Musician and poet Brett Eugene Ralph visits Quimby’s to read from his debut collection, “Black Sabbatical,” out now now via Sarabande Books. Ralph, a Kentucky native, feverishly brings to life the Deep South—backwoods, starry skies, dirt and dry mouth. He dabbles in farm spreads and memory, saloons and loud music, and finds a balance between the serious and the absurd without ever coming across as cheap or frivolous. Rarely do you encounter a book of poetry so thoroughly strong, and as much as the South has been romanticized by books and film, Ralph is still able to offer up the setting with a curious freshness and a breadth of knowledge that is, in fact, intimidating. As a special bonus tonight, local musician and recording engineer Steve Albini reads some short stories. Anyone’s guess what he has in store for the audience, but I’ve seen Albini tell stories from a stage on a few separate occasions, and it’s always been highly entertaining. (Tom Lynch)
September 20 at Quimby’s, 1854 W. North, (773)342-0910, at 3pm. Free.