PRAGEETA SHARMA is the author of the poetry collections Grief Sequence (Wave Books, 2019), Undergloom (Fence Books, 2013), Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007), The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), which won the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize, and Bliss to Fill (Subpress, 2000). She is the founder of the conference Thinking Its Presence: Race, Creative Writing, Literary Studies and Art. A recipient of the 2010 Howard Foundation Award, she has taught at the University of Montana and now teaches at Pomona College.
DEBORAH WOODARD is the author of two collections of poetry, Plato’s Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006) and Borrowed Tales (Stockport Flats, 2012) and the recent dramatic poem, No Finis:Triangle Testimonies, 1911 (Ravenna Press, 2018). She has published several translations of Italian poet, Amelia Rosselli, including Obtuse Diary with with Roberta Antognini and Dario De Pasquale (Entre Ríos Books, 2018), The Dragonfly: A Selection of Poems, 1953-1981 (Chelsea Editions, 2009) with Giuseppe Leporace and Hospital Series (New Directions, 2015) with Roberta Antognini and Giuseppe Leporace. She teaches hybrid creative writing and literature classes at the Richard Hugo House.
Thanks to everyone who came out on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon for the pre-launch party of our newest book, Woodland. Featuring my own poems, it’s obviously a more personal look at our press and directions I think it might be heading as far as our book production and thematic concerns. It was great to have to do some of the anxiety-producing speaking that all of our other authors have had to deal with— ah, the selling of books!
It was a huge honor to get to read at Open Books, which is one of my happy places on this earth and truly the epicenter of my poetic education and my sense of the poetry community. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without this space.
One thing I had not realized and have been thinking quite a bit about is how important these early readings are to understand how to perform work from the book and how they shape readings that happen after and despite all the practice and thinking about order, how one still needs an audience to understand what is clicking and what is not.
I am excited to bring the work to Hugo House for it’s official launch reading. This will likely be the only time people in Seattle will get to hear pianist Aaron Otheim playing the work live. Erin L. McCoy will join me on stage to read some of the work.
A fantastic evening of translation thanks to Il Punto! Italian Cultural Center and Caffè Musica. Translator Deborah Woodard and actor Riccardo Pieri reunited for an expanded evening of reading and experimentation of Amelia Rosselli’s Diario Ottuso | Obtuse Diary. This is a new translation of Rosselli’s experiments with prose and was done with Roberta Antognini and Dario De Pasquale.
We captured about half the reading and despite the quality at the beginning, think that anyone who is doing translation and then needing to present it in public would find this interesting. As Deborah would probably say, it helps to have a playful and inventive actor with you! Thanks Riccardo! Be sure to click through the to the notes in YouTube if you’re interested in what segments of the text they are working with.
A fantastic evening of drama at Hugo House with two literary luminaries (oh, we can brag!). Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall, formerly of Open Books, took the audience on a trip through moments of some of their favorite plays and bits dialogue that inspired and taught them as they wrote their own play, Vicinity/Memoryall.
We are going to be so excited to see this play in July of 2019 at the 18th & Union Space. Please email them directly at VelMar Works to get on their mailing list or sign up for ours as we can’t wait to share more about the play’s progress.
With much gratitude to Kate Lebo, Sam Lingon and Spokane’s hot and happening literary scene, we turned her book launch party for Seven Prayers to Cathy McMorris Rodgers in a raise-the-roof take the people to church fundraiser for Democratic challenger, Lisa Brown.
Some of the best writers in Spokane— Chelsea Martin, Sharma Shields, Laura Read, Ellen Welcker, Nance Van Winckel, and Maya Jewell Zeller— joined Kate on stage to each read one of the poems, ending with an appearance by Lisa Brown with some comments on the values of art in a democratic society— one reason the Republicans keep voting against funding for the arts!
I was amazed that the night raised $1700 from a crowd out to see poets, but that speaks to the passion people have for a real representative of the people and not the billionaires and for the demand for accountability for the corruption under the Trump administration.
We always enjoy our trips to Spokane. SO many wonderful writers! And a shout out to the Bartlett for once again hosting us. They have a GREAT venue if you’re looking for performance space in Spokane.
We were honored to be included in Hugo House’s inaugural season and delighted that we could present readers from past, present and future ERB books!
Pardon the photos— I certainly did not stand in the best space given the lighting and stage! But given the schedule Hugo House keeps, I am sure that in time, I’ll find the best spot to stand!
Thanks to Maya Jewell Zeller, Melinda Mueller, Christine Deavel, J.W. Marshall, Deborah Woodard, Riccardo Pieri and E. Briskin for reading work published with us or new work of theirs. We also thank Rachel Kessler who was representing the Vis-à-Vis Society, whose epic 100 Rooms is sure to be a big hit in 2019. And finally, we want to give a shout to Aileen Keown Vaux, who’s recently published Consolation Prize (Scablands Books) is one of my favorite books of 2018. So many of the other Washington small presses have been gracious with their knowledge, that it felt important to give a shout back!
We also had an opportunity to show one of our Emerging Vision Filmmaker films, so a another round of applause to Rebecca Starkey for her work considering Alchemy for Cells and Other Beasts and her mother!
Finally, that was a very full house and we appreciate very much all the readers who are finding our work and joining us in these events. THANK YOU.
Always a pleasure to have a reading at Open Books, but last night was especially so as we launched our first play, Vicinity/Memoryall by Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall.
Years ago, when I was still quite young and new to Seattle, I started going to Open Books… and through time and many dozens of books later, have been friends with these two kind and generous people. As someone who never had much poetry in college and never completed a degree, I can say, that they are the biggest influence I have had in my poetic education.
It has been a wonderful honor to publish a their first play and to have the type of collaborative experience I was hoping for when starting this publishing enterprise. I have learned so much from them as we have worked through this process together.
In addition to hearing pieces of their new play (to be produced in July 2019), we also screened Sarah Lintakoon‘s “Olive”. She was the winner of our Emerging Visions Award for 2018. While checking it a bit long, we were delighted at the ways Sarah creatively worked with very little budget and a team, to tell her own story about memorialization and grief.
Finally, we also got to hear Christine sing her song, What the Moon Knows and her the musical variation composed by her father, R. Gary Deavel. Take a listen on Soundcloud.
Thanks to Open Books for hosting the book launch for our new translation of Amelia Rosselli’s “Diario Ottuso/Obtuse Diary” by Deborah Woodard, Roberta Antognini and Dario De Pasquale.
Here’s a short segment from the last section of the book, “Obtuse Diary” read by Deborah Woodard and actor, Riccardo Pieri. I thought this presentation of a bilingual text was really effective and an imaginative way for an (primarily) English-listening audience to comprehend the meaning, while still hearing the sound of the work.
We are an independent press in Seattle, Washington. We publish collaborations between poets and artists of all types. We also have an interest in publishing contemporary Argentinian poetry in translation and supporting writers with an interest in Argentinian culture and Jewish history in Latin America. Gay-owned and queerly run.