Sally Ball and Brian Komei Dempster read from their new poetry collections: Wreck Me (Barrow Street Press) and Topaz (Four Way Books), respectively. Wine and sparkling water will be served.
The poems in Wreck Me, Sally Ball’s second collection, are a reckoning with loss—a speaker haunted by what is already lost and by what might yet be: a father awaiting a lung transplant, a baby’s blood transfusion, martial strife and doubt. With a lyric and intellectual intensity, these poems record the mind working on the page, even as they anchor us to the physical world—the desert landscape, the riverbeds, the birds and the deer in the fields.
“Wreck Me is an entrancing collection, From the first line to the last, we are tugged into a sensibility and a world as familiar as our own world, and as strange. Sally Ball leaves no line unelectrified. Each poem feels finely wrought and completely newborn, which is exactly the point of poetry.” —Laura Kasischke
Sally Ball’s previous poetry collection is Annus Mirabilis (2005). She has published essays and reviews in NOR, Pleiades, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, The Volta, and elsewhere. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, Yale Review, and other magazines, as well as the Best American Poetry. An assistant professor of English at Arizona State University, Ball is also an associate editor of Four Way Books.
Topaz, Brian Komei Dempster’s debut poetry collection, examines the experiences of a Japanese American family separated and incarcerated in American World War II prison camps. This volume delves into the lasting intergenerational impact of imprisonment and breaks a cultural legacy of silence. Through the fractured lenses of past and present, personal and collective, the speaker seeks to piece together the facets of his own identity and to shed light on a buried history.
“In a voice thickened with stoical regret, from a body charged with sexuality and grief, Brian Komei Dempster writes a poetry like no other’s.” —Garrett Hongo
Brian Komei Dempster is also the editor of two anthologies, including Making Home from War: Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement (Heyday, 2011). His poems have been published in New England Review and North American Review, among others. He teaches at the University of San Francisco.