Scene Report: Buffalo area places, past, present, future—incomplete
No matter what direction you head in Buffalo, you’re bound to run into something interesting. Below, Joe Hall gives us a virtual tour of Buffalo’s (often frozen) literary world (use Joe’s map to find where things are located). With a variety of entities, from DIY to academia, Buffalo seems to be a writer’s paradise.
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I’ve lived in Buffalo for 3 years, all as a PhD student. That’s where this report is coming from.
CANADA: Grey Borders Reading Series in St. Catherines sometimes pulls Buffalonians across the border.
OUTSIDE CITY LIMITS: Lockport: Home of Jared Schickling and eccolinguistics, Delete Press’ free, cryptic, index-goofing mailer. Tonawanda: Landfill. Kenmore: Headquarters of BlazeVox Books, its sprawling catalogue, and its impresario Geoffrey Gatza. Attica: Prison. Alden: Prison writing. East Seneca: Home of a socialist bookbinding collective. Lily Dale: Communicate with ghosts using trumpets. Depew, NY: Lucille.
NORTHEAST BUFFALO: The Poetry Collection, University at Buffalo: Every iteration of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons? Medieval styled Cantos editions? Clark Coolidge poems stuffed in a shoe? Readings for Poetics+. Talks from the Center of Marginalia, including Edgar Garcia on Jaime De Angulo and Camille Martin on Robert Zend. Clemens Hall 3rd Floor/Interstitial Bureaucratic Space, University at Buffalo: Receipts are submitted for P-Queue, Hostile Books, Bon Aire Projects, Kadar Koli, Damn The Caesars, Jena Osman and Juliana Spahr’s Chain, etc. John Weiners finds himself freaked out to be a teaching assistant: “I have all kinds of irritants here; the drug-addicted undergraduates at the State University fill every evening with pain, screaming and offal.”
ALLENTOWN/ELMWOOD VILLAGE: Poetry scholar/single-dad Kaplan Harris hosts informal house readings in conjunction with his PennSound-logged St. Bonaventure Visiting Poets Series. Home of Rust Belt Books a venue that regularly hosts Poetics+ readings and the Poetics Program’s infamous opening night, a zone of multiscalar glee and abjection. Talking Leaves Bookstore has a stringent backpack policy and robust poetry and theory selection. Headquarters of Amanda Montei & Jon Rutzmoser’s Bon Aire Projects. Inaugural book series, “LOVE / LOVERS / LOVING”–collaborative projects between friends and lovers. The yearly Buffalo Small Press Book Fair where local and regional literary presses happen alongside bookmakers, punk-y zines, and comics. The Public, a new Buffalo arts and culture weekly is based here. Poet Aaron Lowinger’s involvement could mean an uptick in boxing news. David McNamara’s long-tenured Sunnyoutside makes fine letter-pressed things. HQ, also, of fiction publisher Starcherone Books.
WESTSIDE: Home of Rust Belt Books, a venue that hosts the servers on which representations of several readings are deeply encrypted against requisition by government drones. Burning Books—where literature meets direct action and government harassment. Loosely affiliated with Sugar City Art’s Collective, Mike Torseli and Alana Kelley organize Serious Literature, a fledgling series. Gypsy Parlor hosts the Pure Ink Poetry Slam.
BLACKROCK: Poet Robert Creeley lives at the corner of Amherst and East Street writing letters that Elmwood resident Kaplan Harris edits into a book.
DOWNTOWN: The Western New York Book Arts Center: Big Night venue [under reconstruction], Edible Book Festival [under reconstruction?], node of bookmaking knowledge. Chris Fritton, the studio director, is The Itinerant Printer. Just Buffalo Literary Center: Buffalo’s version of 826 + Babel.
FIRST WARD: Silo City Reading Series. Once a month for three summer months, Noah Falck organizes a multi-media literary event on a brutalist, waterfront stage. Readers include Rachael Katz, Jon Rutzmoser, Judith Goldman, Phil Metres, Joey Yearous-Algozin, Cheryl Quimba, K. Lorraine Graham, and Zach Savich.
NEW YORK CITY-INTERNET: Troll Thread exists interstitially here. Recent titles: I RL YOU RL, White Trash, Poetry Wall Street Visual Poetry, Non Facit Saltus, Quod Vide.