A READING SERIES presented by after hours



introduction by LIZ BOWEN

Saturday, August 3rd 2019, 7:00 PM

A Sand Book is a poetry collection in nine parts, a travel guide that migrates from wildfires to hurricanes, tweety bird to the president, lust to aridity, desertification to prophecy, and mother to daughter. It explores the negative space of what is happening to language and to consciousness in our strange and desperate times. From Hurricane Sandy to the murder of Sandra Bland to the massacre at Sandy Hook, from the sand in the gizzards of birds to the desertified mountains of Haiti, from Attar’s “Conference of the Birds” to Chaucer’s “Parliament of Fowls” to Twitter, A Sand Book is about change and quantification, the relationship between catastrophe and cultural transmission. It moves among houses of worship and grocery stores, flitters between geological upheaval and the weird weather of the Internet. In her long-awaited follow-up to Mercury, Reines has written her most ambitious work to date, but also her most visceral and satisfying.

ARIANA REINES is the author of Mercury (2011), The Cow (2006), and Coeur de Lion (2007). Her play Telephone was produced at the Cherry Lane Theater and won several Obie awards. Reines was the 2009 Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California Berkeley; she has taught master classes at Pomona College, the University of California Davis, and the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in New York, NY.

LIZ BOWEN is a poet and critic living in New York. She is the author of the poetry collection Sugarblood (Metatron 2017) and the chapbook Compassion Fountain (Hyacinth Girl Press 2019). She is also a Ph.D. candidate in English and comparative literature at Columbia University, where she is working on a dissertation that explores disability and animality as intertwined sites of literary experimentation in 20th and 21st century American literature. Liz is a poetry editor for Peach Mag and assistant editor of Synapsis: A Health Humanities Journal. Her writing can be found in The New InquiryAmerican Poetry ReviewLit HubBoston ReviewTAGVVERKCosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. 



Amy Hempel by Vicky Topaz.jpeg


introduction by Marie-Helene Bertino

Saturday, May 4, 7:00 PM, 335 MAIN STREET, CATSKILL, NY 

“Amy Hempel is the writer who makes me feel most affiliated with other humans; we are all living this way—hiding, alone, obsessed—and that’s ok.” —MIRANDA JULY

BANK HOLIDAY is a new reading series out of Catskill, New York. For its May 4th launch, Bills Bar will be hosting the legendary Amy Hempel in celebration of SING TO IT, a ravishing, sometimes heartbreaking new story collection—her first in over a decade.

Amy Hempel is a master of the short story. A multiple award winner, Hempel is highly regarded among writers, reviewers, and readers of contemporary fiction. This new collection, her first since her Collected Stories published more than a decade ago, is a literary event.

These fifteen exquisitely honed stories reveal Hempel at her most compassionate and spirited, as she introduces characters, lonely and adrift, searching for connection. In “A Full-Service Shelter,” a volunteer at a dog shelter tirelessly, devotedly cares for dogs on a list to be euthanized. In “Greed,” a spurned wife examines her husband’s affair with a glamorous, older married woman. And in “Cloudland,” the longest story in the collection, a woman reckons with the choice she made as a teenager to give up her newborn infant. Quietly dazzling, these stories are replete with moments of revelation and transcendence and with Hempel’s singular, startling, inimitable sentences.

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novel 2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS and the story collection SAFE AS HOUSES, and was the 2017 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Fellow in Cork, Ireland. Her work has received The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, and The Iowa Short Fiction Award, and has been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts. She teaches at NYU, The New School, and Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, and lives in Brooklyn, where she was the Associate Editor for One Story and Catapult. Her third book, PARAKEET, is forthcoming from FSG in Spring 2020. For more information, please visit: www.mariehelenebertino.com.


All photos (c) Carrie Schneider 2019