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Advantages of Being Evergreen - Oliver Baez Bendorf, Jennifer Nelson - <span class="date-display-single">09/20/2019 - 6:00pm</span>

Advantages of Being Evergreen

09/20/2019 - 6:00pm

Room of One's Own

The Wisconsin Book Festival and A Room on One's Own Bookstore present a joint reading by Oliver Baez Bendorf and Jennifer Nelson.

About Advantages of Being Evergreen: 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. With rigorous compassion and great formal dexterity Bendorf imagines a new world for all of our animal selves in which we are truly seen and truly safe. At the same time these are poems that never shy from the shocking violence and cruelty of this world. Over and over again people come together to make their individual and communal body whole, knowing all the while that so much of the world seeks to wreck even the simplest kinds of safety. Bendorf is making a future grammar for the moment all of our vessels are free and held. This is a book of the earth’s abiding wonder. And the body’s unbreakable ability to bloom. - Gabrielle Calvocoressi, author of Rocket Fantastic.

About Civilization Makes Me Lonely: The poems in Nelson’s 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.”

Oliver Baez Bendorf

About Presenter Oliver Baez Bendorf


Oliver Baez Bendorf’s debut full length collection, The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State U.) was selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize. His second book, Advantages of Being Evergreen, won CSU Poetry Center’s Open Book Poetry Competition and will be published September 10, 2019. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, BOMB, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere. He has been a featured reader at New Orleans Poetry Festival, The White House, Smith College, and Woodland Pattern. A recipient of honors and fellowships from CantoMundo, Lambda Literary, Vermont Studio Center, and University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Creative Writing, he is an assistant professor of creative writing at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.


Advantages of Being Evergreen

About Presenter Jennifer Nelson


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 and of two books of poetry: Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife  and Civilization Makes Me Lonely. She thinks Oliver Baez Bendorf is the bee's knees.


Civilization Makes Me Lonely

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