5 Questions with Amber Tamblyn

dark sparklerThis Tuesday, Amber Tamblyn is at City Lights reading from her new poetry collection, Dark Sparkler (from Harper Perennial), in which the lives of more than twenty-five actresses lost before their time—from Marilyn Monroe to Brittany Murphy—are explored in a haunting, provocative new work by the acclaimed poet and actress. We’re excited to have her and a very special guest for that evening: Diane di Prima, who wrote the book’s foreword. Amber’s answers to our 5 questions are below.

Event: Tuesday, April 28, 7PM at City Lights Bookstore. Amber Tamblyn reads from and discusses Dark Sparkler. Joining her is special guest Diane di Prima.

About the Book: Amber Tamblyn is deeply fascinated—and intimately familiar—with the toll exacted from young women whose lives are offered in sacrifice as starlets. The stories of these actresses, both famous and obscure—tragic stories of suicide, murder, obscurity, and other forms of death—inspired this empathic and emotionally charged collection of new poetic work.

Featuring subjects from Marilyn Monroe and Frances Farmer to Dana Plato and Brittany Murphy—and paired with original artwork commissioned for the book by luminaries including David Lynch, Adrian Tomine, Marilyn Manson, and Marcel DzamaDark Sparkler is a surprising and provocative collection from a young artist of wide-ranging talent, culminating in an extended, confessional epilogue of astonishing candor and poetic command.

“With a drummer’s approach to wording and a coroner’s attention to bodily detail, Amber Tamblyn’s tragicomic dead girl poems are a thoughtful, ghoulish kick.”—Sarah Vowell

About the Author: Amber Tamblyn is a contributing writer for the Poetry Foundation and the author of two previous works of poetry, Free Stallion: Poems and Bang Ditto. As an actress, she has been nominated for an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and an Independent Spirit award. Her writing has appeared in Bust, Interview, Cosmopolitan, the San Francisco Chronicle, Poets & Writers, Pank, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and Brooklyn, New York.

City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit?

Amber Tamblyn: I have a long history with City Lights. I can’t remember the first time I ever went there, but I was raised around Jack Hirschman and many of the poets that came out of the area. Lawrence [Ferlinghetti] quoted my first book of poetry, Free Stallion, which had a cover with a picture of me walking in front of the store. I love City Lights and can’t wait to read there again. It’s like coming home.

Free Stallion: Poems (Simon & Schuster, 2011)
Free Stallion: Poems (Simon & Schuster, 2011)

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

AT: Some really intense operatic score.

CL: What’s the first book you actually finished reading?

AT: I believe it was The Runaway Bunny, a children’s book. But after that, the first adult book I ever read was actually Diane Di Prima’s Loba. That book had a profound impact on me and forever affirmed my suspicions that I am, indeed, part wolf.

CL: If you weren’t a writer, what might you do?

AT: Probably the other thing I do, which is act.

CL: Name a few things you’d require if stranded on a desert island for an undefined period of time (and, yes, no Wi-Fi).

AT: A few Charles Portis novels. Sunscreen. A lifetime supply of ravioli. A boom box from the 80’s, because they are SO impractical, but I love the way cassette tapes sound.


Don’t miss Amber Tamblyn and Diane di Prima at City Lights on Tuesday, April 28 at 7PM. For more about Amber, go to her official site and check out this recent profile on KQED Arts. And see our store events calendar for more this Spring including visits by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Robert Scheer, Greg Proops, and Peaches!

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