July 13, 2019 (likely date): Writing with Poets of the South Asian Diaspora. (This is another Hugo House one-day class — the final time isn’t yet confirmed.) South Asian and the broader South Asian diaspora have a diverse and vibrant poetry culture, yet most writers in the US never encounter many of its brightest lights. That diaspora has longstanding historic traditions of work written in both English and in translation from other South Asian languages. This one-day class aims to spark your writing by showcasing and examining some of the best South Asian contemporary poetry, and generating new work alongside it.
June 1, 2019: Open Books Reading with Doyali Islam: This is a reading I’m very excited about, taking place June 1st at Open Books. Fabulous Canadian poet and fellow South Asian diasporite Doyali Islam will be reading with me. She is, among other things, the editor of Arc, Canada’s national poetry magazine, and a delight to correspond with. (As an aside, their last issue, on “poets from the USA,” is beautiful and worth picking up – which I would say even if it didn’t contain some of my work.) I’m also hoping we can manage to read in Vancouver together, which would allow me to fulfill my ambition of becoming an international poet.
May 18, 2019: Hugo House Class: Writing with South Asian Qawwalis: I’m teaching a one-day class at Hugo House in both the spring and the summer quarters. For spring, the class happens on May 18th from 1-5 PM. Qawwalis are an incredible form -- Sufi devotional music whose purpose is to evoke oneness with the divine. Qawwali is a syncretic art where many different languages, moods, and tones make their way in, leading to ecstatic engagement. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Sabri Brothers, and others were acclaimed exponents.
May 3, 2019: Jack Straw Writers Reading. As some of you may know, I’ve become a Jack Straw fellow this year, in some distinguished company. I’m really enjoying our cohort thus far, which comprises a fascinating group of writers, as well as our curator, former Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken. There will be a number of readings as well as an anthology coming out of the fellowship—the first reading I’m a part of will be on Friday, May 3rd, at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in the U-District.
May 1, 2019: Cephalopod Appreciation Society Reading. This is one of my favorite readings of the year—it’s all about the fascinating creatures known as cephalopods. I’m scrambling to produce cephalopod-related content, which hopefully will justify my inclusion in the program that evening. Regardless, it all goes down on Wednesday, May 1st, at Hugo House. So get kracken and (s)cuttle over to Hugo! (Sorry—cephalopod puns are irrestible.)
April 25, 2019: Kundiman Reading at Hugo House: As part of what we hope will be an ongoing partnership with Hugo House, four Kundiman fellows will be reading there on Thursday, April 25th (the description’s not yet up on Hugo’s website, but trust me, it’s true). The four fabulous fellows reading that evening will be Jai Dulani, EJ Koh, Daniel Tam-Claiborne, and Troy Osaki. Also trust me that you won’t want to miss this one—all the readers are dynamic and engaging!
March 26, 2019: Kundiman Reading with Monica Youn. I’m very excited for this reading with the fabulous Monica Youn! Monica is fantastic—she’s former Kundiman faculty and author of Blackacre. For those interested, she’s also teaching a workshop on generative revision the preceding evening, on Monday March 25th. She’s a great teacher, too, so I’d encourage you all to consider going—she’s not in Seattle often.
January 18, 2019: Tasveer South Asian Literature Festival. I couldn’t be more excited that the stalwart creatives at Tasveer (the brains and brawn behind multiple, huge South Asian film festivals every year) are putting on a South Asian literary festival this year! While details are still being ironed out, I’m going to be reading/moderating a poetry session on Friday evening, January 18th. Please stay tuned to the Tasveer website (or mine) for details as they get fixed, and please join us to celebrate South Asian literature.
January 9, 2019: Poetry Bridge Reading with Claudia Castro Luna. I’m lucky and pleased to be reading again with Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, this time at C&P Coffee House (which survived its existential threat to remain West Seattle’s living room!) for Poetry Bridge. It happens from 7-9 PM on January 9th—what better way to kick off the new year than with Claudia’s wonderful spirit?
December 18, 2018: Braving the Chill Reading at LitFix. I’m happy to be reading on Tuesday, December 18th from 7-9 PM at the fabulous Vermillion in Capitol Hill. I’ll be reading with several all-stars, including Katrina Carrasco, Kevin Emerson, and Dujie Tahat. The Del Vox Duo will provide the beats, and your five dollars at the door will go, in their entirety, to Hopelink Adult Education. Come in from the cold (not that it ever really gets that cold in Seattle) for my last reading of 2018!
November 27, 2018: Made at Hugo House Fellows Reading. I’ll be reading at Hugo House in November—this time with former Hugo House fellows (fellow fellows?) Sierra Golden, Laura Da, Bill Carty, and Steve Barker. Another good group in whose company to bask! I’ll break out my best Thanksgiving poems, and perhaps some artifacts from India, from where I’ll have just returned. The reading will be on November 27th, exact time TBD. Stay tuned for details!
October 11, 2018: I'll once again be reading at Seattle LitCrawl, this time with Korean-American poet Jongmin Jerome Baek, and with Gabrielle Bates hosting. We're calling it "Cosmic Disconnect" because everything's cosmic and disconnected (especially with the amount of alcohol that will be flowing at Litcrawl!). LitCrawl is October 11th, and this reading is at St. John’s at 8 PM. See you there!
October 6-7, 2018: New Hugo House Class: Writing with Russian Fairy Tales. As many of you know, I was born in Russia (in the then Soviet Union) and also went to high school there. I've always had a fond spot in my heart for the dark and wild world of Russian fairy tales, where anything can happen (and often does!). There are glee-maker cats, self-playing psalteries, card-playing dragons, stoves that move about, men who turn into birds, and of course, princesses, tsars, and witches. All of this is excellent writing fodder, and I hope to turn it into a fun generative class! One weekend only, October 6th and 7th from 1-4 PM on each day. Sign up here!
September 27, 2018: Kundiman South Asian Writers Reading: In one of the first events at the brand new home of Hugo House on Capital Hill, I’ll be reading with Jordan Alam, Azura Tyabji (Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate), and Jasleena Grewal, in an all-South Asian lineup—the first entirely South Asian literary event I’ve seen in Seattle in a while (or ever?). This should be a lot of fun—come support these three dynamic young writers (and me!). Sonora Jha, former Hugo House writer in residence, will host. It all goes down on September 27th at 7 PM.
August 4, 2018: Open Books Reading with Kundiman Fellows and Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, 6:30 PM. A last-minute, super-exciting reading! I'll be featuring along with Washington Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna and fellow Kundiman Fellows Cathy Linh Che and Margaret Rhee. I'm excited, particularly since Margaret has written fabulous poems on love and robots, and is visiting Seattle from across the country in Buffalo. I hope you all can be there! Stay tuned for an official event page.
August 2, 2018: Raising Our Voices for Compassion: A Poetry Reading to Benefit the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project: Everyone could use a ferry ride to Vashon Island and its charming bookstore! I’ll be back at the Vashon Bookshop for a reading in support of human rights and justice – Thursday August 2nd at 6 PM. I really had fun the last time I read there—and as a bonus, it’s got a great Thai restaurant next door. Also featuring Washington Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, Robert Hasselblad, Merna Ann Hecht, and Lynn Carrigan. Come join!
July 29, 2018: Writing with South Asian Ghazals. Hugo House (1 day class), 1-5 PM. Ghazals in South Asia are one of the most popular forms of poetry anywhere. While there has been much analysis of the ghazal's evolution in English, how the ghazal works as popular art is less accessible to western writers. This class aims to give participants a flavor of that space -- we'll listen to versions of ghazals in Urdu, read translations, consider what makes a good ghazal work, and create our own new works. Come ready to write! Sign up here.
May 31, 2018: The Ever-Shifting Diaspora: Kundiman Writers in the Pacific Northwest. Reading in Portland with Literary Arts. Neil Aitken, Alex Dang, and Jyothi Natarajan also feature. As if you needed another excuse for a roadtrip to Portland. 7 PM, Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington St, Portland. See you there!
April 9 - May 21, 2018: All-Accepting: Accessing Hinduism in Your Writing. Hugo House (6 week class), Monday nights 7:10-9:10 PM, no class May 7. In this workshop, we’ll walk through some of Hinduism’s seminal concepts, such as dharma, maya, kalpa, and brahman, as well as excerpts from key texts such as the Vedas, Upanishads, and the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. We’ll discuss how those concepts might be applied to a writing practice and do deep reads of poems in which modern South Asian writers in America have created their own interpretations of the Hindu cosmology. Throughout, we’ll put these concepts into practice by writing! Sign up here.
March 10, 2018: Extra-Bonus Last Minute Secret Reading! You can catch me and prize-winning poet Sierra Golden reading Saturday March 10th at the Greenlake Public Library from 4-5:30 PM. I know the event page says it's going to be Tod Marshall, but I assure you it's going to be me and Sierra instead. Come join us! It's going to be a good time.
March 5 - March 26, 2018: Techwashed! The Language of Data, Surveillance, and Technology. Hugo House (4 week class), Monday nights 7:10-9:10 PM. Sign up here.
January 31, 2018: Passing of the Laurel reading at Seattle Public Library, Central Branch (1000 4th Ave), main auditorium, 7-8:15 PM. This is the final event of Tod Marshall's tenure as Washington State Poet Laureate, and the first of Claudia Castro Luna's. It's also the final Washington 129 Anthology reading. Should be fun!
December 11, 2017: Featured reader, EasySpeak Wedgwood. Wedgwood Ale House (8515 35th Ave NE), 8 PM.
October 11, 2017: Featured reader with Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall. Vashon Bookshop (17612 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon, WA), 6 PM.
October 5, 2017: WA 129 Anthology Reading. Open Books (2414 North 45th Street), 7 PM. Come support our only poetry bookstore!
September 18, 2017: Raven Chronicles reading for Home issue. Columbia City Gallery (4864 Rainier Avenue South), 7 PM. Includes readings by writers from Recovery Cafe's Safe Place writers' circle.
August 20, 2017: Cephalopod Appreciation Society reading. Friends of the Waterfront (1400 Western Ave), noon. Say yes to cephalopods!
January 14, 2017: Margin Shift series featured reader. Common Area Maintenance (2125 2nd Ave). Doors (and wine) at 7:30, and the poetry starts at 8 PM.