Wallingford’s poetry-only bookstore, Open Books, will offer a strong lineup of unique events and readings in November, including a reading and discussion on grief and illness and the second installment of its Sunday After SAL reading, all free to attend.
On November 4, the bookstore will host a reading unlike any other ever held at the store. Outgoing Seattle Civic Poet Claudia Castro Luna will launch her new collection, Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press), in conjunction with a Day of the Dead celebration.
The book commemorates the ongoing femicide in Juárez, México, where hundreds of women have been murdered since 1993. Every poem is addressed to a different woman named María killed in this Mexican border town. The book seeks to memorialize and restore agency to the largely poor, and in many cases indigenous, female victims of this violence, groups that have been historically marginalized and made invisible.
All of the author’s royalties will be donated to an organization working on behalf of women’s rights in Juarez.
The reading will be accompanied by a Day of the Dead celebration, complete with a traditional altar made by the author. Audience members will be encouraged to interact with the altar and leave the names of people whom they’d like to remember, given that recollection of the dead is the key focus of this Mexican holiday.
Learn more about Castro Luna’s reading here. The reading starts at 7 p.m.
Former Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen will pair with Kari Hilwig, a palliative care social worker, for a quiet evening of poetry and writing practice on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. “Words to Carry Us: Reading and Writing Poetry on Grief and Illness,” will explore grief, illness, and spiritual and psychological healing. Austen will read from her own poetry and discuss how poetry can be a path to self-care for those who work with the seriously ill and those who have been affected directly by illness and loss.
Audience members are encouraged to bring their own poetry to share, and Austen’s reading will be followed by a group writing exercise and a chance to read what you’ve written with the group.
All events take place at 2414 N. 45th Street in Wallingford.
Other November events at the store are:
- Book Launch Reading: Maya Jewell Zeller’s Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts (Nov. 9, 7 p.m.): A celebration of a new multi-genre collaboration from Seattle’s Entre Ríos Press, featuring readings by poets Maya Jewell Zeller and Ellen Welcker, as well as the screening of a film by Rebecca Starkey. Learn more here.
- Sunday After SAL: Discussion on A.E. Stallings (Nov. 19, 10 a.m.): In this second installment of a new Open Books event series that takes place following Seattle Arts & Lectures poetry events, Open Books Poet-in-Residence Lena Khalaf Tuffaha will lead a discussion of the work and recent SAL performance of renowned poet and translator A.E. Stallings. Learn more here.
- Book Launch Reading: Montreux Rotholtz’s Unmark (Nov. 19, 5 p.m.): This event celebrates the launch of Montreux Rotholtz’s debut poetry collection Unmark (Burnside Review Press). Montreux Rotholtz and Lisa Ciccarello are the featured readers. Learn more here.
- Reading with Victoria Chang (Nov. 28, 7 p.m.): Victoria Chang will read from her fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017. Learn more here.