cover of Try Me

Book Launch and Reading of Try Me by Niel Rosenthalis (Deadly Chaps Press)

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Book Launch and Reading of Try Me by Niel Rosenthalis (Deadly Chaps Press)
July 16, 2015 7:00 PM
July 16, 2015 9:30 PM
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division
212 620 7310 ext. 300
June 19, 2015
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division @ The Center
212 620 7310 ext. 300
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208 West 13th Street, Room 210, New York, NY, 10011, United States
cover of Try Me

This is the launch party and reading for Try Me (Deadly Chaps Press), a chapbook of poems by Niel Rosenthalis. Friends of the poet will read as well, including Rickey Laurentiis, Joanna C. Valente, Robert Whitehead, and Marni Ludwig.

Not just insight, but the strange detours consciousness must take to know itself–”I’m interested in the edge/I strive toward;” not just desire, but the strange ways it flashes in and out of time; there’s no one writing quite like Rosenthalis. “Buscando ser más,” said Paulo Freire, and this is poetry that demands more, from experience, the self, the poem itself. Then there’s the rueful elegance: “the decade was lit from behind”; “let me capitulate, O eyeless flies…” A deep sense of responsibility to the art shines through experiment and erasure. Try Me is an extraordinary debut.

— D. Nurkse

Rosenthalis’s Try Me is both a dare and a plea, as well as a meditation on time as it relates to questions of the body, sex, desire, and love, not as hierarchy, but in every thrilling combination and order. Rosenthalis blends the lyric with the conceptual both to get at “the specific, not the small,”  and as a kind of balm or “heal-over of cruelty.” “I am a genius,” he writes, “I want to show the world true feeling,” and he does. Rosenthalis’s love poems wear philosophical masks, while his logic and its aesthetics fulfill the imperative of the title to “turn tomorrow on.”

— Marni Ludwig


Nathaniel Rosenthalis earned his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is currently a candidate in the M.F.A. poetry program at Washington University in St. Louis. His poems have appeared in Yes, Poetry and Tinge. Essays appear or are forthcoming from the Los Angeles Review of Books, Essay Daily, and Jam Tarts Magazine.

Rickey Laurentiis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the author of Boy with Thorn, selected by Terrance Hayes for the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize (University of Pittsburgh Press, September 2015). His poems appear in Poetry, The New Republic, Fence, Boston Review, among other journals. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Joanna C. Valente is sometimes a mermaid and sometimes a human. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014) and received her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. Her second collection Marys of the Sea is forthcoming from ELJ Publications in 2016. Some of her work appears or is forthcoming in The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, Similar Peaks, The Paris-American, The Atlas Review, BORT  Quarterly, among others. In 2011, she received the American Society of Poet’s Prize. She founded Yes, Poetry in 2010,and is the Managing Editor for Luna Luna Magazine. More can be found at

Robert Whitehead is a poet. He received his MFA in Writing from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013, and has been a fellow at the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, Ashbery Home School, and The Rensing Center. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from Assaracus, Gulf Coast, Vinyl, LIES/ISLES, Verse Daily, Upstart and elsewhere. He is currently the Grant Writing Associate at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Assistant Editor for Vinyl Poetry. He lives in Brooklyn, where he co-curates Shirley, a monthly reading series.

Marni Ludwig is the author of Pinwheel, selected by Jean Valentine for the 2012 New Issues Poetry Prize and Little Box of Cotton and Lightning, chosen by Susan Howe for a 2011 Poetry Society of America Chapbook fellowship.  She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, and Washington University in St. Louis. She’s from Brooklyn, NY.