First Sentence of the Day: K.C. Mead-Brewer

“I’m alone in my apartment but I have the TV on so it sounds like a bunch of people are in here talking.”

— K. C. Mead-Brewer, The Joke (matchbook, January 2018)

Poetry Thursday: Last Thursday Before Self Leaves Manila

Self bought a poetry collection at the London Review Bookshop, the day before she flew to Manila for fond reunion with beloved Dearest Mum, Dearest Bro, Assorted Cousins. She loves poetry. Big effects come in small (but explosive) doses!

John Clegg recommended it.

Excerpt from “Self-Portrait as a Garage Emcee” (from the collection Kumakanda)

by Kayo Chingonyi


117 Retford Road, Harold Hill, Essex.
I can’t sleep because there are no sirens,
no neighbour’s screams lulling me
to lurid dreams of Natasha Laurent.
There is no panoramic view for solace
but in the right light this window
shows, not this white-flight-satellite-town,
but south London from seventeen floors up:

the River Wandle a coiled snake
swallowed by the Thames,
friends crossing the road
to the park in my absence,
the alley between flats where Sacha blasts
a tattered ball into the goal-net simulacrum,
a wall against which his brother Stacy stands,
hands shrouded in Goalie Gloves.

It is our first night in this grieving house.

About Kayo Chingonyi: He was born in Zambia in 1987, and moved to the UK at the age of six. He is the author of two pamphlets, and a fellow of the Complete Works programme for diversity and quality in British Poetry. In 2012, he was awarded a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and was Associate Poet at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 2015.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


This event is sponsored by the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford. It is free and open to the public.

The Clayman Institute’s Winter Artist’s Salon features novelist and Stanford professor Chang-rae Lee. Lee will talk about the women characters in several of his books, giving a short reading, followed by a discussion with the audience on a range of questions.

He will focus on June, the female protagonist in The Surrendered, and Fan, the female protagonist in On Such a Full Sea.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018
4:15 to 5:45 p.m.
Levinthal Hall
Stanford Humanities Center

RSVP to:


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