Wednesday, November 16, 2011

White Elephant Contemporary Poetry Gift Exchange poetry reading

Browsing Barnes & Noble bookshelves, you might have trouble locating the Poetry "section." You might even wonder if there have been any poets or poetry, published in the last handful of decades.

So I decided to put together a special White Elephant Contemporary Poetry Gift Exchange, for the December edition of the monthly poetry reading series that I host at Glendale Community College.

I will ask people to bring one of their favorite poetry collections. One that they would recommend to anyone. They will read one or two poems to the crowd and then they will exchange it for one of the books that I brought, or one of the "in play" books that someone else in the crowd is holding.

I will also bring a handful of my favorites to giveaway to random members of the audience who just came to listen. So you have a chance to walk away with some great new poetry, whether or not you brought something.

Everyone will encounter some great poetry that night and the hope is that anyone could walk away with a new favorite poet. Or at least a little exposure to some worthwhile poetry and presses that they might want to keep an eye out for...

I'm still deciding which poets/books to contribute, so I can ensure some covetable steal-worthy collections.
Let me know if you've read any poets lately, who made you want to loan their book to all of your friends and one or two of your co-workers.

If you're in the neighborhood, it will be on Thursday December 8th

Glendale Community College student union

open read starts at 7pm

Post Event Update:

For the record, here are some of the books we ended up giving away on behalf of GCC (especially Johnnie Clemens May), and myself:

Beth Ann Fennelly    "Tender Hooks"

Denise Duhamel    "Kinky"   (Orchises Press)

Aimee Nezhukumatathil    "Lucky Fish"   (Tupelo Press

Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz    "Everything Is Everything"   (Write Bloody Publishing)

Mather Schneider    "He Took A Cab"   (NYQ Books)

NYQ Books liked the idea of this event so much that Editor Raymond Hammond donated three extra books for me to share:

Grace Zabriskie    "Poems"
Monique Ferrell    "Unsteady"
Amanda J. Bradley    "Hints and Allegations"

Cathy Cappozoli heard about what we were doing, so she sent her latest chapbook "Solstice Windows"
& her husband Sherman Souther's  "Surgical Bru-Ez" to give away.

So we were able to expose people to a lot of great work being created 
by a lot of great poets and presses that deserve more attention.


  1. Excellent idea Shawnte. I love sharing my favorites, or not so favorites, and really love the idea of walking away with new poems -- for free!

  2. It will be interesting to see which poets people choose to bring in...and interesting to see which ones people think are worth stealing. I will post a list in an after-event recap post.

    I will also try to get some bookmarks/promo material from some of the presses to have available for anyone who would like more info on what is available out there.


  3. What a great idea. I know what you the bigger bookstores, it's usually just one or two shelves and lots of anthologies.

    I once went to a book swap....kind of like this, it seems! Lots of grad students and teachers brought books they didn't need anymore---it was great.

  4. Since I host a monthly poetry series, I often read poems from other writers that catch my eye. A lot of people are surprised to hear that there is still a lot of good work being written and published out there. So that's why I decided to center an entire event around the idea.