Thursday, February 20, 7 pm
The Museum of Russian Art
5500 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis, MN
Join Rain Taxi and The Museum of Russian Art for an evening of absurdism and poetry guaranteed to stave off the winter blues. At this special event, The Museum of Russian Art will have its exhibits open for exploration during the event — a special treat for lovers of literature and art. Reception to follow!
This is a free event, but registration is requested: sign up here.
Jeff Alessandrelli is the author of the full-length poetry collections This Last Time Will Be the First (2014) and Fur Not Light (2019), both from Burnside Review Press. He’s additionally the author of a short poetic biography of the French avant-garde composer Erik Satie, a short essay collection focusing on skateboarding, poetry, and The Notorious B.I.G., and five chapbooks. Recent work by him appears in Poetry Northwest, The American Poetry Review, and The Hong Kong Review of Books. In addition to his own writing, Jeff also runs the literary record label/press Fonograf Editions. He lives in Portland, OR.
Taking its inspiration from the work of Russian Absurdist authors such as Alexander Vvedensky and Daniil Kharms (the title of the collection itself comes from a Kharms work), Fur Not Light interrogates how deep senselessness runs in a post-truth and truthiness world. Incorporating serial poems such as “Nothing of the Month Club” and “December 32nd,” as well as the long ideogram-based work “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” Fur Not Light makes manifest the way that, as one of the poems in the volume puts it, “there’s a difference between turning around and turning back.” Or as acclaimed poet Rae Armantrout extols: "Hope and resignation tussle endlessly here like a Buddhist version of Laurel and Hardy. In Fur Not Light wisdom has rhythm.”
“The Threatened Everything takes a heart-stoppingly honest look at the lies we tell ourselves in order to be functioning grown-ups. Writing poems both timely and marked by a deep, ancient wisdom born from the marriage of absurdity and grief, Paula Cisewski emerges as an American inheritor of the great Polish poets Zbigniew Herbert and Czeslaw Milosz. With a studious music and a sharp eye for laughter’s dual power to demand both complicity and joy in our separated, secular lives, her poems mark out space for us to gather our strength and see more clearly the things of the world that center and unhinge us, despite the distracting flotsam and jetsam of late capitalism, the war machine, the political circus. Cisewski is the comforting friend making art from the awful . . . the only possible reaction to the absurd life.” —Mary Austin Speaker