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Poetry Press Week Presents Spring/Summer 2014 Season in Portland June 7

By Harriet Staff

Poetry Press Week

Hey Portland, what are you doing next week? Consider yourselves lucky to be able to see Poetry Press Week at Disjecta Contemporary Art Space! We sure wish we could be there! From the Poetry Press Week release:

Poetry Press Week, which stages a second season (Spring/Summer 2014) on June 7, 2014 at Disjecta Contemporary Art Space in Portland, OR, promises to follow its debut last Fall with even more classy, chic, and provocative poetry performances. In a two-part runway show, eight poets–both emerging and nationally established–will present new, unpublished work via “models,” to all the press, editors, academics, writers, readers, and artists that will fit into the space.

Neither spoken-word, nor traditional reading, Poetry Press Week is a project that seeks to change the conversation about poetry in the media, as well as to challenge current models for its presentation and publication. In the words of co-founder Justin Rigamonti, “Press Week puts distance between the poet and their work… getting the artist out of the way allows us to contemplate the work for what it is, outside of our regard/respect/affection for the maker.” According to Rigamonti, Press Week also “reinvents the relationship between poets and publishers. The format is built upon the principle that a good poet’s new work is a valuable commodity, one that is worth elbowing up for.” In contrast to traditional submission and solicitation processes, PPW foregrounds the innovation and creative control of the poet, in hopes of attracting wider public attention so that presses and journals will anticipate the presentations and actively seek to sign on new work.

Press Week newcomer Veronica Martin explains how her poems take on a life in this context that “mimics the limitations of our bodies… it begins from our own trapped perspective and reaches out from there… [the poems] are each their own beings at the center of the presentation, the spine or the body on which we drape these other elements… image, human voice, choreography, sound, costume.” These “other elements” serve both to dress and undress the poem in the immediate sensory experience. Press Week is committed to projecting the written words of the poems alongside each presentation, so while the poem is shaped in the moment by its drapings, the word on the page is included in that immediacy; all elements work in tandem, while also working apart from the direct embodiment of the poet herself.

Last Fall’s show took viewers by surprise and received some enthusiastic press when a seven-year-old boy, dressed as a blood-stained ghost, quietly and simply read new work by Zachary Schomburg. Models in Matthew Dickman‘s show “traipsed through the audience hollering out birdcalls, acted out lines, and crumpled newspaper on cue.” The show was held at Literary Arts and was packed with representatives from presses including Copper Canyon Press, Coffeehouse Press, Poor Claudia, Spork, and Future Tense Books as well as with a curious public of readers, writers, and academics.

This season at Disjecta, PPW brings back Carl Adamshick and Zachary Schomburg, along with six other poets, all presenting new, unpublished work. Watch their Tumblr page for more interviews with founders Liz Mehl and Justin Rigamonti as well as with the rest of the Spring/Summer roster, Chrys Tobey, Veronica Martin, Albert Goldbarth, KMA Sullivan, Julia Claire Tillinghast, and Zubair Ahmed.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, June 2nd, 2014 by Harriet Staff.