,
but rather swamped by a Leviathan of awareness.
6. My mother, majestic in her mountain pose,
resurrected from the rubble, went on dispensing endearment:
hope, fables, lullabies, and tenderness for all of us kids –
ill-concealing her blown up teeth
with her bleeding hand, doing voices for us –
she was dispensing smiles, care and caresses,
while trying with her trembling eyes to recompose
the landscape of the seasons of a whole life.
7. And so we carried on helping other people over there.
They were good people, still dreaming in their own stony sleep:
their houses in huge despair,
and those people, who were helping,
they needed help for themselves, waste.
Our world is a handful of whitish silent dust.
8. Son, which is your people?
Oh mirror, where do you come from, kid?
And what about your skin?
Which race do you belong to, little sun?
What is your faith, pal?
9. Sir, I come from the Earth, that blue planet, Madonna-blue.
And I do belong to that one-and-only race
which is only a human trace.
My people is the upcoming people, voilà!
Made up of my skin’s atoms for another hurrah!
My faith is you, oh dear:
hypocrite lecteur, mon semblable, mon frère!