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The Small Press Beat Guide to AWP

Headed to AWP? If so, stop by booth 813 and say hi to Tin House. Besides offering up tremendous deals on books & magazine subscriptions, members of our staff will be handing out stock market tips and relationship advice, often times combining the two.

In the interim, Drew Swenhaugen, our man on the Small Press Beat, offers up his suggestions for publishers to look up and parties to crash while in Chicago.

Last week, Tin House ran Courtney Maum’s Field Guide to AWP. While I really liked the piece, I think she missed one identifiable and growing population of the incestuous AWP convention – the small press people. I suppose some do fall into the category of lumberjacks without driver’s licenses (admittedly accurate), but they also have a few distinct traits specific to their species.  It’s easy to spot them – there’s an entire row of affiliated presses which calls itself Table X, a Publishing Commune (and subsequently, a Table Y and Z).

Table X began in 2010 (at the AWP held in Denver) with twenty small presses that wanted to band together and share a part of the bookfair’s floor. This year there are over fifty presses participating, and many are sharing tables with one another. They fall short of being able to participate in the business and academically-sponsored events of the convention itself, so they go outside the Hilton and into the city, organizing off-site readings at stuffy bars, cafes and galleries.

The last thing I want to do is pit this small press community against their more landed older brothers & sisters, but it is germane to highlight the growing presence and importance of these small presses in the midst of a convention that is overflowing with more established journals. I’m not asking you to embrace their funny-looking shoes, but you ought to check out their books. Just follow the smell of cheap whiskey to the far corners of the convention center and look for a group of good- looking people peddling interesting wares, especially if you’re a “book as art object” fan. Chapbooks, broadsides, matchbooks, you name it, can be found at Table X, and many of these journals are made via screen printing  letterpressing, or diligently hand-sewn.

If I am able to find the convention center or don’t sleep in, here are some bookfair tables and off-site events that I recommend. I hope to see you there!

Bookfair Tables (with a recommended title from the publisher).

UGLY DUCKLING PRESSEThirty-Five New Pages, by Lev Rubinstein.

LETTER MACHINE EDITIONS - Ode: Salute to the New York School, by Peter Gizzi.

1913Home/Birth, by Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker.

CANARIUM BOOKS - The Invention of Glass, by Emmanuel Hocquard.

OCTOPUS BOOKS - Dear Jenny, We are All Find, by Jenny Zhang

FORKLIFT, OHIOThe Dark is Here, by Kiki Petrosino

H_NGM_NCarnavoria, by Laurie Saurborn Young

SUPERMACHINE Dear Jenny, by Genya Turovskaya

FACTORY HOLLOW PRESSJombang Jet, by Michael Earl Craig

BRAVE MEN PRESSHow to Write a Mistake-ist Poem, by Chris Martin

Outside the Convention Halls

No Baby (Yes Baby) – Featuring Taryn Andrews, Cody-Rose Clevidence, Julia Cohen, Ben Fama, Elaine Kahn, Mark Leidner, Dan Magers, Rob Ostrom, Caryl Pagel, Emily Pettit, Mathias Svalina, Paige Taggart and Michelle Taransky.(Thursday)

An Evening of Intimate Readings in the Bathroom of a Goth Club – Featuring Laura Goldstein, Nick Demske w/ Dolly Lemke, Feng Sun Chen, Johannes Goransson, Kristen Stone, Kate Durbin, Lucas De Lima, Gina Abelkop, Adam Atkinson, Kate Zambreno, Blake Butler, Ben Fama, Ronaldo Wilson Lara Glenum, Lonely Christopher, Carrie Murphy, Ben Kopel, William Burke, Alissa Nutting, Anna Joy Springer and Mike Kitchell. (Thursday)

The Legion – Featuring Feng Sun Chen, Christopher DeWeese, Rebecca Farivar, Peter Gizzi, Thurston Moore, Andrea Rexilius, Zachary Schomburg and Jenny Zhang. (Friday)

GET LIT! - Featuring Darren Angle, Evelyn Hampton, Mark Gurarie, Jeff T. Johnson, Alex Crowley, Farrah Field, Mark Bibbins, Nick Demske, Jaclyn Lovell, Claire Donato, Christian Ochoa, Jackie Clark , Matt Hart, Christie Ann Reynolds, Christine Kanownik and Andrew Gori. (Friday)

Sixth Finch & YesYes Books Present! - Featuring Emily Kendal Frey, Ally Harris, Matt Hart, Mark Leidner, Thomas Patrick Levy, Ben Mirov, Metta Sáma, Nate Slawson, Leigh Stein, Gale Marie Thompson, Phillip B. Williams, Angela Veronica Wong and Matthew Yeager. (Friday)

LITERATURE PARTY – Featuring Jesse Ball, Dorothea Lasky, Tim Kinsella and Mary Miller (Friday)

Table X/Y Party & Reading Experiment – Organized cacophony. Writers from 32 small presses read simultaneously in one space! (Friday)

Gender Balanced as Fukk at Wrigley Field – I’m not sure if this is real, but I’m showing up just in case. Featuring Jesus, Mary Ruefle and Ben Affleck. (???)

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