posted by Caroline Picard

As you may or may not know, Rob Elder is coming to read for The Parlor this evening. It’s going to be fantastic. His book, Last Words of the Executed is a long-standing project that documents the last words of every recorded American who was executed by the law. I first met Rob a few years ago when I happened to work as his assistant. For a very brief period of time, I helped on this book. I remember being especially struck by the range of tone, and it was impossible not to think about the finitude of an individual in the public space alloted before death. What does it say about our perspective/evaluation of human life that, although a given state can take the life of one of it’s citizens, it nevertheless creates a space for that same citizen to articulate something of his or her choosing? There are apologies, denials, pleas, statements of rage, even–while the sentiments expressed reflect directly on the individual at hand, they are nevertheless each contextualized by the same spectral insititution of death.

Resident actors and friends Young Joon Kwak and Basia Kapolka are going to help perform some of these statements. The reading begins at 7, as usual, with a question and answer to follow.

Last Words was mentioned in The Economist which is very exciting indeed. I pasted an excerpt below, but you can read the article in its entirety by going here.

The last words are remarkable for their remorse, humour, hatred, resignation, fear and bravado. “I wish you’d hurry up. I want to get to hell in time for dinner,” a 19th-century Wyoming murderer told his hangman. Some rambled; others were concise. Several blamed the drink; others reasserted innocence, or (especially in recent years) railed against the death penalty. Some accepted their fate. “If I was y’all, I would have killed me. You know?” said a Texan, who had murdered his son’s former girlfriend and her sister, as he readied himself for lethal injection. America’s diverse heritage is stamped even onto its killers’ final moments.

Last Words of the Executed. By Robert Elder. University of Chicago Press; 304 pages; $22.50 and £14.50. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk


posted by caroline picard

On Saturday, May 1st 2010 The Green Lantern will host a book release, celebrating three new titles from The Green Lantern Press: Devin Kings long poem CLOPS, a new translation of Rimbaud’s A Season In Hell* by Nick Sarno and The Concrete of Tight Places, an unusual guidebook by Justin Andrews that provides a“halucinatory tour of the world.” To commemorate this release, you are cordially invited to readings by Devin King and John Beer (Canarium Books, The Wasteland and Other Poems) at 7pm at the former Green Lantern Gallery space, 1511 N Milwaukee Ave., second floor, Chicago IL 60622.

During this event, all Green Lantern Press books will be available at a $5 discount.

*Proceeds from A Season In Hell will go to St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital

—about the readers—


As per CLOPS. : Using lyrical language, repetition and abstraction, King retells the Odyssey representing the original characters as surface icons who move in and out of the first person. Implicating the reader in the action of war, King reforms the epic. Printed in an edition of 250 with color plates by artist Brian McNearneyDevin King lives and works in Chicago.

John Beer’s first book, The Waste Land and Other Poems, was published by Canarium Books in April 2010.  His work has appeared in Verse, The Brooklyn Rail, Denver Quarterly, Crowd, and elsewhere.

Other Forthcoming Events at 1511 N Milwaukee (whilst we keep looking for The New Space which will one day (fingers crossed) happen):

Friday April 23rd8pm

As part of the Robert Duncan Symposium, The Green Lantern hosts a reading organized by The Chicago Poetry Project featuring Stephen Collis, Joseph Donahue, Siobhán Scarry and Brian Teare

Tuesday May 4th 7pm

The Parlor, a monthly reading series and podcast, is pleased to have Rob Elder come and read excerpts from his forthcoming book, Last Words of The Executed, (University of Chicago Press, 2010).

May 18th 7:30 pm

Jenny Boully will read as part of The Chicago Poetry Project’s on-going series.

June 15th 7:30pm

Brenda Cardenas will read as part of The Chicago Poetry Project’s on-going             series.

for more information regarding any of these events please contact Caroline Picard at lantern.g@gmail.com.