Room 220 is pleased to present a Happy Hour Salon with poets Andy Young and Sara Slaughter from 6 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). The event will celebrate new publications by both poets, and they will be reading from these works.
Andy Young‘s debut poetry collection, All Night It Is Morning, cuts across geography, politics, language, and culture. Raised in Appalachia, rooted in New Orleans, and now part of an Egyptian-American family with whom she spent the last two years in Cairo, her poetry presents an outward-looking American perspective that reflects a life with one foot each in Western and Arab cultures. Using the aubade, the traditional form of lovers parting at dawn, to anchor the book, Young employs a wide variety of forms to poetically navigate post-Katrina destruction, the tumult of the Arab Spring, and myriad points—personal and political—in between and beyond. The book’s cover, a graffiti mural by Alaa Awad (now destroyed) that led the way to Tahrir Square, is a work both ancient and modern, urban and agrarian, beautiful and horrible. This captures the spirit of the book, steeped in mourning and hope and a belief in the voice of the people.
Young grew up in West Virginia but has spent most of her adult life in New Orleans working at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. With her partner, Khaled Hegazzi, she translates poetry from the Arabic and founded Meena, a bilingual literary journal based in New Orleans and Alexandria, Egypt. She recently spent several years working at the American University in Cairo and documented the revolution in essays, poems and photographs. Her writing has been published in three chapbooks—including The People Is Singluar, published by Press Street—publications in Lebanon, Egypt, Ireland, and Mexico, and throughout the United States in places such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, Callaloo, Guernica, and the Norton anthology Language for a New Century.
Sara Slaughter’s debut chapbook, Upriver, published by Press Street, is a sequence of prose poems that tell the strange story of a “smell man,” Roosevelt, who has returned to New Orleans to serve as a seafood quality control agent after a disastrous oil spill. Slaughter’s meditations on continuity and change within our environment are accompanied by woodcuts by Layla Ardalan, a New Orleans-based artist whose works showcase the region’s flora and fauna in stark, simple portrayals.
Slaughter lives in New Orleans where she teaches Creative Writing at Lusher Charter School. Her work has recently appeared in New World Writing, The Cortland Review, and PANK.
Read a 2011 interview with Young by Room 220 editor Nathan C. Martin, and stay tuned for a new interview in which Young and Slaughter interview each other.
As always, this Happy Hour Salon is free and open to the public. Complimentary libations will be on hand, though we strongly suggest donations.