Book Events: Karen Finley, Poets At Twain House

Special to The Courant
The West End Poetry Series: Poetry In The Parlor continues Feb. 20 in Hartford

Karen Finley, a writer and performance artist whose work at first shocked and then attracted a wide audience, will appear on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m., at the Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford. The event will be presented with Real Art Ways.

Finley's 1990 debut book, "Shock Treatment," which attacked homophobia and misogyny during the AIDS era, is now out in a 25th anniversary expanded edition (City Lights Publishers, $15.95). She is now a professor at the Tisch School of Art and Public Policy at NYU, and is a visual and performance artist, an author and a playwright. Her books include "A Different Kind of Intimacy," "George & Martha" and "The Reality Shows."

Tickets are $20: 860-247-0998 or

Poetry & Music

The Twain House & Museum will present a program of poetry and music on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m., featuring the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Charity Clark. The orchestra is now in its eighth year.

"Voices of Connecticut Poets: Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Hamilton" combines some of their poetry with contemporary chamber orchestra music by Thomas Albert ("Thirteen Ways") and the premiere of a commissioned work by Jessica Rudman. The program includes adult themes and language.

Tickets are $20 for adults; $15 for seniors, Mark Twain House & Museum Members & Let's Go Members; and $10 for students: 860- 247-0998 or

Authors At R.J. Julia

Local authors and a books luncheon are among the events at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison. All require reservations: 203-245-3959 or

The bookstore will host a free Local & Independent Author Night: Fiction, with talks by five authors on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.. The authors are: J.A. Friedland, whose novel, "American Steam" (CreateSpace, $12.99) takes place at a university and shows how consumer capitalism is undermining social institutions; Martin Herman, whose novel, "The Jefferson Files" (First Edition Design Publishing, $14.95), involves a secret society and a murder during Thomas Jefferson's presidency and the modern-day existence of the society; Timothy Niedermann, whose novel, "Wall of Dust" (Deux Voiliers, $19.95), is set amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Linda Morrison Spear, whose thriller, "The Iceman Checks Out" (Green Ivy, $15.99) is about the murder of the hated CEO of a chemical industry company; and G. William Weatherly, whose novel, "Sheppard of the Argonne" (Mascot Books, $24.95), follows the military career of Capt. Sheppard McCloud, an injured American naval hero who is asked to lead a vital mission.

A Books on the Menu talk and lunch with general manager Lori Fazio and head book buyer Andrew Brennan is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17, at noon. Books to be discussed are "appetizers" (little-known but worthy), "main course" (literary masterpieces) and "desserts" (light and fun reads). Lunch choices of four sandwiches include chips, a cookie and bottled water from the RJ Café. Tickets are $15.

Author Helen Maryles Shankman will talk about her linked story collection, "In the Land of Armadillos" (Scribner, $25), on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. Set in Poland during World War II, the stories combine Jewish folklore and facts about the Nazi invasion, including a Nazi who tries to rescue the creator of his son's favorite picture book, a Jewish girl hidden by an anti-Semite who has a talking dog and a Messiah who appears to a little boy to tell him he is quitting.

A free Voices in the Bookstore program will offer readings by Madison area writers on Friday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m.

'City On A Grid'

Gerard Koeppel, author of "City on a Grid: How New York Became New York" (Da Capo Press, $29.99), will give a free talk presented by Writing At Wesleyan on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 4:30 p.m., at Usdan University Center 108, 45 Wyllys Ave., Middletown.

Koeppel's book tells how New York's city streets came to form a rectilinear grid and affected the growing United States. He is also the author of "Bond of Union: Building the Erie Canal and the American Empire" and "Water for Gotham: A History." He is a former writer, editor and producer for CBS News and was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of New York City.

Information: 860-685-3448.

Work And Play

The Ives Main Library of the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., New Haven, will hold its 10th annual Evening of Readings: Essays on Work & Play on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m.

Essayist Anne Fadiman, Francis Writer-in-Residence since 2005 at Yale University, who is now working on a memoir, will read, along with her students, Brett Davidson, Emma Goldberg and Adam Mahler. Fadiman is the author of "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" and two essay collections, "Ex Libris" and "At Large and At Small."

Information: 203-946-8130.

Art And Activism

Contributors to "When We Fight, We Win! Twenty-First Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World" (New Press, $17.95), will give a free talk Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m., at the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., Hartford.

Discussing the intersection of art and activism will be authors Jorge Diaz and Deymirie Hernandez of the AgitArte Collective, Bishop John Selders of Hartford Black Lives Matter and the Connecticut Moral Mondays Campaign, members of Unidad Latina en Accion, an immigration rights group from New Haven. There also will be a spoken word/guitar performance by Papel Machete.

Information: 203-215-9614 or 860-695-6300.

'Wayward Soul'

Connecticut author Glenn Maynard will appear Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Book Club Bookstore & More, 100 Main St., in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor.

His latest novel, "Wayward Soul" (Black Rose Writing, $17.95), is a sequel to his paranormal romance, "Desert Son" and is about a couple reunited beyond the grave who seek answers from a psychic who is dying.

Information: 860-623-5100

What Is Love?

Glastonbury Poet Laureate Alexandrina Sergio will perform original work and the Sergio-Mayo Duo will play jazz and American Songbook standards, all exploring facets of "this thing called love," on Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Riverfront Community Center, 30 Welles St., Glastonbury. The Sergio-Mayo Duo includes David Sergio on piano and Walter Mayo on bass.

Information: 860-652-7638.

Poetry In The Parlor

The "West End Poetry Series: Poetry In The Parlor" will present a free program by UConn professor V. Penelope Pelizzion and former Connecticut Poet Laureate Dick Allen on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. in a historic West End home at 150 Oxford St., Hartford. Guests are asked to bring a drink or dish to share.

Information: 860-965-8800 or

Wintonbury Branch Poetry

On Thursday Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at McMahon Wintonbury Library, 1015 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield, the Wintonbury Branch Poetry Series will present a free program by poet, rapper and painter Donald Vincent, who teaches at Emerson College in Boston. An open mike will follow.

Information: 860-242-0041 or

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