Reading at Bird and Beckett


Sunday July 24, 2pm
Bird and Beckett Books
653 Chenery St in San Francisco’s Glen Park

Christopher Bernard presents his latest novel and poet Clara Hsu reads Chinese poetry in translation with David Wong on the guqin

Christopher Bernard will read from his new novel, Voyage to a Phantom City, described as a spine-tingling adventure across the Sahara and a heart-breaking romance, provoking haunting memories of war and a long-lost America after the tragedy of September 11th.

The novel is a spiritual quest into the heart of darkness that discovers the supremely redemptive power of love.

Christopher’s previous books include the novel A Spy in the Ruins, the short-story collections Dangerous Stories for Boys and In the American Night, and The Rose Shipwreck: Poems and Photographs. He is co-editor of “Caveat Lector” and a regular contributor to “Synchronized Chaos.”

He writes fiction, poetry, essays, plays, and criticism. His poetry can be found online at “The Bog of St. Philinte.” He lives in San Francisco.

David Yaji

Clara Hsu will read a set of translations of the poems by Xu Zhimo, accompanied by David Wong on the guqin (Chinese 7-stringed zither).

Chris and Clara would like to dedicate this reading to the memory of Adelle Foley, who passed away recently.

Clara Hsu is a poet and a traveller. She caught the travel bug some years ago and it has been feeding her ever since. When she is home she teaches piano and stays glued to the computer. When she travels she brings only a note book and pen. Between writing and cooking, her mind wanders like a nomad. When not wandering, she has long hosted a poetry salon, “The Poetry Hotel,” which has been a rich resource for the City’s creative writers.

Clara is now embarking on a voyage of a different sort, as she begins to reclaim the business long known as Clarion Music, in San Francisco’s Chinatown at the corner of Waverly Place and Sacramento Street, as a venue for the performing arts.  Established in 1981 by Clara and her father, James Ma, Clarion was long renowned as a place to find instruments of Asia, Africa…the entire world, and for the live music that happened there — in the teaching studios and performance space in the lower level.  Ten years ago, employees took on the business, but Clara is now returning to run the teaching studios and and to turn the street level of the shop into a venue that presents music, theater, art and poetry. It is to be a cultural destination in San Francisco. Many local musicians, artists, and producers have expressed interest in utilizing the space for performances, and Clara’s vision is to see Clarion transformed.  She left the business for poetry, and now she seeks to bring poetry back to the business. One of her intentions is to develop a distinctive collection of poetry to be presented at the shop; to make poetry the soul of Clarion while the music flows on.

by Eric Whittington