End Stage: Letters to Late Capitalism, Saturday, March 14, 2020, 7pm

Please join us for End Stage: Letters to Late Capitalism, a reading at Counterpath (7935 E. 14th Ave. in Denver) on Saturday, March 14, 2020, at 7pm.

We call writing a labor of love, but what are the conditions of that labor? Even though critics often romanticize the poverty of writers long dead, contemporary poems and stories too rarely address economic hardship outside of an exploitive lens, and even more rarely engage the financial instability of writers themselves. But the literary marketplace is just that, a marketplace. As much as literature pretends to live in an intellectual world beyond material concerns, the muse is entangled in class struggle, and access to literary success is marred by the same racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism that exists beyond the world of letters.

Some writers shell out reader fees to compete for prize money, publications, and jobs. Some writers can’t write till the kids are asleep. Some writers snub noses at anyone who doesn’t get an MFA while pumping MFAs into the contingent classroom labor force. Some writers jot poem notes while selling plasma. Many, many writers stack overlapping side gigs in an effort to support the writing work we no longer have time for. But we are told it’s pointless, petty, or unsophisticated to write about money.

Let’s write about it. Let’s read about it. 

Featured readers: Rodrigo Toscano, Eleni Sikelianos, Hakeem Furious, Julia Madsen, Phuong Thao Vuong, Tameca L Coleman, and M Shaw. Organized and introduced by Jessica Lawson

Rodrigo Toscano’s previous books of poetry include Explosion Rocks, Deck of Deeds, Collapsible Poetics Theater (a National Poetry Series selection), To Leveling Swerve, Platform, Partisans, and The Disparities. His poetry has appeared in over twenty anthologies, including Diasporic Avant Gardes, Best Experimental Poetry, Imagined Theatres, Dialectical Imaginaries, Earth Bound, and Best American Poetry. His poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Norwegian. Toscano works for the Labor Institute as a national project director strategizing around issues that involve environmental and labor culture transformation. Originally, from San Diego, and after many years in Brooklyn, he now lives in New Orleans. https://rodrigotoscano.com for more.

Eleni Sikelianos is the author of ten books of poetry and hybrid works. These frequently employ a range of forms (poetry, prose, document, visuals) and fields, often the sciences, as a means to explore ways of knowing. Her most recent book is What I knew, just out from Nightboat Books. She has collaborated widely with other artists, including composer Philip Glass and filmmaker Ed Bowes. Her work has earned her two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a New York Foundation for the Arts award, and the National Poetry Series, among many other awards. A frequent participant in international festivals and programs, her poems and nonfiction have been translated into over a dozen languages, and she has translated poetry, nonfiction, and fiction into English.  Sikelianos has taught poetry in public schools, homeless shelters, and prisons, and is on guest faculty for the Naropa Summer Writing Program; she currently teaches at Brown University’s Literary Arts Program. 

Hakeem Furious [bio forthcoming]

Julia Madsen is a multimedia poet and educator. She received an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and is a PhD candidate in English/Creative Writing at the University of Denver. Her first book, The Boneyard, The Birth Manual, A Burial: Investigations into the Heartland (Trembling Pillow Press), was listed on Entropy’s Best Poetry Books of 2018.

Phuong T. Vuong has publications in or forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review Online, Puerto Del Sol, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop: The Margins, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection The House I Inherit was released from Finishing Line Press in 2019. Hailing from Oakland, CA and a working-class immigrant family, Phuong is an MFA candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Tameca L Coleman is a singer, multi-genre writer, massage therapist, itinerant nerd and point and shoot art dabbler. They recently finished an MFA in fiction and poetry from Regis University’s Mile-High MFA. They have published or have forthcoming work at Heavy Feather Review, Colorado Independent, Denver Westword, Full Stop Reviews, pulpmouth, Inverted Syntax, Lambda Literary, and Rigorous Magazine.

M. Shaw is a graduate of the Clarion Workshop class of 2019, as well as a finalist for the Platform Review Chapbook Series and the Sonder Review Chapbook Competition,  and an organizer of the Denver Mercury Poetry Slam, one of the longest running poetry slams on Earth, including The Moon. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in outlets that include The Sonder Review, Apex Magazine, Crossed Genres, and Cartridge Lit. Fangoria Magazine once said that their work “should not be as compelling a read as it was.” Millennial Gothic is their aesthetic, they/them are their pronouns, and if you’ve met them, they already miss you. 

Jessica Lawson (she/her/hers) is a Denver-based poet, scholar, teacher, and activist. Her poetry and essays have appeared in The Rumpus; Dreginald; Entropy; The Fanzine; Yes, Poetry; Cosmonauts Avenue; The Wanderer; FLAG + VOID; and elsewhere, and her chapbook Rot Contracts is forthcoming from Trouble Department in summer 2020. She is a queer, single mother of two children.