Steven Reigns is celebrating the release of his new collection of poetry and prose, “A Quilt for David.” WeHo’s very first Poet Laurette is having a book signing event hosted by Skylight Books at St. Felix Hollywood on Saturday, October 2, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. There will be a reading and an interview by Hollywood actress and singer Ann Magnuson.
“I’m happy that we have found a way to gather people together safely during this time by having an outdoor event,” Reigns told WEHO TIMES. “I’m thrilled that Ann Magnuson will be facilitating the discussion. She grew up in the south, is an excellent storyteller, and while in NYC experienced firsthand the impact of HIV.”
A Quilt for David explores the 1991 accusations of 8 people that alleged their dentist infected them with HIV. Reigns spent ten years researching and writing the collection. “I made numerous trips to Florida to go through courthouse documents, library archives, and do personal interviews,” he said.
Reigns was already intimately familiar with HIV modes of transmission. He worked as an HIV Test Counselor at The LA Free Clinic under the co-direction of WeHo’s then Council Member Abbe Land, from 1986-2014. During this time, he also attended monthly West Hollywood’s Community Service Provider meetings with Corey Roskin and David Giugni. Reigns estimates he has tested over 9,000 people.
“The resources WeHo devoted to people with HIV and prevention services was impressive and impactful,” he said. “It was during his time working at the Clinic I remembered a tabloid show I had seen in the 8th grade. The show’s subject was a college aged woman claiming she was a virgin and was infected with AIDS from her dentist.”
Having extensive knowledge about HIV transmission, Reigns couldn’t figure out how she was infected. “I started researching this situation out of my own befuddlement about what happened in that dental office.”
The discoveries of his research are throughout the book. “This is a book of documentary poetry. I want readers to know that every detail they encounter is from my research. I do not fictionalize or take poetic license.”
Published by prestigious publisher City Lights, Reigns is following a long list of luminaires such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gertrude Stein, William S. Burroughs, and Pablo Neruda.
The event is free and open to the public. RSVP preferred: https://www.facebook.com/events/4403049883082535