ELAINE KAHN reads from her new book of poetry ROMANCE OR THE END in conversation with JUSTIN TORRES

Romance or the End (Soft Skull Press)

Romance or The End takes up the tools of romantic narrative in order to perform the rupture between self and story that occurs at the onset of trauma. Using known and pathologized literary arcs, Elaine Kahn unspools the fundamental instability of truth, love, and language to create an experiential portrait of narrative’s power to both disfigure and restore.

This is a book about love.
And it is a book about lies.
Love can be a lie, but it is also always true.
This is a book about truth.
This is a book about story.

There is no such thing as a true story and so there are no stories in this book.

Without a story, there is separation.
This is a book about separation.
Everything is a story. Even the truth.
There is nothing truer in this world than the lie of love.

Praise for Romance or the End:

“Elaine Kahn’s poems touch me somewhere deep. I don’t know how or why, but I’m willing to go wherever she wants to take me.” —Kim Gordon 

“Elaine Kahn shoots from the groin, championing a ferociousness that rages against asperity while playfully seducing the reader to misbehave. Hers is a realm where oceans beat against genitals, and Hannah Wilke warms the earth.” —Dodie Bellamy 

Elaine Kahn is the author of Women in Public (City Lights Publishers, 2015), as well as several chapbooks, including I Told You I Was Sick: A Romance (After Hours Ltd, 2017), A Voluptuous Dream During an Eclipse (Poor Claudia, 2012), and Customer (Ecstatic Peace Library, 2010)Her writing has appeared in Frieze, The Brooklyn Rail, jubilat,Poetry FoundationArt Papers, and elsewhere. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Pomona College and the Poetry Field School. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Justin Torres has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Justin's novel We the Animals has been translated into fifteen languages and was recently adapted into a film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library. The National Book Foundation named him one of the 2012's 5 under 35. He was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, a Rolón Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is an Assistant Professor of English at UCLA.


Event date: 
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Romance or the End: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781593765842
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press - February 4th, 2020

Women in Public (City Lights Spotlight #13) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780872866812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: City Lights Books - April 21st, 2015

We the Animals Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547844190
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 11th, 2012