Thursday, December 25, 2008

Matthew Rotando on Penn Sound

Matthew Rotando, author of this awesome book published by Upset, is archived in the Penn Sound poetry archive. Here he is reading on May 31, 2008 for the Segue Series at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Tim Peterson, author of the intro and fabulous poet himself, is the coordinator of this series.

Click here to listen to Matt's lovely reading: Matthew Rotando

Matthew Rotando reading at Cornelia Street Cafe

Friday, October 17, 2008

One of our Favorite Poets: Mercedes Roffe Reading this Thursday!

McNally Jackson Bookstore


Thursday, October 23 2008, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

at McNALLY JACKSON Bookstore

52 Prince St.
(b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012

E. TRACY GRINNELL is the author of Some Clear Souvenir (O Books 2006) and Music or Forgetting (O Books 2001), as well as the limited edition chapbooks Quadriga, a collaboration with Paul Foster Johnson (gong chapbooks, 2006), Of the Frame (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2004), and Harmonics (Melodeon Poetry Systems, 2000). The chapbooks Leukadia (Trafficker Press), Humoresque (Dusie Press), and Helen (Belladonna) are all forthcoming this fall. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she teaches writing and edits Litmus Press and Aufgabe, an annual journal of poetry and translations.

Argentine poet MERCEDES ROFFÉ is the author of several poetry collections –the most recent of them, Las linternas flotantes (The Floating Lanterns), forthcoming in Buenos Aires in 2009. Among other distinctions, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry (2001).
In 1998 she founded Ediciones Pen Press, a New York based small press devoted to the publication of contemporary poetry. Her work has been translated into French (Définitions mayas et autres poèmes, Montréal, 2004), Italian (L’algebra oscura, S. Marco in Lamis, 2004), and Romanian (Teoria culorilor, Bucharest, 2006). In English translation, she has published the chapbook Theory of Colors (Belladonna, 2005), and the book-length collection, Like the Rains Come. Selected Poems (Shearsman Books, 2008). MARGARET CARSON will be reading her recent translations from Roffé’s Ghost Opera (2006).

MATVEI YANKELEVICH is a founding editor of Ugly Duckling Presse, where he designs books, co-edits 6x6, and edits thPe Eastern European Poets Series.

Matvei edited and translated Today I Wrote Nothing:The selected writings of daniil kharms (Overlook, 2007). He is a co-translator of Oberiu: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern, 2006). His translation of Vladimir Mayakovsky's poem "A Cloud in Pants" is included in Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008).

He is the author of a long poem, The Present Work (Palm Press, 2006). His writing has appeared in various small and tiny literary journals and on-line publications. From 1999-2001 he co-edited The Emergency Gazette of theater matters, with Yelena Gluzman. His essays on Russian-American poets appear in Octopus Magazine (on-line). Matvei teaches Russian Literature at Hunter College in NYC.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Born Palestinian, Born Black

(Suheir Hammad at PEN American Center)

UpSet Press is proud to be re-releasing Suheir Hammad's first book of poetry: Born Black, Born Palestinian in Spring 2009. UpSet Press and Suheir Hammad's relationship has a long long history. It began with Zohra tugging at her skirt while she was on a platform rallying a student protest when both were in college. Suheir was part of SLAM at Hunter College. The friendship has continued through the years, through letters, through emails, and through teaching her work. UpSet Press wants to share her latest project: Salt of the Sea, a film by Annemarie Jacir.

(L-R: Danny Glover, Annemarie Jacir, Saleh Bakri, and Suheir Hammad)


A woman confronts the realities of life in the occupied Palestinian territories in this drama. While she was born and raised in New York, Soraya (Suheir Hammad) is of Palestinian heritage and has long dreamed of returning to the land of her ancestors. When Soraya learns that her grandfather bequeathed her a bit more than $15,000 he left in a bank account in Ramallah, she decides it's time to make a pilgrimage, especially since the inheritance can pay for a long stay in the country. However, Soraya arrives in Israel to find that immigration personnel and border guards are not helpful to tourists of Palestinian blood, and it takes no small amount of determination before she arrives in Ramallah. There, Soraya meets Emad (Saleh Bakri), a handsome Palestinian student who has a scholarship waiting for him at a university in Canada, but Israeli immigration authorities refuse to grant him a visa. Soraya and Emad bond over their frustrations at the injustice they see around them, and when she learns that the money in her grandfather's account (and all other Palestinian accounts at the bank) was forfeited after the establishment of the nation of Israel, they decide to take action. Soraya, Emad and his friend Marwan (Riyad Ideis) plan to stage a bank robbery, in which they'll take only the amount deposited by her grandfather as a protest against the discriminatory policies that have become a part of daily life under occupation. Milh Hadha Al-Bahr (aka Salt Of This Sea) was the first feature film from writer and director Annemarie Jacir. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?

Moustafa Bayoumi read from his new book: How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in American (Penguin 2008) at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts sponsored by ArteEast
Yasmin Dwedar joined the reading to share her story. Zohra Saed moderated the panel. Livia Alexander, Executive Director of ArteEast and Michelle Levy, Program Director of EFA Project Space coordinated the event.

The book has received fantastic reviews and its only been out a month! UpSet Press encourages you to read this book and share it with your friends. It is one of the most sensitively written books about the Arab American experience in Brooklyn. We love it so much, we teach it in our classrooms! And our students loved it enough to come out and show their support.

Here are some photos from the event:

Moustafa Bayoumi reading at the beautiful EFA Gallery

Zohra, Moustafa and Yasmin

Yasmin says "Its creepy how exact his description of my high school experience was in the book. It was as if he was sitting on my shoulder witnessing everything I went through at the time."

Post reading schmoozing:
Yasmin speaks to students from Hunter College who came out to support.

Moustafa and the line of admirers.

Notice the Constitutional Law book on the chair! Yasmin is in her first year of Law School, continuing to sharpen the skills she developed in High School fighting for her rights in New York's Public School system.

Livia Alexander, Executive Director/Co-Founder of ArteEast and friends. (Livia is in blue)

Here is a photo of some of the members who make up the stories in Moustafa Bayoumi's book.

(Photos by Zohra Saed)

Moustafa Bayoumi at the Park Slope branch of Barnes & Noble (August 20th Book Release Reading)

Friday, September 5, 2008

August Class Trip: Chanika Svetvilas at Brooklyn Public Library

In August, Zohra took her Asian Americans in the U.S. class to visit Chanika Svetvilas' Journeys exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library (Grand Army Plaza) on August 20th.

Chanika Svetvilas shares the interactive portions of her exhibit with the students.

Tara Bhattacharya-Moore takes notes in front of the suitcase that said My Side and then flipped to be Your Side

In the pockets of the suitcases Chanika had taken apart to sew onto the walls were notes that held visitors wishes and aspirations. Nia Taylor reads one wish out loud:

Hazem and Gigi listen to Chanika explain this piece The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

Exxon origami flowers...

Jean Singh poses with the Exxon flowers.

Class Photo: We are all in a suitcase, get it?

Thank you Chanika!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

August UpSet Press Poetry Group Meeting

Denise Galang and Sean Ohanlon hosted the August 2008 Poetry Group Meeting at their beautiful home in Brooklyn. After a lovely Vegetarian BBQ, the group settled in for some indepth reading and critique of each other's work. We are lucky at UpSet to have this family atmosphere to nourish our poetry manuscripts. This group has been meeting for the past three years.

Poets: Jenny Husk, Sean O'Hanlon and Denise Galang

Poet: Nicholas Powers, author of Theater of War (UpSet Press 2006)

Poet: Robert Booras, Founding Editor of UpSet Press

Poet: Denise Galang checks up a word in the dictionary

Poets: Nicholas Powers and Jenny Husk look over a prose-poem

Bringing Who We Love into the Classroom!

Zohra Saed, editor at Up-Set Press, has been introducing her students to some lovely people.

Viamoana Niumeitolu of Mahina Movement visited her Asian American Literature and Postcolonial Literature courses at Hunter College in July 2008:

Moana wakes up the 10am class

Student Amani was so moved by Moana's talk and performance that she said she wished her friends in Kuwait could see Moana's performance

Moana talks about what makes her work postcolonial in the next class

Thank you Moana!

This visit was after the students had seen her one woman show: Tongue In Paint
(which was absolutely riveting)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Second Life Premier of She's Got an Atomic Bomb directed by Cihan Kaan

(In this photo: She's Got an Atomic Bomb plays on the left side of this photo while Second Life members lounge in blue cushions enjoying the film. Photo courtesy of Cihan Kaan)

This ain't your momma's film screening!

The Blue Angel Poet's Dive located in Second Life, a virtual online community hosted the Premier of She's Got an Atomic Bomb (2005) directed by Cihan Kaan (aka Neon Clift) on August 27, 2008. Kaan is the author of a collection of short stories soon to be published by Up-Set Press. The film was released in 2007 as part of a DVD compilation exclusively available at Hot Topic stores: Twisted TV vol. 1 happily now its available on amazon.

Filmed in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn SGAB had a long underground run before being distributed on DVD. SL is the latest arena for the director to experiment with borderless and virtual film screening.


A punk rock female enigma, infamous among members of the city for ruining their sewer system, attempts to build an A-Bomb with help from local Russian mafia and assorted decorated characters. Can she avoid the hi-jinx of two marauding Punks intent on stealing her secret? And even if they do will she inflict her personal justice upon the neighborhood?

SL audience members said:
The 1950's "aura" of it, the rock and roll, the explosion (or threat thereof), the "film noir" aspect, the femme fatale, the sassy takes-no-crap attitude... all very American touchstones made the film fun!

It's an interesting film culture which has made as much history by parodying itself as it has by actually being the thing it parodies.

Here is a link to a review of the film in The Indypendent:
"Drunk on Punk: She's Got an Atomic Bomb directed by Cihan Kaan"

Keep an eye out for this powerhouse writer/filmmaker!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Julie Agoos: Property

On Top of our Reading List:

Poet Julie Agoos (the inspiration for the poets who founded Up-Set Press) released her third collection of poetry Property (Ausable Press 2008):

Working within the frame of her native New England, Julie Agoos positions herself in her new book, Property, less as a first-person lyric speaker than as an acute listener to the layered history of small and large violences which ignite repeatedly in American life. Structured as a progression of poems which invoke the "genres" of oral history, gossip, legal transcript, and diary writing, Property arrives, in the long poem "Deposition," at the story of a particular, explosive, and horrific local crime.

Property's subject is historical and political: as she experiments from her unique lyric perspective with multiple ways of "telling"and explores through dramatic superimposition how the past inscribes and disturbs the present, Agoos interrogates our homegrown social and racial divides, and focuses emphatically on the ethics of living in a real and present world of ubiquitous war. Her images of natural beauty join a plain style derived from the rhythms of vernacular speech to challenge the complacenciesand consequences of her own American identity and belonging.

Born in Boston in 1956, Julie Agoos is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Above the Land (Yale University Press, 1987) and Calendar Year (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1996). She taught for eight years as a lecturer in the creative writing program at Princeton University, and, since 1994, in the English department and MFA program in poetry at Brooklyn College/CUNY, where she is an associate professor. She lives in Nyack, New York.
Julie Agoos at the Academy of American Poet's book reading (April 23, 2008). Up-Set Press loves her glowing beautiful face!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Book Release Party: Matthew Rotando

June 29, 2008

Up-Set Press released Matthew Rotando's poetry collection The Comeback's Exoskeleton. Book release party was held at New York City's famous Cornelia Street Cafe in the midst of a thunderstorm and the Pride March. In the midst of rain dances and rainbow festivities Matt Rotando read his surreal poetry to a full house. Stay tuned for an indepth interview with the poet. Until then enjoy some of the photos from the event:

Matt discusses the intricacies of his poetry with a word-enthusiast.

Matt cannot be boxed in (even if Zohra boxed him into a mirror for this shot).

The audience at the historic Cornelia Street Cafe.

Publisher Robert Booras and poet Matt pose for a shot outside the historic Cornelia Street Cafe.

After the reading, Matt's nephew uses his amazing abilities to peer directly into his uncle's brain. "Where does all this creativity come from?"

Up-Set Press family: artist Chanika Svetvilas (our Artist in Residence 2003) and writer Cihan Kaan (author of our upcoming release My Etnik Dreamworld)

You can purchase the book from or order it directly for a 15% discount from the press.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Origin Myth

(Photo Zohra Saed)

We were conceived on the dusty shelves of libraries. Hungry to make words after reading so many of them, we stole the typewriter to become poets and broke free from the shelves.

Stay tuned... the upset inkwell is seeping into the blog-o-universe.