Are you excited for Berl’s Poetry Book Shop’s new permanent location in DUMBO? I am. Poetry trivia and book art exhibitions: yes. Contrary* to all the chemical hazing and missile rattling, it feels like there is a nice breeze of new poetry-heavy bookstores opening all over (see: So & So Books in North Carolina). Plus I’ve heard about people starting their own Mellow Pages style small press libraries in Oakland and Austin, and Vouched has a new San Francisco wing, with an Austin wing coming soon, I think. Where else? Let’s make a Lonely Planet Cool New Book Places in the comments.
*(I know, I know)
By now you’ve probably seen the linguistic maps of the United States that depict how oddly people speak outside of the South. Loyer? What? Recently, I’ve been working on a similar (though much larger in scope) project mapping the speech patters in my household, which is made up of me and Laura Relyea of Vouched Books. By tracking the usage and pronunciation of the two members of the household, I was able to create graphical representations of linguistic differentiation in a Southern urban domestic setting. Theoretically, I leaned heavily on Wittgenstein in analyzing my data. Here are some of the results.
Do the click to help Vouched Books & Big Car do good things for small press literature and community art in Indianaoplis, IN
“Big Car Arts Collective is in the running for a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant to support our new community space here in Indy called Service Center for Contemporary Culture + Community! The top 15 projects get funded. We are in the final push at 9th place with 10 days to go, which means if we can just hold on we get the grant!
At this new space, we plan to host events (the next Vouched Presents reading will be here), maintain a community garden, hold art and writing workshops (e.g. we plan to have a Dzanc Day event here next year), and have a lending library (you can bet I plan to stock that puppy with small press literature galore). On top of that, they’re devoting a shelf to Vouched Books so people visiting the community space have the opportunity to buy my books whenever the space is open. The whole endeavor is to kickstart a revitalization of a neighborhood in Indy that is in desperate need for new life. READ MORE >
In her post about Barnes & Noble, Roxane Gay wrote a great introduction to this interview with Christopher Newgent about his Vouched project. She was walking around the store, saddened by the selection and (more importantly) the detachment from literature that the store promulgates. She wrote:
I walked around some more and thought about the Vouched Books project where Christopher Newgent brings his table of indie books and magazines he can vouch for to various literary/arts events around Indianapolis. There’s a lot to be said for bookselling on such a small scale. I’ve seen Christopher at work at a reading in Indy and he was never without interested people hanging around his table. People seemed really excited to be able to talk to someone about potential books and magazines worth buying and reading. One young man I saw was totally excited to learn about writers he had never heard of. I saw him walk away with like three books. As booksellers struggle with how to stay alive, I think part of the conversation should center around how we can make people feel connected to books.
That’s kind of like the dream scenario. And Christopher’s idea continues to grow. He runs a reading series, has a gang now, and as he announced in their new bi-monthly column at Small Doggies, they’re starting to run reviews (I think I have one forthcoming about that book Chris Higgs wrote). I’ve been excited about Vouched since Christopher first contacted me to order PG books. Before the project gets too big and leaves us all behind, I thought I’d throw some questions at literature’s newest Sam Walton. READ MORE >
I was in a Barnes & Noble last night for the first time in years. I don’t live close to bookstores so I mostly buy my books online, at AWP, or at independent bookstores I happen upon during my travels. What I love about B & N is how there are so many options. If I feel like helping myself, there’s a book for that. If I want to read a trashy romance novel with a cheesy dude on the cover exposing his cleanly shaven chest, there’s a book for that. If I want to read up on starting my own business or Kabbalah or the Kama Sutra, there are books for that too. While I was in B & N last night, the whole place felt shrouded in a bit of sadness, as if the whole idea of the brick and mortar bookstore was on its last legs. I don’t really think this is the case but there was something rotting in that store. There were plenty of people milling about but they were mostly lounging in the cafe or reading quietly in the plush, oversized chairs probably covered in bacteria, or browsing the stacks and stacks of books muttering things like, “I could do better than this.” There were these other two guys in the Entrepreneurship section engaged in a hopeless little discussion about how they were going to get rich! Quick! That really happened.
The concept around Vouched is simple.
Vouched is here to spread and promote small press literature by peddling literary wares at art events and farmers/flea markets around Indianapolis. Every book on the Vouched Books table is a book that Chris personally read and enjoyed and wants other people to read and enjoy.
Most of all, Vouched is about talking about books. Small presses are putting out some of the best and most artistic literature out there. Chris wants to talk about these books, and wants these books to be talked about.
Check them out and consider making a donation to support the project.