While Boulder welcomes an international literature festival this weekend, a smaller group of do-it-yourself-oriented publishers will gather in Denver.
The inaugural Small Press Fest takes place at The Savoy at Curtis Park on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We wanted a new kind of print event, one that wasn’t specifically zines or lit journals,” co-organizer Kaela Martin said. “We wanted to cover everything that Denver has to offer.”
Martin helps run Walled In Magazines, a pop-up shop that sells independent magazines and publications from around the world inside Denver’s Black Eye Coffee. She's also a former poetry editor for “Copper Nickel,” a literary journal produced through the University of Colorado Denver’s undergraduate creative writing program.
“I don’t know how often publications like ‘Copper Nickel,’ for example, are being showcased next to punk zines,” Martin said.
Small Press Fest will feature a range of printed works on top of live interviews and interactive installations, including a chance to create your own zine at the festival.
Martin spoke with CPR News about the event.
What inspired your team to start Small Press Fest?
Martin: Last year, Eric Dallimore of Leon Gallery mentioned he had gone to the New York Art Book Fair. He was so excited about the diversity and quality of the print he saw and wanted to get something like that going in Denver. We saw a lot of potential for people to bring all of their unique projects and voices together. There are other events like Denver Zine Fest and what Kilgore does with comics. But it feels a little separated across the board.
Why is it important to highlight these types of printed works and publications?
Martin: There’s a lot of talk about the print versus digital worlds right now. I think the two intersect quite a bit, but there isn’t always space in mainstream culture for giving attention to print media. A lot of it is fringe and niche. I’m going to draw from Rick Griffith of MATTER here. One of the things he has to say about why print is important has to do with weight, permanence and accuracy. When things are immortalized in print, there’s this sort of legitimacy that’s attached to them. That stands in stark contrast to the 24-hour news cycle and all the content that’s available online.
Are you seeing more of these types of publications printed?
Martin: I believe the answer is yes. But I think in general the community is making things that are better with higher production value. As a buyer for Walled In Magazines, I see so many publications that are gorgeous and made out of beautiful paper, featuring captivating writers and artists. I feel the print industry as a whole has responded very proactively to the threat that print would go away.
How does Small Press Fest stack up against other similar events?
Martin: I feel fortunate that we are going to be in the same space as the Goldrush Music Festival, which has a commitment to keeping these small, underground things afloat. And in the spirit of having that extra dimension, we’ve added film installations and typewriter installations. We have an area where people can make their own zine to take home. So in addition to finding things other people are making, they get to do it themselves. I think that’s what sets us apart: The level of collaboration and creative thinking. It’ll be a very active thing as opposed to walking into a book fair in a hotel conference room or many environments where books and print are displayed for the public. This will be more immersive.
What are some works or publications that you are excited to highlight?
Martin: I’m excited to see what Octopus Books brings to the table. Editor Mathias Svalina is a fairly prolific poet in Denver, and I admire his work. It’s generally very exploratory and ethereal. They have a much more experimental approach. Goodmorning Menagerie has some fantastic poetry too.
There’s also a little group called University of Hell Press. I’d never actually heard of them before, but I’m excited to see what they will have. The coolest part about this to me is to see all of these things come out of the woodwork.
Small Press Fest takes place at The Savoy at Curtis Park on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.
Read A Poem Published By Octopus Books:
INSIDE ANY GOOD SONG
There is a splash. There is another splash. There is
Reprinted from "Tuned Droves" by Eric Baus with permission of Octopus Books. Copyright (c) Eric Baus, 2009.
Eric Baus is the author of four books of poetry, including "Scared Text" (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011), a Colorado Prize for Poetry winner. Octopus Books will release "How I Became A Hum" in 2016. Baus is on the poetry faculty at Regis University’s low-residency Mile High MFA program.