At Skylight: Sarah Ghazal Ali presents THEOPHANIES w/ T. Bambrick & Claire Schwartz

At Skylight: Sarah Ghazal Ali presents THEOPHANIES w/ T. Bambrick & Claire Schwartz

Join us for poetry that moves between the scriptures of the Qur'an and the Bible, exploring the complexities and spectacles of gender, faith, and family by unraveling the age-old idea that seeing is believing.

Navigating both scripture and culture, the poems in Theophanies work to spin miracles from the mundanities of desire and violence. Through art and music, Pakistani history, and scriptural stories, these poems struggle to envision a true self and speak back against time to the matriarchs of the larger Abrahamic faiths, the mothers at the heart of sacred history Stitched through these poems is longing--for mothers, angels, and signs from the divine. Theophanies asks: is seeing really believing, and is believing belonging? The speaker seeks to understand her own, bewildering "I," to use it with reverence, and to mythologize herself and all mothers to ensure their survival in a male-dominated world hard at work erasing them In the absence of matrilineal elders in her family, the speaker turns to the archetypal "mother of nations" for whom she is named, Sarah, and her sent-away "sister," Hajar. What does it mean to have a woman's body when that body has been hailed a vessel for the divine? Theophanies arises from the speaker's tenuous grip on her own faith while navigating the colonial legacy of Partition and inherited patriarchal expectations of womanhood.

Sarah Ghazal Ali is a poet, educator, and editor. She is the author of Theophanies (Alice James Books, 2024), selected as the Editors' Choice for the 2022 Alice James Award. A Stadler Fellow, Tin House resident, and recipient of The Sewanee Review poetry prize, her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor for West Branch and lives in the Bay Area, California. 

T Bambrick (she/they) is the author of Intimacies, Received (Copper Canyon Press, Sept 2022) and Vantage, which was selected by Sharon Olds for the 2019 American Poetry Review/Honickman first book award (APR 2019). Her chapbook, Reservoir, was selected by Ocean Vuong for the 2017 Yemassee Chapbook Prize. A graduate of the University of Arizona’s MFA program, she is the winner of an Academy of American Poets University Prize, an  Environmental Writing Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Arts Center, and the 2018 BOOTH Nonfiction Contest. Their essay, "Sturgeon," was named a notable essay of 2019. Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in The Nation, The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, PEN, Narrative, The Missouri Review, 32 Poems, West Branch, and elsewhere. She has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. A 2020 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she is a Dornsife Fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California.

Claire Schwartz is the author of the poetry collection Civil Service (Graywolf Press, 2022). Her writing has appeared in The Believer, Granta, The Nation, The New Yorker online, Poetry Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. With Kaveh Akbar and Sarah Kay, she wrote a column for the Paris Review called “Poetry RX.” The recipient of a 2022 Whiting Award for Poetry and a Pushcart Prize, Claire received her PhD in African American Studies, American Studies, and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Yale. She is the culture editor of Jewish Currents.

Event date: 
Friday, February 2, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Theophanies By Sarah Ghazal Ali Cover Image
ISBN: 9781949944587
Availability: Not in Stock. Available to Order.
Published: Alice James Books - January 16th, 2024

Intimacies, Received By Taneum Bambrick Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556596315
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - September 27th, 2022

Civil Service: Poems By Claire Schwartz Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450949
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - August 2nd, 2022