Our Next Event

Genevieve Hudson & Alden Jones: A Virtual Reading with the Bureau

Jones Hudson event

  Join the Bureau online for a reading with Genevieve Hudson (Boys of Alabama) and Alden Jones (The Wanting Was a Wilderness: Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and the Art of Memoir) on Saturday, June 13th, 6 to 7 PM EST.   Genevieve Hudson will read from her new novel, Boys of Alabama. Melissa Febos says of Boys of [...]

Sat. Jun 13, 2020 6:00 PM


February 15, 2020

TELL 60: Queer Black Love


TELL is an evening of story telling from the mouths and minds of queers in NYC hosted by Drae Campbell at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division since February 2014. That makes this TELL the sixth anniversary edition!!!

Queer Black Love is the theme of the 60th TELL, on Saturday, February 15, 2020, with special guest host Elsa Waithe. Featuring stories by Calvin S. CatoLois Thompson, and Lamar Shambley.


























Elsa Waithe is a Comedian, Actor, and Motivational Speaker from Norfolk, Virginia. She’s won the Virginia Beach Funnybone’s Clash of the Comics three times, has been featured on This American Life, and is a recurring guest on TELL.



Calvin Cato Headshotty Things
























Calvin S. Cato has performed all across the United States and has even crossed the border into Canada. His television appearances include the Game Show Network, Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, National Geographic’s Brain Games, and an unaired pilot for Vice Media called Emergency Black Meeting. His comedy has been featured in numerous festivals including San Francisco Sketchfest, Austin’s Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Brooklyn Pride, and the Women in Comedy Festival. In addition, you may have heard him overshare on many podcasts including Keith and The Girl, The Beige Philip Show, RISK!, and Tinder Tales. In 2017, Calvin was named one of Time Out New York’s Queer Comics of Color to Watch Out For. You can catch Calvin every Monday as the host/producer of Ed Sullivan on Acid at Freddy’s Bar in Park Slope, one of the longest running free comedy shows in Brooklyn. Or you can check out the podcast he co-produces called Playable Characters Podcast, which has been featured in AV Club and Splitsider.
























Lamar Shambley is a Brooklyn-born educator with experience teaching middle school math and high school Spanish. He’s the Founder and Executive Director of Teens of Color Abroad, a nonprofit program that provides local high school students of color with language immersion study abroad programs.


Lois Thompson
























For the past seven years Lois Thompson has produced and hosted Blacklight Comedy Show at The Brooklyn Moon. Always an all-female line-up, Blacklight has become a must-do stage for NYC and visiting comedians alike. Since 2016, she has also produced the comedy portion of the Brooklyn Pride Celebration. When she not busy finding funny people, Lois helps people find their place in the world through real estate.




Start: February 15, 2020 7:00 PM
End: February 15, 2020 9:00 PM
Venue: Online event
New York, NY, United States
Cost: $10 suggested donation to benefit the performers and the Bureau. No one turned away for lack of funds.

February 14, 2020

Pasolini’s Arabian Nights

On Friday, February 14th, please join us for a viewing of Arabian Nights (Il fiore delle mille e una notte), (1974), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Please arrive at 6:30 pm at the Bureau for pre-screening socializing, buying drinks, and finding a seat.
At 6:45 pm Ara H. Merjian, Professor of Italian, New York University, and author of the forthcoming Against the Avant-Garde: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Contemporary Art, and Neocapitalism (University of Chicago Press, April 2020), will introduce Arabian Nights.
At 7 pm sharp we will begin the screening.
The event is free, although a $10 suggested donation to support the Bureau is much appreciated!
Pasolini’s adaptation of One Thousand and One Nights, or Arabian Nights, tells the story of Nur ed Din and Zumurrud, two young lovers separated through error. Nur ed Din learns through stories within stories of love, betrayal, revenge and renewal to help guide him back to Zumurrud. Shot in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, India and Nepal, landscape beautifully expands each story. It is the third film of Pasolini’s “trilogy of life” series, which preceded his final film, Salò. Dreamlike and poetic, it opens one’s mind to life’s creative possibility and imaginative potential.
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Subtitles: English

Start: February 14, 2020 6:30 PM
End: February 14, 2020 9:30 PM
Venue: online
NY, United States
Cost: $10 suggested donation to benefit the Bureau. No one turned away for lack of funds.

February 11, 2020

Poems Are Not a Luxury: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich


The Bureau is excited to partner again with the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research to bring you:

Poems Are Not a Luxury: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich

Instructor: Amy Schiller

“Poetry is liberative language,” wrote Adrienne Rich. “Poems are not a luxury,” argued Audre Lorde. How can we understand these claims about the intersection of poetry and politics? This course delves into the lives and works of Rich and Lorde, as we explore their respective poetic oeuvres. To Rich and Lorde, liberation was a through-line of experience between eros, politics, and language. And both express in their works understandings of gender, sexuality, and the body. In a famous interview between the two writers, they discuss poetry as the language of the dark, the feminine, the unconscious; we will explore this tendency in their work and the ways in which their respective renderings of the feminine influenced the trajectory of feminist theory and politics in the mid and late-20th century. Their conversations with one another, and treatments of their legacies by Claudia Rankine, Lisa L. Moore, Marilyn Hacker and others, will inform our investigation of poetry as part of feminist theory. How do Rich and Lorde navigate antiracism and intersectionality among allies with different race and class affiliations? How does poetic form contribute to their political practice? Readings will include Diving Into The Wreck, The Fact of a Doorframe, Uses of the Erotic, Sister Outsider, and the Arts of the Possible, among others.


The Bureau sells copies of

Adrienne Rich’s Diving Into The Wreck and Arts of the Possible,

Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, which includes the essay “Uses of the Erotic,”

and other titles by both Lorde and Rich. Please support the Bureau by buying books from us! Thank you!


Course Schedule

January 28, February 4, 11, and 18, 2020
Tuesdays, 6:30-9:30pm
4 sessions


Registration is required. Please click here.


*Three scholarship spaces are reserved in each course because we realize that not everyone can afford to pay the full fee for our courses. Students who cannot pay the full fee should email us at [email protected] to learn about our scholarship options. We will not ask questions about your financial situation but we do ask that you use the system in good faith and consider the needs of other students and faculty members.


The Bureau of General Services—Queer Division is an independent, all-volunteer queer cultural center, bookstore, and event space hosted by The LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.


The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is an organization of young scholars in New York City, founded in November 2011 by a few then-graduate students at Columbia University with a shared interest in pedagogy and genuinely interdisciplinary conversation. We teach classes all over the city, record a regular podcast, run a digital humanities initiative to preserve rare and out-of-print academic texts, and in general work frantically at any given time on a broad range of other academic and para-academic projects. We are a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization.




Start: February 11, 2020 6:30 PM
End: February 11, 2020 9:30 PM
Venue: online
NY, United States
Cost: $315 for four-week course (see description)

February 8, 2020

Office Hours Craft Class & Reading with Gregory Pardlo


Join us Saturday February 8th, 2020 at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division for a FREE Craft Class and Reading with author Gregory Pardlo. Featured readers include Alexis Aceves Garcia, Darise JeanBaptiste, and Christina Quintana (CQ).


Office Hours Presents: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” with Gregory Pardlo!

In the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle craft class with Gregory Pardlo, Cliché is perhaps the only thing a poem cannot abide. Clichés are not just trite or overused phrases. They are the images, ideas, and narratives that make up the shared body of knowledge we call “common sense.” In the writing process, we poets often reach for clichés and common sense thinking in times of crisis or discomfort instead of boldly depicting the thing that likely inspired the poem in the first place. Language that is flat and unimaginative can signal, paradoxically, the very passages in a poem that are the most emotionally fraught. Rather than simply discarding them, we might consider ways to honor the original sentiments buried within that stale language. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies for getting at the useful emotionally raw material fossiled into such otherwise disposable language. We will dig through your printouts of failed poems, we will scroll through forgotten files on your laptop, and we will use this material to generate new work that is moving, surprising, maybe even a little discomforting, and above all fresh.


The craft class takes place from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
A public reading will follow from 1:30 PM-2:30 PM.


Spaces for the craft class are limited to 17 persons so please RSVP in advance to [email protected] and include your full name, relationship to writing, and a brief bio.


Office Hours Poetry Workshop provides post-MFA poets access to continued support for manuscript-development and everyday writing. The workshop culminates in a public reading each fall and spring to showcase sizzling new work. We welcome all poets, especially people of color, LGBTQ+, and those who are femme-identified. Our name derives from our side hustle. Many of us are freelance, adjunct instructors, who continue to thrive in the margins of academia.



Civitella Ranieri 2019












Gregory Pardlo‘s ​collection​ Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Other honors​ include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts for translation; his first collection Totem won the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and Director of the MFA program at Rutgers University-Camden. His most recent book is Air Traffic, a memoir in essays.


Alexis Aceves Garcia is a first-generation genderqueer Latinx and Indochinese poet from San Diego, CA. In 2019, they were awarded a full fellowship as the Teaching Assistant for Catapult’s inaugural 12-month Poetry Generator Workshop with Angel Nafis and the Cisneros Poetry Fellowship from the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. You can find their poems in the June Jordan Poetry & Protest Anthology, Como Maracuya, Peptalk, and Cipactli with poems forthcoming in The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT, Apogee Journal, and Selfish Magazine.They are currently working on their first book and living in Queens, NY.


Darise JeanBaptiste is a fiction writer born and raised in the Bronx. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Newark and her MA in English literature from Brooklyn College, where she began teaching English composition. Darise has written for The Press & Sun-Bulletin, The Ithaca Journal, and City Limits. Darise is a VONA (Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation) alum and a Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop fellow. In her creative process, she aims to trace the trajectory toward a woman’s embrace of her intuitive power.


Christina Quintana (CQ) is a queer, cross-genre writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots. She is the author of the full-length play Scissoring (Dramatists Play Service, 2019) and The Heart Wants, a chapbook of poetry (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Most recently, CQ worked as staff writer for the upcoming ABC series, Baker and the Beauty. For more, visit cquintana.com.



Start: February 8, 2020 11:00 AM
End: February 8, 2020 2:30 PM
Venue: online
NY, United States

February 7, 2020

Four Way Books Reading


Join us for a poetry reading featuring the amazing Four Way Books authors Patrick Donnelly (Little-Known Operas), Rigoberto González (The Book of Ruin), Julia Guez (In an Invisible Glass Case Which Is Also a Frame), and Sam Ross (Company).


Books will be available for sale. To reserve a copy of any of these titles, please write to the Bureau at [email protected]

Thank you for supporting the Bureau by purchasing books from us!


Patrick Donnelly author photo






















Patrick Donnelly is the author of four books of poetry. Former poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, Donnelly is director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place, and an associate editor of Poetry International. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, Slate, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Yale Review, and many other journals. Donnelly’s translations with Stephen D. Miller of classical Japanese poetry were awarded the 2015-2016 Japan- U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. Donnelly’s other awards include a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program Award, an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Amy Clampitt Residency Award. He lives outside of Northampton, Massachusetts.



























Rigoberto González is the author of 17 books of poetry and prose, most recently of the memoir What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth. His awards include Guggenheim, NEA, NYFA, and USA Rolón fellowships, the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. A critic at large for The L.A. Times, he sits on the board of trustees of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and is currently professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey.


Julia Guez



















Julia Guez’s poetry, essays, interviews and translations have appeared in Poetry, the Guardian, PEN Poetry Series, the Kenyon Review, BOMB and the Brooklyn Rail. She has been awarded the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship and the John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation. Guez holds degrees from Rice and Columbia. For the last decade, she has worked with Teach For America; she’s currently a senior managing director of program implementation there. She also teaches creative writing at Rutgers and writes poetry reviews for Publishers Weekly. Guez lives in Brooklyn and online at www.juliaguez.net.


Sam Ross author photo










Sam Ross has received fellowships and support from Columbia University, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Watermill Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His work has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, New Republic, Tin House, and elsewhere. He grew up in Indiana and lives in New York City.



Start: February 7, 2020 7:00 PM
End: February 7, 2020 8:00 PM
Venue: online
NY, United States
Cost: $10 suggested donation to benefit the Bureau. No one turned away for lack of funds.