By Evan Karp
From the academies to the street readings, literary series come in all varieties here. No matter what you're looking for, you'll find the following to be consistently impressive.
Best Experimental Poetry
In its 40th year, the nonprofit Small Press Traffic (smallpresstraffic.org) presents some of the best experimental writers and writing thinkers from around the country. Its events are often mind-bending demonstrations of the relationship between language and identity.
Best Chance to Meet a Legend
UC Berkeley's Holloway Series (holloway.english.berkeley.edu) presents roughly half a dozen events per season, pairing grad student poets with featured poets from around the world. The events are often a sort of debut for the students, and a chance for the pros to astonish.
Best Interdisciplinary Events
The SF State Poetry Center (sfsu.edu/~poetry) holds events everywhere from the Meridian Gallery to the Center for New Music; one thing they have in common is the unlike-anything-you're-likely-to-see-elsewhere factor. Generally, that means old-school artists doing cutting-edge work.
Writers With Drinks (writerswithdrinks.com) blends every imaginable genre with current events, self-commentary, and fictitious biographical introductions for an outrageous cocktail of an evening that blends the line between literature and its presentation.
Two well-paired authors, at least one of whom is usually celebrating a book release, talking about anything they please — that's Litquake's Epicenter (litquake.org). There's usually no reading element; topics include craft and process, but personal tangents are common and often revelatory. The series is also podcasted from Litquake's website.
Tags: Arts & Entertainment