Let's all read Sand Paper


Charmingly disheveled Adobe Books, strung as it is on the alcoholic's crucifix known as the cross-section of 16th and Valencia, has become a beloved sanctuary for readers, drunkards, and occasionally homeless individuals alike. I always look forward to Adobe Books' events because you can never predict who among the circus just outside will enter and join the fun. Not many bookstores on this dry earth permit customers to imbibe openly from brown bags of Colt 45 during poetry readings. Adobe Books' Dickensian squalor places it fondly in my heart even as its floorboards sink beneath the weight of dusty overladen bookshelves -- and when the smell of stale beer and, somehow, cats, forces me to breathe through my mouth while I peruse.

On Monday, March 1, Adobe Books will host the San Francisco launch party of three new books from Sand Paper Press. It'll be worth holding my nose to dive in.

Known for featuring and promoting the works of writers associated with Key West Florida, Sand Paper is not as provincial as it may seem. Key West is like Iowa City in that both localities are marked by a disproportionately high writers-to-population ratio. Elizabeth Bishop, Wallace Stevens, Tennessee Williams, and Earnest Hemingway have all served as pro tem Floridians. This upcoming Monday, books by Stuart Krimko, Shawn Vendor, and Arlo Haskell will be presented and read at Adobe.

Stuart Krimko, currently based in Los Angeles, is the author of The Sweetness of Herbert, a collection of poems loosely inspired by the works of Welsh poet George Herbert (1593-1633). Herbert was remembered for his fancifully monastic poems about the existence of God, and his influence is most evident in lines by Krimko like "(As God in the form of a nauseous wave cast Jonah out.)/ That's what aggressive living is about." Readers should note that the collection's title is intentionally misleading; Herbert's allusion is tangentially related to a work that is richly imbued with Krimko's own personality.

Key West poet Arlo Haskell's collection Joker is lovely. John Ashbery once commented that Haskell's poems "conjure an ambiance as temperate and welcoming as ocean air." Ashbery was correct in the sense that Haskell's poems have a flowing and pellucid quality to them, best seen in phrases like "Imagination is our hard respite/ and the birds in the trees are one of a kind: loneliness./ Our law, like love and lust, is liquid". However, Haskell's work is not always temperate nor welcoming; they are frequently political and incisive. Despite Haskell's aptitude for a pretty turn of phrase, he is not afraid to stir the water. Nor is he apprehensive in revealing what lies beneath.

Along with Haskell and Krimko, young writer Shawn Vandor will also be at Adobe, reading from his collection of stories Fire at the End of the Rainbow.

Sand Paper Press launch party
Mon/1, 7pm, free
Adobe Books
3166 16th Street, SF.

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