Mike Lala Book Launch
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Mike Lala Book Launch

Mike Lala Book Launch

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Malvern Books

613 West 29th Street

Austin, TX 78705

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Join us in celebrating the launch of Mike Lala’s Exit Theater, which won the 2016 Colorado Prize for Poetry. With readings from Mike Lala and Rebecca Liu.

Selected by Tyrone Williams for the 2016 Colorado Prize for Poetry, Exit Theater casts classical elegy, with dazzling formal innovation, into a staggering work of contemporary, political polyphony. Through monologues, performance scripts, and poems of exquisite prosody, Mike Lala examines the human figure—as subject and object, enemy and ally—in the context of a progressively defigured and hostile world. Catullus, Shakespeare, Cy Twombly, and Lydia Delectorskaya echo across engagements with Israeli generals, accused terrorists, State Department employees, nuclear scientists, Saturday Night Liveactors, war criminals, malware, and a host of mythic, literary, and half-extant spectral characters. Amid the cacophony, Lala implicates every actor, including himself, in a web of shared culpability vis-à-vis consumerism, representation, speaking, writing, and making art against the backdrop of the endless, open wars of a post–Cold War, post-2001 era. Exit Theater is a debut of and against its time—a book about war, art, and what it means to make art in a time of war.


This is a remarkable book—sprawling, generous, angry, delicate. Through borrowed language and staged dialogues, Exit Theater asks how individual experiences of violence combine with myth to create the collective present, where we peer out from the ‘gun cabinet.’ A gun cabinet is a scary place from which to act as friend, to act as lover, to talk to family ghosts. Lala’s book tears open the velvet cushioning. —Cathy Wagner


Mike Lala

Mike Lala (b. 1987, Lubbock, TX) is a poet who works with text, recorded sound, and, occasionally, images. His first book, Exit Theater, was selected by Tyrone Williams for the 2016 Colorado Prize for Poetry. Current work can be found in Boston Review, Fence, The Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, Jubilat, The Awl, and VOLT, as well as a number of chapbooks, most recently In the Gun Cabinet (TAR 2016) and Twenty-Four Exits (Present Tense Pamphlets 2016). He lives in New York. (Author photo credit: Kate Enman.)

Rebecca LiuRebecca Liu is the recipient of fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers and the Stadler Center for Poetry. Her recent poems can be found in Boston Review, VOLT, Web Conjunctions, The Awl, Phantom Limb and Gulf Coast.

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Malvern Books

613 West 29th Street

Austin, TX 78705

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