It was the first reading in a new series called “Say Hello to Your Last Poem.” The readers were Matt Potter, a promising & motivated Colorado College student, and Corina Copp, a fantastic poet from Brooklyn & author of Pro Magenta/Be Met (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011). The series is being organized by Noel Black (author of Uselysses, also Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011) and myself, and it was held at the home of Noel and his wife, artist/curator Marina Eckler. They have this incredible house with a backyard that extends up to a red rock outcropping, like a mini national park, and that’s where we did the actual reading, with crazy colored lights and the vastness of the sky & mountains behind the readers. It started with a potluck dinner and just the right amount of people came out. Everything synced.
So why am I making such a big deal out of a little house reading? It’s not a novel format, even here in the Springs, which has a thriving house-show-music scene. And one would expect a good reading from two good poets. Hey, no big deal.
& “no big deal” is absolutely correct, which is why it was awesome, and which is why I am excited about it & the future of doing this. Because these things don’t have to be a big deal, and they’re often better if they’re not. All one needs is an interested & loving & awesome local community. & we’ve got that here in Colorado Springs, believe it or not.
The people, the place, the work, the event itself. It’s all there, shimmering, and on top of all that I realized what’s been missing from the work of the NewLights Press for far, far too long—being anchored in a community, one that is both local & reaching out & welcoming in. (It’s been since the early days in Baltimore, when we were organizing readings, making chapbooks, and having a great & terrible time all of the time.) I’ve often said, on this blog and elsewhere, that one of the most important & vital parts of small press publishing is the community, the community already established, and the community that the making & sharing of work is constantly building. But in all of my transience over the last 8 years (!) I had forgotten that literally bringing people together is one of the best parts, one of the most important parts.
I had somehow forgotten about the interplay between the work produced (the writing, the books) and the local-right-there-and-giving-you-hugs audience, about how important those flesh & blood & laughing people are, and about how work made in that environment can become an anchor point for a shared, lived experience.
More readings? Yes.
More books? Yes.
We hope to see you all here soon.
Nothing like a weekend of technical failure to reinvigorate the spirit. This weekend was reserved to begin printing the “pixel grids” on the pages of The Heads (of my family, my friends, my colleagues), the forthcoming book of poems by Mr. Justin Sirois.
Those grids are being printed from lead matrices constructed from spacing material—“high spaces”—in this case 12 pt. En quads. This first set-up was supposed to be the “matrix-matrix,” the modular set-up that would yield all the others.
I eagerly set it up on Saturday, anxious to see if it would actually work, knowing that I would probably have to adjust it, but hoping beyond hope that I wouldn’t. It printed:
But as I had guessed, there won’t be enough white space between the individual “pixels” in a column. In the above image you can kind of see them, but once they are printed with more impression & ink, those tiny cracks will fill up. So I thought, Okay, no big deal, I’ll just add some paper spaces between all of the lead pieces.
& besides I had forgot to reverse the matrix for printing, so it was all going to have to come out anyway.
Little did I realize that all of my schemes for producing roughly 3,500 6 pt. paper spaces would also fail. After messing around with the guillotine for a bit, I decided that I could set up the lines in InDesign, print ‘em out & cut them by hand. But that didn’t work either:
So it looks like I’ll be ordering a bunch of 6 pt. coppers.
Luckily, there are other pieces of the book that I can work on while I’m waiting on those. So I don’t have to waste any more time.
& speaking of wasting time—one thing we like to say around here is that “learning is making mistakes.” I sure am doing a lot of learning on this one….