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April 29, 2022 @ 7:30 pm

In-Person | Poetry Month Closing Celebration with Peter Balakian, Jonathan Plutzik and Tom Virgin


April 29, 2022
7:30 pm


Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134 US
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Books & Books, Miami Book Fair and The Betsy Hotel present…

Poetry Month Closing Celebration with…

Poetry Reading from

Peter Balakian

No Sign

(University of Chicago Press, $20)

featuring introduction by

Jonathan Plutzik

and gallery celebration for

Tom Virgin

Friday, April 29, 7:30 PM ET


About the Book:

New poetry collection from Peter Balakian, author of Ozone Journal, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

In these poems, Peter Balakian wrestles with national and global cultural and political realities, including challenges for the human species amid planetary transmutation and the impact of mass violence on the self and culture. At the collection’s heart is “No Sign,” another in Balakian’s series of long-form poems, following “A-Train/Ziggurat/Elegy” and “Ozone Journal,” which appeared in his previous two collections. In this dialogical multi-sectioned poem, an estranged couple encounters each other, after years, on the cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades. The dialogue that ensues reveals the evolution of a kaleidoscopic memory spanning decades, reflecting on the geological history of Earth and the climate crisis, the film Hiroshima Mon Amour, the Vietnam War, a visionary encounter with the George Washington Bridge, and the enduring power of love..

Whether meditating on the sensuality of fruits and vegetables, the COVID-19 pandemic, the trauma and memory of the Armenian genocide, James Baldwin in France, or Arshile Gorky in New York City, Balakian’s layered, elliptical language, wired phrases, and shifting tempos engage both life’s harshness and beauty and define his inventive and distinctive style.


About the Exhibition:

When I received a seventh invitation to the Anderson Center at Tower View in Red Wing, Minnesota it was once again an opportunity to work with acknowledged master letterpress printers in Red Wing and the Twin Cities. The Midwest is a place that never lost the traditions of letterpress printing. I had a small dilemma, however. In all the previous residencies, I had filled the walls of my studio with new work upon my arrival. The time in school and printing for the gallery, had kept my production to a minimum. Mid-May I asked fourteen friends and collaborators (all writers) to give me 100 characters each to print on broadsheets. The resulting prose, poems, prayers, and koans are the Miami 100’s. When I put them up in my studio at the Anderson Center, they were a huge hit. Writers have been the river that has carried me through my life so far. I am grateful.

Tom Virgin
Proprietor, Extra Virgin Press & Bookworm

About the Author:

PETER BALAKIAN is the author of eight books of poems including Ozone Journal, which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and Ziggurat, both published by the University of Chicago Press. His memoir Black Dog of Fate won the PEN/Albrand Award and was a New York Times notable book, and The Burning Tigris won the Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times bestseller and New York Times notable book. He is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the Department ofEnglish at Colgate University.

About the Artist:

TOM VIRGIN is a Miami based artist making letterpress prints, artists books, and public art. Founder of Extra Virgin Press, Virgin’s first fine press edition, Conversation Too, was published in 2014, with the support of the Helen M. Salzberg Artist in Residence Fellowship at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Virgin moved to South Florida in 1974, completed a BFA in Painting and Printmaking at Florida Atlantic University, and earned a MFA in Printmaking at the University of Miami. From 1995-2020, Virgin taught in Miami-Dade Public Schools.

His work examines artist’s residencies, public schools, National Parks, his home states (Michigan, Florida), and relationships formed in collaborations through interdisciplinary projects. Virgin’s work includes work with both writers and artists: Including Miami 100’s, Midwest 100’s, The Home/s Portfolio, the SWEAT Broadsheet Collaboration, The Ground Beneath Our Feet, and the Heartland Portfolio (Red Wing, MN).

About The Betsy Hotel:

Independently owned and operated, The Betsy- South Beach is the only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond rated boutique hotel in Greater Miami. Located in the heart of the Art Deco District on Ocean Drive, The Betsy’s unique hospitality model champions the power of community through its dedicated arts, culture, and community program by weaving those brand pillars into the guest experience.

The former 61-key hotel completed a groundbreaking expansion, led by architect Allan T. Shulman and designers Diamante Perdersoli and Carmelina Santoro, merging with the (former) historic Carlton Hotel to become a single unified 130 key property in December 2016. The completed property includes the original Ocean Drive building now known as the “Colonial” wing and the fully renovated Collins Avenue building now known as the “Art Deco” wing.

Known widely as one of the world’s great literary arts hotels, a poetic line from Pulitzer Prize finalist Hyam Plutzik (The Betsy-South Beach owner’s father) describes the experience and serves as its tag line: Expect no more. This is happiness.