Buffalo poets aged 40 and under can submit to a new anthology of verse through April. BlazeVOX will publish the project in December 2017.
There’s been a lot of buzz around Buffalo poetry lately. The Just Buffalo Literary Center continues to do great work for the city — this year alone they brought Booker-winner Marlon James, Guggenheim Fellow Laila Lalami, and Irish legend Edna O’Brien; their 2017 literary calendar will close with appearances from “rock star” poet Eileen Myles and the extraordinary Dave Eggers. Over the past two seasons the Canisius Contemporary Writers Series brought to Buffalo Theo Dorgan, Kevin Kling, Anne Enright, Cristina Henriquez, Emma Donoghue, and Diana Goetsch; while this year’s UB Oscar Silverman Reading featured Campbell McGrath.
Buffalo continues to enjoy a never-ending carnival procession of literary luminaries, thanks to the indefatigable efforts of the people at these great schools and cultural institutions. But that’s not the buzz I was talking about.
Last spring, two new magazines launched almost simultaneously: the digital native Peach Mag, and my own biannual print publication Foundlings. These joined another lovely publication, Steel Bellow. All three were conceived by people under the age of 30. All three have garnered huge followings in the city and beyond, and have hosted some of the highlight events of the past 12 months.
- Peach, for example, has created a pipeline to Buffalo for writers associated with alt-lit outlets like Metatron in Montreal and Monster House in Bloomington, IN. Their readings at venues like Sugar City and Dreamland have brought Buffalo poets together with visiting writers.
- Foundlings, too, has had some success in the import-export game. We brought seven Buffalo poets on a five-city tour (with stops in Fredonia, Rochester, Syracuse, and Toronto) during the 2016 election. We’re proud as well that our magazine features the work of up-and-coming Buffalo writers alongside established writers from around the country — like bilingual poet Don Berger of Baltimore, the Anglo-American poet Lytton Smith of Rochester, and Jason Irwin of Pittsburgh. We’ll continue this with the launch of Vol. 3, June 3rd a Nietzsche’s, featuring the poets George Wallace, George Guida, and Gerry LaFemina, all visiting from NYC.
- Steel Bellow, meanwhile, maintains a tighter Buffalo focus, giving local poets extended treatment in their issues, really like triptych chapbooks.
- The most energetic of us might be the Cringeworthy Poets, who in the space of just two months brought alt-lit and slam phenomena Steve Roggenbuck and Neil Hilborn. This summer, their reading tour will take them all the way to California.
- Also in the summer, Buffalonians will enjoy the sixth installment of the Silo City Series, a project bringing multidisciplinary word, music, and installation art events to the grain silos on our waterfront. These generally feature a Buffalo poet alongside a visiting poet (last year’s season ended with Ocean Vuong). Again, a young person was behind it all: Noah Falck, Education Director at Just Buffalo.
- Meanwhile, the Buffalo slam community (including the Pure Ink team) continue to host visiting artists and send local talent to compete in the National Poetry Slam. Other open mic events like Wordism bring poets together with musicians.
Those bullet points account for only a fraction of the cool things young Buffalo word-artists are doing. These things are “new,” but the fact of young people taking a lead in the Buffalo arts community is not so new. Because of that, many of us in the community thought it would be a good time to collect young Buffalo writers in one place.
Last night Road Less Traveled Theater put on a poetry showcase that served as our official announcement of the “Buffalo Under 40 Poetry Anthology” (don’t worry — that’s not the title). As I said at the event (in the video above), this is our small contribution to a long and unbroken “revolution” in Buffalo arts, stretching back more than a century.
The project has been underway for a few months now. Co-editors Noah Falck and Justin Karcher are heading up the project, backed by an outstanding editorial board of Buffalo-based poets and curators: Rachelle Toarmino, Paige Melin, Tom Dreitlein, and Eve Williams Wilson.
For the month of April, the team will accept unsolicited submissions. Send work to under40Buffalo@gmail.com, and see www.under40Buffalo.com for guidelines. BlazeVOX will publish the book in December 2017: expect parties.