What follows are a few brief descriptions of writers who will be gracing us with their presence at one of this winter's finest literary events in San Francisco: the Fourteen Hills Release Party for Issue 17.1. It’s on Thursday, December 16, at Coffee Bar in the Mission. (You can RSVP right now on Facebook.) We will be profiling all of our special guest readers, and when you come to the party, you'll be able to pick up a copy and read their work for yourself.
Jason Bayani is someone to hear and see. When performance and writing mix, the terms "spoken word" and "slam poetry" often get thrown around, and names like Jason Bayani appear floating on the roster. Bayani is a Filipino from our side of town -- a San Francisco State University graduate. He later received his MFA at St. Mary's College in Moraga. His accolades include published pieces of poetry in the 2005 National Poetry Slam Anthology, membership to seven National Poetry Slam teams, an appointment as the 2010 IWPS representative for Oakland, and the 100th episode winner of Literary Death Match.
He is also among a group of three Asian American poets known as Proletariat Bronze who have risen from the Bay Area and gained national recognition. As much as poetry is part of their method and medium, they also see public enrichment as an intrinsic facet of their lot as poets in society. They are self-described "working-class romantics."
Maxine Chernoff is a name that does not wait on a shelf. At Fourteen Hills, we know her as the director of the Creative Writing Program at San Francisco State University, but we also know her as an expansive writer whose merits have allowed her to travel the world over. She has produced a long list of novels, short stories, and poems over the course of two decades.
These include her novel, American Heaven and a book of short stories, Some of Her Friends That Year, which were both finalists for the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. In fact, you can see a long list of the awards she has received here. Along with her husband, poet Paul Hoover, she is the editor for a long-standing literary journal, New American Writing.
Her writing and work is often in conversation with other writers and places, using it to investigate and grow through the exploration of engaging material. In a recent interview she stated, "We are living in perilous times, and I hope that my writing is exploring and addressing some of these perils."
Stephen Elliott has been there and done that. He's lived to tell. He's known for sex, drugs, and metaphors.
You might also know him from The Rumpus (he's the editor) or you might know him for his books which include his acclaimed memoir, The Adderall Diaries and novel, Happy Baby. Much of his thematic content revolves around the process and shape his own life has taken. He unabashedly coats his life under a thick fictive varnish. In his essay, Why I Write, he describes the way he entered into writing, "My fiction was just reality-PLUS, a slightly more intense version of the world I lived in."
Elliott was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and he is now a member of the San Francisco Writer's Grotto. His work has been published in Esquire, the New York Times, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and 2007, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing 2006.
Stay tuned for more details on our other featured readers (and more reasons to come out and celebrate with us on December 16 at Coffee Bar).
-Erica Eller, staff member, Fourteen Hills