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First Books: Jessica Lanay with Bhanu Kapil

November 7, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Two remarkable poets meet in conversation on their respective first books. Cave Canem fellow Jessica Lanay reads from her recent debut, am●phib●ian (Broadside Lotus Press, 2020), which has been praised by poet Maya Marshall as holding poems that are “ceremonial objects; they’re parts of spells cast to call up the dead and celebrate the women who lived.” Bhanu Kapil reflects on her own first book, The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001)described by Jane Sprague as “stunning examination of longing, love, the physicality of memory, and the unresolved process of placing: placing oneself in the world, in relation to the beloved, one’s history, one’s present, and the irreconcilable nature of all that we, physically, carry.”

This program is presented in partnership with Bowery Poetry and will be broadcasted on Bowery Poetry’s Facebook Live.


Jessica Lanay is an art writer, poet, librettist, and short fiction writer. She is a frequent contributor to BOMB Magazine where you can find her interviews with Howardena Pindell, El Anatsui, Alan Michelson, and others. Her poetry can be found in Poet Lore, Indiana Review, The Common, [PANK], Prairie Schooner, Black Warrior Review, and others. Her debut poetry collection am●phib●ian won the 2020 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Prize from Broadside Lotus Press. Her short fiction can be found in Tahoma Literary Review, Duende, and Black Candies. In 2020, the opera she libretted, Virgula Divina, composed by Karen Brown, will premiere with Pittsburgh Festival Opera. She is a 2018 recipient of a Millay Colony Residency. Also, in 2018, Jessica Lanay was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her poem “Milk. Milk. Milk,” that appeared in The Normal School.

Bhanu Kapil is the author of several collections, most recently, Ban en Banlieue (Nightboat Books) and How to Wash A Heart (Pavillion Poetry).  In 2020, she won a Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry and a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. Forthcoming in 2020 are three works: a preface-as-contracted-science-fiction-novella for Ignota Book’s translation of Unknown Language by Hildegard of Bingen and Huw Lemmey, a new edition of Incubation: A Space for Monsters (Kelsey Street Press), and a text/image collaboration with Rohini Kapil to be hosted by the Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio at the University of Cambridge as an online installation.


November 7, 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Bowery Poetry