VIDEO In Common Writers Series: John Yau and Claudia La Rocco, reading and in conversation

Saturday, October 17 - 6:00 pm PS to 7:00 pm PST
Remote access event
John Yau + Claudia La Rocco






For the last program in The Poetry Center's In Common Writers Series for 2020, we are delighted to host renowned poet and art critic John Yau, appearing from New York City. Saturday October 17, Yau joins with Claudia La Rocco, poet/performer and editor of Open Space at SFMOMA, reading and in conversation, with emcee Brandon Brown. Two days prior, Yau reads with Andrew Joron.

This remote-access event starts promptly at 6:00 pm Pacific Time, and is free and open to the public. Real-Time Captioning provided here. For other reasonable accommodations please contact

The In Common Writers Series is supported by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Co-sponsored by The Poetry Center, Open Space, and Pro Arts Gallery & Commons, Oakland. Please consider making a donation to Pro Arts Gallery & Commons, "a shared space for the expanded field of art, debate, experimentation, and collaboration.... As an alternative art space, we have always operated on the margins of the official art world. In early 2019, we opened up our space radically and became the first art & culture commons in Oakland, CA." This event was formerly slated to be in that space in downtown Oakland, and we'd like to help generate support for their crucial cultural work.

  • What is striking to me about [Jiha] Moon’s work is that it does not quite fit into the New York art world’s current concerns with racial and ethnic identity because, as far as I can tell, this art world has never addressed issues of Asian cultural dislocation, nor acknowledged Asian artists living in America, especially if they are working in traditional modes, such as drawing, painting, and, in Moon’s case, ceramics.... That Moon’s work does not fit into the current scene — who else is making masks and vessels while referring to Asian popular culture and Pop art? — marks how clearly she has defined a domain that is solely hers. The fact that Moon has not shown regularly in New York is a travesty that reveals how aesthetics and racism are still bonded in this town. —John Yau, "What the New York Art World Is Missing"

John Yau is a poet, fiction writer, critic, editor, curator, and publisher of Black Square Editions, a small independent press that has published books and broadsides of poetry, fiction, criticism, and translation, as well as prints. He has contributed to essays in many catalogs and museum publications, as well as written for Art in America, Artforum, Art News, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Art Press. His work is included in many anthologies of poetry, fiction, and criticism, and has been translated into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese. After serving as the Arts Editor for the Brooklyn Rail (2007–2011), Yau left and helped start the online journal Hyperallergic, where he frequently posts his reviews.

Yau is author of over 40 books, recently Bijoux in the Dark (poetry, Letter Machine Editions, 2018), The Wild Children of William Blake (essays, Autonomedia, 2017), Foreign Sounds or Sounds Foreign (essays, Madhat Press, 2020), and artist monographs on works by Philip Taafe (Lund Humphries, 2018) and Suzan Frecon (David Zwirner Books, 2020). He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Academy of American Poets, New York Foundation of the Arts, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the General Electric Foundation. Yau was named a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2002. He is a Professor of Critical Studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University) and lives in New York. More at

Claudia La Rocco’s work explores hybridity and improvisation, moving between poetry, prose, and performance. She is the author of the selected writings The Best Most Useless Dress (Badlands Unlimited), the pamphlet Quartet (Ugly Duckling Presse), the chapbook I am trying to do the assignment ([2nd Floor Projects]), and the novel petit cadeau (published in print, digital, and live editions by The Chocolate Factory theater). With musician/composer Phillip Greenlief she is animals & giraffes, an experiment in multidisciplinary improvisation that has released the albums July (Edgetone Records) and Landlocked Beach (with Wobbly; Creative Sources). She edited I Don’t Poem: An Anthology of Painters (Off the Park Press) and Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets, the catalogue for Danspace Projectʼs PLATFORM 2015, for which she was guest artist curator. She has been a columnist for Artforum, a cultural critic for WNYC New York Public Radio, and from 2005-2015 was a critic and reporter for The New York Times; her writings have been widely anthologized, including in Imagined Theatres: Writing for a theoretical stage (Daniel Sack, ed; Routledge) and On Value (Ralph Lemon, ed; Triple Canopy). La Rocco has received grants and residencies from such organizations as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation, and Headlands Center for the Arts. She is Editorial Director of Open Space, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s live and online commissioning platform, and teaches writing at the University of the Arts’ Dance MFA program.


Event contact: 
The Poetry Center
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Event sponsor: 
The Poetry Center and Pro Arts Gallery & Commons