SPECTRA Lives! A Special Event, Featuring erica lewis On Tour For Her New Book :: mahogany ::

SPECTRA Reading Series Welcomes Acclaimed Bay-Area Poet erica lewis at Rozz-Tox on October 19

What: SPECTRA Reading Series, featuring erica lewis, Becca Klaver, Melissa Conway, and Htoo Htoo
When: Thursday, October 19
Time: Doors at 7:00 p.m., Features at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave. Rock Island, IL)
Cost: Free & Open / $5 suggested donation

The SPECTRA Reading Series will host a special event featuring acclaimed poet erica lewis on Thursday, October 19 at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave. Rock Island, IL). lewis, who lives in the Bay Area, will be stopping in the Quad Cities on the Midwestern leg of the tour for her new book mahogany, recently published by Wesleyan University Press.

Doors for the event open at 7:00 p.m., and readings will start at 8:00 p.m. lewis will be joined by another celebrated poet, Becca Klaver, and two local rising stars: Melissa Conway and Htoo Htoo. Event is free and open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation to support youth writing programs at MWC. Local bookseller The Artsy Bookworm will be on hand selling copies of mahogany as well.

Event will be livestreamed to Midwest Writing Center’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/midwestwritingcenter 

For more information, or for media queries, please contact Sarah Elgatian, sarah.elgatian@mwcqc.org

The SPECTRA Reading Series manifests thanks to the generous support of the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Humanities, The Artsy Bookworm, and Rozz-Tox.

mahogany Book Description (from Wesleyan University Press):

mahogany takes its name from the dark wood prized for its durability, workability, and elegant look, and from the Diana Ross movie, whose theme song asks the listener to evaluate life’s journey, asking if what lies ahead is what you really want. This book of poems emerged from the covid years, during which the poet was caring for her mother, and navigating a grief-turned depression after her mother’s death. This book is also the third in a trilogy, and like the first two books (mary wants to be a superwoman and daryl hall is my boyfriend), mahogany is steeped in the music of a 70s pop artist. Each poem here takes its title from a line of a Diana Ross and the Supremes song, and songs from Ross’s successful solo career. lewis writes short, abbreviated, lines; a kind of Ashbery-an stream of consciousness that proceeds vertically down the page. As postmodern psalms, these poems connect dailyness to timelessness, merging the historical and the beloved through reverence for roots, family, music, and pop culture, and the life we actually live. mahogany is a lyric lament about the passing of time and unimaginable loss, and at the same time it models the daily search for joy, and the deep shine that can arise from the darkest times.

Bios for Feature Readers:

erica lewis (San Francisco, CA) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her books include the precipice of jupiter (2009, with artist Mark Stephen Finein), camera obscura (2010, with artist Mark Stephen Finein), murmur in the inventory (2013); and the first two books of the box set trilogy: daryl hall is my boyfriend (2015) and mary wants to be a superwoman (2017).

Becca Klaver is the author of the poetry collections LA Liminal (Kore Press), Empire Wasted (Bloof Books), and Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press), as well as several chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Fence, jubilat, Verse Daily, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series. Last year, The Magnificent Field published a chapbook of her postcard poems, Greetings from Bowling Green, and Black Lawrence Press published Midwinter Constellation, a book co-written with 31 other poets. As an editor, she co-founded Switchback Books, is co-editing the anthology Electric Gurlesque (Saturnalia Books) with Arielle Greenberg, and has created pop-up projects such as Women Poets Wearing Sweatpants. She just moved back to Iowa City, and is the Program Manager of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Melissa Conway is a lover of landlocked states, gas station slushies, and the drive back home. Melissa’s work has been published in Saga Lit Magazine 2016-19, In These Interesting Times from MWC Press, Roads We’ve Taken from Pearl City Press, upcoming Beholder ’23, and their chapbook Sundog is out now. You can find Melissa playing for the Quad City Rollers, eating cherries on the porch, or on instagram @screen.name.generator

Htoo is a recent college graduate who starts everyday with a huge sigh of relief. This summer, she was a workshop leader for the Midwest Writing Center’s Young Emerging Writers Internship Program. When she’s not busy attempting to write poetry, she can be found reading behind the circulation desk at the Rock Island Public Library-Southwest.