Writing the Past to Right the Future: The Poets of Alice James Books, with Shara McCallum and Tamiko Beyer

"These poems examine the joy of struggle and the interconnectedness of all things, dissolving the borders between nature and humanity and past and present. To those who have been in the fight a long time, who are tired, who want to rest, and who want to win, these are vital, nourishing, life-giving words."
—Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Director of Caring Across Generations on Tamiko Beyer

“McCallum’s collection, through a strong commitment to craft and narrative, grapples with race, violence, colonialism and inheritance. No Ruined Stone is striking and unsettling in all of the ways I love my art.”
—Chet’la Sebree for The Lily

Shara McCallum and Tamiko Beyer, who publish their poems through Alice James Books, share their work which interrogates the past, rewrites it, and dares to imagine a better and more informed future. This reading will be followed by a moderated conversation where audience members can also ask their own questions.

Co-sponsored by Alice James Books

Founded as a feminist press, Alice James Books is committed to collaborating with literary artists of excellence who might otherwise go unheard by producing, promoting, and distributing their work which often engages the public on important social issues. Alice James provides a platform from which to elevate these voices and is dedicated to helping its writers achieve purposeful engagement with a broad audience and community. We help writers tell their stories and connect with readers. We envision this work making continued contributions that help build and grow a more understanding, equitable, and just community through literature.

Tamiko Beyer is the author of the new poetry collection Last Days, from Alice James Books. Her other books and chapbooks are We Come Elemental (Alice James Books), Dovetail (co-authored with Kimiko Hahn, Slapering Hol Press) and bough breaks (Meritage Press). Her poetry and articles have been published widely, including by Denver QuarterlyIdaho Review (forthcoming), DusieBlack Warrior ReviewGeorgia ReviewLit Hub, and the Rumpus. She has received awards, fellowships, and residencies from PEN America, Kundiman, Hedgebrook, VONA, and the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund, among others. She is a queer, mixed race (Japanese and white), cisgender woman and femme, living in on land traditionally cared for by the Massachusett people. A social justice communications writer and strategist, she spends her days writing truth to power.

From Jamaica, and born to a Jamaican father and Venezuelan mother, Shara McCallum is the author of six books published in the US & UK, including No Ruined Stone. La historia es un cuarto/History is a Room, an anthology of poems selected from across her six books and translated into Spanish by Adalber Salas Hernández, was published in 2021 by Mantis Editores in Mexico. In addition to Spanish, her poems have been translated into Italian, French, Romanian, Turkish, and Dutch and have been set to music by composers Marta Gentilucci and Gity Razaz. Awards for her work include the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (for her previous book, Madwoman), a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, the Oran Robert Perry Burke Award for Nonfiction, and the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize (for her first book, The Water Between Us). She is presently on the faculty of the Pacific Low-Residency MFA and is a Professor of English at Penn State University. McCallum was appointed the 2021-22 Penn State Laureate.