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Just Buffalo Literary Center: BIG NIGHT tribute to Millie Niss with poet Kazim Ali & more, 2/19 @ 8! | Arts & Culture

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Just Buffalo Literary Center: BIG NIGHT tribute to Millie Niss with poet Kazim Ali & more, 2/19 @ 8!
Just Buffalo Literary Center: BIG NIGHT tribute to Millie Niss with poet Kazim Ali & more, 2/19 @ 8!

Just Buffalo Literary Center is pleased to announce February’s BIG NIGHT:  TRIBUTE TO MILLIE NISS featuring KAZIM ALI at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 19th at Just Buffalo @ WNYBAC, Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St. at Mohawk, Buffalo. $5, FREE for UB Students & members of Just Buffalo, WNYBAC, CEPA & Big Orbit galleries.

Celebrate the posthumous publication of City Bird: Selected Poems 1991-2009 (BlazeVOX, 2010), by Millie Niss with Poetry by Kazim Ali, Video by Millie Niss and other artists, Poems by Millie Niss read by friends, & Food by Geoffrey Gatza!

Millie Niss (1973-2009) lived in France, New York, and New England where she earned an Honors Baccalaureate in Physics and Math in Compiegne, her BA magna cum laude in mathematics from Columbia University and undertook graduate mathematics studies at Brown University followed by an MFA program at Emerson College before Behcet’s Disease caused her to abandon her formal education. Niss’s earliest publications consisted of innovative mathematical proofs and research sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Best known as a widely published web artist, she created http://sporkworld.org in 2000 and her Sporkworld blog http://sporkworld.tumblr.com/ in 2007 with her mother, Martha Deed.

For Millie Niss, all relationships were political, and one’s own life was also intimately connected to ever larger political and cultural circles. In the context of growing up with linguistic and family roots in France and New York State (New York City, rural Western New York), much of Millie’s work draws from sources outside of US politics and literature. In her own writing, the French Oulipo movement with its constraints was a major influence and was often linked to her mathematics background. Most of her work cuts across at least two cultures.

Niss’s graphics, videos and web installations have been exhibited in galleries, including SCOPE 2006, huffingtonpost, Dvblog, Iowa on the Web and in many other venues. Her poetry has appeared in dozens of print and online publications:  Beehive, Big Bridge, The Buffalo News, Museum of the Essential and Beyond That, New Verse News, and Unlikelystories.org. Millie died of hospital-acquired infections following a bout of Swine Flu in November 2009.

Kazim Ali has worked as a political organizer, lobbyist, and yoga instructor. His books include two volumes of poetry, The Far Mosque and The Fortieth Day, two novels Quinn’s Passage and The Disappearance of Seth, a collection of critical writing, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence and a mixed-genre book, Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities, which was a finalist for both the Ohioana Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award in the category of Poetry and the Lantern Award for Memoir. Forthcoming in 2011 is his new book of essays, Fasting for Ramadan: Notes on Spiritual Practice.

Ali co-founded the small press Nightboat Books (www.nightboat.org) and continues to serve as its founding editor. He is co-editor of the volume On Jean Valentine, forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press. In addition to teaching in the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast MFA program, he is assistant professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. In 2009 he received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council.

Geoffrey Gatza, a Gulf War veteran, is a poet and the publisher of BlazeVOX [books]. A former sous-chef at the Mansion on Delaware Ave., he has a degree from the Culinary Institute of America (C.I.A.).

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