Conversation: Will Alexander, Roberto Harrison, Evan Kennedy, & mimi tempestt

A Weekend with City Lights Publishers: Join us for two readings and a conversation featuring City Lights authors Will AlexanderRoberto HarrisonEvan Kennedy, and mimi tempestt, with events hosted and moderated by Garrett Caples. Presented as part of our Visions in Publishing / Small Press Appreciation series with support from the NEA.

In person at Woodland Pattern and livestreaming via Crowdcast


A conversation with Will AlexanderRoberto HarrisonEvan Kennedy, and mimi tempestt about histories of small press publishing and bookstores as sites of community gathering, among other topics. 

Will Alexander has published over two dozen books in a variety of genres and has earned many honors and awards including a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry, a California Arts Council Fellowship, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, and the 2016 Jackson Poetry Prize. He has also exhibited his artwork in group and solo shows. His work is known for its visionary, oracular surrealism and the influence of Negritude. Among his publications are Divine Blue Light (for John Coltrane) (City Lights, 2022), Refractive Africa (New Directions, 2021/Granta, 2022), which was a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, The Combustion Cycle (Roof, 2021), Across the Vapor Gulf (New Directions, 2017), and The Sri Lankan Loxodrome (New Directions, 2009). His book Compression & Purity (2011) was volume five in the City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series. He is currently the poet-in-residence at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California. He has lived his entire life in Los Angeles.

Roberto Harrison's poetry books include Isthmus to Abya Yala (City Lights, 2024), Tropical Lung: exi(s)t(s) (Omnidawn, 2021), Tropical Lung: Mitologia Panameña (Nion Editions, 2020), Yaviza (Atelos, 2017), Bridge of the World (Litmus Press, 2017), culebra (Green Lantern Press, 2016), bicycle (Noemi Press, 2015), Counter Daemons (Litmus Press, 2006), Os (subpress, 2006), as well as many chapbooks. With Andrew Levy, Harrison edited the poetry journal Crayon from 1997 to 2008. He was also the editor of Bronze Skull Press which published over 20 chapbooks, including the work of many Midwestern poets. Most recently, Harrison served as a co-editor for the Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance anthology. He was the Milwaukee Poet Laureate from 2017–2019 and is also a visual artist. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife, the poet Brenda Cárdenas.

Evan Kennedy is a poet and bicyclist. He is the author of Metamorphoses (City Lights, 2023), I Am, Am I, to Trust the Joy That Joy Is No More or Less There Now Than Before (Roof Books), Jerusalem Notebook (O’clock Press), The Sissies (Futurepoem), Terra Firmament (Krupskaya), Shoo-Ins to Ruin (Gold Wake Press), and Us Them Poems (Book*hug). He runs the occasional press, Dirty Swan Projects, and was born in Beacon, New York, in 1983. He lives in San Francisco, California.

mimi tempestt (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and daughter of California. She has an MA in Literature from Mills College and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Creative/Critical PhD in Literature at UC–Santa Cruz. Her first book, the monumental misrememberings, was published with Co-Conspirator Press/The Feminist Center for Creative Work in 2020, and the delicacy of embracing spirals was published by City Lights in 2023. In 2021, she was selected for participation in the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices & Writers, and was a Creative Fellow at The Ruby in San Francisco. Her works can be found in FoglifterInterim Poetics, and at the Studio Museum in Harlem. A native of Los Angeles, she currently resides in Berkeley, CA.

Garrett Caples is a poet, journalist, and poetry editor at City Lights Books. He curates the City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series. He is the author of numerous books of poetry which include ComplicationsPower BalladsRetrievalsLovers of TodayThe Garrett Caples Reader, amongst others. Together with Andrew Joron and Nancy Peters he edited The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia.