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.

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