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DIY Poetry Publishing Cooperative

July 19, 2008

Bootstrap News: Small Press Fair in Lowell, MA

The word from Derek Fenner and Ryan Gallagher of Bootstrap Productions
This year, Lowell will be hosting the first ever annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival from October 10th - 11th. [Get in touch with them at bootstrapproductions[at]gmail[dot]com for the .pdf factsheet.]

The reason we are writing you is to invite you to participate in the small press fair. There will be no fee—we have made sure that the festival factored in the cost of renting an art gallery downtown and covered the cost of tables and chairs. You will keep 100% of what you sell.

Why do we think it will be successful?

The organizers of this festival have remained committed to showing the diversity of the art of poetry. Represented and given equal weight alongside of "established" academic poets from college campuses will be a strong representation from experimental literature, literature in translation, slam / performance poetry, and a diversity of cultures. Though this is impossible to achieve with perfection--the festival has made this a priority. Bootstrap has been asked to have a major role in bringing in "headline readers", plan events, and (which is why we are writing to you) to plan the small press fair and related panel discussions.

The Small Press Fair: When we were first asked to be a part of this festival, we expressed our idea that in order for this to really "work" that we should highlight small press publishing and show its importance to the craft of poetry—without a small press culture, there is no sustainable poetics.

The goal is to reach out and draw in a sizable crowd--one which will hopefully support poetry by buying books. We'd like to think that Lowell could become a Columbus Day destination every year--you come and sell books and hang out in Kerouac's city in the middle of a New England autumn. The city will also be covered with poetry as public art and should be a visual treat.

But this can't happen without some help from you—to add some legitimacy to this event.

If you are interested?

Please contact us as soon as possible. The Book Fair and related panels will take place all day on Saturday, October 11th.

We will also keep you in contact of events as they arise and are booked--and can help with suggestions if you choose to stay in downtown Lowell for one or two of the nights--The Doubletree is a great hotel, very affordable, right at the heart of all the events in downtown--only a stones throw away from Kerouac Park--has nice views of the city, canals, the Merrimack River (immortalized by both Kerouac and Thoreau) and the New Hampshire hills. Drive about an hour in any direction from Lowell and you could end up in Boston, Providence, the beginning of Cape Cod, Salem MA, Gloucester MA, The New Hampshire and Maine Coasts, the Appalachian trail in New Hampshire (great hiking), the Berkshires, Walden Pond--the list goes on....

More… about Lowell & the Mass Poetry Festival:

Lowell already has a strong literary tradition to build from, and since Lowell received status as a Historic National Park over 25 years ago, the city has focused effort and funding to promote itself as a historic and cultural destination. As part of the milieu of a revitalized downtown, the largest and (we would argue) most successful free music and ethnic Folk Festival in the country, as well as the rich cultural history represented with its population—Lowell will begin hosting what we hope will be a successful and energetic Poetry Festival every year.

Members of the planning committee are drawing off of prior experience as well as contacts and institutional organizations that have made Lowell a great place to hold Festivals: i.e. The Lowell Folk Festival, Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL), The Revolving Museum, and UMass Lowell are just a few of the organizations involved in planning and (just as importantly) in securing funding.

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