Ithuriel's Spear @ City Lights
Sunday, December 10, 2017, 5:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, 261 Columbus Ave. San Francisco, CA 94133

 

with new releases from

Hilton Obenzinger and Tony Robles (poetry), and Richard Schwarzenberger (short stories) and special guest appearance by Sin Sorocco

Treyf Pesach

by Hilton Obenzinger

Blasphemy is holy—and exciting, outrageous literature in TREYF PESACH (Unkosher Passover). Novelist Paul Auster declares that this book "strikes with all the force of an exploding bomb—because it speaks the truth." This collection of poems presents radical departures from traditional rituals, formats and conventions: alternative Passover Seders, Yom Kippur liturgy, Thanksgiving prayers, psalms and other poems in the form of proclamations, resolutions, jazz improvisations, incantations, rants, orations, comic monologues, oil spills, life spills, songs, visions, undocumented documents, borders, suns, farewells, minutes of meetings, talk-stories, and all accompanied by provocative drawings of Treyf Passover Seder plates by artist Charles Steckler. In this book the symbolic plate is arrayed with treyf (un-kosher food) and the story of the Exodus with untypical meanings, whiskey instead of wine, recounting the continual slavery of wars and military occupations. The poems in TREYF PESACH have taken place over the course of years and various occasions, from vicious aggressions, to absurd walls, to smallpox blankets, to oil spouting across the Gulf, and more, all framed by the first months of the Trump regime. Some have been read out loud at Seders, Yom Kippur services, Thanksgiving Day benedictions, Sunday fellowships, and other ceremonies. But those are the exceptions. For the most part TREYF PESACH has been placed under arrest and shoved across the borders of respectability. Hilton Obenzinger writes poetry, fiction, history, and criticism, and is the recipient of the American Book Award. According to poet Diane di Prima, "he is the American Jonathan Swift."

Hapless Males

by Richard Schwarzenberger

A collection of sly, seductive, stories that establish Schwarzenberger as a conjuror of the cautionary tale. These are portraits of guys we all know, for better or worse, the querulous and the quixotic, the angry and the hilarious, the resigned and the restless.

"Schwarzenberger is the most companionable narrator, delivering the news with an amused drawl in wonderful prose, detailed and free, compact and leisurely."—Robert Glück

Cool Don't Live Here No More: A Letter to San Francisco

By Tony Robles

Tony Robles has written the generational memory of San Francisco at the point where alienation, deportations, and technological invasions are gutting its soul. This Filipino activist just won't have it and neither will you after reading this superb book that restores the sense of a People's City."—Jack Hirschman

Come To Me

By Sin Sorocco

COME TO ME is a tale of a woman just sprung from prison who finds her way back to a once familiar San Francisco. Gina seeks out her old friend Francine whose rooming house is a refuge for women who are devotees of Santeria, the religion brought to this hemisphere by African slaves. It is above a botanica and curio shop run by Oleander, whose secret past will play a crucial role in this story of love, magic, greed and desire.

"Take one of Soracco's plucky ex-cons who can't catch a break...throw in a cursed statue that everyone wants to get their hands on, and shake. What you get is a cocktail of classic noir mixed with magic that will keep you turning the page till the sun rises."—Victoria Law

COME TO ME is a joint publication of Ithuriel's Spear Press and the Green Arcade Press.

About the authors:

Hilton Obenzinger writes poetry, fiction, history, and criticism, such as essays on American Holy Land travel, the history of California, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, and American cultural interactions with the Middle East. His books include This Passover or the Next I Will Never be in Jerusalem, which received the American Book Award, Cannibal Eliot and the Lost Histories of San Francisco, American Palestine: Melville, Twain and the Holy Land Mania, New York on Fire, and the oral history Running through Fire: How I Survived the Holocaust by Zosia Goldberg. Recently, he has published his autobiographical novel BUSY DYING (Chax Press, 2008) and How We Write: The Varieties of Writing Experience. Born in Brooklyn, he graduated Columbia University in 1969, taught nursery and elementary school, ran an offset press at a community print shop in San Francisco's Mission District, worked as a commercial writer for business and industry, and taught writing, literature and American Studies at Stanford University. He is currently Associate Director of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America project.

Tony Robles was born and raised in San Francisco. He is the author of two children's books, Lakas and the Manilatown Fish and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel, written for his son, Lakas. He is co-editor and a revolutionary worker scholar of Poor magazine. In 2010 he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Mythium Literary Journal for his short story, "In My Country." Robles is also a housing rights advocate and board member of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation. He currently lives in Oakland with his wife Tiny and his son Tibu.

Richard Schwarzenberger is a native Kansan and a resident of San Francisco where he makes his living as a gardener and a swim instructor for people afraid in water. He is also a longtime columnist for The Monthly, and the author of several books, including IN FARO'S GARDEN: A TOUR AND SOME DETOURS (Ithuriel's Spear, 2006), as well as the upcoming novel, City of Disappearances. He is co-translator along with Grace Martin Smith of Listening to Istanbul, poems of Orhan Veli Kanik.

Sin Soracco lives at the undisclosed location in the woods by the river with her partner Andrew, Poppy the Newf and The Gentleman cat. In These Weird Times the job is to reach for joy when ever where ever—screw the theocratic oligarchs. And so on. Sin's previous titles include: Low Bite and Edge City, published by PM Press in Oakland.

Ithuriel's Spear is an independent small press in San Francisco, California, dedicated mainly to the literary arts. Their books are distributed by Small Press Distribution and sold at City Lights Bookstore.