A Micro-Arts Festival on the Buffalo River: Constant Stranger Release Profiled in the Buffalo News

On Saturday, August 18, Foundlings Press will unveil Constant Stranger: After Frank Stanford, the biggest release yet from the little publishing collective a few friends and I started only two years ago. Including a cross-generational cast of luminaries and legends like Forrest Gander, C.D. Wright, Ada Limón, Steve Stern, and Terrance Hayes, the book celebrates the life and work of the poet Frank Stanford. Our unveiling — this Saturday at Silo City — coincides with the last Just Buffalo Silo City Summer Reading Series performance of 2018, featuring Kazim Ali and Marcus Jackson (5pm), as well as an immersive theatrical experience, STATIONS, presented by Torn Space and a host of international an internationally acclaimed collaborators (7:30pm).  (Tickets to STATIONS are available here, for $20 with the discount code “JBLC”.) Our unveiling will be held at Duende, an awesome bar on the Silo City property.

The Buffalo News previewed our “micro-arts festival,” a term coined by Just Buffalo’s Noah Falck, founder and curator of the Silo Reading Series (and Constant Stranger contributor). He added that visitors can “pop in and out” of events as they choose, and can expect to be “inundated with poetry, music, pop-up art and avant-garde theater.”

Noah Falck’s Silo City Summer Reading Series is the most-anticipated reading series in Buffalo, and one of the highlights of the city’s arts culture.

Following readings from Ali and Jackson, and a musical performance by UVB76, Foundlings will bring Matthew Henriksen (poet and organizer of the Frank Stanford Literary Festival) and Bill Willett (Stanford’s friend) to read some of Frank Stanford’s poetry as a transition into the Torn Space portion of the evening’s events.

Torn Space Theater’s RESPONSE festival, set at the Silos for the past several years, always proves an unforgettable experience.

Our after party starts between 10 and 10:30pm, in Duende, where we’ll have copies of Constant Stranger on sale. The Buffalo News called the book “a timely project that Foundling Press’s Aidan Ryan said ‘spiraled out of control’ after he and co-editor Max Crinnin sought to build on renewed excitement about Stanford following two major 2015 publications of his verse,” and one that “aims to solidify Stanford’s status as a major American poet.” To offer a mix of new and old perspectives on Stanford — the Buffalo News called him “a Southern poet whose prolific production of hauntingly visceral verse was cut off with his  tragic death at age 29 in 1978” — we pulled together tributes, poems influenced by Stanford, critical essays, memoirs, and Spanish translations of Stanford’s verse, all culled from the 40 years since his passing.

Buy the book.

An image from inside Constant Stranger: After Frank Stanford.

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Foundlings Enters ‘Next Phase’ with Lytton Smith’s My Radar Data Knows Its Thing

Buffalo News Art Critic Colin Dabkowski Traces the Transformation of a Magazine into a Press

“Foundlings Press Enters New Phase”

From the outside, the past few days might have seemed like a startling explosion of growth for Foundlings Press. Last Wednesday we announced our formal publishing partnership with The Public, Western New York’s alternative weekly newspaper, and teased the cover of our first title under the “Public Books” imprint, Bruce Fisher’s Where The Streets Are Paved With Rust: Essays From America’s Broken Heartland, Vol. 1, to be officially released Friday 6 April at Community Beer Works’ new Jersey Street location. This Friday, 16 March, at Hotel Henry, we’re releasing our first poetry collection, Lytton Smith’s My Radar Data Knows Its Thing, winner of the 2017 Foundlings Artist Residency and Chapbook Contest, designed by guest book artist Stephen Fitzmaurice. Meanwhile, we’re nearing the end of our open submission period for an upcoming release celebrating the life and work of the poet Frank Stanford.

These projects may all have come to fruition within the same short time frame, but, as Buffalo News Art Critic Colin Dabkowski explains in today’s paper, all are the products of a long period of gestation, as Foundlings gradually transformed from a biannual print publication with a modest circulation into what it is today: an independent literary publishing house with a national audience and roster of writers.

“With this book launch, a planned second residency, and another book on the way,” Dabkowski writes, “the fledgling Foundlings is off to a good start.”

More About My Radar

Book Launch Reading and Reception

Hotel Henry

444 Forest Ave, Buffalo, NY 14213

100 Acres Restaurant and LBAC Gallery

6pm: Cocktails

7pm: Poetry (Noah Falck, Janet McNally, and Lytton Smith)

8pm: Book sales and signing (plus more cocktails)

 

Lytton Smith’s My Radar Data Knows Its Thing, winner of the 2017 Foundlings Press Artist Residency and Chapbook Contest, is a deeply sensitive, wide-ranging, and lyrical exploration of human connection, technology, proximity, the past in the present, and the natural environment.

“With each poem that begins with his namesake’s classic line, Lytton Smith’s chapbook tests the limits of language just as it tests the limits of human relationships,” the poet Anthony Caleshu writes.” Words hold us together even when we’re questioning their validity. Our linguistic (and so our human) scale has just gotten bigger and bolder.”

The book features illustrations and conceptual design from Philadelphia-based artist Stephen Fitzmaurice.

Lytton Smith is the author of two books of poetry from Nightboat Books and the translator of several books from the Icelandic. The novel Öræfi—the Wastelands, from the Icelandic of Ófeigur Sigurðsson, will be published by Deep Vellum in spring 2018. He is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at SUNY Geneseo.

Peach Mag Editor Reviews Organizing Isolation in The Public

Peach Mag editor Rachelle Toarmino reviewed Organizing Isolation in this week’s Public. Rachelle was the first person to see any drafts of these poems – it was Rachelle who suggested I reach out to Joel Brenden of Linoleum press to collaborate – and so it’s fitting that she should be the first voice to comment on the whole collection.

She liked it, I think.

The collection is a portrait of ultimates—love, religion, presence, absence—formed from the fragments of letters and postcards previously sent to Ryan by his loved ones. The resulting poems feed new life into moments whose hunger has long since abated. In a poem entitled “The Sister [September 2015],” Ryan collages text that reads, “I have no ideas / none significant or strange. / And living alone at the end causes me such unfunny anxiety. / I’ve never heard anyone shuffle like god / but I’m glad we are continuing.” The careful manipulation of the text speaks to the magical way we sometimes manipulate memories, given enough estrangement, in an attempt at what Ryan sharply terms “organizing isolation.”

Rachelle also noted Joel’s extraordinary book-artistry.

True to form, Brenden adds stunning craftsmanship to Ryan’s vision and produced an art object that plays with themes of organizing and the intimacy of handwritten letters.

Pick up a copy of The Public this week to see the review in print.

Review: Rotten Kid, by Ben Brindise

Ben Brindise has been a friend and close collaborator since we met at the first Foundlings launch back in May 2016. We’ve read together countless times, from the election season “Whistle Stop” tour to a poets’ showcase Ben hosted Monday night at Nietzsche’s (now to be a recurring thing, based on that night’s massive success). Now Ghost City Press has published his first chapbook, Rotten Kid, and I got to review it for The Public. I already spilled quite a few words on the book, so go read the review. If you don’t have plans for this Sunday, 5pm at the Gypsy Parlor, mark it in your calendar.  We’ll be celebrating the release with a round of readings from the likes of Justin Karcher, Eve Williams Wilson, Megan Kemple, Ten Thousand, and Tom Dreitlein. I’ll be reading, too.