Mary Dezember: Still Howling Launch Party
A Pop-Up Event Presented by Strangers Collective
54 1/2 East San Francisco St. | Saturday, December 17, 7:00 pm
Reading begins at 7:15 pm
Allen Ginsberg begins his 1956 poem Howl with the iconic line: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness . . .” Sixty years later, Mary Dezember presents an urgent addendum to Ginsberg’s message. Strangers Collective is pleased to host the Santa Fe launch of Dezember’s book of poetry, Still Howling. At the holiday pop-up event on Saturday, December 17, the Albuquerque poet will read from her new collection—and carry the revolutionary howl into the 21st century.
“I see the best souls of my sex thrive despite the madness…” begins Dezember’s poem Still Howling. In Howl, Ginsberg questions the forces that destroy curious, brilliant minds in a culture that fails to recognize a pervasive holiness. Dezember’s work identifies this invisible influence as a socio-political hegemony that continues to sexualize, suppress and dominate women. Still Howling and Endnote to Still Howling, which mirror the titles of Ginsberg’s poem and its famous footnote, applaud the beat poet’s gift to liberated creatives: “the right to howl.”
Wielding language that is both piercing and uplifting, Dezember explores the importance of creative expression, and of finding a voice in hurtful or oppressive situations. Still Howling is a rallying cry to question hegemony, and to embrace the realization that life persists through the alchemy of forgiveness. The book features cover art by the poet’s nephew, Steve Dezember II, who used his wheelchair to create stunning abstract imagery. Among the poems in the collection are tributes to courageous, life-embracing innovators such as Steve and his wife Hope, Rosalind Franklin and Georgia O’Keeffe.
“Still Howling is the drumbeat we’ve been waiting for in unsettling political times,” says Strangers Collective cofounder Jordan Eddy. “Mary’s work will inspire you to forge onwards in the long march towards positive social change.” Dezember will read selections from Still Howling at the pop-up launch party hosted by the emerging arts collective. Signed copies of the book will be available for $9.
Still Howling and Endnote to Still Howling are the First Place Winner of the Best Poem Contest 2016, sponsored by Beatlick Press. They were originally published by the journal Cacti Fur. Dezember believes in freedom of expression, inclusivity, pluralism, and creating awareness that catalyzes healing. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Indiana University and is Professor of English at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where she teaches creative writing, art history and literature. Her first book of poetry, Earth-Marked Like You, was published by Sunstone Press. Read more about this event in Pasatiempo.