One of the ideas near the center of Seattle independent press Gramma is that poetry and writing are physical artforms. Books are tactile objects, obviously, and reading is auditory. But Colleen Louise Barry, a Gramma editor and Mount Analogue mastermind, figures that in order to invite people in and break poetry out of the solemn insular space it can sometimes inhabit—even if only in imagination—it needs to interact with other mediums. Maybe that’s Seattle civic poet Anastacia-Renee’s “What’s Your Emergency,” showing right now at Mount Analogue, in which you wander into a room with poems dangling in front of your face.
Or maybe that’s Gramma’s just announced reading series, which currently is slated for vaguely quarterly readings. It will return in October—with Pulitzer Prize–winner Tyehimba Jess, Kaveh Akbar (who was recently married here), and Anastacia-Renee—February, and early next June. First up is the reading this Saturday, June 23 at Erickson Theater at 7pm. Instead of a standard author appearance, where a single writer reads and answers questions and everyone makes it home at a very reasonable hour, Gramma events are arranged more like a concert ticket, and there’s even a bar open throughout the readings.
At reading #1, Lindy West—former Stranger writer and author of Shrill, which is now becoming a Hulu show—sort of headlines, reading from her dazzlingly funny and deeply adroit work. Writer Kate Durbin will present a performance art piece about Anna Nicole Smith. Gramma poet Stacey Tran will read from her new book Soap for the Dogs (check out her "Fake Haiku" series with a couple other poems here). And Fausto and Cheryl of Au Collective will dance.
If embracing the interdisciplinary physicality of poetry to find its echo in other artforms sounds high minded, it’s really just a way to foster community: “We definitely want to make this series joyful," Barry says, "and playful and really invite people to have fun and to not take each other and themselves too seriously.”
Gramma Reading Series #1
Sat, June 23, Erickson Theater, $12