I think the picture we have been running of Nikki Giovanni is the most charming photo we Nikki Giovannihave ever had of one our speakers. But believe me, the woman does not suffer fools gladly.

Listen in to this appearance when some one from the audience asks her opinion of Quentin Tarrentino’s Django Unbound. And that is just the start of it.

We can hope for similar fireworks at the Kessler Theater on December 8. Of course she will also be reading from her latest book of poetry, which she will be signing after the show. Tickets are available on Prekindle.

Now settle back for the fireworks on Django, The Butler, Precious, and Mississippi Burning.


If you look at the picture to the right and think, “Hey, that’s Octavio Solis!” you may be

Octavio Solis, circa 1990

Octavio Solis, circa 1990

showing youour age.

I think the website I found that image on was from 1995, and even by then  Octavio had left Dallas for San Francisco several years in the past, lured there by the prospect of working with the Magic Theater.

Here in Dallas, in the late 1980’s, Octavio produced several plays in local clubs and for Teatro Dallas. A native of El Paso, he was a graduate of the theater program at Trinity University in San Antonio. His stay in Dallas was in fact fairly brief, but he had a definite impact on the local theater scene. And after his relocation to San Francisco in 1990, he continued to return for the occasional production at Undermain Theater and The Dallas Theater Center, as well as visits to theaters in San Antonio and Austin.

On May 24, Kitchen Dog Theater opens Se Llama Cristina, Solis’ newest play, previously produced only this past January at the Magic Theater in San Francisco.  WordSpace is delighted to present an evening with the playwright on April 17 at the McKinney Avenue Octavio nowContemporary.

The evening will provide old fans and a new audience with a chance to get to know one of the finest playwrights in the the country. The evening begins at 7:30, with tickets at $15 or $10 for WordSpace or MAC members. You can preorder tickets here


or take your chances at the door.


WordSpace Welcomes Robert Jackson Bennett to Dallas — He writes very strange books

This 27-year-old novelist from Austin has won three awards for his first two novels. Mr. RobertJacksonBennettShivers won the Shirley Jackson Award, a relatively new honor now given annually to the best work of literary horror. Bennett’s tale of a serial killer working his way through the hobo camps of Depression era America has been referred to as “John Steinbeck meets Stephen King.” That description may either intrigue or repel you, but let me assure you that Bennett’s creepy little novel delivered the horror-goods in a realistic setting of the 1930’s American Southwest.

His second novel was The Company Man, an alternate history tale where a single scientific discovery made in the early twentieth century has created a world we can partially recognize and for the course of the novel never feel safe in. The Company Man won a special citation from both The Philip K. Dick Award and the Edgar Awards.

So wait a minute. Mr. Bennett, at the age of 27, has won awards from organizations that honor horror, science fiction, and mystery. So just what does he write?

In a recent long profile in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Amy Gentry wondered that as well and had this to say, “… I have read all of his books. They are inventive, strangely passionate tales populated with loners on the wrong side of the American dream who are trying to understand their place in the universe. Also, there are monsters, aliens, detectives, and gods.”

On March 13, Bennett will be in Dallas reading from his new novel, American Elsewhere, at  american elsewhere the Barnes and Noble in Lincoln Park on Northwest Hwy. What is American Elsewhere about. Well, it’s like Amy Gentry says. Only I would add that it takes place in Wink, New Mexico, where the moon is pink, the lawns are perfect, and the smart people stay home after dark.

More information about the event is on the WordSpace website.

You can read Amy Gentry’s full profile of Andrew Jackson Bennett at the Los Angeles Review of Books.


On February 28, WordSpace presents Dagoberto Gilb at the Bishop Arts Theater. And we are all excited about this. But when I mention it to friends I get a lot of —

“Who is that?” or “I’ve heard that name. Isn’t he a writer or something?”

Well, of course he’s a writer. We are WordSpace and we present writers. And Gilb is

Dagoberto Gilb

Dagoberto Gilb

a writer we are not only excited but honored to present. Name recognition is a funny thing, especially among writers who are not currently appearing on talk shows and have nothing going for them but the overall excellence of their work, the respect of the literary community, and a long list of awards. Gilb, by the way, has all those things.

He has even been in the news some recently. In Arizona he was among the authors removed from public school libraries when it was decided that “ethnic” literary studies were divisive. Here’s one of the many articles on the response that particular piece of idiocy set off. He also maintains that rarities of rarities, a Facebook page worth following.

An evening with Dagoberto Gilb will be entertaining, invigorating, and memorable. We even have an opening act: The Felix Flores Band. Celia Alvarez Munoz, a Dallas-based and internationally exhibited artist, will host the evening.

For full details and tickets, visit the WordSpace website.


On Friday, January 25, WordSpace presents three poets with Dallas roots and national russell swensenreputations — Rauan Klassnik, Farid Matuk, and Russell Swensen. Read about these poets on the events page of the WordSpace website.

The reading begins at 8 PM at the Oak Cliff location of Lucky Dog Books, 633 West Davis Street. If you have just begun to explore Oak Cliff and know only the Bishop Arts District, this gives you a chance to drive a few blocks west for another version of the burgeoning Oak Cliff experience.

Lucky Dog Books is the new — or by now, the newish — incarnation of Paperbacks Plus. luckydogThey have been a long time supporter of WordSpace while at their now closed Lakewood location. Spend some time shopping their selection of used books in their new digs before the reading.

While enjoying the same parking space you found for the bookstore, you can wander across Davis Street, looking both ways before crossing, for a snack or dinner at Bolsa Mercado, the casual offshoot — with food by the same chefs — from the restaurant a few blocks to the east. Bolsa Mercado serves  as both a market and an excellent “to go” option for local cliff dwellers. But they have snack, wine, and dinner options you can enjoy on the bolsa mercadospot .

Make it an Oak Cliff evening with food, wine, shopping, and poetry.