Brooklyn Poets Book Launch: Megan Fernandes

Join us for the launch of poet Megan Fernandes's new collection of poems, I Do Everything I’m Told, on Thursday, June 15, at 144 Montague St and via Zoom! Doors will open for a wine reception for in-person guests at 6 PM. Waqia Abdul-Kareem will kick things off with a DJ set at 6:45 PM and readings will begin at 7 PM. Torrey Peters and Evie Shockley will open for Fernandes. Book signing to follow.

Note that by attending this event, you agree to abide by our code of conduct and COVID-19 policy. We strongly encourage all attendees to wear masks (regardless of vaccination status) except readers at a safe distance on stage. Brooklyn Poets reserves the right to dismiss from our programs any participant found to be in violation of this code. Thank you for respecting our community.

About I Do Everything I’m Told

Restless, contradictory, and witty, Megan Fernandes’s I Do Everything I’m Told explores disobedience and worship, longing and possessiveness, and nights of wandering cities. Its poems span thousands of miles, as a masterful crown of sonnets starts in Shanghai, then moves through Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Palermo, Paris, and Philadelphia—with a speaker who travels solo, adventures with strangers, struggles with the parameters of sexuality, and speculates on desire.

Across four divs, poems navigate the terrain of queer, normative, and ambiguous intimacies with a frank intelligence: “It’s better to be illegible, sometimes. Then they can’t govern you.” Strangers, ancestors, priests, ghosts, the inner child, sisters, misfit raccoons, Rimbaud, and Rilke populate the pages. Beloveds are unnamed, and unrealized desires are grieved as actual losses. The poems are grounded in real cities, but also in a surrealist past or an impossible future, in cliché love stories made weird, in ordinary routines made divine, and in the cosmos itself, sitting on Saturn’s rings looking back at Earth. When things go wrong, Fernandes treats loss with a sacred irreverence: “Contradictions are a sign we are from god. We fall. We don’t always get to ask why.”

About the Author

Megan Fernandes is a writer living in NYC. She has been published in the New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares and Poetry, among many other journals. She is the author of Good Boys (Tin House Books, 2020), which was a finalist for the Kundiman Book Prize, the Saturnalia Book Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize. Her new book of poetry, I Do Everything I’m Told, is forthcoming this June from Tin House Books. Fernandes has received fellowships and scholarships from the Yaddo Foundation, the Sewanee Writers Conference and the Hawthornden Foundation, among others. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. Currently, she is an associate professor of English and the writer-in-residence at Lafayette College, where she teaches courses on poetry, creative nonfiction and critical theory.

About the Opening Acts

Waqia Abdul-Kareem is a Brooklyn-based multimedia artist and transdisciplinary scholar. They hold an MFA in performance and performance studies from Pratt Institute and are currently pursuing a PhD in American studies at New York University. Their research explores the historical and ecological entanglement between Blackness and the more-than-human in South Carolina's Lowcountry region. Merging their research interest with their performance practice, their artistic work employs archival data, theory, sound, video, performance and storytelling. They have performed and exhibited work at the Hirschhorn Museum, Abrons Art Center, Movement Research, Dixon Place, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Before pursuing their PhD, they were employed as an art facilitator and museum educator at MoMA and the New York Historical Society.

Torrey Peters is the author of the novel Detransition, Baby, published by One World, which won the 2021 PEN/Hemingway award for debut fiction. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Brooklyn Public Library Award and longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. A collection of four novellas titled Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones will be published by Random House as soon as she manages to finish that last stubborn novella. She rides a pink motorcycle and splits her time between Santa Marta, Colombia, and an off-grid cabin in Vermont.

Poet & literary scholar Evie Shockley thinks, creates and writes with her eye on a Black feminist horizon. Her books of poetry include suddenly we, semiautomatic and the new black. Her work has twice garnered the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and appeared internationally. Her honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, and the Stephen Henderson Award. Her joys include participating in poetry communities such as Cave Canem and collaborating with like-minded artists working in various media. Shockley is the Zora Neale Hurston Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University.

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.