BlazeVOX Books, the Buffalo-based independent publisher of innovative writing that has weathered controversies involving a discontinued policy of financial participation by some authors in some of its publications and a subsequent "blacklisting" of all of its publications from consideration in awarding National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in recent months, continues to enjoy the goodwill and support of a substantial portion of the writers' community nationwide.
In a special National Poetry Month feature in April, Huffington Post literary blogger Anis Shivani interviewed BlazeVOX publisher Geoffrey Gatza on the NEA ban, the distorted "vanity press" charges against BlazeVOX, and new business models for avant-garde small presses in the age of e-publishing. Shivani, a well-known literary iconoclast and critic of the creative writing industry wondered aloud in the interview why the NEA had singled BlazeVox out for censure when so many more egregious examples of exploitation, self-dealing and conflict of interest could be pointed out in the publishing world.
Were there any doubt that BlazeVox's reputation in the writer's community remains strong, tonight's BlazeVOX reading featuring Four Women Poets should dispel them. The reading, which begins at 8 p.m. tonight (Friday) at Rust Belt Books, 202 Allen St. in Buffalo presents four distinctive women's voices and approaches to poetics, each of whom has published at least one book with BlazeVOX.
Debrah Morkun and Anne-Adele Wight are poets from the greater Philadelphia area, both of whom are active in the writers' community there. Morkun curates The Jubilant Thicket Literary Series and co-curates The General Idea Reading Series. She is the author of "The Ida Pingala" (BlazeVOX, 2011) and "Projection Machine" (BlazeVOX, 2010) as well as several chapbooks. Wight works with the Poets and Prophets literary series and is author of the BlazeVOX poetry collection "Sidestep Catapult".
Joining Morkun and Wight are two well-known Buffalo-based poets. Robin Brox holds degrees from the University at Buffalo and The University of Maine–Orono. She is a writer, teaching artist, publicist for Just Buffalo Literary Center, and the founder of Saucebox, a small press and occasional performance series devoted to women artists. Her much-praised full length collection of poems "Sure Thing" (2011) was published last summer by BlazeVox. She is also the author of numerous chapbooks and broadsides, including "Who’s That Girl" (1999), "Word/Body" (2000), "Tinsel Strength" (2005), and “When In Doubt, Cowboy Out” (2011) published by Binge Press.
Nava Fader received her Master's degree in Poetics from the University at Buffalo, writing her thesis on the poetry of Adrienne Rich. She is the author of two chapbooks: "Stonesoup" (Slack Buddha, 2009), and "The Plath Poems" (Dancing Girl, 2009). A school librarian in Buffalo, she is a frequent practitioner of the technique known as "false translation," including in her 2009 BlazeVOX collection "All the Jawing Jackdaw."
Tonight's reading is free and open to the public. A selection of books by each of the authors will be available for purchase at the event.