Lyrics and Dirges: Noise Makers
Lyrics & Dirges is a monthly reading series that features a mix of prominent, emerging and beginning writers. Its aim is to highlight various forms of writing in an effort to spotlight the diverse literary community that lives in the Bay Area. This months readers are:
Sean McLain Brown
Lisa D. Gray
Sean Mclain Brown is a disabled Gulf War former Marine, and a member of the Veteran's Writing Workshop led by renowned author and peace activist Maxine Hong Kingston. He teaches writing at De Anza College and workshops for returning veterans. His poetry and fiction has appeared more than 50 publications including, the San Francisco Chronicle, EM, First Intensity, Fourteen Hills, Indiana Review, LUNA, Sentence, Paragraph, Transfer and others. His work is also featured in three anthologies: An Introduction to the Prose Poem (Firewheel Editions), Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (Koa Books), and My America, a limited edition letterpress chapbook by Blue Barnhouse publishing. In addition, he was the 2006 First Place Winner of the Barbara Mandingo Peace Poetry Prize from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Cam Awkward-Rich is a student and writer based in the bay. In 2012 Cam represented bay area venues at the National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational and made final stage at the latter two. Usually, you can find Cam on the train somewhere between his home in Oakland and Stanford University, where he is pursuing a PhD from the program in Modern Thought and Literature.
Kwan Booth is an award winning writer and media strategist focusing on the intersection of communications, community, art and technology. A recovering poetry slam champion and open mic addict, Kwan has spent the last few years working in digital media and journalism. He is the cofounder of Oaklandlocal.com and the creator of “Sit Next to a Black Person Month” and “Say I’m Different: The Black Other Project.” Kwan has developed media projects for organizations including the Knight Digital Media Center, the Online News Association, Netsquared, The National Conference on Media Reform, Public Radio International, Not For Tourists Guidebooks, Newsdesk.org, and the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. He has creative writing published in “Beyond the Frontier: African American Poets for the 21st Century,” the Journal for Pan African Studies, and CHORUS, the new literary anthology edited by Saul Williams to be published by MTV Books. He lives at http://boothism.org
Zarina Zabrisky started to write at six. She wrote traveling around the world as a street artist, translator, and a kickboxing instructor. Zarina started to publish her work in 2011. Since then her work appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in the US, UK, Canada and Nepal and three of her short stories are nominated for Pushcart Prize. (Nominations by Eleven Eleven Journal of Literature and Art, Red Fez Literary Magazine and Epic Rites Press Publishing.) Amy Hempel has picked her short story for distinction as Finalist in The Normal School's Normal Prize in Fiction, 2012. IRON, her first short story collection, is now available from amazon.com in the US. You can find more about Zarina and read her published work at www.zarinazabrisky.com
Lisa Gray received her MFA from Mills College where she began writing her novel Stolen Peaches, which tells the story of twelve girls who participated in a demonstration in Georgia, got arrested, and spent fifteen days in the canning house of an old peach orchard because during the long hot summer of 1963 southern jails overflowed with children protesters trying to change a culture and fight for freedom. She also writes short stories and memoir about growing up in New Haven, CT's mostly Black inner city during the seventies. She has won scholarships to study at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, The Voices of Our Nations Foundation in San Francisco, and The Vermont Studio Center. She recently won the nationally acclaimed Pitchaplooza contest in San Francisco. She teaches a course that focuses on women's leadership at Mills College in Oakland.