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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 NOVEMBER 2020 — saturday

29 NOVEMBER 2020 — sunday

30 NOVEMBER 2020 — monday

  • The Fifth Monday Charitable Reading, in support of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), features poetry readings by Octavio Quintanilla, Poet Laureate of San Antonio, and activist poets Francisco Aragón, Adella Najarro, Paco Marquez, MK Chavez, Arturo Mantecón, Betty Sánchez, Tristan Beach, JoAnn Anglin, and Paul Aponte, hosted by poet Frank Dixon Graham, free, online via Facebook Live, 7:00-9:00 pm PST (RSVP on Facebook to attend:
  • Colossus Press presents a reading in their book release series, celebrating the anthology Colossus:Home, featuring readings from Sheryl Bize-Boutte, Keith M. Gaboury, Jan Steckel, Susan Dambroff, Paul Corman-Roberts, and Elizabeth Costello, with special guest Tureeda Mikell, free, online, 6:30 pm PST (RSVP on Facebook:; to buy the book:
  • Book Passage presents a reading of works from Writing the Virus, edited by Andrea Scrima and David Dario Winner, an anthology of writings tracing the evolution of the coronavirus and the communities it has most deeply affected, featuring Caille Millner, Jon Roemer, and David Dario Winner, moderated by Oscar Villalon, Managing Editor of ZYZZYVA, free, online, 7:30 pm PST (Register to attend:

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