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Small Press Symposium focuses on Poet-Publishers


As we learned in March from the large and enthusiastic response to three events celebrating Small Press Month in the Buffalo area, the audience and support level for the small and independent press literary publishing in this community probably rivals that of any region in the country on a per capita basis. The do-it yourself ethos that is so much a part of the indie publishing scene seems such a perfect match for the vibrant but severely undercapitalized Buffalo arts scene as a whole that the two seem almost indistinguishable at times.
 
But quite apart from the fellowship and the bonhomie of such gatherings, this is also a critical community of peers who truly hold the future of American writing and literary expression in their collective hands.  In the absence of any meaningful investment on the part of the for-profit corporate and mainstream publishing world in emergent sensibilities and literary forms that do not hold immediate commercial potential, and the insistence of most of colleges and universities on turning creative writing programs into a profit centers with a pecking order of professional credentials, it's small and independent presses alone that are driven by aesthetics and have the freedom to represent all that is "brave, crazy, different, and beautiful" about our culture.
 
This Sunday night (April 19) and all day Monday (April 20) the University at Buffalo Poetics program will sponsor "Poet-Publishers: A Contemporary Small Press Symposium" featuring many significant regional and national voices in small press world.  The symposium opens with a reading Sunday night at 8 p.m. in Karpeles Manuscript Library, 453 Porter Ave. in Buffalo featuring Jay MillAr of Toronto based BookThug Press,  Anna Moschovakis of Ugly Duckling Press,  Rich Owens of Damn the Caesars/Punch Press and Kyle Schlesinger of Cuneiform Books.
 
On Monday, the conference moves to the Poetry Collection in 420 Capen Hall on UB's North Campus.  At 10 a.m., Charles Alexander, Editor of Chax Press, will deliver the symposium keynote presentation entitled "Between Poetics, the Poetics of Between, Pressing Between.”  His theme will be picked up at
"Interstitial Practices," a Buffalo Poet-Publishers Roundtable discussion featuring a dozen prominent editor/publishers of poetry based either at UB or in the larger community.
 
Following a lunch break, the symposium will resume with a second keynote presentation by Michael Basinski, curator of the UB Poetry Collection, on “Exploration and Acquisition: Collecting All of Small Press Poetry.”  From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Steve McCaffery of the UB Poetics Program will host a fourshort presentations and a panel discussion entitled "Rethinking Poesis—Making / Remarking / Responding" featuring Brenda Iijima (Portable press at Yo-Yo Labs), Jay MillAr of BookThug, Anna Moschovakis (Ugly Duckling Press) and Kyle Schlesinger of Brooklyn based Cuneiform Press.
 
Following  a dinner break, the symposium will conclude back at the Karpeles Manuscript Library on Porter Avenue in Buffalo with a series of readings beginning at 8 p.m. featuring  Charles Alexander, Michael Basinski, Brenda Iijima and Andrew Rippeon, editor of the journal P-Queue and Queue Editions.
 
All events in the symposium are free and open to the public.
 
--R.D. Pohl
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