Upcoming Mongoose Versus Cobra Reading Series Information

MVSC is pleased to announce upcoming dates for the Mongoose Versus Cobra Reading Series.  The MVSC Reading Series is curated and hosted by Shafer Hall and Kristin Kostick.  The series has featured many great poets and writers over the last year, including but not limited to Nick Flynn, Sampson Starkweather, and Martha Serpas.

The MVSC Reading Series will continue every second Monday of the coming months, and it will feature such distinguished readers as Michael Snediker, Olga Mexina, Danniel Schoonebeek, Sam Mansfield, Shane Lake, Peter Hyland, Bridget Lowe, Phong Nguyen, Michelle Oakes, and others.

The reading series meets at 8PM every second Monday of the month.

October 14th welcomes Michael Snediker, Olga  Mexina, and Danniel Schoonebeek.

Danniel Schoonebeek’s first book of poems, American Barricade, will be published in 2014 by YesYes Books. A chapbook, Family Album, is forthcoming from Poor Claudia this fall. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, Boston Review, Fence, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, jubilat, BOMB, Verse Daily, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere. He writes a monthly column on poetry for The American Reader, hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn, and edits the PEN Poetry Series.

Michael D. Snediker is the author of The Apartment of Tragic Appliances (punctum books, 2013), and two chapbooks, Bourdon (White Rabbit Press) and Nervous Pastoral (dove|tail). He’s also the author of Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (U.Minnesota, 2009, nominated for the Christian Gauss Award and the Alan Bray Book Prize) and Contingent Figure: Aesthetic Duress from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (under contract, U.Minnesota). His poems have appeared in journals including Black Warrior Review, Court Green, Crazyhorse, jubilat, and Maggy. He’s an Associate Professor of American Literature at the University of Houston.

Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Olga Mexina was transported to New York City at the age of twelve.  She grew up in Brooklyn and received her BA from New York University. Olga spent a third of her life on airplanes between New York and Moscow. Currently she is a third-year MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of Houston, where she is a Teaching Fellow. Olga also teaches for WITS. Her work appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, Mad Hatter’s Review, Big Pulp and others.  Olga lives with her four-year-old daughter, Elsa.

Sam Mansfield (M.F.A., poetry) grew up in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He enjoys well-marinated tempeh, bike routes, and murder ballads. His work has appeared in Explosion-Proof magazine

Shane Lake was born and raised in Mattapoisett, MA. He left the Bay State for Pennsylvania, where he was a student in the creative writing program at Susquehanna University. In 2012 he received an MFA in poetry from Arizona State, and he is currently a doctoral student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston.

Peter B. Hyland holds a BFA in drawing and painting from the University of North Texas, and an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. He is a director of development at the Menil Collection.

Phong Nguyen is the author of MEMORY SICKNESS AND OTHER STORIES (Elixir Press 2011) and PAGES FROM THE TEXTBOOK OF ALTERNATE HISTORY (Queen’s Ferry Press 2014). He is Associate Professor of English at the University of Central Missouri, where he edits the journalPLEIADES and the Unsung Masters book series, for which he edited the volume NANCY HALE: THE LIFE AND WORK OF A LOST AMERICAN MASTER.

Bridget Lowe is the author of the book of poetry At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewPloughsharesBest American PoetryBoston ReviewThe New Republic, Beloit Poetry Journal, andDenver Quarterly, among other publications. She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program, and has received a “Discovery”/Boston Review prize, the 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship to The MacDowell Colony, and a scholarship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She lives in Kansas City.

Michelle Oakes is an MFA candidate at the University of Houston, and a poetry editor for Gulf Coast. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Laurel Review, Rhino,and Inscape.

The Mongoose Versus Cobra Reading Series is curated and hosted by Kristin Kostick and Shafer Hall.

Kristin Kostick is a poet and medical anthropologist. She is the former curator of a long-running reading series at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut, and her poems have appeared in Forklift, Ohio, Open Letters, and a number of other journals. 

Shafer Hall is the proprietor of Mongoose versus Cobra. For five years he curated the Frequency Reading Series in New York City, he is a senior editor for Painted Bride Quarterly and Lungfull! magazine. Never Cry Woof, his full-length collection of poetry, was published in 2005 by No Tell Books.  His poems have appeared in the Indiana Review, jubilat, and many other journals.

Mongoose Villanelle

Here inside the Auditorium Grocery
The windows shine and nothing’s concealed
This place is the only bar for me

The stools are new, but you can see
That B.A. Rifsner built the steel
Here inside the Auditorium Grocery

A saw in the rafters will set pine free
That old time feeling is for real
This place is the only bar for me

Your Friday night might only be
A touch of bourbon and an orange peel
Here inside the Auditorium Grocery,

But that might just be all we need
As an older Houston is revealed
In the only bar for you and me

Through the windows a century breatheS
Sit and feel how history feels
Here inside the Auditorium Grocery,
This place is the only bar for me.

-shafer hall 10/2/12

To the Squabs Displaced from These Bricks and from This World

Dear squab, thanks
for letting us into your home,
and though you now flit
from power line to telephone pole
out in the great humidity,
your gray shadow still sneaks
past the corner of my eye
late this Friday night
in our former grocery.

As the oven sputters,
young hearts flutter,
and our regulars coo
to one another,
there is still much of you
between these walls.

Thanks again, squab;
I’ll help add a twig or two
to your next nest
in Houston or in the sky.


-Shafer Hall

The Weekend Has Landed

The Weekend has Landed, it’s finally here
With guests lining up for a reason to cheer
A drink with which to propose a toast
Food to nibble, pumpkin seeds, roast

From offices high and far and wide,
The people descend with one purpose in mind,
The fabulous, rich, the poor and the plain
Shoving and pushing and ‘Beer me again!’

With tastes diverse and palettes to please
It’s my job to serve them and charge them their fees
Our Selection diverse and our beer list is long,
‘Ere, scuse me matey, get rid of that bong’

Sorry to break from this tale I must tell
But drugs in a bar is my vision of hell
Clean spirits is what we want you to take
So that hangover free you will hopefully wake

Or beer, that most noble and ancient of ales
The hops, the malt, the incredible smells
Of little yellow flowers in an English field
Bobbing around to the wind that they yield

There’s a ruckus in the corner it seems to me
And someone may have said something funny
That wasn’t taken as well as it might
And suddenly now we’ve got our first fight.

Good Adam descends and pulls them apart
‘Fore damage is done to a bodily part
Hands are shaken and pats on the back
‘Sorry old boy, I’ll cut you some slack’

These are the problems we often will face
When drink makes feelings get out of place
But a kind word can soothe and smooth and disarm
For none come here with intent to do harm

I’ll break way now and leave you to drink
Afore all the customers cause a stink
Waiting and thirsting for spirits or beer
Longing and needing some Friday night cheer

The weekend has landed, it’s finally here,
And it’s time to make my guests feel so very queer
The spirits are flowing and the beer shoots out
Lager and bitter, Pilsner and stout.

-Andy Charlton