The Lab

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

Back to All Events

False Starts: George Albon, giovanni singleton, and Julien Poirier

Photo of giovanni singleton by Amarnath Ravva

Photo of giovanni singleton by Amarnath Ravva

7-9pm, readings start promptly at 7:30pm
$8 entry (no one turned away for lack of funds), free for members
Reserve seats: member login or guest registration

George Albon

It is no longer possible, if it ever was, to share Nietzsche’s dream of the transvalued humanity of the future, where new vistas for thinking continually open up and offer better health to better thinkers. But while the arrival of new and fully positive sociotypes seems as unlikely now as then, experiences of the trans-effect go very deep. A boy preacher coming to find the writer’s secular vocation as his true calling, for example—as jarring in its way as an appearance of Gabriel to an infidel. My first-grade fascination with an older classmate who already knew how to write cursive, and the mental world he inhabited, that I had not yet gotten to; the electric piano pattern in Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place” as it repeats into the fade, a cotton-soft cushion getting tensile and harsh as a dial is turned from one side to another. The increasing number of individuals who want to be called “they”; Fanny Howe’s bid to change “mother” to “motherer” in order to highlight the fact that caring for a child “is a quality, not a condition or a situation.” “Changing sex,” Jean Genet writes, “doesn’t consist merely in subjecting one’s body to a few surgical adjustments: it means teaching the whole world, forcing upon it, a change in syntax.” To experience on that level is to come over come over, as the outdoor game writes it, and the “sense of the lyric” could just as meaningfully be called the trans-lyric, the pull toward resituative events.


giovanni singleton

DAY 20

through a gate that cast
no shadow steps lead

to a house no
longer standing

inside, each room
had become another

what was ready-made
and monstrous

someone else drew
the picture

entered antlers first


Julien Poirier


Faced with noodles history relates
A lyric for the caliphate
To steamroll into Incan roads
Where incandescent camel toads
Prophecy the toodle-oo
And glory in the tannery
Whose vats are tapped by bloodshot dugs
Then a bullet cuts the ace of doves
And Marco Polo calls it love
Btwn the noodle and the sax
That chipped the noodle like an ax

Glory be to high chair wands
Lulling nunchucks on their reef
And glory to the lowly worm
That makes a labyrinth of its leaf



George Albon’s most recent books are Fire Break (poetry) and Aspiration (essay), both from 2013. Earlier books include Momentary Songs, Step, and Brief Capital of Disturbances. Fire Break won the NCIBA award for Best Poetry in 2014. Brief Capital was the Book of the Year from Small Press Traffic in 2004. Work of his has appeared in Chicago Review, Hambone, O Anthology 4, New American Writing, Crayon, Poetry Salzburg Review, Talisman, Stonecutter Journal, and elsewhere; and in the anthologies The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry, Blood and Tears: Poems for Matthew Shepard, and Bay Poetics. Pieces on Morton Feldman and Otis Redding have appeared in Shuffle Boil. His essay “The Paradise of Meaning” was the George Oppen Memorial Lecture for 2002. This fall Nightboat Books will bring out a book of essays, Lyric Multiples: Aspiration, Practice, Immanence, Migration. He lives and works in San Francisco.

giovanni singleton’s debut collection Ascension, informed by the music and life of Alice Coltrane, received the California Book Award Gold Medal. Her writing has also been exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute’s American Jazz Museum, San Francisco’s first Visual Poetry and Performance Festival, and on the building of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She is founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, a journal dedicated to experimental work of the African Diaspora and other contested spaces. A collection of her visual work entitled AMERICAN LETTERS: works on paper is forthcoming in 2018 from Canarium Books. She holds the 2017-18 Holloway Lectureship in Poetry at University of California-Berkeley.


Julien Poirier has taught poetry in the New York City and San Francisco public schools and at San Quentin State Prison. He was a founding member of the Brooklyn-based Ugly Duckling Presse Collective. Some of his book are: Out of Print (City Lights, 2016), Way Too West (Bootstrap, 2015), and El Golpe Chileño (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010).

False starts is curated by Steven Seidenberg
For more information, go to:
Or contact