One of our favorite readings of the year, where we invite poets to share work by other poets they admire. We encourage (but don't require) the audience to do the same thing. Bring some of your favorite poems by other writers!
Brendan Constantine was born in Los Angeles, the second child of two working actors, and named after Irish playwright Brendan Behan. An ardent supporter of Southern California’s poetry communities and one of its most recognized poets, he has served as a teacher of poetry in local schools and colleges for the last eighteen years. In addition, he brings poetry workshops to hospitals, foster care centers, & shelters for the homeless. He is also very proud of his work with the Alzheimer's Poetry Project.
His first collection, Letters To Guns, was released in February 2009 from Red Hen Press to wide acclaim. It is now taught extensively in schools throughout the Southland. His work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably Ploughshares, FIELD, Rattle, ZYZZYVA, Ninth Letter, The Pinch, ArtLife and LA Times Bestseller The Underground Guide to Los Angeles. His most recent collections are Birthday Girl With Possum (2011 Write Bloody Publishing) and Calamity Joe (2012 red Hen Press).
In spring of 2012, Brendan toured California on a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, bringing his poetry workshops to schools, libraries, correctional facilities, & community centers. “I know every student doesn’t want to be a professional poet. But if poetry is a kind of ‘language within a language’ (Paul Valery), then I believe the skills of poetry--the arts of simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, meter, etc. – are useful and practical, a means of doubling our available vocabulary. Anyone with even a little poetry in them is better equipped to relate their world to someone else.”
In addition to his post as poet in residence at the Windward School, Brendan regularly volunteers with organizations like the Art of Elysium. He is also currently working with the Craft & Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles on a project that invites established and emerging authors to bear upon changing exhibits.
He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Hollywood at Bela Lugosi’s last address.
Mandy Kahn is a poet who lives in Los Angeles. She’s the author of the poetry collection Math, Heaven, Time and is coauthor of the nonfiction book Collage Culture: Examining the 21st Century's Identity Crisis. She collaborates with composers to create works that feature poetry in tandem with classical music and has had readings and signings at Colette (Paris), Motto (Berlin), Shoreditch House (London), Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco), Printed Matter (New York) and Art Center College of Design (Pasadena).
Collage Culture, which Kahn coauthored with Aaron Rose, was released in the fall of 2011 and features graphic design by Brian Roettinger. Excerpts from the book were printed on wall-sized vinyl panels and installed as a month-long gallery exhibition at Colette in Paris as part of the book’s launch. Collage Culture was also released as an LP record that combines readings of the book’s text with an original score by the band No Age. David Scott Stone produced the record and it was released by PPM. After Colette, Collage Culture had subsequent launches at Motto (Berlin), the Shoreditch House (London), Printed Matter (New York City) and Family (Los Angeles). Kahn also gave a reading at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall about the process of making Collage Culture as a contributor to the live event Pop-Up Magazine.
Math, Heaven, Time was released in July of 2014, and had its UK launch at the London Review Bookshop and its US launch at L.A.’s Skylight Books.
Kahn wrote the libretto for composer Ellen Reid's opera Modern Odysseus, which the wild Uporchestra premiered in February of 2014. An excerpt from the forthcoming opera The Room in Which He Slept—another collaboration with composer Ellen Reid—premiered in Reykjavik, Iceland in August of 2014, in a performance by the Graduale Nobili Choir and the wild Up orchestra. The next portion of that opera premiered on February 26, 2015 with the Breakout Ensemble in Munich, Germany. Her current libretti projects include Hopscotch for director Yuval Sharon, which will premiere in October of 2015. Kahn and composer Ellen Reid received an Opera America grant from the National Opera Center to support their three collaborative pieces for Hopscotch, one of which will be performed by a children’s choir.
Kahn has collaborated with many composers to create pieces that fuse verse with new works of classical music. Recent collaborations include a piece with composer Daniel Corral for the LAX/Live Arts Exchange Festival, a piece with Ali Helnwein and the Traction Avenue Chamber Orchestra that premiered at the Last Bookstore, a piece with Becky Stark and the ∞ Angeles Ladies’ Choir that premiered at the Satellite, a piece with Matt Kivel that premiered at the Standard Hotel, and a piece with marimba soloist Ariel Campos that premiered at Perspace.
She is writer-in-residence for THE SERIES, a live event that pairs artists for cross-genre collaborations. For THE SERIES, she writes text to accompany works of contemporary dance, performance art and music.