Brazos Bookstore will be hosting Houston author Craig Beaven and Emily Pérez in person on Friday, September 23 at 6:30pm.
Teaching the Baby to Say I Love You - Craig Beaven
Selected by Pulitzer Prize finalist Ellen Bass, Teaching the Baby to Say I Love You explores the political and social climate of the last 6 years through the lens of the author’s mixed-race family. The long title poem uses teaching in a classroom—in a world of classroom gun violence—to meditate on love, race, language, and terror. The second sequence makes those fears personal and individual, while the third traces these topics to the deep historical past. Throughout, Beaven asks questions about the idea of terror in a world where terror and violence are perpetrated by the government, police officers, students, and neighbors hiding behind social media aliases. In poems narrative and complex, Teaching the Baby to Say I Love You reclaims the power of selfhood and language.
What Flies Want - Emily Pérez
In What Flies Want, disaster looms in domesticity: a family grapples with its members’ mental health, a marriage falters, and a child experiments with self-harm. With its backdrop of school lockdown drills, #MeToo, and increasing political polarization, the collection asks how these private and public tensions are interconnected.
The speaker, who grew up in a bicultural family on the U.S./Mexico border, learns she must play a role in a culture that prizes whiteness, patriarchy, and chauvinism. As an adult she oscillates between performed confidence and obedience. As a wife, she bristles against the expectations of emotional labor. As a mother, she attempts to direct her white male children away from the toxic power they are positioned to inherit, only to find how deeply she is also implicated in these systems. Tangled in a family history of depression, a society fixated on guns, a rocky relationship, and her own desire to ignore and deny the problems she must face, this is a speaker who is by turns defiant, defeated, self-implicating, and hopeful.