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K. Lorraine Graham to be featured guest at Silo City Reading Series event Friday

There has been a change in the program of the Silo City Reading Series event scheduled for this Friday, July 11, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Perot Elevator, 100 Childs Street in Buffalo's historic grain elevator district.

Award-winning Bengladeshi-American poet Tarfia Faizallah will not be able to appear as originally scheduled, although she is hoping to reschedule at a future Silo City Reading Series event.

Taking her place will be K. Lorraine Graham, a poet, innovative prose writer, new media scholar and sometime visual artist best known for her poetry collection "Terminal Humming" (Edge Books, 2009) and the chapbooks “My Little Neoliberal Pony” (Insert Press, 2013), "Large Waves to Large Obstacles," a series of procedural translations from classical Chinese (Dusie Kollektiv, 2012), “And so for you there is no heartbreak” (Dusie Kollektiv, 2011), and “Emohippus Greeting Card – Fourth Series” (Emohippus Press, 2010). 

She is also a contributing staff writer for the Poetry Foundation, the literary arts curator for the San Diego Museum of Art and co-curator of San Diego's Agitprop Reading Series, and has taught literary art and digital rhetoric at the University of California, San Diego. Her second full-length collection, "Meta Horror," is forthcoming from Coconut Books. You can follow her various projects, writings, and publications at

Joining Graham will be Buffalo-based poet Cheryl Quimba, author of the forthcoming chapbook, "Scattered Trees Grow in Some Tundra" (2014), whose poems have appeared in the publications Dusie, Everyday Genius, 1913, and Phoebe. She is the publicist for Starcherone Books, and a teaching artist at the Just Buffalo Writing Center.

Also performing will be musician, sound and media artist Jax Deluca, perhaps best-known as the Executive Director at Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources, but also a multitalented vocalist and composer/songwriter.
As with all Silo City Reading Series events, the evening will also feature a visual arts installation or component, in this case, from Phil Derner, whose work has been exhibited at Buffalo State College and the Center for Inquiry, who has been voted Buffalo's Best Sculptor three times by ArtVoice.

The event is free and open to the public. Those planning to attend should remember that access to Silo City via Ohio St. is closed for the balance of the summer while the street undergoes construction.  The best access to the Silo City site from the north is via South Michigan Avenue over the Buffalo River and then left onto Ganson St. to its terminus at Childs St.

--R.D. Pohl

'The Most Dangerous Book' author Birmingham to visit Burchfield-Penney Friday

Kevin Birmingham, the Harvard University based lecturer, literary scholar and recent author of "The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses" (Penguin Books) will give a talk about his much-discussed new book this Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. The talk is free and open to the public.   Talking Leaves Books, a co-sponsor of the event, will be on hand with copies of Birmingham's book for purchase and signing after the talk.

The Birmingham appearance is part of an afternoon long program that is described as a belated Bloomsday celebration at the Burchfield-Penney. It begins at 2 p.m. with a screening of "Following James Joyce...Dublin to Buffalo," a film commissioned by the National Library of Ireland for its Centennial Bloomsday Exhibit in Dublin.  The film, produced and directed by Patrick Martin (of Cinegael Buffalo and riverrun inc.) and Stacy Herbert, and narrated by Laurence Shine, Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at Buffalo State College, traces the trajectory of Joyce's career and legacy in Dublin, Paris, Trieste, Pola (Croatia), Zurich, and finally, Buffalo, where his manuscripts, notebooks, correspondence, ephemera, and other personal materials are archived in the James Joyce Collection of the University at Buffalo Libraries.
At 3 p.m., a stellar group of Buffalo-based actors, including Vincent O'Neill, Loraine O'Donnell,  and Gerry Maher, will present readings of selected passages from "Ulysses," as hosted and introduced by Buffalo State College's Laurence Shine. The screening and readings are also free and open to the public.

In the run-up to its publication last week, Birmingham's book received a great deal of enthusiastic praise from reviewers--tempered by some fairly vehement criticism from longtime Joyce scholars and academics--for its broadly accessible style and somewhat more dramatized presentation than is customary in scholarly works.  The most pointed criticisms have almost all been directed at the five page passage in Birmingham's four hundred and thirty-two page book in which he adduces a greater degree of evidence than has ever been gathered in a single scholarly presentation concerning the now widely held view that Joyce suffered from syphilis for the last three and a half decades of his life.  Specifically, he establishes that one of the medications Joyce was prescribed in the last decades of his life was used exclusively for the treatment of the symptoms of syphilis. Perhaps more speculatively, Birmingham argues that the condition had a marked effect on not only Joyce's deteriorating eyesight and general health, but also on his taboo-breaking sense of the body in his stream-of-consciousness writing as well.

Birmingham has described his book as a "biography" of Joyce's "Ulysses," tracing it from its first conception in 1904 by a then 22 year old Joyce, to its controversial serialization in the American literary journal The Little Review from 1918 to 1920 (which resulted in the journal's prosecution and confiscation on obscenity charges), leading up to the quasi-heroic publication of its first edition (of 100 copies) by Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1922, and the long, difficult, and richly episodic legal struggle the novel faced in order to be distributed and sold in the English-speaking world, culminating in the "epoch-making" decision by U.S. District Judge John M. Woolsey in December of 1933 that concluded "Ulysses" was neither obscene nor pornographic, and could lawfully be imported and published in the U.S. by Random House.

Although this narrative is familiar to many Joyce readers and scholars, most reviewers have noted that the most notable achievement of  Birmingham's "The Most Dangerous Book" is to demonstrate and contextualize how "Ulysses" came to be both the most widely recognized  masterwork of, and the cultural standard-bearer for, literary modernism in the 20th century.  Nearly every discussion we have about "difficulty," innovation, and progressivism in literature and the arts, as well as the role of freedom of artistic expression in a democratic society is today framed by the challenges the book faced in finding its way to its readership and reputation, and the precedents--legal and otherwise--established by its publication and widespread acceptance.

--R.D. Pohl

Poet Philip Metres to headline Silo City Reading Series launch

Award-winning Cleveland area based poet, scholar, activist, and Russian language literary translator Philip Metres will be the headliner at the first Silo City Reading Series event of the summer season this Saturday night at  100 Childs Street in Buffalo's grain elevator district.

The reading, which also features Buffalo-based artist, writer, and Bon Aire Projects co-founder Jon Rutzmoser, music by the new music collective Wooden Cities, and a paper art installation by visual artist Maude White, is part of the larger Silo Sessions launch party and fundraiser featuring over 30 performances by bands, solo musicians, poets, spoken word and media artists on three different stages in the Silo City complex.  The performances begin at 5 p.m. and extend through 11 p.m., with Metres scheduled to read at 10:15 p.m. at the Marine A Elevator stage.  For a complete listing of the schedule and location of the performances, visit

The  Admission is $15 at the gate, or $10 through the Kickstarter project page ( that has been created for the Silo Sessions launch.

Metres, a professor of English at John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he teaches American Literature and creative writing, is the author six books of poems, including "A Concordance of Leaves" (Diode Editions, 2013), abu ghraib arias (Flying Guillotine Press, winner of the 2012 Arab American Book Award in Poetry ), "Ode to Oil" (Kattywompus Press, 2011),  and "To See the Earth" (Cleveland State University Press, 2008).  He is also author of  the critical study "Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941" (University of Iowa Press, 2007), and translator of  "Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Selected Poems of Lev Rubinstein (Ugly Duckling Press, 2004) and "A Kindred Orphanhood: Selected Poems of Sergey Gandlevsky" (Zephyr Press, 2003).

He co-edited the anthology "Come Together: Imagine Peace: An Anthology of Peace Poems" (Bottom Dog Press, 2008), and is the creator of the award-winning "Behind the Lines: Poetry, War, and Peacemaking" blog.  Among the numerous other awards and honors he has received are a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, and four separate individual excellence awards from the Ohio Arts Council.

For more information on the Silo City Reading Series, which returns to its regular "art party" format on July 11  with a reading featuring Detroit-based poet Tarfia Faizulla, visit

--R.D. Pohl

Buffalo Reading Invasion returns to Bidwell Parkway Monday

Buffalo Reading Invasion, the flash mob-inspired series of quiet, bookish gatherings that celebrate the role of reading, public space, and community in our lives begins its 2014 run of summertime monthly events Monday night, June 9th, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. along Bidwell Parkway, headed east from Elmwood Avenue toward Buffalo Seminary and Potomac Avenue.

Geoff Schutte, the Tapestry Charter School High School Honors Program coordinator who founded Buffalo Reading Invasion in 2012 and remains its principal organizer, encourages the entire reading community to bring a book or magazine, a chair or blanket, and several friends or family members for an hour of quiet reading and fellowship in one of Buffalo’s best-loved public spaces. Visit for further details.

--R.D. Pohl

Live chat at noon: Miers on Music

Humorist David Sedaris to give talk, sign books at Talking Leaves

Humorist, best-selling author and National Public Radio "This American Life" essayist David Sedaris will visit Buffalo for a brief book talk and reading, followed by a question-and-answer session, beginning promptly at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 6th at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main Street in Buffalo.

Following the talk, which is a ticketed event and limited to 125 persons (tickets are available with the purchase of any one of Sedaris's books from Talking Leaves at any time between now and June 6th at no additional charge), Sedaris will sign any books that he has authored in an event beginning at 7 p.m. at Talking Leaves that is free and open to the general public.

Sedaris is on an unusual nationwide tour in support of independent bookstores in conjunction with the paperback release of his most recent collection of  essays "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls" by  Little, Brown and Company.  Last October, he appeared as a guest in the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts Speakers Series when the book was released in hardcover.

Sedaris is the author of nine collections of short stories and essays including his earlier books "Barrel Fever" (1994), "Me Talk Pretty One Day" (2000), "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" (2004) and "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" (2008). He has had over 40 of his stories and essays published in The New Yorker magazine since 1994, and over 50 of his radio essays have been featured on "This American Life" and other National Public Radio broadcasts since his "Santaland Diaries" was first aired on December 23, 1992.

In recent years, the question of whether Sedaris's work should be published and broadcast as nonfiction, fiction, or some comic-effect driven combination of the two has been raised by several critical commentators, most notably Alex Heard in a 2007 article ("This American Lie") in The New Republic that fact-checked several of the essays in Sedaris's 1997 collection "Naked."  While many critics concede that Sedaris does not purport to be a journalist, and that he freely admits to comic exaggeration, embellishment, and occasional outright invention in his essays (all of which his readers implicitly understand and accept as fictive techniques), they also point out that his work might not nearly sell as well, or be as popular as it is with public radio audiences were it marketed as fiction.

In 2012, prompted by a "This American Life" episode featuring writer Mike Daisey's monologue "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" that the program's producers and NPR were forced to retract, the network reclassified "Santaland Diaries" and several other  Sedaris pieces as fiction, and indicated that it would fact-check his future contributions to "This American Life."

For additional information on the Sedaris talk and book signing, contact Talking Leaves Books at either its Main Street (716-837-8554) or 951 Elmwood Avenue (716-884-9524) location.

--R.D. Pohl

Live chat at noon: Miers on Music

Meet the BPO's new associate conductor


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Stefan Sanders, former Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra trombonist, is going to be returning to the orchestra in triumph, as its new associate conductor. Sanders, pictured above, will be succeeding Matthew Kraemer, who is leaving at the end of this season.

Sanders was one of five very qualified candidates who auditioned a few weeks ago for the high-profile position.

He is featured in a video The Buffalo News made of those auditions. Watch for him at about 1:10.

And, of course, watch for him on the podium of Kleinhans Music Hall, in the near future.

Riedy returns for 4th Friday Poetry Series reading

Buffalo area native Patrick Riedy returns to his hometown as the featured reader at this month's 4th Friday Poetry Series reading at 7 p.m. this Friday at Dog Ears Bookstore & Café, 688 Abbott Road.  Admission is $3, and there will be additional reading slots are available.

Reidy is the co-founder and editor of the chapbook publisher PressBoard Press.   He is the author of  four chapbooks of poems, including "Philadelphia: A Poetry Play," which is forthcoming in 2014 from Red Glass Books.

A 2012 graduate of the University at Buffalo, where he  was a student research assistant at the UB Poetry Collection and interned at the Western New York Book Art Center, Reidy is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English and teaching assistant at Syracuse University.

--R.D. Pohl

Live chat at noon: Miers on Music

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