Leslie Scalapino Lecture in 21st Century Poetics with Ronaldo Wilson

June 7th, 2015
@Grad Writing Studio, CCA 195 de Haro SF
Door opens at 5:00pm/event begins @5:30pm

Scalapino Image for Poster
The Leslie Scalapino Memorial Lecture in 21st Century Poetics is an annual lecture series hosted by Small Press Traffic with a focus on critical analysis of innovative poetry, essays, plays and cross-genre work primarily by women poets. The series invites contemporary writers to present their work in the spirit exemplified by Scalapino’s own critical writing and editorial vision as publisher of O Books.

We are thrilled to feature innovative thinker and dynamic performer Ronaldo Wilson for this year’s lecture.

Ronaldo V. Wilson is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man and Poems of the Black Object. His latest book Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other is forthcoming. He is an assistant professor of Literature and Creative Writing at U.C. Santa Cruz.

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Save the date for the best garden party reading marathon of the summer. Saturday June 27th: 12pm-12am.


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Take a class online with Stephanie Young


June 3, 10, 17, 24, & July 1 from 5-7 west coast / 8-10 east coast
Class Tuition $100-150 sliding scale
to sign up email smallpresstraffic@gmail.com

This is a class about writing that puts a lot of things (places, feelings, histories, forms, languages, research, other writers) into relation, conversation, confrontation. Where there’s a lot going on. The force of that, what it does, can do.

Some metaphors I’ve used or heard used for the kind of writing I’m thinking about: weaving, juggling, k eeping a lot of things (plates maybe) “in the air,” a suitcase springing open from the force of too much stuffed inside. None of these are quite right.

I’ve been thinking a lot about something Jennifer Tamayo wrote recently: “when i read, i’m trying / to over throw yr governments/ i’m trying to overthrow / myself I’m trying to throw myself / overboard.” Also this, from Carrie Lorig: “When the narrative skips around / and becomes purple with distance. Vertigo. Racism. Misogyny. They get tangled up in the garden / where the book is tangled up.” Also this, from Bhanu Kapil: “To write a sentence with content more volatile than what contains it. So that the page is shiny, wet, and hard.” And I can’t ever get that line by Bernadette Mayer out of my head: “Nothing outside can cure you but everything’s outside.”

The form of this workshop will be pretty straightforward. We’ll read and write. And then we’ll talk together about the things we read and write. We’ll also talk about whatever readings and events people do or don’t attend, affinities and antagonisms, conversations about writing and writing scenes IRL and online. In other words, we won’t leave the social infrastructure out of our conversation.

There will be deadlines, both for your writing and responses to other people’s writing. Readings TBD in conversation with participants, and may include Emily Abendroth, Amy Berkowitz, Catalina Cariaga, Simone Forti, Tonya Foster, Amir Hanafi, Kim Hyesoon, Bhanu Kapil, Sue Landers, Carrie Lorig, Bernadette Mayer, Erin Morrill, Maggie Nelson, Beatriz Preciado, Jennifer Tamayo, Catherine Taylor, Wendy Walters, and others.

Stephanie Young lives and works in Oakland. Her most recent book is URSULA or UNIVERSITY. Other poetry includes Picture Palace and Telling the Future Off. With Juliana Spahr, she edited A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a- machine-gun Feminism. She edited the anthology Bay Poetics, and is managing editor of Deep Oakland (www.deepoakland.org).


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May 3rd: erica kaufman and Frank Sherlock

Please try not to miss these two old friends and delightful people read their smart, gutting and beautiful work.

MAY 3, 2015 at 5pm
at Artist Television Access/992 Valencia Street, San Francisco

a reading by
erica kaufman & Frank Sherlock

doors open at 5pm/event begins at 5:30pm

$6-10 admission/members free/no one turned away for lack of funds

erica kaufman is the author of INSTANT CLASSIC (Roof Books, 2013) and censory impulse (Factory School, 2009). she is also the co-editor of NO GENDER: Reflections on the Life and Work of kari edwards. Prose and critical work can be found in: Rain Taxi, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Jacket2, Open Space/SFMOMA Blog and in The Color of Vowels: New York School Collaborations (ed. Mark Silverberg, Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). she is the Associate Director of the Institute for Writing & Thinking at Bard College.

Frank Sherlock is the author of Space Between These Lines Not DedicatedOver Here, The City Real & Imagined (w/ CAConrad), and a collaboration with Brett Evans entitled Ready-to-Eat Individual. Por Aquí, a Spanish-language collection of works translated by Carlos Soto-Román, will be published in Chile in fall 2014. Poems beyond the page have found their forms in installations/performances/exhibitions, including Refuse/Reuse: Language for the Common Landfill, Kensington Riots Project, Neighbor Ballads, and B.Franklin Basement Tapes. Sherlock is a recipient of the 2013 Pew Fellowship in the Arts for literature. He is currently Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

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April 19: Aisha Sasha John & Rodrigo Toscano

Please join us for an incredible night with these two genre-breaking and dynamic performers.

Sunday April 19
doors open at 5pm/event begins at 5:30pm
Artist Television Access
992 Valencia, San Francisco

Admission $6-10
members free/no one turned away for lack of funds


Aisha Sasha John is a dance improviser and poet. She was born in Montreal, but spent most of her childhood in Vancouver, and currently lives in Toronto. John has a BA in African Studies and Semiotics from the University of Toronto and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her first book, The Shining Material, was published by BookThug in 2011. Her new collection is THOU (BookThug 2014).

Follow John at http://www.aishasashajohn.tumblr.com.

Rodrigo Toscano’s latest books are DECK OF DEEDS (Counterpath Press, 2012) and COLLAPSIBLE POETICS THEATER (Fence Books, 2008). His poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry, and in McSweeny’s “Poets Picking Poets.” He was a 2005 recipient of a New York State Fellowship in Poetry. Toscano is also the artistic director and writer for the Collapsible Poetics Theater (CPT). Toscano has worked in labor politics and environmental justice movements for over fifteen years.


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a Tribute to Kathleen Fraser on her 80th Birthday


Please join us for this special celebration of the life and work of Kathleen Fraser on the occasion of her 80th Birthday

Sunday March 22nd
CCA Writers Studio
195 De Haro, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, doors open at 5pm/event begins at 5:30
admission $10
($5 low income; free to SFSU students, Poetry Center & SPT members)

co-sponsored by The Poetry Center and Small Press Traffic

Please join us for a group reading and celebration of Kathleen Fraser, which will be followed by a reception.

Featured guests will include: Lauren Shufran, Frances Richard, Brian Teare, Latasha Diggs, Beverly Dahlen, Linda Russo, Eléna Rivera, Robin Tremblay-McGaw, Brenda Hillman, Jeanne Heuving, John Sakkis, and Norma Cole and a short reading by Kathleen Fraser herself.

Join Small Press Traffic and The Poetry Center, San Francisco State University for our celebration of the life and work of Kathleen Fraser.

Kathleen Fraser has published more than 15 books, including mixed-genre collections, a chapbook of collaged wall pieces, and an essay collection. Her published works include What I Want (1973), New Shoes (1978), Each Next: narratives (1980), Notes Preceding Trust (1987), when new time folds up (1993), Wing (1995), il cuore : the heart—Selected Poems 1970–1995 (1997), Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling (2004), and movable TYYPE (2011). She is the founder of the American Poetry Archives, which she created while she was directing the Poetry Center, in the early 1970s, and teaching at San Francisco State University from 1972 to 1992. From 1983 to 1991 she published and edited the journal HOW(ever), which focused on innovative writing by women. She lives in San Francisco and spends each spring in Rome.

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Field report with De’Ath, Tamayo & Troyan

March 1, 2015
Artist Television Access/992 Valencia Street, San Francisco
doors open at 5pm/event begins at 5:30pm
admission FREE
co-presented by Mills College 

Join us for an info-share with poets in, from, and moving between Vancouver, Chicago, New York, and London. How are other scenes, institutions, editors and curators responding to rape and sexual violence in writing communities? Amy De’Ath, Jennifer Tamayo, and Cassandra Troyan will share their experiences organizing meetings, potlucks and online interventions, in a discussion of the dynamics, difficulties and benefits of their respective locations, action taken and not taken. What does feminist solidarity look like? What might it look like? How can we take better care of one another? What kind of socialities and spaces do we want to create?


Amy De’Ath’s poetry books include Lower Parallel, Caribou, and Erec & Enide. With Fred Wah, she is the editor of a collection of poetry and poetitcs, Toward. Some. Air. Her critical writing has appeared or is forthcoming in AnguishLanguage, After Objectivism: Reconfiguring 21st Century Poetry & Poetics, and Cambridge Literary Review. For several years she worked in London, UK and in 2011 was Poet in Residence at the University of Surrey. She is now a PhD student at Simon Fraser University and works on the poetics journal Line. She lives in Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territories.

Writers-Series-Jennifer-TamayoJennifer BAAAARRRRFFFF Tamayo is a writer and performer.  She is the author of the collection of poems and art work, Red Missed Aches Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes (Switchback, 2011) and the limited edition chapbook POEMS ARE THE ONLY REAL BODIES (Bloof Books, 2013).  Her second full collection of poems and artwork, YOU DA ONE, was published in the fall of 2014. Since 2010, JT has served as the Managing Editor for Futurepoem an independent NYC press publishing contemporary poetry and prose. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University. She lives and works in New York City.

Cassandra Troyan is a writer, organizer, ex-artist, and former college employee. They are the author of THRONE OF BLOOD, BLACKEN ME BLACKEN ME GROWLED and KILL MANUAL. Their writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Shifter Magazine, The Chicago Review, Elderly, ANCIENTS, and BOMB Magazine. Since 2010 they have curated the reading and performance seriesARTIFICIAL EAR with numerous friends and collaborators. They received their MFA in Visual Art from the University of Chicago and work with sex workers, prisoners and radical feminists in Chicago, IL where they currently live.

These writers will also be performing their creative work at Mills College on Tuesday March 3rd. For more information visit: http://www.mills.edu


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an evening with Lucas de Lima and Wendy Walters



Join us for a reading  and conversation with

Lucas de Lima and Wendy Walters


Sunday February 15, 2015

at Artist Television Access/992 Valencia/San Francisco

Doors open at 5pm/Event begins at 5:30pm

Admission $6-10/members free/no one turned away for lack of funds





Lucas de Lima is the author of Wet Land (Action Books) and, most recently, the chapbook Terraputa (Birds of Lace).  Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Evening Will Comeboundary2, and The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing. A contributor to Montevidayo, he pursues doctoral studies in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on Amerindian thought.









Wendy S. Walters is the author ofMultiply/Divide (Sarabande Books, 2015) Troy, Michigan (Futurepoem Books, 2014),  Longer I Wait, More You Love Me (2009) and a chapbook, Birds of Los Angeles(2005), both published by Palm Press (Long Beach, CA).  Forthcoming projects include a book of essays to be released by Sarabande Books in 2015.  Walters was a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry, and her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Bookforum, FENCE, Harper’s Magazine, and elsewhere.  She has won a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a research fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution, a scholarship from Bread Loaf, and multiple fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo.  She is a founder of The First Person Plural Reading Series in Harlem, a Contributing Editor at The Iowa Review, and Associate Professor of creative writing and literature at the Eugene Lang College of The New School University in the city of New York.

Walters’s lyrical work with composer Derek Bermel has been performed widely, including   Carnegie Hall,  Joe’s Pub, the Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst in Denmark, and The Institute for Advanced Study.  With Bermel she was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony and Mendelssohn Choir to write the libretto for “The Good Life,” an oratorio celebrating the first 250 years of Pittsburgh’s history.  Walters and Bermel were also artists-in-residence with the Pittsburgh Symphony, teaching advanced students from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University in lyrical techniques.  In addition to works for large ensembles and orchestras, they have written dozens of art songs. They are completing a musical called Golden Motors, which was commissioned by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.


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Save the Dates for Winter/Spring 2015!

We’re so excited to announce what will be a thrilling, expansive and nourishing season filled with some of the most dynamic and innovative writers of our time.  So grab your calendars, you wont want to miss a single one of these surely fabulous performances.

JANUARY 23, 2015 at 7PM
at the Omni Oakland Commons
4799 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland

featuring short plays by:Will Alexander;  Jen Coleman; Tom Comitta, Yume Kim & Amy Berkowitz; Drew Cushing; Gloria Frym; Heather Gibbons & Angela Willetts; Ivy Johnson & Kate Robinson;  Becca Klaver, Kristin Aardsma, Hanna Andrews, Marisa Crawford, Lily Ladewig, Krystal Languell, Caolan Madden, Emily Skillings & Jennifer Tamayo; Jenn McCreary; Davida Small; and Chet Wiener

Advance Tickets Available at BROWNPAPERTICKETS. COM
$15 general/$25 generous.
Tickets at the door are $20.

JANUARY 24, 2015 at 7PM
at Little Boxes Theater
1661 Tennessee Avenue, San Francisco

featuring the world premiere of a full length play
by Tanya Hollis & Kevin Killian

Advance Tickets Available at BROWNPAPERTICKETS. COM
$15 general/$25 generous.
Tickets at the door are $20.

FEBRUARY 15, 2015 at 5PM
at Artist Television Access
a reading with

Lucas de Lima & Wendy S. Walters

MARCH 1, 2015 at 5PM
at Artist Television Access
co-presented with Mills College
Report from the Field with Amy De’Ath, Jennifer Tamayo and Cassandra Troyan

Join us for an info-share with poets in, from, and moving between Vancouver, Chicago, New York and London. How are other scenes, institutions, editors and curators responding to rape and sexual violence in writing communities? De’Ath, Tamayo and Troyan will share their experiences organizing meetings, potlucks and online interventions, in a discussion of the dymanics, difficulties, and benefits of their respective locations, actions taken and not taken. What does feminist solidarity look like? What might it look like? How can we take better care of one another? What kind of socialities and spaces do we want to create?

MARCH 22, 2015 at 5PM
at CCA Writers Studio
co-presented by the Poetry Center
a celebration of the work of Kathleen Fraser on her 80th birthday

with participants including

Bev Dahlen, Frances Richard, John Sakkis, Brenda Hillman, Robin Tremblay-McGaw, Linda Russo, Brian Teare, Latasha Diggs, Elena Rivera, Lauren Shufran, Stephen Motika, and Susan Gevirtz

APRIL 19, 2015 at 5PM
at Artist Television Access
a reading with
Rodrigo Toscano & Aisha Sasha John


MAY 3, 2015 at 5pm
at Artist Television Access
a reading by
erica kaufman & Frank Sherlock
MAY 17, 2015 at 5PM
at Artist Television Access
a conversation with Andy Fitch’s
60 Morning Talks

Join Andy Fitch, author of 60 Morning Talks, in conversation with and readings by: Juliana Leslie, Brandon Brown, Amanda Nadelberg, Laura Wertherington, and more!

JUNE 7, 2015 at 5pm
location TBA


JUNE 20, 2015
location TBA





erica kaufman
Bhanu Kapil
Stephanie Young
Meg Day
and more TBA!

Hope to see you there!


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40×40@40: Tremblay-McGaw on Howe

Welcome to another installment to our year-long program of inquiry (that’s been on hiatus): 40×40@40.

As part of looking back and mapping what the amazing contributions to experimental literature in the past forty years, 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.

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

Robin Tremblay McGaw

Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1985.

In August of 1985, my partner Clay and I drove across country, towing a homemade trailer, from New Hampshire to San Francisco so I could go to graduate school in English and Creative Writing at San Francisco State. There I would take classes with Bob Glück, Kathleen Fraser, Peter Weltner, and others.  That same year, as of yet unbeknownst to me, North Atlantic Books would publish Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson. While studying poetry with Charles Simic at the University of New Hampshire, I’m sure we read a Dickinson poem or two. However, it was through Kathleen Fraser’s classes, the groundbreaking journal HOW(ever), and Susan Howe (whose work Fraser introduced her students to) that I came to Dickinson anew.  Fraser encouraged her students to attend the Emily Dickinson/H.D. Dual Centennial Colloquium at San Jose State in October of 1986 where Howe was presenting her revolutionary, erudite and activist scholarship on Dickinson’s work and the history of its presentation and violation by male editors.  I was intimidated and awe-struck by the wiry energy and intellectual and imaginative force of Howe—in person and on the page.

My Emily Dickinson begins with an epigraph from William Carlos Williams: “Never a woman: never a poet. That’s an axiom. Never a poet saw sun here.” While Howe informs us she loves In the American Grain, she makes clear her book  is “a contradiction of its epigraph.”

Rarely has scholarship about literature become poetry as it does in Howe’s book:

Through a forest of mystic meaning, Religion hunts for Poetry’s freedom, while Poetry roams Divinity’s sovereign source (55).

The lure-dark Tower, blind as the fool’s heart was a squat mirage too late.  At the edge of unknown, the sacred inaccessible unseen-Lyric “I” is both guard and hunter. We and We prey on each other.  Absence is the admired presence of each poem. Death roams the division—World’s november (70).

Conversion is a sort of Death, a falling into Love’s powerful attraction. Power is pitiless once you have put it on. The poetry is an intermediary hunting form beyond form, truth beyond theme through woods of words tangled and tremendous. Who owns the woods? Freedom to roam poetically means freedom to hunt (79-80).

From first word to the last MY Life my art my power DIEs into rhymed order. Rhyme and meaning are one, death completes my life and makes it mine. Master is still sleeping, Gun still soliloquizing (129).

My Emily Dickinson is fueled by Howe’s passions for reading, scholarship’s thick description, poetry’s sonic and linguistic densities.  Howe reads Dickinson’s radical and enigmatic writing by travelling with George Eliot, Emerson, Browning, Tennyson, Spencer, Jonathan Edwards, Mary Rowlandson, Emily Brontë, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Shakespeare, numerous others, and Dickinson herself.

When I reread Howe’s book, I am still stunned by her accomplishment, caught again in the thicket of words, reading’s resonances.  It is ironic I needed to cross the country to discover the complexities of two New England women writing (through reading) on the edge of probability.  Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson provides a model for what an activist and poet’s scholarship might imagine and make possible.

Poetry is the great stimulation of life. Poetry leads past possession of self to transfiguration beyond gender. Poetry is redemption from pessimism. Poetry is affirmation in negation, ammunition in the yellow eye of a gun that an allegorical pilgrim will shoot straight into the quiet of Night’s frame. Childe Roland at the moment of sinking down with the sun, like Phaeton in a ball of flame, sees his visionary precursor peers ringed round him waiting

To Edward (Ned) Dickinson                                                  mid-may 1880

Phoebus–  “I’ll take the Reigns.”


(L642) (Howe 138).


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