Of an Impossible Country: Rachel McKibbens, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and Javier Zamora
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Of an Impossible Country: Rachel McKibbens, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and Javier Zamora

Past Event: Friday, April 27, 2018

At McCaw Hall — Nesholm Family Lecture Hall

Essay Sponsor: Copper Canyon Press

This series is sponsored by Charles B. & Barbara Wright

Tickets for this event will be sold at the box office at McCaw Hall starting at 6pm. The doors to the hall will open at 6:30pm and the event starts at 7:30pm. SAL and Copper Canyon Press present three contemporary Latinx poets whose work challenges and illuminates the notion of border-crossing.

Rachel McKibbens is a Chicana poet and the author of the collection Pink Elephant. McKibbens is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow and the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion. She co-curates the monthly reading series Poetry & Pie Night with poet Jacob Rakovan in upstate New York, and is a member of the Right Coast Writers Brigade. She has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including World Literature TodayThe New York Quarterly, and Bowery Women: Poems. McKibbens’ latest collection, blud, was released in October 2017 by Copper Canyon Press.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz
is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the American Book Award for his books for adults. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpre Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His first novel for teens, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second book for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Javier Zamora 
was born in the coastal fishing town of La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990. When he was nine, he migrated to the United States, joining his parents in California. He is a scholarship recipient from Breadloaf, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley, and VONA; holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University, the National Endowment for the Arts; and he was also a recipient of the 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Zamora’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Huizache, Narrative, Ploughshares, POETRY, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He is the winner of Meridian’s Editor’s Prize, CONSEQUENCE’s poetry prize, and the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Contest. He earned a B.A. at the University of California-Berkeley and an M.F.A. at New York University and is a 2016-2018 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Zamora’s first collection, Unaccompanied, was released in September 2017 by Copper Canyon Press.

Selected Works:

Rachel McKibbens:

Pink Elephant (2009)
Into the Dark & Emptying Field (2013)
blud (2017)

Benjamin Alire Sáenz:
Elegies in Blue (2002)
Dreaming the End of War (2006)
The Book of What Remains (2010)

Javier Zamora: 

Unaccompanied (2017)

Event Details

McCaw Hall — Nesholm Family Lecture Hall

321 Mercer St
Seattle, WA 98109

View directions.

This event will be held in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall. The Lecture Hall is located in the lower level of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. The entrance to the hall is on the north side of the building and east of the main entrance; it directly faces Mercer St. and the door is under the bridge to the Mercer Street Garage.

Transportation & Parking

By Car

  • From I-5
    Take Mercer Street exit (exit 167) and go straight onto Mercer Street westbound. Turn right onto 4th Avenue. Turn left to park in the Seattle Center Mercer Street Garage.
  • From Aurora/Hwy 99 Northbound
    Take the Western Avenue exit. Continue straight on Western Avenue. Turn right onto Battery Street. Turn left onto 1st Avenue. Turn right on Mercer Street. Continue down Mercer Street to drop off patrons directly in front of McCaw Hall, or turn left on 3rd or 4th Avenues to park in the Seattle Center Mercer Street Garage.
  • From Aurora/Hwy 99 Southbound
    Exit right on Roy Street. Turn left on 3rd Avenue North. Turn left to park in the Seattle Center Mercer Street Garage or proceed to the corner of 3rd Avenue and Mercer Street, turn left and proceed immediately to the far right lane to drop off patrons directly in front of McCaw Hall.

By Bus
Bus routes with Seattle Center stops include: 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 24, 33, and 82. For more information about the routes nearest you, call Metro’s 24-hour Rider Information hotline at (206) 553-3000 or visit Metro online.

Parking is available at the Mercer Street Garage, conveniently located across the street from McCaw Hall. A covered skybridge provides easy access between level C of the garage and McCaw Hall.

Other garages and parking options are:

  • Fisher Plaza Garage, located in the KOMO Plaza on 4th Avenue N, between Broad St and John St. The entrance is at 451 John St. The quickest way to get to McCaw Hall from here is to walk across the Seattle Center campus, starting from the Space Needle. SAL offers a $5 voucher for this garage. Vouchers may be picked up at SAL’s box office or info table.
  • 5th Avenue North Garage, located at the corner of 5th Avenue and Harrison Street. This is the first garage you will encounter after exiting I-5 and turning onto Harrison Street. It is a 3-block walk to McCaw Hall from this garage.
  • Surface lots are available on either side of Mercer Street between 3rd and 1st Avenues.
  • Southwest Seattle Center garages, for those willing and able to make the short walk across the Seattle Center campus, there are garages located on 1st Avenue North between Thomas and John Streets (south of KeyArena), at the corner of Warren Avenue North and Denny Way (adjacent to the church), and on 2nd Avenue North and Denny Way (adjacent to Pacific Science Center).


All of our venues have accessible seating and listening devices available. Click here for more information about accessibility and ADA services at McCaw Hall.

Please contact us at [email protected] or 206.621.2230 x10 for more details and to let us know you’re coming so we can better accommodate your needs.