Brooklyn Poets Book Launch: Gabrielle Bates

Join us for the East Coast launch of poet Gabrielle Bates's debut collection of poems, Judas Goat, on Friday, February 24, at 144 Montague St and via Zoom! Doors will open for a reception for in-person guests at 6 PM, featuring a Judas Goat–inspired cocktail mixed by David Grunner of Hardshore Distilling, and readings and performances will begin at 7 PM. Poets Megan Fernandes and Hua Xi and Shira Erlichman's band the Sandcastles will open for Bates. 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 Judas Goat

Gabrielle Bates’s electric debut collection Judas Goat plumbs the depths of intimate relationships. The book’s eponymous animal is used to lead sheep to slaughter while its own life is spared, and its harrowing existence echoes through this spellbinding collection of forty poems, which wrestle with betrayal and forced obedience, violence and young womanhood, and the “forbidden felt language” of sexual and sacred love. These poems conjure encounters with figures from scriptures, domesticated animals eyeing the wild, and mothering as a shapeshifting, spectral force; they question what it means to love another person and how to exorcise childhood fears. All the while, the Deep South haunts, and no matter how far away the speaker moves, the South always draws her back home.

In confession, in illumination, Bates establishes herself as an unflinching witness to the risks that desire necessitates, as Judas Goat holds readers close and whispers its unforgettable lines.

About the Author

Gabrielle Bates is the author of Judas Goat (Tin House, 2023), named by Vulture and the Chicago Review of Books as a "must-read" book of 2023. A Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship finalist, she has published her poetry in the New Yorker, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Ploughshares and the Best American Experimental Writing anthology. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, she currently lives in Seattle, where she helps out at Open Books: A Poem Emporium and cohosts The Poet Salon podcast. She teaches occasionally through the Tin House Writers' Workshops, the Rosenbach Museum, Hugo House, and the University of Washington Rome Center, and you can find her online at her website (, on Twitter (@GabrielleBates) or IG (@gabrielle_bates_).

About the Opening Acts

Megan Fernandes is a writer living in New York City. Fernandes has published in the New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares and Kenyon Review, among other places. Her book Good Boys was published by Tin House Books in 2020. Her forthcoming collection, I Do Everything I’m Told, will also be published by Tin House in the summer of 2023. Fernandes is an associate professor of English and the writer-in-residence at Lafayette College, where she teaches courses on poetry, environmental writing and critical theory. She is a former Yaddo fellow and holds a PhD in English from the University of California and an MFA in poetry from Boston University.

Hua Xi is a writer and artist. Their poems have appeared in the Nation, the Atlantic, the New Republic and elsewhere. They have won the Boston Review Poetry Contest and an NEA Fellowship. They are currently writing poems about clouds.

The Sandcastles are brother-sister duo Shai and Shira Erlichman. They grew up playing house shows, touring basements and recording multiple DIY albums in their bedrooms. Their bedrooms are no longer adjacent, but they still share a love of 1960s girl groups and Max Martin's pop algorithms. Shai (The Tiny Tornadoes, Huge Face) means gift and is a therapist. Shira (The Tiny Tornadoes, SHIRA) means song and is a writer. Both live in Brooklyn.