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A Blazevox Evening

Kicking off the fall installment of Just Buffalo’s Small Press Series are Amy King and Geoffrey Gatza at Rust Belt Books. This reading promises to offer a sampling of Gatza’s Buffalo-based BlazeVOX press. Amy King’s first full-length book, Antidotes for an Alibi, was published by BlazeVOX in 2005 and continued to build King’s impressive publishing credentials (she won Pavement Saw’s chapbook contest in 2002) as she was a finalist against Adrienne Rich for the Lambda Award, the country’s most prestigious award for literature written by or for the LGBT community. The poems in her first collection take the power relations of and within language, and domesticated language, poetic form and the family unit head-on. Her poems vibrate, or twitch, like atoms approaching Absolute Zero. Simply put, King has achieved a reliable poetic voice in her first collection. A voice with which she is certain without being overbearing—willing to question itself, but not ashamed of its observations. But beyond her history with BlazeVOX, she shares with Gatza a commitment to poetry as a community.

In New York City, King is managing editor for MiPOesias Magazine which has become one of nation’s respected poetry magazines (just this year, Reb Livingston’s poem “That’s Not Butter,” originally published in MiPOesias, appears in Best American Poetry, 2006.) And, like BlazeVOX, it is one of the few truly independent small presses left that has absolutely no reliance on any academic or government institution for support. In addition to her editing, she also organizes the MiPOesias Reading Series and teaches at Nassau Community College.

Geoffrey Gatza brings numerous different experiences into his poems. He has been in the Marine Corps, serving in the first Gulf War, and an accountant. Currently he is Executive Chef at The Mansion on Delaware and publisher of poetry. He is the author of two collections: Dreadful Quietude, A confused saturation of Pre 9/11 America & Supermen; and I Wear a Figleaf Over My Penis (from which two poems appear at right). Gatza’s poems are willing to take the chance of not being fashionable, as he’d rather fashion the kind of poems that he’d like to read. These can range drastically, from rather somber observations to wild and ecstatic appearances of dragons in Brooklyn. Or, as Peter Conners puts in his Artvoice review of a few months ago (v5n32) “he wants to write about heroes and the ways mythology and meditation lose out to Wal-Mart, Starbucks and war all the time.”

If these poets don’t give you faith that the tradition of small press poetry (and the seemingly wide net it casts) is alive and well, come out on Thursday and see for yourself.

Thursday, September 21 @ 7pm. Rust Belt Books, 202 Allen Street (885-9535).