An evening with Ishmael Reed


Time is a pendulum.


 Not a river.


 More akin to what goes around comes around.


                                                                                                     –Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo


Ishmael Reed has asked Theo Konrad Auer to organize a poetry reading with him, and also to make it good.

Auer has carefully thought about it and decided to have a group reading rather than just Reed and himself. Auer aims toward addressing the culture and decontextualizing history. With that in mind, he has approached several leading lights from the fervent literary community, those being Ishmael Reed, Maw Shein Win, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Paul Corman- Roberts, and some of Ishmael’s students. Among them, there is a Guggenheim fellow, a couple of laureates, an American Book award winner and a guy who helped start the Art Murmur.

This group of people, younger writers, elders and those who are firmly mid-career, hope to serve as an informal survey of this place and time.

Pro Arts & COMMONS is honored to co-host the group of intellectuals with Kalahati Projects. The poetry reading is on Wednesday, June 12, 7- 9 PM. It’s free and open to public.



Maw Shein

Win’s poetry chapbook Score and Bone is on Nomadic Press (2016). A full-length collection Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. Maw is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito (2016 – 2018), and her forthcoming second full-length collection of poetry will be published by Omnidawn in Fall 2020. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the English Department at UC Berkeley.

Tongo Eisen-Martin

Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker, and educator. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. His book titled, “Someone’s Dead Already” was nominated for a California Book Award. His latest book “Heaven Is All Goodbyes” was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award.

Paul Corman-Roberts

Paul Corman-Roberts is the founder and co-producer of the Beast Crawl Literary Festival which returns to Oakland next year at an Oakland venue near you. He also works as a teacher with SF Creative Writing, the Older Writer’s Lab and full time in OUSD. His forthcoming full-length collection of poems from Nomadic Press is “Brokedown Satellite.

Tennessee Reed

Tennessee Reed is the author of seven poetry collections, most recently New and Collected Poems 1982-2011 (World Parade Books, 2011), a memoir, titled Spell Albuquerque, Memoirs of a “Difficult” Student (CounterPunch/AK Press, 2009) and a novel, titled Adventures Among the X-Challenged (Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, 2013). Her latest poetry collection-in-progress titled Calafia Burning Poems 2012-2019 is forthcoming in 2020. Tennessee began writing as a young child, and has presented readings of her work throughout the Continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, England, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Israel and Japan. She is also a photographer and videographer and is the chairperson of PEN Oakland and the managing editor of Konch Magazine.

Ishmael Reed

Ishmael Reed is author of more than thirty books to date, including his eleventh novel, Conjugating Hindi,( Dalkey Archive Press, 2018); his eleventh non-fiction work, The Complete Muhammad Ali (Baraka Books, July, 2015); and New and Collected Poems, 1964-2007 (Carroll & Graf, 2007). His most recent poetry collection, Feeding My Dragons, is forthcoming from Dalkey Archive Press. New York’s Nuyorican Poets Café will premiere his newest play, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda May 23, 2019 and produced his eighth play, Life Among the Aryans, in June, 2018. A new essay collection, Why No Confederate States in Mexico, is forthcoming from Baraka Books in May 2019. In addition Reed has edited numerous magazines and fourteen anthologies, of which the most recent is Black Hollywood Unchained (Third World Press, 2015). He is also a publisher, songwriter, public media commentator, lecturer, teacher and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation and PEN Oakland, non-profit organizations run by writers for writers. After teaching at the University of California, Berkeley for over thirty years, he retired in 2005.  Now a Distinguished Professor at California College of the Art, he is teaching a Spring 2019 creative writing class at UC Berkeley. He is a MacArthur Fellow, with other honors including the University of Buffalo’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize nominations, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, and San Francisco LitQuake’s 2011 Barbary Coast Award. Awarded the 2008 Blues Songwriter of the Year from the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame, his collaborations with jazz musicians for the past forty years were also recognized by SFJazz Center with his appointment, from 2012-2016, as San Francisco’s first Jazz Poet Laureate and in Venice, Italy, where he became the first Alberto Dubito International awardee in May, 2016, honored as “a special artistic individual who has distinguished himself through the most innovative creativity in the musical and linguistic languages.”  Reed’s most recent honors include the 2018 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Award, and the 2017 AUDELCO Pioneer Award for the Theater. His online international literary magazine, Konch, can be found at  His author website is located at