On Wednesday, December 13, a launch party event will be held at Mohawk Place for a new book featuring some of Buffalo’s top poets. The 7pm event will showcase a number of live readings from poets that were selected to appear in the publication.
Featuring readings by:
- Janet McNally
- Joe Hall
- Eve Williams Wilson
- Rachelle Toarmino
- Paige Melin
- Julio Montalvo Valentin
- Tom Dreitlein
- Nathanael William Stolte
Musical performances by:
The Mohawk Place event is one of three scheduled launch parties, which are all intended to showcase the talented poets within the book in a live setting, while giving the community a chance to purchase the book, which was released by Buffalo-based publisher BlazeVOX [books] in December 2017. Altogether, 54 poets, aged 16 to 40, were selected to appear in My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry. These poets have become an integral part of the city’s literary scene, in one way or another – “by writing, publishing, performing, and promoting new poetry.”
It is interesting to note that the title of the book was chosen upon because it is also one of Janet McNally’s poems in the collection. The fabulous cover art is that of Buffalo-based artist Chuck Tingley.
In their introduction, co-editors Noah Falck and Justin Karcher write:
The poems in this anthology capture the energy and creative output from the city’s thriving slam, alt-lit, spoken word, language poetry, academic, and publishing communities. These communities often function separately, they have their own spaces and vocabularies, and their contributions to the literary and language arts are radically different — but as different as they are, the young poets in this collection are enmeshed. They trade places and ideas, share stages and projects, and support each other’s endeavors. The poets in this collection have a few simple commonalities that bind them: young poets who inherited a language shaped by a city, they’ve gone on to shape a city’s language. It is a book that hopes to explore that city and that language.
The poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, says of the collection:
My Next Heart is a journey through a city the way it should be: many hands, many images, many cars with many windows down. There’s the tender humor of Alana Kelley’s “The Only Muscle I Work Out Is My Tongue” (“we’ll sit facing one another / on the floor / and take turns french kissing”) and there is the water’s hollow echoing through the pages when Brian McMahon writes “life is the sound / of a pebble plunging / into the Buffalo River” and there is the confessional sadness of Tom Dreitlein. All of the work inside of this anthology sings to a different corner of the place where it was born. Even the work that isn’t about Buffalo sings to a very particular emotional interior that builds its own, new home. You will love this anthology if you love a place you were born, or born again. You will love this anthology if you close your eyes from somewhere you are and dream of somewhere you want to be. There are many ways to see yourself in this bounty of lovely, furious, heartfelt, high stakes writing. I hope you will find at least one.
Cover art by Chuck Tingley