“At last, their smugness is united: their compatible vacuity, their insufferable beaming. They were meant for each other . . . .” So reads a portion of the opening poem from John Tottenham's new collection, Antiepithalamia & Other Poems of Regret and Resentment (Penny-Ante Editions). Epithalamia are classical odes to marriage, and Tottenham eviscerates the sentimentality of matrimony, among other objects of his elegant derision. The English-born L.A. resident is the nabob of nattering negativity, but his work functions on multiple levels — meaning that despite the deep contempt for humanity it expresses, he notes, “No writer can honestly address issues of negation and negativity without harboring a serious belief in their opposites.” He's also very funny. “I long to be romantically involved with myself again, like old times,” waxes he. The poet claims that Antiepithalamia is his last blast of pessimism, so catch him reading tonight at this publication bash and revel in the delightful misery before he moves on to celebrate puppy dogs and cotton candy. Besant Lodge, 2560 N. Beachwood Drive, Hlywd.; Sat., Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.; free. (323) 461-2559.

Sat., Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m., 2012

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