Don’t Say Anything Beautiful Kiss Me by Rachel Zucker

Rachel Zucker is the author, most recently, of a memoir, MOTHERs, and a double collection of prose and poetry, The Pedestrians. Her book Museum of Accidents was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 2013.

“Don’t Say Anything Beautiful Kiss Me” is a piece from Zucker’s Museum of Accidents.

if my lips were rose petals they’d taste too bitter.
If my cheeks were apples they’d crawl with apple worms.
If my eyes were stars they’d be dead by the time you saw them.
If I moved you like the moon I’d disappear once a month.
If my teeth were Chiclets you’d want to chew on them and spit them out.
If my hands were birds you couldn’t hold them; they’d peck you bloody.
Is my skin alabaster? Then it’s cold and hard and one day someone will skin me,
make me into a cold hard box tinged with pink or yellow, to hold unguents, then
how will you love me?
If my vagina is a cool, dark forest you’ll certainly be lost, you have no sense of direction.
If my vagina is a cave-watch out! It’s prone to seismic shifts and avalanche.
If my vagina is a river of honey: orange, lavender, fine herbs, hazelnut, all too sweet.
If my ears are shells I can’t hear you, only the ocean anyway.
And if my voice is music, it is unintelligible.
Don’t say anything.
I am not a flower, but a body with rules and predictable, cellular qualities.
My eyelashes and fingernails and skin and spit are organized by proteins
designed to erode at a pre-encoded date and time, no matter what you do or do
not do to me-
I am remarkably like an animal.
More like a heifer than a sunrise, I want to bite, stroke, swallow you so stop lying
there trying to think of something to say and trying to understand me.
I am the body next to but unlike yours.
You already know me. You already know what I’m made of.”
— Rachel Zucker.

Rachel Zucker will be joining on on Thursday, February 11th at 8:30pm in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. As always, we’re free and open to the public.

Rachel Zucker Next Week!

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Hello, Pittsburgh! Please join us next week for two exciting events with a the poet Rachel Zucker: As part of Wave Books’ Bagley Wright Lecture Series, Zucker will be  delivering a lecture on the intersection of poetry, confession, ethics and disobedience, at 4pm on Thursday, February 11 in 501 Cathedral of Learning; she will be giving a public reading at the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium at 8:30pm on February 11. As always, our events are free and open to the public.

Ed Roberson – 11/19/15 @ 8:30pm

Hello Pittsburgh!

Next up on our roster is the amazing Ed Roberson, a poet who was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He studied painting in his youth and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh. His extensive travels inform his work, which is also influenced by spirituals and the blues, and by visual art, such as the mixed-media collages of Romare Bearden.


Romare Bearden, The Train (1975)

Ed Roberson is the author of eight books of poetry, including Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In, a winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, and a recent collection, The New Wing of the Labyrinth (Singing Horse Press, 2010). His Atmosphere Conditions was selected for the National Poetry Series and nominated for the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets. A recipient of the Lila Wallace Writers’ Award and the 2008 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, he is Distinguished Artist in Residence at Northwestern University.

Roberson’s limnology studies have taken him to Alaska, Afognak Island and Bermuda. Twice a team member of the Explorers’ Club of Pittsburgh’s South American Expeditions, he has climbed mountains in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes and explored the upper Amazon jungle. He has been a diver for the Pittsburgh Aquazoo, motorcycled across the United States, and traveled in Mexico, the Caribbean, Nigeria and West Africa. His wide-ranging investigations, both geographical and intellectual, inform a poetics encompassing “startling and just metaphors” and “acrobatic leaps and counter-leaps of thought.” (Reginald Gibbons)

Thursday, November 19th @ 8:30pm

Frick Fine Arts Auditorium

Free & open to the public

David Mitchell Q&A! Monday, November 2 at 1pm

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Michael Paterniti – 9/24

Good morning, Pittsburgh!

Did you miss us as much as we missed you? We’re back and ready for a fantastic year of writers. First up is Michael Paterniti, 48, and the author of Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain. He has written articles from around the world for Harper’s, GQ, Esquire and other magazines. A graduate of Middlebury College and the University of Michigan, he lives with his wife, Sara Corbett, who’s also a magazine writer, and their three children, ages 13, 10 and 8, in Portland, Maine, which he calls a “soulful little city, on the ocean and an hour from the mountains.”

Michael Paterniti was recently longlisted for a 2015 National Book Award. Congratulations! Come hear what all the hype is about on 9/24 at 8:30pm. As always, we’re free and open to the pubic!





Please note this date and venue change for the Peter Hessler reading.

Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series


Peter Hessler

Public Reading:

Thursday, April 16th, 8:30 pm,

University of Pittsburgh Public Health Auditorium
130 De Soto St
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Free and Open to the Public


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