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devorah major
Photo: Victoria Smith

devorah major and James Cagney

9 AUGUST 2020 — sunday

Poetry Flash presents a virtual poetry reading by devorah major, Califia's Daughter, and James Cagney, Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory, online via Zoom, free, 3:00 pm PDT (Register to attend: please click here; you will receive an email with a link and information on how to join the reading)

Please join us for the Poetry Flash's first virtual reading on Sunday, August 9 at 3:00 pm PDT! We are excited to bring you devorah major and James Cagney via Zoom. To register for this reading, please click here. After you register, you will receive an email with a link and information on how to join the reading. We hope this virtual reading will be the first of many more to come. Thank you for continuing to support Poetry Flash and our reading series during these unprecedented times.
devorah major's new poetry collection is Califia's Daughter; her previous books include and then we became, Where River Meets Ocean, and The Other Side of the Postcard. Juan Felipe Herrera, US Poet Laureate 2015-17, says, "All the dimensions of devorah major's life and (yours) are here —from the 'beginning before the beginning,' galactic particles to the bebopness of our lives. She speaks of being, of becoming, of totality. Is it a journal, an investigation, the life philosophy of a great poet woman? …In this work, devorah charts the infinite music inside of us all." San Francisco's third Poet Laureate, devorah major is a writer, editor, writing coach, spoken word performer, recording artist, and poetry professor. Poet-in-Residence at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, she has toured in Italy, Bosnia, Jamaica, Venezuela, Belgium, England, Wales, and throughout the United States, performing her poetry and speaking on African-American poetry, Beat Poetry, and poetry of resistance. In 2015, her play Classic Black: Voices of 19th Century African-Americans premiered in San Francisco.
James Cagney's recent book is Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory. Sam Sax wrote, "I remember first hearing James Cagney read poems in a packed backroom in Oakland and being entirely shook by what this man can do with language. Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory makes good on that promise of strangeness, urgency, lyric prowess, and invention. Toggling between loss, therapy, the pastoral, illness, the humorously personable, and the darkly familial—at every turn this book surprises, aches, and delights. 'what flower / cuts thru the bullshit / between people'—do yourself a favor and read it thrice." Cagney's poems "interrogate identity, family, loneliness, and the expectations of masculinity. Using dreams, blues, and a chorus of voices, this collection of poems examines the complexities of intimacy for an adopted person trying to find balance between two families—one rattled by age and illness; the other, holding space for a son that doesn't exist." A Cave Canem fellow, he studied writing and poetry independently, via the public library, workshops, and the open mic scene in the Bay Area.

Daily Listings

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28 JANUARY 2023 — saturday

  • The San Francisco Public Library presents Poetry from the Pandemic, a reading of San Francisco poets highlighting how they discovered their inner resources and resilience during the pandemic, featuring Karen Melander-Magoon, John Curl, Rainbow Weather, and Mahnaz Badihian, Ask the Wind, North Beach Library Community Room, 850 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, free, 2:00-3:00 pm PST (More information here:
  • Point Reyes Books presents novelist Selby Wynn Schwartz, The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and Their Afterlives, finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, celebrating her new book, After Sappho, longlisted for the Booker Prize, in conversation with bookstore co-owner Molly Parent, Dance Palace Church Space, Point Reyes Station, free, donations welcome, 4:00 pm PST (More information here:

29 JANUARY 2023 — sunday

  • Skylight Books presents poet and performance artist Linda Ravenswood, The Stan Poems, reading and discussing her new book, Cantadora: Letters from California, a collection of forty-four hybrid texts that read as maps, diary entries, dream fragments, and lists, spanning the 500+ years from the Spanish Conquest of Mexico to the present day, Skylight Books,1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, free, 5:00 pm PST (More information here:

30 JANUARY 2023 — monday

31 JANUARY 2023 — tuesday

  • Cobalt Poets presents a reading featuring poet and essayist Darius Atefat-Peckham, How Many Love Poems, with open mic to follow, online via Zoom, free, 7:30 pm PST (Register to attend:
  • City Lights Books presents nonfiction writer Thomas Crow, The Long March of Pop: Art, Music, and Design, 1930-1995, discussing his new book, The Artist in the Counterculture: Bruce Conner to Mike Kelley and Other Tales from the Edge, examining the influence of West Coast artists on California's counterculture of the 1960s to 1980s, in conversation with art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty, online via Zoom, free, 6:00 pm PST (Register to attend:

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