Amy Lawless and Angela Veronica Wong
January 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Publication Party for Two New Poetry Collections
Howl! Happening is pleased to celebrate the publication of two new poetry collections: Angela Veronica Wong’s elsa: an unauthorized autobiography, published by Black Radish Books, and Amy Lawless’ Broadax, published by Octopus Books.
Wong’s elsa: an unauthorized autobiography unfolds the story of a fictional 18th-century French demimondaine and mistress of Louis XV. Meditating on gender, identity, and the precariousness of women’s lives against the scrim of patriarchal power and capital, the foils of the sonnet form and storytelling shape Wong’s critique. Both adhering to and breaking the structures of rhyme and meter—like Elsa wearing and divesting herself of corset and panniers—Wong’s sonnets shift between the politics of the French court and the streets of New York. Navigating the shoals of female embodiment, the poems slip between then and now, narrated and narrator.
Amy Lawless takes inspiration from Annie Dillard, who writes in her essay The Death of the Moth, “You can’t be anything else. You must go at your life with a broadax.” In her new book, Lawless goes at her life in an attempt to understand the pain and how to live in this fucked-up world. Broadax begins in the guileless moments of the poet’s childhood and constellates outward, only to return to the same life through adult eyes. Lawless reflects on her life with the help of The Incredible Hulk, Prince, Žižek, Mishima, and especially her family.
Publisher’s Weekly on elsa: “Wong explores the confines and contradictions of patriarchy, the injustices of imperialism and class division, and the fever-pitch potential of revolution. […] The poems and the relationships described therein witness intersecting sex and violence; there are predators and prey, though these designations are constantly in flux and precarious in the face of revolt. […] As an imagined history, this book is rich with sensory detail and shrewd interpersonal politics; as a screed on the perpetual cycle of objectification, it is timely and stirring.”
Publishers Weekly on Broadax: “Lawless’s ax strikes at misogyny and its inherent brutality in this exceedingly clever collection on being fearless in a world where fear is weaponized to keep women compliant.”
About Amy Lawless and Broadax
Amy Lawless is the author of two books of poems, including My Dead (Octopus Books). Her third poetry collection Broadax is forthcoming in the fall from Octopus Books. A chapbook, A Woman Alone, is just out from Sixth Finch Books. With Chris Cheney, she is the author of the hybrid book I Cry: The Desire to Be Rejected, from the Pioneer Works Press Groundworks series (2016). Lawless’ poems have been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2013, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion, and the Brooklyn Poets Anthology (Brooklyn Arts Press). Poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Volta, Washington Square Review, Bennington Review, jubilat, The Inquisitive Eater, and elsewhere. She received a poetry fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2011 and lives in Brooklyn.
About Angela Veronica Wong and elsa
Angela Veronica Wong is a poet, writer, artist, and educator based in New York City. Her most recent book of poetry is elsa: an unauthorized autobiography (Black Radish Books, 2017). Chapbooks include the Poetry Society of America New York Chapbook Fellowship winner Dear Johnny, In Your Last Letter. Poems have been anthologized in Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation and Best American Poetry (in collaboration with Amy Lawless). Wong’s fiction has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, Duende, and smoking glue gun. Her performance work has been featured in independent galleries in Buffalo, Toronto, and New York. She was named a Poets & Writers debut poet for her first book of poems, how to survive a hotel fire.