The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Alice Notley: The Descent of Alette


7-9pm, reading starts promptly at 7:30pm
$10 entry, free for SFSU students and Poetry Center and/or members of The Lab
Monday Night: Login or Register to reserve seats
Tuesday Night: Login or Register to reserve seats

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Co-sponsored by The Poetry Center and the False Starts series at The Lab

Across two nights, Monday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 15, Alice Notley will read the entirety of her visionary book-length poem, The Descent of Alette (Penguin Poets, 1996).

In The Descent of Alette, Alice Notley presents a feminist epic, a bold journey into the deeper realms. Alette, the narrator, finds herself underground, deep beneath the city, where spirits and people ride endlessly on subways, not allowed to live in the world above. Traveling deeper and deeper, she is on a journey of continual transformation, encountering a series of figures and undergoing fragmentations and metamorphoses as she seeks to confront the Tyrant and heal the world. Using a new measure, with rhythmic units indicated by quotation marks, Notley has created a "spoken" text, a rich and mesmerizing work of imagination, mystery, and power.

Alice Notley was born in Bisbee, Arizona in 1945 and grew up in Needles, California in the Mojave Desert. She was educated in the Needles public schools, Barnard College, and The Writers Workshop, University of Iowa. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, and of essays and talks on poetry, and has edited and co-edited books by Ted Berrigan and Douglas Oliver. She edited the magazine CHICAGO in the 70s and co-edited with Oliver the magazines SCARLET and Gare du Nord in the 90s. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Griffin Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Lenore Marshall Prize, and the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Prize. Her latest book is Certain Magical Acts, from Penguin.

VIDEO + AUDIO Alice Notley reads The Descent of Alette, 2 nights at The Lab | The Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives

The Descent of Alette, Alice Notley presents a feminist epic, a bold journey into the deeper realms. Alette, the narrator, finds herself underground, deep beneath the city, where spirits and people ride endlessly on subways, not allowed to live in the world above.