Poetry News

'We thought it would be fun, and maybe a little tongue in cheek, to buy each other out': On the Merger of Poor Claudia, Octopus, and the Bad Blood That Binds it All

By Harriet Staff

Here's a piece from the Portland Mercury that takes a look at a reading series that in turn created a creative alliance between Poor Claudia and Octopus Books.

A snippet:

In September, Bad Blood convened at ADX for its 13th reading. Two years into its existence, the poetry series had an established track record of popular events featuring poets from Portland and the country at large.

Bad Blood was launched by local writers Drew Swenhaugen, Zach Schomburg, and Joseph Mains. Longtime friends, Bad Blood brought them together professionally. That night at ADX, they announced a new endeavor: the merging of their various independent enterprises. Poor Claudia, the poetry press that Swenhaugen founded and runs with Marshall Walker Lee, would now handle all chapbook production for Octopus Books, Schomburg's longtime imprint. Mains would take the editorial reins of Octopus magazine, while the Bad Blood series would continue under all of their supervision for events, publicity, and community.

"We thought it would be fun, and maybe a little tongue in cheek, to buy each other out. Because this is so not a moneymaking thing. It's almost the antithesis of that because there's no money involved," said Schomburg recently when I spoke with the three of them. Recounting the path to creating this new entity, they all agree it spawned from an already collective sense of dedication and responsibility.

"Everybody was already helping out in each individual thing," said Mains, who teaches at PCC. "In a funny way, consolidating them allows for a lot less bureaucracy."

"It's a way for us to streamline production and officially be on each other's rosters and share editorial duties," adds Swenhaugen.

It's also Portland-specific. "There are more people here that appreciate small things," says Mains. "This just happens to be a place, for its size, that's receptive to that. In a way, it's a type of consumer-based activism."

Full article here.

Originally Published: November 8th, 2012