Alexandra Mattraw with Tiff Dressen and Maw Shein Win
Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
celebrating the release of Alexandra Mattraw's new poetry collection
We fell into Weather
Published by Cultural Society
What has been said about We fell into Weather:
"What you can't see is what brings you," Alexandra Mattraw writes: "We throttle out of rent, ash CFC storming lung shifts." An uncanny, raw awareness embodies the space of perception and opening. Mattraw's primary language becomes action, becomes our phenomenology, our neurodivergence, our fullness: "When allergies heave and blister. When CFC wind. Decibels shake cinder pink jostling pink pill." There is surprise everywhere in these poems. This is a magical book.
—Joseph Lease, author of Broken World and The Body Ghost
"Alexandra Mattraw's We fell into weather is not only essential reading for its presentation of how an individual's experiences can offer insight into some of the most critical challenges we face today. Her use of image, detail, the placement of language on the page, her diction choices, and her variations regarding syntax—each formal choice contributes to creating a constellation of difference that exposes not only unexpected revelations regarding the speaking agent’s interior perceptions, but also the social environment in which these scenes of intimacy and obsession, history and fantasy, are set. While one tends to see forms as abstract organizing principals, in Mattraw’s poems forms become actors in the drama and members of a chorus offering insight. They can be received in what I’ll call a language of physical dimension, of gesture, of shape and spatial relations. Thus, as we read, we can begin to perceive how, in our own lives, the forms which we each use to create our understanding of ourselves and our place in the culture we inhabit are as active in opening or limiting our lives as anything in the world we face today."
—Rusty Morrison, Omnidawn editor and author of the true keeps calm biding its story
"At heart conceptual and formally experimental, Alexandra Mattraw’s We fell into weather creates visual and sonic textures that link toxicity — environmental, historical, domestic — with neurodivergence and disease. These poems are alive with musicality and internal rhyme, "the way hay rips scars into wrists the way granite / field bloom back bruises," while offering glimpses into the stuff of everyday life – the toddler’s cough, the broken lamp taped back together. In Mattraw’s spare and elegant lines, an image will crystallize briefly as a family drives away from California wildfires, but then disperse like vapor, like "ash . . . Rend[s] the visibility of air.” Attuned to the sublime in nature and in language, this is a poet who invites our close and sustained attention, who invites us to improve ourselves."
—Mary-Kim Arnold, writer and visual artist, author of Litany for The Long Moment
About the readers:
Tiff Dressen lives in the Portola neighborhood of San Francisco. Songs from the Astral Bestiary, a (slender) full length collection of poetry emerged from lyric& Press in 2014. In 2019, they played the role of Earl of Kent in the Milkwood Theater's production of King Lear. In their spare time, they enjoy playing the role of urban flâneur as well as setting type and printing at the SF Center for the Book.
Alexandra Mattraw is a Berkeley poet and critic who has authored several books. small siren is available at Cultural Society (2018), and two of her chapbooks can be found at Dancing Girl Press (2013, 2017). Other poems and reviews have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Jacket2, Interim, VOLT, and elsewhere. A mother and ecofeminist, Alexandra curates an art-centric writing and performance series called Lone Glen, now in its ninth year. We fell into weather is her second full-length book of poems.
Maw Shein Win is a Burmese American poet and and educator who lives and teaches in the Bay Area. Her poetry chapbooks are Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA/Commonwealth Projects, 2013) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press, 2016). A full-length collection Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. Maw is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito (2016 - 2018), and her full-length book of poetry Storage Unit for the Spirit House will be published by Omnidawn in Fall 2020. Win often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers. She was a 2019 Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at UC Berkeley and is a member of The Writers Grotto. mawsheinwin.com