IN PERSON - Robin Davidson, Michał Choiński, and Oksana Lutsyshyna

Thursday, September 8, 2022 - 6:30pm
Brazos Bookstore--
2421 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Brazos Bookstore will be hosting Robin Davidson, Michał Choiński , and Oksana Lutsyshyna in person on Thursday, September 8th at 6:30 pm.

Face Masks are required to attend the event.

Mrs. Schmetterling - Robin Davidson

Robin Davidson’s Mrs. Schmetterling, a sequence of poems paired with and inspired by the stunning artwork of Sarah Fisher, brings us into the deeply personal yet universally relatable inner world of a woman questioning herself and her life with intelligence and fearlessness. Mrs. Schmetterling is the continuation of a project Davidson began as a translator of the Polish poet Ewa Lipska, picking up the intimate conversations found in Lipska’s Dear Ms. Schubert, giving voice to a new protagonist. Mrs. Schmetterling joins the ranks of such classic literary figures as the talkative Mrs. Biswas of Reetika Vazirani’s White Elephants and Virginia Woolf’s forever anxious Mrs. Dalloway. She may well be a cousin to Zbigniew Herbert’s Mr. Cogito. Mrs. Schmetterling captures the spirit of a unique female voice in lines chiseled and shimmering. Schmetterling, the German word for butterfly, signifies the Dadaist notion of beauty as accident, and was also the name given to an experimental German antiaircraft missile developed at the end of WWII. The added historical context behind this book draws the reader fully into the rich psyche Davidson has created, and puts a new spin on the idea of both illusion and the word made flesh.

Dear Ms. Schubert - Robin Davidson

Ewa Lipska is one of Europe’s most compelling and important poets, but relatively little of her recent work has been translated into English. A Polish-English bilingual edition, Dear Ms. Schubert, is the first complete collection of her remarkable poetic postcards addressed to “Ms. Schubert,” a mysterious contemporary European everywoman. Written by a certain Mr. Schmetterling (“Mr. Butterfly”), these brief, intimate poems are by turns philosophical, political, and playfully erotic. Combining subversive wit and surrealist imagery, they slowly reveal the contours of a shared secret life played out against a turbulent historical backdrop—a relationship that strikes a precarious balance between deep cultural skepticism and authentic love. Featuring the original Polish text and the English translation on facing pages, Dear Ms. Schubert is a highly original and appealing book from a poet who richly deserves a wide English-language readership.

Gifts Without Wrapping - Michał Choiński

In his debut pamphlet, Michał Choiński explores human physicality in various religious, social and somatic contexts. The bodies featured in the ten poems that constitute Gifts Without Wrapping become objects of poetic reflection conducted with an authentic, searching voice, marked by restlessness and determination. In this selection of poems, as Choiński’s invasive “unwrapping” of the carnal progresses, his Polish background becomes an important factor of his poetic meditations, adding to their multiversity.

Gifts Without Wrapping is a winner of White Label Deux competition organized by the Hedgehog Press.

Persephone Blues - Oksana Lutsyshyna

Persephone Blues offers a selection of poems by one of the leading Ukrainian writers of her generation, Oksana Lutsyshyna. In the poems collected here “experience is a means of entombment.” Gender is no longer a measure of strength; neither is youth. Sometimes the dead can see each other again; love goes through its motions, while we remain in the animal kingdom. Inviting and potent, these poems suggest Ovid's transformations continue unfolding around us with unexpected rapidity. Vitaly Chernetsky writes, “[Lutsyshyna] demonstrates a readiness to deconstruct the stereotypes of femininity and motherhood while confronting the traumatic experiences resulting from the crisis of contemporary masculinity (both Ukrainian and Western).”

Houston Poet Laureate (2015–2017), Robin Davidson is author of the poetry collections Luminous Other, recipient of Ashland Poetry Press’s 2012 Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, Kneeling in the Dojo, City that Ripens on the Tree of the World, and most recently, Mrs. Schmetterling (Arrowsmith Press, 2021), and editor of Houston’s Favorite Poems, a citywide anthology modeled on Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project. A Fulbright scholar at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland and recipient of an NEA fellowship in translation, she is co-translator with Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska of two volumes of Ewa Lipska’s poems from the Polish, The New Century and Dear Ms. Schubert (Princeton University Press, 2021). She is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, she teaches literature and creative writing as professor emerita of English for the University of Houston Downtown, and she serves on the national steering committee of Writers for Democratic Action. 

Michał Choiński teaches literature at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. He has written two books on the history of American literature: Rhetoric of the Revival (V&R, 2016) and Southern Hyperboles (Louisiana State University Press, 2020). His pamphlet, Gifts Without Wrapping came out with the Hedgehog Press in 2019, as a winter of a poetry competition. Choiński's poems have been published in the US, UK and in Canada. In 2022, he’ll be a Fulbright Fellow at Yale University, writing his next book.

Oksana’s Lutsyshyna is a Lecturer in Ukrainian in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and her research interests address the issue of metropolitan modernity and Central and Eastern European identity in literature. Her doctoral dissertation is a study of the prose of Polish writer Bruno Schulz in light of Walter Benjamin’s modernity theories, and she is currently at work on a book on the discourse of film in the prose of Bruno Schulz and Ukrainian writer Valerian Pidmohylny. Her second academic book-length project focuses on gendered colonialism and decolonization in the works of contemporary Ukrainian writers. Author of four novels and four volumes of poetry, Lutsyshyna’s most recent novel Ivan and Phoebe (2019) won two of the most prestigious literary awards in Ukraine, in 2020 and 2021, respectively: the Lviv City of Literature UNESCO Prize and the Taras Shevchenko National Prize in fiction. Her novel is forthcoming in Nina Murray’s English translation from Deep Vellum Publishing in 2022. Her poetry collection, Persephone Blues, in English translation, was released in 2019 by Arrowsmith Press. She also translates Ukrainian authors into English in collaboration with Olena Jennings. 


Dear Ms. Schubert: Poems by Ewa Lipska (Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation #143) By Ewa Lipska, Robin Davidson (Translator), Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska (Translator) Cover Image
By Ewa Lipska, Robin Davidson (Translator), Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska (Translator)
ISBN: 9780691207483
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Princeton University Press - January 5th, 2021

Mrs. Schmetterling By Robin Davidson, Sarah Fisher (Artist) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781737615644
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Arrowsmith Press - December 5th, 2021

Gifts Without Wrapping By Michal Choiński Cover Image
ISBN: 9781916090866
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Hedgehog Poetry Press - November 18th, 2019

Persephone Blues By Oksana Lutsyshyna Cover Image
ISBN: 9781737615682
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Arrowsmith Press - December 7th, 2019