Los Angeles Book Launch: Christopher Soto's "Diaries of a Terrorist"

Join us in celebrating the launch of Diaries of a Terrorist, Christopher Soto’s debut poetry collection forthcoming on May 3, 2022, by Copper Canyon Press.

This debut poetry collection demands the abolition of policing and human caging. In Diaries of a Terrorist, Christopher Soto uses the "we" pronoun to emphasize that police violence happens not only to individuals but to entire communities. His poetics open the imagination towards possibilities of existence beyond the status quo. Soto asks, "Who do we call terrorist—and why"? These political surrealist poems shift between gut-wrenching vulnerability, laugh-aloud humor, and unapologetic queer punk raunchiness. Diaries of a Terrorist is groundbreaking in its ability to speak—from a local to a global scale—about one of the most important issues of our time. Christopher Soto will be joined for a reading by Myriam GurbaJoshua Jennifer Espinoza, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, Jackie WangTommy PicoStop LAPD Spying, and, Dignity and Power Now.

Free & in-person at Beyond Baroque. All attendees must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination and an ID. Masks are required.

Reservation Policy: Please RSVP if you are planning to attend this event. We accept walk-ins, but priority will be given to people that have registered. Since this event is free of charge it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a full program, your free ticket may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Standby tickets will be released fifteen minutes prior to each program.


About the authors

Myriam Gurba is a writer and artist. She is the author of the true-crime memoir Mean, a New York Times editors’ choice. O, the Oprah Magazine, ranked Mean as one of the best LGBTQ books of all time. Publishers’ Weekly describes Gurba as having a voice like no other. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Paris Review, TIME.com, and 4Columns. She has shown art in galleries, museums, and community centers. She lives in Long Beach, California, with herself.

Joshua Jennifer Espinoza is a trans woman poet living in California. Her work has been featured in PoetryDenver QuarterlyAmerican Poetry ReviewPoem-a-DayLambda LiteraryPEN AmericaThe Offing, and elsewhere. Her full-length collection THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2016. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Occidental College.

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal is an award-winning poet and first-generation U.S. citizen born in the Rio Grande Valley to Mexican immigrants, and raised in Houston, Texas. She is also an essayist and cultural critic with critical race and feminist approaches to pop culture, media studies, ecopoetics, and documentary poetics, engaging discourses of borders and geographies of power, critical race, animal studies, memory studies, generational trauma, and the archive. She is the author of Beast Meridian.

Jackie Wang is a poet, harpist, and Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is the author of The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void and Carceral Capitalism, as well as the chapbooks Tiny Spelunker of the Oneiro-Womb and The Twitter Hive Mind Is Dreaming. When not writing poetry, she researches race, surveillance technology, and the political economy of prisons and police.

Tommy "Teebs" Pico is a poet, podcaster, and tv writer. He is the author of the books IRLNature PoemJunkFeed, and myriad keen tweets including “sittin on the cock of the gay.” Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now splits his time between Los Angeles and Brooklyn. He co-curates the reading series Poets with Attitude, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot and Scream, Queen! is poetry editor at Catapult Magazine, writes on the TV shows Reservation Dogs and Resident Alien, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub.


About the organizations

Stop LAPD Spying: The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition is a community group building power toward abolition of the police state. They were founded in 2011 and are based at the Los Angeles Community Action Network in Skid Row.

Dignity and Power Now: Dignity and Power Now (DPN) is a Los Angeles-based grassroots organization founded in 2012 that fights for the dignity and power of all incarcerated people, their families, and communities. Our mission is to build a Black and Brown-led abolitionist movement rooted in community power towards the goal of achieving transformative justice and healing justice for all incarcerated people, their families, and communities.