Brian Laidlaw, Ryan Jones, & Yolanda Franklin - Salt Lake City

Brian Laidlaw, Ryan Jones, & Yolanda Franklin

Brian Laidlaw, Ryan Jones, & Yolanda Franklin

Brian Laidlaw, Ryan Jones, & Yolanda Franklin

Oct 17, 2018, 7:00 pm


Brian Laidlaw, Ryan Jones, & Yolanda Franklin

Book Title



Salt Lake City

Wasatch Front Region


Salt Lake City Public Library
210 E 400 S
Salt Lake City , UT 84111-2804
Map [+]


Poets Brian Laidlaw, Ryan Jones, and Yolanda Franklin visit the City Public Library on Wednesday, October 17th at 7:00 PM. This event is part of the City Art Reading Series.

A companion volume to Laidlaw’s 2015 project, The Stuntman, The Mirrormaker fuses the stories of two fabled couples: the mythical Narcissus and Echo, and Bob Dylan and Echo Star Helstrom, subject of the song “Girl from the North Country.” But where The Stuntman focused on Narcissus, The Mirrormaker takes its primary inspiration from Echo, drawing on ecocritical readings of American history and interrogating the masculine logic of resource extraction.

Brian Laidlaw is a poet, songwriter and educator from Northern California. He earned an MFA in Poetry at the University of Minnesota, and then joined the Songwriting faculty at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, MN Hisrecent releases include the vinyl-LP-plus-poetry-chapbook AMORATORIUM (Paper Darts Press), the book/album THE STUNTMAN (Milkweed Editions), and the 7” vinyl single JEREMIAD (Hymie’s Vintage Records), as well as the forthcoming full-length collection THE MIRRORMAKER (Milkweed Editions, 2018).

The organization of the Blood Vinyls as tracks, with each track as a theme, illuminates these soulful, gorgeous, intelligently-crafted poems, capturing the black South and womanhood so intimately, and with such knowing — an edgy discography of Florida and the contentions of gender and race in the South. Franklin understands, like Zora Neale Hurston, how to pen intimate narratives that reveal a distinctive aspect of southern history, and its customs stemming from the legacies of slavery and beyond.

Yolanda J. Franklin is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow, a recipient of a 2016-2017 McKnight Dissertation Fellowship and a Kingsbury writing award. Franklin is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. Her poems appear in the current issue or are forthcoming in the following journals: Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, and the Apalachee Review. Her poetry also appears in the recent anthology “It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop” and is a two-time recipient of a J.M. Shaw Academy of American Poets Award. Franklin is a third generation Floridian, born in the state’s capital — Tallahassee. She loves dancing to old school hip-hop, baking, food tasting, and can be found at her favorite coffee shop, Black Dog Café in Railroad Square enjoying a drink the baristas named after her.

Ryan Jones began performing spoken word in 2012 after joining the B.L.A.C.K Poets in Macon, GA. After entering and winning his first competitive poetry slam that same year (Bad Mamma Jamma Slam, Hosted by A.A.C. in Milledgeville), Ryan helped to lead Mercer University's inaugural poetry slam team to the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in 2015, where they placed 20th in the nation for collegiate spoken word. In 2016, Ryan led Mercer University's team back to C.U.P.S.I. as an assistant coach and team poet. In 2017, Ryan represented the Java Monkey Slam Team in Atlanta, GA at the National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado. Ryan also competed in the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2017, and competed in and won the TedX Peachtree Poetry Slam the same year. In 2018, Ryan became a Cave Canem Fellow, and also won the Art Amok Grand Slam Finals, making him the 2018 Art Amok Slam Champion.

In November 2016, Ryan founded Homegrown Poetry, a spoken word outlet dedicated to uplifting and showcasing both adult and youth spoken word artists in the Atlanta area. Ryan is currently based in Atlanta, GA and is dedicated to community and youth outreach through Spoken Word and other performative arts.

This event was made possible with support from The City Library, City Art, and Utah Humanities.