Lectures and Workshops

Book Birth: Even the Milky Way is Undocumented

Friday, September 25, 2020, 5:00–6:00 p.m. PDT

The Autry in Griffith Park

Admission: 
Free
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Reservations Required
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About the Event

Join us for a celebration of power of poetry, family, and translation as we launch Los Angeles-based writer, Amy Shimshon-Santo’s new book. Her timely poetry collection, Even the Milky Way is Undocumented, maps the universe of single motherhood and the journey to power, truth, and radical self-acceptance. Joined by guest artists Avila Santo, Reva Santo, Bruria Finkel, Kio Griffith, and Daion Chesney, Shimshon-Santo will read selections from her book while engaging in conversations with guest artists around expression, storytelling, and the power of language.
 
Even the Milky Way is Undocumented is a testament to the lost, the loved, the courageous. The collection includes the viral poems “no (no. 10)” which has been used by educators to teach personal consent to students, and “good fuck poem (a definition)” an erotic testament to affection and the body. The book spans 25 years of life told through 37 poems, each one carrying us a little bit closer to the heart of the artist. The collection is “a whole life lived,” writes Joshua Roark (Editor, Frontier Poetry). “These poems know deaths and betrayals, police killings and sexual assaults,” writes poet and translator Dan Bellm. Shimshon-Santo finds strength in ritual, music, and family. Author Gayle Brandeis writes that the book “reminds you to listen, to pay attention, to live.” Writing poetry is “my thermometer for authentic living,” said Shimshon-Santo, who is aware of what it means to be the first woman in one’s family to fill a page and be published. “Poetry helps me know myself, and seek freedom.”
 

About the Author
Dr. Amy Shimshon-Santo is a writer, educator, and urbanist who believes the arts and culture are powerful tools for personal and social transformation. Her interdisciplinary work connects the arts, education, and urban planning. 
 
Shimshon-Santo, who has been widely interviewed by outlets including BBC radio, speaks to a moment in history framed by crises in public health and public culture. “Poetry is designed for the subtle work of liberation,” the author said in an interview with Frontier Poetry. Placeholder Press in the United Kingdom describes her work as having “seemingly effortless mastery that can only come from meticulous and dedicated work" and calls her poems "companions for all of us, lost and afraid in a time of crisis.” Shimshon-Santo’s creative career began in dance, and sent her on a journey from Los Angeles to improvisation in New York; revolutionary community theater in Central America; co-directing a transnational performance ensemble rooted in Bahia-Brazil; molding arts education policy in California, and investing the next generation through mentorship. She balanced the responsibilities of public service and single parenthood with the internal introspection that writing provides.
 
Learn more at www.amyshimshon.com, IG @shimshona, Twitter @amyshimshon.
 
About the Publisher 
Unsolicited Press was founded in 2012 and is based in Portland, OR. The press strives to produce exceptional works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from award-winning authors. Learn more at www.unsolicitedpress.com.
 
EVEN THE MILKY WAY IS UNDOCUMENTED (978-1-950730-29-2) is available (paperback, ebook, and audio) directly from the publisher (www.unsolicitedpress.com) and all major retailers. Ingram Book Group distributes the title to the market. 
 
Guest Artists
Avila Santo is a percussionist, martial artist, educator, and multimedia artist based in Los Angeles, California. Born to Candomblé and Jewish parents, Avila’s work and identity is in conversation with diasporic peoples and cultures. Avila’s career has traversed across the globe from Barrow, Alaska to Dakar, Senegal. His three albums (The Adventures of Wallace Liberachi, omnipresence, and MAZE) focus on themes of modern griot, black empowerment, diasporic consciousness and reparations while critiquing economic oppression, racism and sexism, to name a few. He graduated from the Berklee College of Music with Dean’s List honors and an emphasis on Latin Percussion. Avila is the creator of the Soundscape Lab which was recognized by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs AIR grant, and is currently an artist in residency at ZEAL Studios in Inglewood, California. Avila will speak about the process of translation between languages, music, and imagery in his work “Sirens” in his album MAZE available in audio on all streaming platforms. www.avilasanto.com 
 
Reva Santo is a movement, sound, word and image-based multimedia artist. She graduated in Film Studies from Columbia University, where she was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts for her script “Ash(é)” and the Henry Evans Travel Fellowship to conduct arts-based research in the Caribbean. During her time there, she made the short film “Consejos de la Isla” or “Advice for the Island,” which was shown in a solo show at Studio 1.0.6. Gallery in Los Angeles and most recently at Who Owns Black Art: Questions of Cultural Ownership curated by Zeal Press and Superposition Gallery. In 2017, she was selected to direct a visual poem “Wishes for Mom” for the Visible Poetry Project. The piece went on to be featured on movingpoems.com, shown at City Reliquary in New York, and in 2018 it was an official selection for Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery’s Juried Exhibition. Her upcoming film “Trust Issues” was the recipient of the Panavision New Filmmaker Program Grant and is set to be released in 2021. Reva will show excerpts of new work using photography, narrative and spoken word, and speak about her creative practice as inquiry and tools for personal and collective healing. www.revasanto.com
 
Bruria Finkel is an artist and curator who creates work to maintain the human spirit and respond to the issues of the day. She works across media including pencil drawings, clay, porcelain, bronze, acrylic paintings, oil pastel, photography and video. www.bruriafinkel.com
 
Kio Griffith is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator, and arts writer working across themes of social issues, geopolitics and migrating cultures, through multimedia, craft and technology-based works including graphic design, 2D and 3D objects, time-based sound and video compositions, performance, computer programming, writings, installation, and publishing. He has exhibited internationally in the UK, Japan, Germany, Croatia, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Turkey, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and the U.S. Most notably are the 2016 Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, Japan, the 2017 Emerging Curator at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), and exhibiting artist at Tokyo Arts And Space, Open Site 2018. His current projects include co-founder at OOTE 41221 project space; co-founder of Transit Republic, an art and socio-anthropological publication; Genzou, an intercultural photographic journal; independent curator and contributing editor for Fabrik, Artscape and Art Bridge Institute. Griffith’s work is in private and museum collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. www.kiogriffith.com
 
Daion Chesney is a photographer who sometimes believes she is a wizard. She received her BFA in Film Production with a minor in photography from Loyola Marymount University. www.daionchesney.com