Hanif Abdurraqib + Brendan Constantine + Amy Gerstler

Unfolding Language: Hanif Abdurraqib + Brendan Constantine + Amy Gerstler

Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
7:30 pm
The Broad, Oculus Hall
Tickets $15 / $30


Contemporary authors present texts from Jasper Johns’ literary muses and read from their own work.

Hanif Abdurraqib reads from and responds to Frank O’Hara

  • “I chose Frank O'Hara for his immense ability to hold a moment in his poems and freeze it for an eternity. He is a poet of enormous range, but he is at his best when adding a bluntness to memory. The ways he toys with our ideas of nostalgia and place and the specifics of those things draw me in.”

Brendan Constantine reads from and responds to Herman Melville

  • "I think digression has become one of the great principals in American art, the means by which we braid concepts and mediums and thus make our way by almost losing it. For me, Melville and Dickinson are the essential provocateurs of this practice. Indeed Melville was my first permission-giver, allowing me to take huge risks in narrative. 'Time does not pass: Words pass.'" —Jasper Johns

Amy Gerstler reads from and responds to Ted Berrigan

  • "Ted Berrigan was an emotional collagist who said, ‘One of my principal desires is to make my poems be like my life.’ Erudite and playful, eclectic and experimental, remarkably unassuming, musical and deeply human, his poems ride tides of grace, humor, wonder and gratitude, and manage to channel many bright, sad, tender sensibilities into one beautiful voice."

Tickets are $15 for the poetry reading only. Upcharge includes timed entry tickets to Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth, subject to availability. 



Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, writer and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker and The New York Times. With Big Lucks, Hanif released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow and previously worked for MTV News, where he wrote about the intersections of music, culture and identity. Hanif also wrote the 2016 live shows: MTV Video Music Awards and VH1’s Unsilent Night. His first full length collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was one of 2016’s best-selling poetry books and was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book prize. Hanif's debut collection of essays titled, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was published November of 2017 via Two Dollar Radio. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve L. Ewing.

Brendan Constantine is the author of four collections of poetry. His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly, Ninth Letter and the American Journal of Poetry among other journals. His most recent collection is Dementia, My Darling (2016 Red Hen Press). He has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. A popular performer, Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, also appearing on NPR's All Things Considered, numerous podcasts and YouTube. He currently teaches poetry at the Windward School and regularly offers classes to hospitals, foster homes, veterans and the elderly.

Amy Gerstler is a writer of poetry, nonfiction and journalism. She has published thirteen books of poetry and a collaborative artists book (with Alexis Smith.) Scattered at Sea, a book of her poems, published by Penguin in June, 2015, was longlisted for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the Kingsley Tufts Award and was a finalist in poetry for the PEN USA literary award. Her book Dearest Creature (Penguin 2009) was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and was short listed for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. Her previous twelve books include Ghost Girl, Medicine, Crown of Weeds, which won a California Book Award, Nerve Storm and Bitter Angel, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. She was the 2010 guest editor of the yearly anthology Best American Poetry. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry several volumes of Best American Poetry and The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry. She has taught writing and/or visual art at the California Institute of the Arts, Cal Tech, Art Center College of Design, the University of Utah, Pitzer College, and elsewhere. She currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of California at Irvine.


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About Unfolding Language Literary Series

The Broad and The Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ ALOUD series explores the centrality of authors and poets to Johns’ creative practice by presenting two evenings of readings by contemporary authors, who will present verses from Johns’ literary muses, including Samuel Beckett, Ted Berrigan, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Hart Crane, Frank O’Hara and Herman Melville, as well as read from their own work. 


  • Thursday, Mar. 22, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Apr. 12, 7:30 p.m.

Co-presented by

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