The Operating System

JOIN US to CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH of JP HOWARD’s DEBUT COLLECTION, SAY/MIRROR!

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Since the Spring of 2014, nearly a year now, JP Howard and I have been working together to ready her debut collection of poems, SAY/MIRROR, for publication. It’s been a wonderful experience of collaboration and growth for us both, and we could not be more thrilled than to invite you to celebrate the fruits of this labor at one (or many!) of JP’s upcoming events.

SAY / MIRROR is a dialogue of history and memory, reflecting on and integrating vintage photographs of JP Howard’s mother, Ruth King (a fairly well known African American runway model in Harlem during the 1940’s and 1950’s) with snapshots from the poet’s own childhood. This manuscript began to emerge when Howard gained access to a large collection of her mother’s modeling photos, as well as some local Harlem magazine and newspaper clippings, and was thereby offered a window into her heyday, begging comparison to and recollection of a complex motherhood away from the spotlight. Here is a project that seeks to use poetry as both memoir and biography, alongside the evocative nostalgia of vintage image – a map from which Howard has pieced together the bright but uneven path of growing up in the shadow of a “model” mother.

The atlas of SAY/MIRROR charts the islands of the poet and her mother’s overlapping lives – unearthing the shared experiences of a single parent and only child, coming to terms with each other in the 1970’s and 80’s: a socio-historical-emotional retelling of the life of a diva through a daughter’s eyes, with both parent and child learning to navigate the rocky terrain therein.

 Jewelle Gomez, double Lambda Award winning author of THE GILDA STORIES and ORAL TRADITION has called the collection “a raw reminder of the experience of motherhood and daughterhood [whose] sharp memories of love and neglect; elegance, admiration and inadequacy leave a salty/sweet taste not soon forgotten.” 

It is appropriate, perhaps, that we “officially” launch the printing of this collection at the wonderful Salon JP runs and, in her words, “nurtures,” Women Writers in Bloom, on Saturday February 28 beginning at 1pm. There will be a reading from JP, some words from me, and a workshop around history and memory — in keeping with SAY/MIRROR’s powerful themes. The salon is open to the public, but is at a private address in Crown Heights, Brooklyn – if you are interested in joining us please RSVP to womenwritersbloom@gmail.com for more information!

Also appropriate is a return “home” of sorts, to the popular CCNY MFA reading series in March where JP Howard will be joined by Steve Danziger, the playwright behind Moons of Jupiter/Tales from the Schminke Tub, which was released from The Operating System in December 2014. Howard and Danziger (both alumni of the program) will share the headline spot for this special evening, and read from their recent publications, joined by special guest readers as well as myself (Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, The Operating System’s Managing Editor) in conversation about creative solutions and collaborations in publishing. [Time and location TBD]

A full calendar of events follows! We’ll update the information as we learn more. Can’t wait to celebrate with you!

BROOKLYN MUSEUM : #BLACKPOETSSPEAKOUT
Part of the First Saturdays “Black History Month : Living Legacy” Day-long Event**
Saturday, February 7 @ 8PM 

JP Howard will be reading with the #blackpoetsspeakout collective, led by Mahogany L. Browne, Jonterri Gadson, and Amanda Johnston, presents a poetry reading and community forum inspired by the #BlackLivesMatters movement.

SMACK MELLON : RESPOND::BROOKLYN POETS RALLY
Sunday, February 8 @ 3:30PM

Brooklyn Poets Rally curated by Jason Koo & Brooklyn Poets, a community event responding to police brutality & racial injustice, in solidarity with #BlackPoetsSpeakOut & #BlackLivesMatter. Howard’s 10-year old son Nicholas will join the poet, and both will read at this local event.

 

*OFFICIAL* LAUNCH EVENTS:


WOMEN WRITERS IN BLOOM SALON :: JP HOWARD presents SAY/MIRROR, HISTORY and MEMORY
Saturday, February 28 @ 1PM

Join JP Howard and The Operating System for a reading and workshop to launch and celebrate Howard’s debut collection, SAY/MIRROR, at the WWB Salon she runs and nurtures, at a private address in Brooklyn. RSVP for more information to womenwritersbloom@gmail.com

CCNY MFA READING SERIES :: THE OPERATING SYSTEM IN CONVERSATION

Saturday, March 28 @ 7pm

JP Howard joins Steve Danziger, playwright and author of Moons of Jupiter/Tales of the Schminke Tub (The Operating System, 2014), as well as Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, TOS Managing Editor, and special guests for an evening of reading and conversation. [time and location TBD, follow the reading series’ Facebook page for updates]  Both books can be purchased online here.

BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE : INNOVATE WOMEN WRITERS / CREATING COMMUNITY 
Wednesday, March 25 @ 5:15PM

BMCC hosts this Women’s History Month event with poets JP Howard, Krystal Languell and Ellen Meeropol (in the Richard Harris Terrace)

COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD : ANNUAL CREATIVE WRITING FORUM
Thursday, April 2 @ 12:45PM

JP Howard will facilitate a workshop with other Cave Canem women poets at this annual event open to both students and the public

LOFT LITERARY CENTER (MINNEAPOLIS, MN) : CAVE CANEM AWP OFFSITE EVENT
Wednesday, April 8 @ 7PM

AWP READING (MINNEAPOLIS, MN) : “DIGITAL POETS AND NATURE”
Friday, April 10 @ 9AM

alongside poets Carol Dorf, Athena Kildegaard, Randall Horton & Ellen Smith for this onsite AWP event

GOVERNORS ISLAND, NYC : ANNUAL NYC POETRY FESTIVAL
July 25-26 

joining readers representing The Operating System’s 2015 catalog at this year’s annual festival

WORD for WORD at BRYANT PARK : CAVE CANEM FELLOWS READING
August 4 @7PM

alongside poets Brian Gilmore and Angel Nafis at this well loved reading series

HOBART BOOK VILLAGE (Hobart, NY) : 3rd ANNUAL FESTIVAL of  WOMEN WRITERS
September 11 – 13

Howard has been selected as a featured writer and workshop facilitator for this annual festival in the Catskills

In other recent news, JP will also be facilitating a 5 week poetry workshop around the work of black queer poets at Brooklyn Community Pride Center, which recently received funding for a queer artists initiative. We’ll update you with more information. If you can even imagine this, even *more* events are in the works, celebrating this wonderful poet and her wonderful new book! We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

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