Join us on Thursday, February 16 at 7pm PT when Tawanda Mulalu celebrates his debut collection, Please make me pretty, I don't want to die, with Ritchie Hofmann and Amy Shimshon-Santo at 9th Ave!
Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online at the link below
Praise for Please make me pretty, I don't want to die
"I am moved by the cool, wounded clarity of Tawanda Mulalu’s poems, and startled by their flashes of stark, irrefutable knowing. Please make me pretty, I don’t want to die is an elegy, an aria, a prayer for bodies—and a nation—and a planet—on some dire cusp."—Tracy K. Smith, 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States
"Tawanda Mulalu's first book is an energetic and energizing assemblage of restlessly shifting modes, juggling forms and shuffling styles. The linguistic playfulness that animates his poems conceals neither their serious intent nor their underlying melancholy."---Troy Jollimore, Washington Post
"Incredible. . . .A stunningly good book of poems."---Elisa Gabbert, New York Times
About Please make me pretty, I don't want to die
The debut collection of an exciting new voice in poetry.
Please make me pretty, I don’t want to die explores tactility, sound, sensuality, and intimacy. Set across the four seasons of a year, these fresh and original poems by Tawanda Mulalu combine an inviting confessional voice and offbeat imagery, and offer an appealing mixture of seriousness and humor.
The speaker of these poems probes romantic and interracial intimacy, the strangeness and difficulty of his experiences as a diasporic Black African in White America, his time working as a teacher’s assistant in a third-grade classroom, and his ambivalent admiration for canonical poets who have influenced him, especially Sylvia Plath. Juxtaposing traditional forms such as sonnets and elegies with less orthodox interjections, such as prose-poem “prayers” and other meditations, the collection presents a poetic world both familiar and jarring—one in which history, the body, and poetry can collide in a single surprising turn of image: “The stars also suffer. Immense and dead, their gasses burn / distant like castanets of antebellum teeth. My open window / a synecdoche of country.”
About Tawanda Mulalu
Tawanda Mulalu was born in Gaborone, Botswana, in 1997. He is the author of the chapbook Nearness, and his poems have appeared in many publications, including the Paris Review, Brittle Paper, and Lolwe. He lives in New York City.
About Richie Hofmann
Richie Hofmann is the author of Second Empire (2015), and his poetry has appeared recently in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The Yale Review. He teaches at Stanford University and lives in Chicago and San Francisco.
About Amy Shimshon-Santo
Dr. Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer and educator who believes that creativity is a powerful tool for personal and social transformation. She is the author of Catastrophic Molting (Flowersong Press 2022), Even the Milky Way is Undocumented (Unsolicited Press 2020), and the limited edition chapbook Endless Bowls of Sky (Placeholder Press 2020). Amy has penned numerous peer-reviewed social science essays on themes of community and education in journals including GeoHumanities; Education, Citizenship, and Social Justice, Imagining America, SUNY Press, UC Press, and the Illinois Open Publishing Network. She has edited two books amplifying community voices: Et Al: New Voices in Arts Management with Genevieve Kaplan (Illinois Open Publishing Network, 2022) and Arts = Education (UC Press, 2010). Amy has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes in poetry and creative nonfiction, a Rainbow Reads Award, an Emmy Award for Arts Education (Artbound/PBS So Cal), and was a finalist for the Nightboat Book Poetry Prize. She began her creative career in dance, performance, and capoeira, and continues to cross genres, disciplines, and geographies. Her teaching career has spanned research universities, community centers, K-12 schools, arts organizations, and spaces of incarceration.
The debut collection of an exciting new voice in poetryPlease make me pretty, I don't want to die explores tactility, sound, sensuality, and intimacy. Set across the four seasons of a year, these fresh and original poems by Tawanda Mulalu combine an inviting confessional voice and offbeat imagery, and offer an appealing mixture of seriousness and humor.
An erotic journal in poems, from a rising star in the American poetry scene, author of the highly acclaimed collection Second Empire.
Catastrophic Molting is the collective ritual of loss and regeneration experienced by sea elephants (Mirounga Angustirostris) along the California coast. While molting, the mirounga rest together on the shore, and fast to preserve their energy. Collective resting creates social protection during times when they are most vulnerable.