Elegy & Improvisation

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 7:30 pm
Virtual poetry reading online via Zoom
$15/$10 for Members

Poets Chris Abani and Joel Dias-Porter stun in new collections of poetry. Abani’s Smoking The Bible tells a story of fraternal love and exile in an emotionally generous collection that sears the page with his command of metaphor. Dias-Porter, a poet embedded in DC’s literary history, debuts his long-awaited collection Ideas on Improvisation-stunning poetics that Poet, Carolyn Forché calls “a wondrous kaleidoscope of sound and spirit.”  

Following the reading there will be a moderated conversation led by Hoke Glover III. 

Each patron will also receive an electronic broadside, a handwritten poem, by Abani and Dias-Porter. 

Who's Who

Excerpt from “Jordan Is No Mere River”

I don’t know how to work out this loss with you, O God.
If this is blasphemy, then strike, strike —

Poem excerpted from "Jordan Is No Mere River" from Smoking the Bible. Published by Copper Canyon Press copyright©2022 by Chris Abani.

Excerpt from “Father, Son and The Holy Ghost”
We pray mainly in the alleys of memory.
There, shards of smiles glitter the ground, but
here we wear —almost—identical names
as scars, though you won’t or can’t remember
what date I was born. Something trickles down
the side of my face. In some versions this 
may be all you have taught me: needles are
hollow lines which collapse as many families 
as veins…

Excerpt from “Father, Son and The Holy Ghost" from Ideas of Improvisation, copyright 2022 by Joel Dias-Porter. Published by Thread Makes Blanket and used by permission of the author.

Author’s note: Within each poem, the gold text can be read as its own poem. Most of these ghost poems are Japanese short forms.

The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series is pleased to partner with East City Bookshop, an independently run, women owned bookstore on Capitol Hill. Pickup is available at the shop, or they ship (almost) anywhere! Check their website, eastcitybookshop.com.