The Chicago lit scene rocks!

The Pop-Up Bookfair was Sunday at The Empty Bottle and it was a lot of fun.

I’ve been singing the praises of Curbside Splendor Press and will continue to do so. Not only does Curbside have a great catalog, but it has amped up the lit scene in Chicago. Hosting various readings and events, like the Pop-Up Bookfair, Curbside has livened things up and been generous and supportive of all Chicago presses.  And one of the great things is that Victor David Giron and Jacob Knabb always seem to be enjoying themselves, and this makes it fun for everyone. BIG thanks to Victor and Jacob, and also a shout out to the great staff at The Empty Bottle.

My tablemates were C. J. Laity of chicagopoetry.com who was selling the various CRAM chapbooks and big CRAM anthology, which  he’s produced over the years as well his latest venture, The Journal of Modern Poetry (JOMP).  BTW, the submission period is open for the next JOMP so if you are a poet, check out his site.  C. J. has published, as a Journal of Modern Poetry Book Award Selection, the poetry book Clever Gretel by Jennifer Dotson.  Jennifer is a local poet who also coordinates Highland Park Poetry, which is a great art organization that hosts readings and runs contests like the Poetry in Motion contest in which selected poems are graphically produced and appear in Metra Northline buses.  Poets, here is another site you should bookmark.

C. J. Laity and Jennifer Dotson

At the table just to my left was Nell Taylor of Read/Write Library, 914 N. California, Chicago, IL 60622. Read/Write Library (formerly Chicago Underground Library) collects media from all over Chicago.  Read/Write Library is a new model for open, location-specific archiving of independent and small press media. Read/Write Library is always seeking books, magazines, zines, journals, broadsides, newspapers, and art books of all types, genres, and print runs from the Chicago area.  Read/Write has a public reading room and hosts programs.  If you are a Chicago writer or publisher, donate a copy of your works for its collection.  Plus, Read/Write is always looking for volunteers for cataloging and events, so check it out.

Next to Read/Write was John Warzaszek, who was representing Chicago Zine Fest. John let me know he is involved in a new venture: Chicago Publishers Resource Center (CHIPRC), 858 N. Ashland, Chicago, which “strives to build community and foster creativity by providing access to the space, education, and resources necessary to create and self-publish literary and visual work” On the schedule are a Figure Drawing Class and workshops by zinester Eric Bartholomew.  Check the website for other upcoming events.

RHINO magazine staffers Deb Nodler Rosen, Jacob Sanez, Valerie Walker and Virginia Bell were on hand to sell the latest issue as well as back issues.  Did you know RHINO’s submission period is open until August 31?  Get on it.

New to the Pop-Up was Steve Halle who came all the way from Bloomington representing co•im•press, which is described this way: “co•im•press (collaborative—cooperative—immediate) is a five-year, ten-project initiative to publish strange, transgressive, or “unpublishable” writing by unsung or under-sung authors. We seek texts that meet the needs of an audience that craves a precise combination of formal and linguistic rigor mixed with emotional complexity and dis-ease.”  Sound interesting? Check the site.

Author Michael Czyzniejewski (Elephants in our Bedroom and Chicago Stories: 40 Dramatic Situations by Curbside Splendor) was representing Moon City Review. The journal is sponsoring a short fiction award and submissions are sought until October 1. Check the site for details.

Stopping by to say hi was Ben Tanzer, a Chicago author whose books include My Father’s House, You Can Make Him Like You, So Different Now and the forthcoming Orphans and Lost in Space.  We talked about one of his latest books, Daddy Cool from Artistically Declined Press.  Ben also does a blog This Blog Will Change Your Life that often includes podcasts; the latest one features Michael Czyzniejewski.

There were lots of presses and publishers I didn’t get a chance to talk with, including Criminal Class Press, Rose Metal and many more. Rumor has it there will be more Pop-Up Bookfairs so if you missed this one, you can still get in on the fun later this year.

Huge Thanks again to Victor and Jacob,  rock stars in the Chi lit scene


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