A Night of Poetry With Oliver Baez Bendorf & Jennifer Nelson

Event date: 
Friday, September 20, 2019 - 6:00pm

A Room of One's Own welcomes Oliver Baez Bendorf, author of Advantages of Being Evergreen, and Jennifer Nelson, author of Civilization Makes Me Lonely!

Advantages of Being Evergreen, winner of the Open Book Poetry Competition from Cleveland State University Poetry Center, is Oliver Baez Bendorf's second book. "Equal part prayer and potion and survival guide, Oliver Baez Bendorf's remarkable ADVANTAGES OF BEING EVERGREEN is an essential book for our time and for all time...Baez Bendorf is making a future grammar for the moment all of our vessels are free and held. I am living for the world these poems anticipate... This is a book of the earth's abiding wonder. And the body's unbreakable ability to bloom." —Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Oliver Baez Bendorf is author of two full-length collections of poetry, Advantages of Being Evergreen and The Spectral Wilderness, which was selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared widely including in American Poetry Review, BOMB, Poetry,and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Born and raised in Iowa, he holds an MFA in Poetry from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and currently teaches as an assistant professor of poetry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.


The poems in Civilization Makes Me Lonely present a plethora of resistances to normalization. The resistances are anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-misogynist; they include fantasies of subverting surveillance technology and big-data algorithms; and sometimes they rely on breakdowns of communication into sonic mimicry, as in a series of poems gibbered by the “Sleeper” agent. Grief about failed escape attempts yields not to optimism about any future, but rather to a reorganization of history as permanently open to multiple meanings. Nelson, an art historian, believes in “art’s power to reform bad archives.”


Jennifer Nelson is an assistant professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Disharmony of the Spheres: The Europe of Holbein's Ambassadors (Penn State, September 2019) and of two books of poetry: Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015) and Civilization Makes Me Lonely (Ahsahta Press, 2017). She thinks Oliver Baez Bendorf is the bee's knees.

Event address: 
315 W. Gorham St.
Madison, WI 53703-2218