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.
We are so pleased to share with you our 2018 Emerging Visions Film by Sarah Lintakoon. Her film, “Olive,” is a response to the play Vicinity/Memoryall by Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall. She had the opportunity to meet the authors to talk about themes and ideas, and she got to see first hand the types of edits that happen heading into production and that process.
Other than that, our process is pretty hands off except checking in to make sure she had what she needed. We are excited to see a film with issues that this her generation is at the forefront of— transexual acceptance (and alas, the brutality and risk in so much of our society)— and we were interested in the ways she wove her own cultural heritage into the story.
We are so grateful to Sarah for her time on this project and wish her the best of luck in whatever she endeavors as she finishes her degree!
WOW! THERE WE WERE! THRILLING!!!
It was incredible to have our book, Mary’s Dust by Melinda Mueller with music by Lori Goldston selected as one of this year’s Poetry finalists.
There is no doubt I am competitive and it is true I want all of our books to win all the awards. But working with so many generous and kind authors and artists has mellowed my grim dark heart— as well as understanding how difficult of every step of book publishing and getting books noticed and read is. So only three years into this, I would like to say, “WOO! WOO!”
Now, we did not win. A heartfelt congratulations to Lena Khalaf Tuffaha and the awards did what it should do which is highlight a Washington State poet get you to add their book to your reading list. I am certainly adding, “Water & Salt” to mine!
And a congratulations to all the winners and finalists! You can see the whole list and learn more about the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library here.
While we’ve been sending tons over to our friends working on Democratic campaigns through the Fifth District, if you happen to be in Spokane, you can buy a copy of Kate Lebo’s Seven Prayers to Cathy McMorris Rodgers at Auntie’s. This helps us offset all the free ones we’re sending out and we thank you for that.
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 were super thrilled to support the Seattle premiere of the new documentary on progressive movements during the 2016 election and to host the director, Jacob Smith, while he was in town.
There are days in running our gay press, that I think publishing poetry is political enough and you cannot go to protest, call Senators, writer letters… and sometimes I do talk myself out of some kind of more direct action. But then, let us be real, we are in a state of crisis with the environment and with the rise of neo-fascists and so if I have to pour a third or fourth cup of coffee, we must still find time to take the streets and turn our rage into actions. This is tough. And I would be remiss to not say that our business of poetry publishing hasn’t suffered, it has. But, well, we will just keep muddling along fighting the inhumanity of ICE, the mendacity of Trump and the corruption in the system because if we don’t prevail, there will be no such thing as “gay press”.
Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Making of a Political Revolutionis the story of the attempt to build a 21st century progressive movement in the United States. Five remarkable individuals wrestle with persistent racial injustice, growing economic inequality, and the corrupting influence of money in politics that shaped this extraordinary election cycle.
From the presidential campaign trail with Senator Bernie Sanders to a local political race in the failing economy of rural West Virginia, from a mass sit-in on the U.S. Capitol steps to racially charged police commission hearings in Los Angeles, Waking the Sleeping Giant makes sense of this singular moment in American politics, probing the widespread discontent of the past two years, Donald Trump’s dramatic electoral victory, and the challenges ahead for those hoping to build a reenergized progressive movement.
***You can now steam this film on many popular services, so look for it on whatever you stream.
We were thrilled to once again sponsor some live poetry at the Jackson Street Jazz Walk!
But mostly, after organizing this for the last four years, it was a delight for Year Five to just go as a participant and leave the difficult job of organizing to Eugenie Jones. Yes, it was different, but hello, that is what keeps things fresh! SO IT WAS AWESOME AS ALWAYS. We have a lot of issues in the Central District that are direct result of systematic racism and economic inequality… but we also have a lot of GREAT neighbors and nothing like music and art to get everyone out together having fun. And my belief, from the minute I started this project, was if you can get people together having fun with each other, it makes having the difficult conversation and work in a neighborhood easier. Still hard, but easier.
Here are some more pictures!