Sunday, March 28, 2010

Small Press Pittsburgh

Here's a stolen segment of a facebook post by Karen Lillis:
Small Press Tourism in Pittsburgh
To my fellow comrades in the Pittsburgh small press scene,

Last night I attended a reading at the awesome Cyberpunk Apocalypse writer's house in funky Upper Lawrenceville. Eric Nelson was reading from his newly-published book, Silk City, out from Knickerbocker Circus Press (Astoria, Queens). The audience was attentive, appreciative, and intimate; one of the resident writers baked cookies for us; and we retired to the kitchen for some fine post-reading banter about New Jersey, Pittsburgh, reading tours, contemporary fiction, and Bruce Springsteen. I really enjoyed Eric's stories of working-class Paterson, New Jersey, and when I realized that he had flown to Pittsburgh (from NYC) for a 2-day stay (they gave him a couch at the Cyberpunk house), I wanted to take a moment and remind us, as a community, that we are bringing people to Pittsburgh who wouldn't have come. We, the run-everything-on-a-dream-and-a-shoestring small press community, are responsible for a small but growing tourism in Pittsburgh: Small Press Tourism. (I give credit for the concept to Larry Portzline, who invented Book Store Tourism.)

I'm writing today to thank the reading series and small press events that have brought out-of-towners to read in Pittsburgh, as well as sleep in our hotels, sample our bookstores and restaurants, visit our art museums, and best of all, spread the word that Pittsburgh is greener than you think, that Pittsburgh is alive and well, that Pittsburgh is writing and reading and listening.

Gist Street Reading Series has generally brought 2 out of town readers a month for almost a decade (sometimes Pittsburgh writers are featured instead) and in the summer they feature one small press with several writers included.

The New Yinzer Presents series has brought out of town writers such as Michael Kimball and Jen Michalski (Baltimore), Jackie Corley (New Jersey), and Amy Guth (Chicago). Matt Bell (Ann Arbor) is coming soon.

The Six Gallery Press Showcase brings Scott McClanahan (West Virginia) to Pittsburgh a few times a year (and I hear he'll be reading at Gist Street this summer!).

The Cyberpunk Apocalypse writer's house hosts readers more often than I realized. My pal Mike Faloon (Go Metric) is coming to read from a new book in July, and when I asked Daniel McCloskey (Cyberpunk's founder) about it, he said he'd have to look it up--that there were so many readings arranged for July he'd lost track of the exact dates. They also host 5 writers for a long-term writer's residency program, and now they have a small room for short term residencies of 3 to 4 weeks.

The Typewriter Girls have been mixing up their Pittsburgh lineups with some out of town writers--I saw poet Sandra Beasley (Washington, DC) at a Howler's reading and she came back to town for the Typewriter Girls' Save the Libraries benefit reading.

Pittsburgh's wonderful small press, Autumn House, holds regular readings. Out of town readers they've featured have included Sam Ligon (Spokane, WA), Ada Limon (NYC), and Mary Crockett Hill (Virginia).

The City of Asylum/Pittsburgh has residencies for writers in exile from foreign countries. For readings they bring in wonderful writers from other City of Asylum cities, as well as luminaries such as Wole Soyinka, showcasing them alongside Pittsburgh's top writers and poets.

Recently, small press collaborators in town were able to host readings for Chicago's Ben Tanzer (Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine) and San Fran's Stephen Elliott (The Adderall Diaries).

And of course, Open Thread hosted the first Small Press Festival last summer, with the next one slated for September 2010. Last year's event brought small press folks from West Virginia, Ohio, Nashville, and Buffalo, among other places. This year's promises to draw even more folks in.

Please let me know if there are any reading series I'm forgetting in relation to out of town readers!

And lastly, I plan to start keeping track of these numbers, because I think it could give us some leverage as a community in the future.
Eric Nelson reads at the Cyberpunk Apocalypse house, March 27, 2010.

1 comment:

Karen Lillis said...

Thanks for reposting! I notice that the links didn't show up so here they are:

Eric Nelson’s book, Silk City

(I give credit for the concept to Larry Portzline, who invented Book Store Tourism.)

Gist Street Reading Series

The New Yinzer Presents series

Six Gallery Press
Weave Magazine has invited out of town readers and artists from Ohio, Philadelphia and West Virginia for journal release parties.

The Typewriter Girls

Autumn House Press

The City of Asylum/Pittsburgh

Lit journal Pear Noir

Open Thread hosted the first Small Press Festival