In honor of our 40th anniversary, we’ll be hosting programs that recognize our history and propel us toward our future. Here’s what we’ve got in store:

MARCH 16, 2014 at 5pm
at Artist Television Access

hosted by former SPT Director
Jocelyn Saidenberg
doors open at 5/event at 5:30p/
admission $6-10
no one turned away for lack of funds
members free
Born in Atlanta, poet, novelist, and publisher Renee Gladman earned a BA at Vassar College and an MA in poetics at the New College of California. Gladman, whose work has been associated with the New Narrative movement, composes prose and poetry that tests the potential of the sentence with mapmaking precision and curiosity.

Author of the poetry collection A Picture-Feeling (2005), Gladman has also published several works of prose, including Event Factory (2010), The Activist(2003), Juice (2000), and Arlem (1994). She has edited Leon Works, an experimental prose chapbook series, as well as the Leroy chapbook series. Gladman lives in Massachusetts and teaches at Brown University.

reilly photo
Evelyn Reilly’s recent books of poetry are Apocalypso and Styrofoam, both published by Roof Books. Earlier work includes Fervent Remnants of Reflective Surfaces, from Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, and Hiatus, from Barrow Street Books. Essays and poems have appeared lately in Omniverse, Jacket2, The Eco-language Reader, Interim, and The Arcadia Project: Postmodernism and the Pastoral, an anthology published by Ahsahta Press. She has taught poetics at St. Marks Poetry Project and the Summer Writing Program at Naropa University, and has been a co-curator of the Segue Reading Series.

Born and raised in New York City, poet and editor Jocelyn Saidenberg is the author of several poetry collections, including Negativity (2006) and Cusp(2001), which was chosen by poet Barbara Guest for the Frances Jaffer Book Award and received a grant from the Greenwall Fund in conjunction with the Academy of American Poets.


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40×40@40:Andrew Kenower on Elaine Equi

Elaine Equi’s Views Without Rooms was published in 1989 by the legendary series that was Hanuman Books. Between 1987 and 1993 Hanuman published 50 pocket sized morsels by some of the best poets of the late last century. Nowadays, used copies from the series routinely sell for fifty to a hundred dollars on Amazon. I was unaware of all this when I stumbled across a thin box containing a stack of Views while browsing the labyrinthine stacks at Small Press Distribution (one of the principle joys of an internship at SPD is the possibility of finding such rare, out-of-print and generally obscure titles). Printed in India from the same presses that produce pocket prayer books, the design was like nothing else in the warehouse. The cover features an overly saturated photo-booth portrait of the author set on a stark red ground with the title and author name in gold foil stamp pressed into the stock. The paper is cheap and the type no frills.

The poems are particularly suited to the format. Most of the lines are composed in short 2 to 3 word bursts that hustle down the page. The physical smallness of the poems are due to an extremely economic use of language: no word is superfluous. That careful and exacting use of mostly simple descriptive words compresses the units of meaning to their smallest points; the clear and transparent images and descriptions unfold to a richer, unseen fabric of sense. To me Equi is a kind of jovial Oz, thundering brittle shards of light, but maybe from behind the decks of a smoking Dub sound system. Clarity always constantly foiled by its lack, the conjoined and coherent moments are punctuated by the book’s many withouts. What appears crystalline may in fact be fog. “The heart a composite / of everything strange / that beats within.”

I fell quickly in love with this poetry of complexity not dependent on a dense vocabulary. I returned to SPD to pick up 8 more copies to give to friends (and even one to a visiting crush, hi Cori!). This book will always be one I return to when aesthetic despondence takes over, to remind myself that there are always “words / waiting for us / to arrive / and join them.”

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40X40@40: David Buuck on Karen Brodine

Woman Sitting at the Machine, Thinking
Poems 1978-87
preface by Merdiel Le Sueur, introduction by Merle Woo, memorial by Janet Sutherland
Red Letter Press, Seattle, 1990.

Karen Brodine died from cancer at the age of 40, while working — in anticipation of her death — on what would become this final collection of her poetry. In addition to being a poet, Brodine had been a tireless activist and advocate, a union organizer and socialist feminist, national organizer for both Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, and founding co-editor of Kelsey Street Press. A typesetter for the bulk of her adult life, she traced the connections between the alienation of the mechanized workday, as the mediation of gendered labor moved from the messy materiality of type and ink to the equally embodied (despite still being labeled ‘immaterial’ wtf) and industry-wide shift to computerized work (which of course, still requires ‘sitting at the machine’).

she thinks about everything at once without making a mistake.
no one has figured out how to keep her from this thinking
while her hands and nerves also perform every delicate complex
function of the work… this is not automatic or deadening.
try it sometime. make your hands move quickly on the keys
fast as you can, while you are thinking about:

the layers, fossils. the idea that this machine she controls
is simply layers of human workhours frozen in steel, tangled
in tiny circuits, blinking out the lights like hot, red eyes…

The title poem, a ‘series of work poems,’ is the sequence that made me realize I was reading something new and different in my under-formed idea of Bay Area poetry (as well as feminist poetry) and, if it did not effect my own writing, would certainly help me rethink the privileging of poetic form as the locus of political work in the avant-garde (not that I do not continue to sweat out the politics of form!). Of course, Brodine was not alone: from Adrienne Rich to Dodie Bellamy, many Bay Area feminists, queers, and working class poets found new ways to combine autobiographical material with emerging forms of feminist and literary theory to foreground marginalized (and in many contexts, often silenced or erased) experiences of class and gender. For Brodine, ‘work poems’ (in this volume as well as her earlier books Workweek and Illegal Assembly) were not simply vehicles for narrating one’s personal experience in the workplace, but arenas for thinking through how feminized labor was connected to broader modes of capitalist exploitation, embodied entanglements with machines (coming four years before Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto”), as well as the attendant physical risks, from cathode streams to xerox rays to processor chemicals (it is difficult to read such material without thinking about Brodine’s death from cancer), networks of political articulation beyond the more limited (though nonetheless critical) concerns of 70s US feminism about better wages, workplace harassment, etc, or 70s US feminist poetics’ focus on self-expression and celebration of ‘the feminine’. No one would call her an experimental or avant-garde poet — at least if judged by formalist categories — but our capacity for recognizing what risks and new openings can appear in what otherwise might be dismissed as conventional autobiographical poems only requires our own willingness to confront the class and gender politics of the workplace, the picket line, the family and domestic sphere, to rethink how poetry might register the complex articulations of labor in the current conjuncture of capitalism and patriarchy.

when i see my boss, I hold
my face clear and solemn, thinking
pig. pig. it’s true, too.
not rhetorical.

In 1999 or so, Yedda & I reprinted an excerpt from the title poem in the Work issue of Tripwire (you can download it at But find the book, read it alongside the Marxist-feminist and antiwork theory and history being rediscovered by the radical left. Read it alongside the work poems of the 30s and 2nd gen feminist poets of the 70s. Compare the cover to the cover of Haraway’s Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. Read it and remember the radical potential of content as a mode of risk and political work in poetry. And let’s remember the thankless work of small presses such as Red Letter for being committed to such risks, such politics, such poetry.

— David Buuck : Oakland : Jan ’14

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40×40@40: Carol Mirakove on Heather Fuller

Carol Mirakove on perhaps this is a rescue fantasy by Heather Fuller

perhaps this is a rescue fantasy by Heather Fuller (Edge Books, 1997) taught me to read as I had never before. Taught me to read poetry, myself as a political actor, situations, crimes & the cruelty we impose upon one another.

“a child outside / too young to scream as she does”

These poems fulfill the premise of poetry: they can’t be said any other way.

Heather Fuller discovers poetry in a contextual self

“I don’t own anything / and am thus / a terminal guest”

“the man in priority seating reminds / me of violence”

citizen & valentine

“does a wish for safe / transit assume a wish for love”

“I make love in the most irrelevant places”

fiercely honest & vulnerable.

“how far into dreams would you / go before losing”

perhaps this is a rescue fantasy serves as a North Star for me: I return to it when I am lost

“I’m after / ecstasy why we write or walk”

& then resume participation.

“Do I look as if I need a taxi”

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40×40@40: Alli Warren on Bernadette Mayer



“I had an idea to write a book that would translate the detail of thought from a day to language like a dream transformed to read as it does, everything, a book that would end before it started in time to prove the day like the dream has everything in it.
” – Bernadette Mayer

“alone in the dream’s dressing room trying on / different styles” “to be conversant with the actual view” “we’re standing directly in the dream’s line of fire” “like all songs’ versions of all loss of love” “Or thirty-four soon my life is at least half over”— I’m thirty, I read Midwinter Day again, an annual tradition, this time it’s in a little tin roofed shack in a high desert ghost town east of Los Angeles. What remains? junk shop, general store, Catholic Church, City Jail, and saloon. At the junk store I buy a disc of some blue rock gem and on a fake gold chain a block of tiger’s eye which now rests as I write upon my breastbone. I’m in the dressing room trying on the outfit of someone who believes in charms. I know what I know which is not a lot but my body my body, sometimes it’s too open and I wind up diseased and emotional on a tossed bed, other times I intuit a coming scar and hole up where nothing can catch me. It’s the end of December, the end of the year in which I learn my love must be a kind of blind love, that alterity is (duh) always already, despite appearances, despite promises, despite love. I can hear hills and the occasional wheeze of an ORV engine, is it a calming or eerie silence. How will I ever retreat to the country if I don’t know how to feel about its sounds. So much quiet I could begin to think the only axiom’s lived expression in daily action. The trees seep with what I think are quail and the dry basin’s tufa spires are monuments we climb. Many stars and one’s perpetually shooting. I pay someone to tell me I have a habit of working hard at love. Am I brave enough to earnestly relate my dreams? Or the towns erected in their stead? Call the spirits from their dens. Johnny <3 Jasmine is etched into the blue formica, marking the rolling bolder of any freely given love. The sun will cling to those hills a few hours longer then the hidden suns will reveal their ripe mugs, a shining means of one foot follows the next and trust in breath made flesh. I’ll stand knee deep in it, a porous vehicle of despair slash hope that I might through some miracle or dumb luck never bow to those who say care’s for crows. I carry these limbs around get so attached to any ripe kindness or opening gift I break when it frays. Should I be more or less circumspect as we lean into the coming disasters. Hand in hand in the enrapt night. Together in the same trough. I’m rooting for the pirates. “If we’re all wrong about everything, the life so short and the craft so long to learn, the assay so hard, so sharp the conquering, the dreadful joy that passes so quick and then being left alone again, what I mean is love astonishes my feeling with its wonderful working so ardently so painfully so that when I’m thinking about such certainty I don’t know like the earth if I’m floating or sinking.”

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February 16, 2014
present Femshi (Feminist NeoBenshi)
hosted by former SPT Director Dana Teen Lomax
Artists’ Television Access
992 Valencia Street, SF

Douglas Kearney’s third full-length collection of poems, Patter, will be published in March 2014 by Pasadena’s own Red Hen Press. Red Hen also published his first full-length collection of poems, Fear, Some, in 2006. His second manuscript, The Black Automaton, was chosen by Catherine Wagner for the National Poetry Series and published by Fence Books in 2009. It was also a finalist for the Pen Center USA Award in 2010. His chapbook-as-broadsides-as-LP, Quantum Spit, was released by Corollary Press in 2010. His newest chapbook, SkinMag (A5/Deadly Chaps) is now available. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Coat Hanger award and fellowships at Idyllwild and Cave Canem. His poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Callaloo, jubilat, Pleiades, Fence, Ploughshares, nocturnes, Ninth Letter, miPOesias, The Iowa Review, Washington Square, and Tidal Basin Review. He has been commissioned to compose ekphrastic poetry by the Weisman Museum in the Twin Cities, the Studio Museum in Harlem, FOCA and SFMOMA. He has led workshops on ekphrastic poetry in a range of museums and classrooms. Performances of Kearney’s libretti have been featured in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and the UK. He has been invited to speak on poetics internationally, including New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Malmo, Sweden. Born in Brooklyn, and raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts where he earned his MFA in Writing (04).

Whether writing about intimacy or alienation, Claudia Rankine’s voice is one of unflinching and unrelenting candor, and her poetry is some of the most innovative and thoughtful to emerge in recent years. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Williams College and Columbia University, Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including the award-winning Nothing in Nature is Private. In The End of the Alphabet and Plot, she welds the cerebral and the spiritual, the sensual and the grotesque. Her latest book, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely—a multi-genre project that blends poetry, essays, and image—is an experimental and deeply personal exploration of the condition of fragmented selfhood in contemporary America. Of this book, poet Robert Creeley said: “Claudia Rankine here manages an extraordinary melding of means to effect the most articulate and moving testament to the bleak times we live in I’ve yet seen. It’s master work in every sense, and altogether her own.”

Rankine is also the author of a play, Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue, which is performed on a bus ride through the Bronx. The New York Times calls it an “engrossing urban adventure, which does not conform to the standard formula for theater but does make the bustle outside the bus throb with history, mystery and meaning, as the best live performances do.” She is also the founder of the OPEN LETTERPROJECT: Race and the Creative Imagination, and co-produces a video series, “The Situation,” alongside John Lucas.

Rankine co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry. Her work has been published in numerous journals including Boston Review, TriQuarterly, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. She lives and teaches in California.

Norma Cole is a poet, painter, and translator. She was born in Toronto, Canada, and attended the University of Toronto for her BA in Modern Languages and MA in French. Her translation works include Danielle Collobert’s Journals (1989), Anne Portugal’s Nude (2001), and Fouad Gabriel Naffah’s The Spirit God and the Properities Of Nitrogen (2004). She has also edited and translated Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France (2000),an anthology of poetry and poetics by contemporary French writers.

Cole has authored various books of poetry, including Natural Light (2009), Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988-2008 (2009), Spinoza in Her Youth (2002), The Vulgar Tongue (2000), and Desire & Its Double (1998). In a review of her 1996 collection Contrafact, Erin Moule of Lemon Hound noted that Cole’s “meanings unfurl and gesture, resonate, play emphatic and contrapuntal gamings with language’s fluency.”

Cole’s experimental work SCOUT, a text and image work, was released in 2005. From 2004 to 2006, Cole was the lead artist for Collective Memory, an installation, performance, and publication for “Poetry and its Arts: Bay area Interactions 1954-2004” commissioned by the California Historical Society in San Francisco, California.

Cole’s various awards include a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award, Gertrude Stein Awards, the Robert D. Richardson Non-Fiction Award, and awards from the Fund for Poetry.

Cole has served on the faculty of the MFA program at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. She has lived in San Francisco since 1977 and teaches at the University of San Francisco.

Dana Teen Lomax is a mom and poet. The author of several books—DISCLOSURE (Black Radish Books, 2011), Ubu Edition #43 (UBU Editions, 2010), Rx (Dusie Press, 2010), CURREN¢Y (Palm Press, 2006), ROOM (A+Bend Press, 1999), and co-editor of LETTERS TO POETS: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT POETICS, POLITICS, AND COMMUNITY (Saturnalia Books, 2008)—her poetry and critical work has received California Arts Council, Marin Arts Council, San Francisco Foundation, and other awards. She served as the Director of Small Press Traffic and is proud to be the editor of KINDERGARDE. Dana currently teaches at San Francisco State University and with California Poets in the Schools. She lives in northern California with her super-cool family.

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Dana Ward’s Workshop

You’re invited to the March installment in a series of month-long and one-day ONLINE workshops taught by a different writer each month throughout 2014. For this month we’re so full of happiness to continue the series with:

admission $100-150 sliding scale for four three-hour workshops
Each class will be held online through a video conferencing website.

Holophonic Sounds are designed to trick your mind into seeing alternate realities. Poetry too. But Holophonia is probably bunk. Bootleg. Make believe. Poetry too, & not at all.

So in this class we’ll listen to stuff, then we’ll write in relation to what we heard. Each week we’ll constellate sounds for each other; songs, readings, field recordings, whatever. We’ll share our playlists with the group. Then we’ll make some poems by way of our various involvements with these aural arrangements, attending all the while where & how we’re listening. The facts of our production, our made-ness & our making.

Maybe we’re closer to what’s known as ‘music’ than to what’s known as ‘the human.’ So we’ll try to hear for one another in that ordinary way, ‘like signals from a more intense life, a life that has not really been found.’ We’re favored by such sounds. They’re what we call our favorites. We’ll linger there, heartsick, ’cause, uh, the world, but we’ll hold our disease with a scavenger’s ear for the writing of some mash notes on our heavenly afflictions.

Dana Ward is the author of Some Other Deaths of Bas Jan Ader (Flowers & Cream), The Crisis of Infinite Worlds (Futurepoem) This Can’t Be Life (Edge Books), & several other little books throughout the years. He lives in CIncinnati, hosts the Cy Press @ Thunder Sky Inc readings series, & edits, along with Paul Coors, Perfect Lovers Press.

Please email

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Spring 2014 at SPT

We are very excited to announce these slate of programs in celebration of our 40th Anniversary!

February 16, 2014
present Femshi (Feminist NeoBenshi)
hosted by former SPT Director Dana Teen Lomax

Artists’ Television Access
992 Valencia Street, SF

March 16, 2014
hosted by former SPT Director Jocelyn Saidenberg

Artists’ Television Access
992 Valencia Street, SF

April 27, 2014
hosted by former SPT Director Dodie Bellamy

Artists’ Television Access
992 Valencia Street, SF

June 1, 2014
with Divya Victor and Simone White
location TBA

Doors open at 5pm, readings begin 5:30.


CA Conrad

Dana Ward

Erica Kaufman


Anne Boyer


As part of looking back and mapping what the amazing feats of the SPT community have been since 1974, we asked 40 writers to contribute one short text each celebrating—describing, anatomizing, remembering an encounter with, meditating on, shouting out to—a single book published by a small press between 1974 and 2014.

We’re interested in having writers reflect on a book that palpably shifted their perspective, startled their aesthetics, changed their life; a book they always recommend to others; a book that they would place in a time capsule. The Forty by Forty at Forty (40×40@40) inaugurates the section of our website called Traffic Report, which is enlivening a space for criticism, critique and conversation.

The 40×40@40 list will, hopefully, sketch a 40-part haphazard history of independent publishing and ardent reading across these four decades.

Please consider becoming a member of SPT today! Members get into all readings free. Non-member admission is $6-10. No one turned away for lack of funds.

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We can’t do it WITHOUT YOU!

Dearest friends of SPT,

As you might have heard, throughout 2013 I’ve taken a backseat to curating to do some work on strategic planning. As a result, I’m really excited to announce plans for the coming year and enhancements to our programming. My hopes, overall, is to shift SPT from solely a presentation organization to a resource for experimental writers throughout their career, including hosting workshops, online publishing opportunities, and a retreat. Because our general operating budget is fairly strained this year, SPT will need your help in order to make this happen.

This year is the beginning of this transformation, and I’m really exited! Here’s what we have in the works for 2014:

+Poets Theater THEN&NOW Festival: NOW IN SUMMER!
We’ve joyfully produced Poets Theater every January for the past 11 years, and now we’re taking it outdoors in the sunshine. This year we’ve done an open call for new work and will be producing some classic plays from the archive.
+Events guest-curated by former SPT Directors Dana Teen Lomax, Elizabeth Treadwell, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Dodie Bellamy and Robert Glück, in an effort to honor and include the efforts of those that created the extraordinary legacy of SPT throughout its history.

+The launch of a new Dialogues program: PEEP SHOW a reading/talking hybrid where each invited author gives us a peep into their new projects and process and we get to talk about it as a group. Folks kept asking for a way to talk about craft. I hope this helps.

+The Leslie Scalapino Memorial Lecture in 21st Century Poetics, now in its fourth year.

+Endless Summer, a ridiculously long marathon, featuring over 100 Bay Area local writers reading work over BBQ and sweet tea over one weekend.

+Traffic Report, an online forum for critique and conversation, will now feature twice-monthly articles, interviews and conversations.

+A new experiment in offering monthly online workshops with writers and students around the globe. This project will offer one-day and month-long classes available for a sliding scale fee with the larger percentage of tuition fees going directly to teacher.

+Experiments in the Archive: an Artist-in-Residence program, launching in Fall 2014, generating a creative approach to the engagement with Small Press Traffic’s 40 year history of community programming.

+Small Press Traffic’s FIRST ANNUAL RETREAT! This will be an open-call application to invite writers to come to California and work for a week together, just writing and talking about work with other writers.

To help us fund all of this, we are attempting to raise $10,000 through an Indegogo campaign that you can visit right now!

Donating to this campaign at any level will get you shout outs and endless appreciation. Each level has a unique gift package from t-shirts to Kevin Killian’s voice on your outgoing phone message , to a specially designed (Soma)tic Poetry Ritual by CA Conrad!

Even a $5 contribution from all of our friends and members would greatly help us out! However, I do realize you might not be able to financially support us right now. Could you at least help us spread the word? Could you link to the campaign on your blog, your Facebook, Twitter, whatever socially networked thing the kids are doing these days? It really would mean so much.

Could you show your love for SPT by going to the Indegogo campaign page right now and contributing? Just click here.

As always, I appreciate your openness and generosity and I hope you’ll ask me any questions you might have. I’m honored to be entering my fifth year of working for Small Press Traffic and am super excited to make this magic happen.

All best, Samantha

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Davidson, Cortez

December 15, 2013

Artists’ Television Access
992 Valencia Street, SF
5pm, reading starts at 5:30 pm


photograph by Ariel Goldberg

Amanda Davidson writes, teaches, and makes performances. She is the author of Apprenticeship (New Herring Press, 2013), a fiction chapbook. Writing, reviews, and author interviews have appeared in the Encyclopedia Project, eMusic, the City Lights Bookstore Blog, and elsewhere. Visit

Davidson will be joined by special guest Carvell Wallace.

Carvell Wallace writes, acts, and plays piano. Some of these are things in which he has allegedly trained. He is currently working at a glacial pace on a collection of stories, emails resumes and flowcharts entitled Letters To Someone Who May Not Want Me, as well as designing a social media theatre project with the City Of Oakland. Don’t ask what that means because no one knows yet. For money he is paid to think about the future of media technology.


Jaime Cortez is a visual artist and writer based in Oakland, California. His art has been exhibited at venues across the Bay Area, including The Berkeley Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, Galeria de la Raza, and Southern Exposure. His short stories have been anthologized in over a dozen anthologies, including most recently “Kindergarde: Avant Garde writing for Children,” (Black Radish Press, 2013) and “Why are Faggots so Afraid of Faggots?,” edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (AK Press, 2013). Jaime’s art can be seen at

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