Brooklyn Poets Book Launch: Candace Williams

Join us for the launch of poet Candace Williams's debut full-length collection of poems, I Am the Most Dangerous Thing, on Friday, May 12, at 144 Montague St and via Zoom! Doors will open for a reception for in-person guests at 6 PM and readings and performances will begin at 7 PM. Chase Berggrun, Hafizah Augustus Geter and Omotara James will open for Williams. Book signing to follow.

Note that by attending this event, you agree to abide by our code of conduct and COVID-19 policy (see below). All in-person attendees are currently required to wear masks, except readers and performers at a safe distance on stage. Brooklyn Poets reserves the right to dismiss from our programs any participant found to be in violation of these policies. Thank you for respecting our community.

About I Am the Most Dangerous Thing

Over the course of these poems, the Black, queer protagonist begins to erase violent structures and fill the white spaces with her hard-won wisdom and love. I Am the Most Dangerous Thing doesn't just use poetry to comment on life and history. The book is a comment on writing itself. What have words done? When does writing become a form of disengagement, or worse, violence? The book is an exercise in paring the state down to its true logic of violence and imagining what can happen next. There are many contradictions—Although the protagonist teaches the same science that was used to justify enslavement and a racial caste system, she knows she will die at the hands of science and denies the state the last word by penning her own death certificate. As an educator and knowledge worker, she is an overseer of the same racist, misogynistic, and homophobic systems that terrorize her. Yet, she musters the courage to kill Kurtz, a primordial vision of white terror. She is Black and queer and fat and angry and chill and witty and joyful and depressed and lovely and flawed and an (im)perfect dagger to the heart of white supremacist capitalism.

About the Author

Candace Williams is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. I Am the Most Dangerous Thing (Alice James Books, 2023) is their debut full-length poetry collection. Candace earned their Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) from Claremont McKenna College and their Master of Arts in education from Stanford University. They grew up in the Pacific Northwest and found love and poetry in Brooklyn, New York. Now, Candace lives and makes art in New England.

About the Opening Acts

Chase Berggrun is a trans woman poet and educator and the author of R E D (Birds, LLC, 2018) and the chapbook Somewhere a seagull (After Hours Editions, 2023). Her poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, the Nation, Poetry and elsewhere. She lives with her many houseplants in New York City. 

Hafizah Augustus Geter is a Nigerian U.S. writer born in Zaria, Nigeria, and raised in Akron, Ohio, and Columbia, South Carolina. Her debut memoir, The Black Period: On Personhood, Race, and Origin (Random House, 2022), is a New Yorker Magazine Best Book of 2022, a Good Morning America Anticipated Book, an Amazon's Best of the Month Editor's Pick, a finalist for a 2023 Lambda Literary Award and the winner of the 2023 PEN Open Book Award. She is the author of the poetry collection Un-American (Wesleyan University Press, 2020), an NAACP Image Award and PEN Open Book Award finalist. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Bomb, Boston Review, the Believer, the Paris Review, the Funambulist and Harper's Bazaar, among other places. She is a literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Omotara James is an artist, editor and educator, based in NYC. She is the author of Song of My Softening (Alice James Books, 2023). Her poems appear in print and digital journals, including Poetry, the Paris Review, the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series, the BelieverLiterary Hub and Poetry Society of America. Her work has received support from the African Poetry Book Fund, Lambda Literary, Cave Canem, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Café Royal Cultural Foundation and the New York Foundation of the Arts. Born in Britain, she is the daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants. She holds a BA in creative writing from Hofstra University and an MFA in poetry from New York University. Currently, she is an assistant poetry editor at the Bellevue Literary Review.

Brooklyn Poets Code of Conduct

Brooklyn Poets will not tolerate any instances of discrimination, harassment or abuse in conjunction with any of our programs. Respect and consideration for others, both within and outside our programs, are core values to be upheld by all participants. Discrimination against and/or harassment of community members on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, religion, age, marital status, veteran status or any other factor is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Program participants are expected to adhere to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. Should a board or staff member, independent contractor, volunteer or program participant be found to violate any aspect of the organization’s code of conduct, Brooklyn Poets reserves the right to dismiss them from the program. Consequences may include, but not be limited to, dismissal from the current activity, suspension, ineligibility for all future activities, and/or loss of payment or fees. If you have any issues to report, please do not hesitate to contact Board President Isaac Myers III ([email protected]), Executive Director Jason Koo ([email protected]) or Deputy Director renée kay ([email protected]), and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Policy

We are dedicated to keeping up with the latest info on COVID-19 to inform the policies we use to keep each other safe. This means they may differ from local mandates. Below is our policy for in-person workshops, events and other gatherings hosted at our space at 144 Montague Street.

All in-person attendees are currently required to wear masks, except readers and performers at a safe distance on stage. Please stay home if you are experiencing symptoms, have a positive COVID test or someone close to you has recently tested positive.

These policies are based on the current transmission level of COVID-19 in the NYC area and will remain in effect until transmission returns to low. Our understanding of transmission levels comes from the NYC COVID-19 statistics site as well as the CDC, with the knowledge that these numbers are likely underestimated due to the recent reduction in testing infrastructure.

We understand that you may be tired of taking these precautions and appreciate you taking action to protect others in your community during this time. If you are unwilling to take these precautions in our physical space, we invite you to register for our online offerings and attend our events via livestream.

While we do our best, Brooklyn Poets cannot guarantee zero risk. A risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in all public settings. By entering the building, students, teachers and other attendees accept the risk of exposure and knowingly waive and release Brooklyn Poets from any liability related to COVID-19.