Full program video: James Cagney and Josiah Luis Alderete: February 6, 2020
Video highlight clips: James Cagney reads "I Feel a Scream Coming On," from Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory | James Cagney reads "Will Walk on a Missile for Food," an assignment given him by Tongo Eisen-Martin | Josiah Luis Alderete reads "Galería de la Raza Blues" | Josiah Luis Alderete reads "I Want to Be a Symbol for My Culture"
This event, the first in The Poetry Center reading series for 2020, is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and is free and open to the public.
Josiah Luis Alderete is a full-blooded Pocho Spanglish speaking poeta from La Area Bahia. He began to write poetry in the kitchen of his Mama’s Mexican restaurant and began performing his work in the Mission District of San Pancho at Cafe Babar back in the ’90’s. He was a founding member of San Francisco's outspoken word troupe The Molotov Mouths (whose collected writings were published by Manic D Press in 2003). Over the years Josiah Luis has been featured at numerous literary events in La Area Bahia. He is also a radio insurgente whose stories have appeared on KALW’s “Crosscurrents" and whose show “The Spanglish Power Hour” aired on KPFA. In 2017 he was named an AIR New Voice Scholar and was also featured at BAMPFA’s “Way Bay” exhibition. He curates and hosts the Latinx reading series SPEAKING AXOLOTL in Oakland which happens every third Thursday of the month at Oakland’s Peace and Justice Center. Josiah Luis Alderete’s book of poetry, Baby Axolotls y Old Pochos, is forthcoming from Black Freighter Press.
“I remember first hearing James Cagney read poems in a packed room in Oakland and being entirely shook by what this man can do with language. Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory makes good on that promise of strangeness, urgency, lyric prowess, and invention. Toggling between loss, therapy, the pastoral, illness, the humorously personable, and the darkly familial—at every turn this book surprises, aches, and delights. ‘what flower / cuts thru the bullshit / between people” —do yourself a favor and read it thrice.” —Sam Sax
James Cagney is a poet from Oakland, Ca. His poems have been appeared in Poetry Daily, the Maynard, Civil Liberties United, and Silver Pinion. His first book, Black Steel Magnolias In The Hour Of Chaos Theory, is the winner of the PEN Oakland 2019 Josephine Miles award. It is available now from NomadicPress.org. More of James’ writing can be found at TheDirtyRat.blog