When WordSpace presents Nikki Giovanni at the Kessler Theater on December 8, the



evening will begin with a solo set by Betty Soo, a rising star on the folk rock circuit from Austin who has already had several successful shows at the Kessler.

In 2004, at the age of 26, Betty Soo wrote her first song. She liked it. She liked singing it. She dropped out of graduate, quit her day job, wrote some more songs, and took to the road. Things have turned out well. She has had sold-out tours in both the U.S. and Europe, reaping such praise as this from the Americana magazine in the the U.K. —

BettySoo’s voice is the perfect combination of strength, vulnerability and clarity.

She has been named the Kerrville New Folk Winner, the Mountain Stage New Song Competition Winner, and won the Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year. The Houston Post referred her as “The Real Deal,” which also coincidentally is the name WordSpace has given to the evening with Nikki Giovanni.

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

Tickets for Nikki Giovanni, with Betty Soo and the winner of the Metroplex area poetry slam are available on Prekindle.

While deciding how many to buy, enjoy this video of Betty Soo in performance.



At WordSpace we proudly present each of our readers at the fifty or so events we sponsorNikki Giovanni each year. But on December 8, we both proudly present and are honored to present Nikki Giovanni at the Kessler Theater.

Nikki Giovanni is a poet of passion and intellect whose verse, for the past forty years, has embraced everything from the  raucous rhythms of hip hop to the formal elegance of the greatest of modern poets. Early in her career she was dubbed the “Princess of Black Poetry.” That has a certain fairy-tale ring to it, but more recently she has been acknowledged as both a National Treasure and appeared on the list of Oprah Winfrey”s Living Legends.

Her evening at the Kessler will be filled with her verse and we can only hope her unfettered opinions. (We never ask our speakers to hold back on any topic that interests



them.) There will also be music from BettySoo, a rising star on the Austin song circuit, and a special appearance by the winner of a local poetry slam  held specifically to offer one Dallas area poet the chance to appear on the same stage as Ms. Giovanni.

Tickets for Nikki Giovanni: The Real Deal are available on Prekindle.

During the next two weeks WordSpace will be posting frequent excepts from earlier perfomances, lectures, and interviews with Nikki Giovanni. Here is her response to the death of Tupac Shakur from a performance in 1997.




DallasNoir1-127x200On October 30, Half Price Books on Northwest Highway in Dallas hosted a book launch for Dallas Noir. This volume, from the remarkable literary press Akashic Books, puts Dallas into the esteemed company of New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Paris, Istanbul,  and over forty other metropolis’s whose native authors revel in showing their beloved hometowns at their absolute worst.

What fun.

WordSpace is proud to say that we have hosted in the past year two contributors to this volume and will bring you a reading by a third in January 2014. Ben Fountain did his first public reading from Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk at a WordSpace salon months before it won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Will Bondurant, whose second novel The Wettest County in the World became the film Lawless, also did a salon event. In January 2014, David Haynes will be reading from his soon to be released seventh novel.

These three join seventeen other Dallasites who offer up all the mayhem and low behavior you could hope for. Since it is all conveniently organized by neighborhood, you can quickly find out what your neighbors are getting up to. Your worst suspicions will be deliriously realized.  Dallas Noir is available wherever fine books are sold. Half Price Books sold out of their first shipment at the launch party, but more are on the way.

This respectable looking bunch have surprisingly lurid imaginations

This respectable looking bunch have surprisingly lurid imaginations