Moment.07 || Book Festival

Drove to the Museum District of downtown Houston this morning to attend the Houston Indie Book Festival in Menil Park. Even by mid-morning the humidity settled firmly over the city and pollen was thick in the air; a brassy golden powder fell in the heat making the sidewalks and park lawn slightly slick. Despite the unexpected heat, many people wandered between the various outdoor stalls or sat listening to poets and fiction writers reciting. A full list of the vendors can be found at

Many diverse magazines and literary journals showed up in support of the event. Among them were Gulf Coast, Nano Fiction, Workers Write, Pebble Lake Review, Apple Valley Review, American Short Fiction, Tiferet Journal, and Literary Bird Journal.

An interesting publication titled 6x6 caught my attention by the design of the magazine itself: a square-ish, firm card stock cover with the upper right corner sliced off, held together by a thick industrial rubber band. Each issue contains six poets who are each given six pages to present their work. What results of course is an unexpected, unique journal consisting of unique voices. Ugly Duckling Presse creates these magazines, plus other similar projects.

The press specializes in art house quality publications by utilizing “out of date” book-making techniques. Their books and magazines result with a one-of-a-kind, personalized style. This quality of human involvement in the creation of art increasingly becomes rarer with the computer industry and negative capitalistic business practices.

After leaving the event, I ended up at the Brazos Bookstore a few blocks away. With all the attention on Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Nobles’ Nook, and other similar digitized reading devices, it was nice to walk into a physical store and browse the large available inventory of Brazos’ poetry section, holding individual, different books and authors. Just to illustrate the conflicting extremes: at the local Cypress BN, their poetry bookcase is now reduced to two shelves. Yes, two. To make it worse, the selection is reduced to Beowulf, Chaucer, Dickinson, Homer, Frost, Plath, Eliot and other standard, expected authors. At the Brazos Bookstore, I had three bookcases of publications to peruse, consisting of the standards, plus many modern poets of the last decade. As you can guess, I spent over a hundred dollars on a number of books.

My summer reading list continually grows out of control. So many words, so little time.


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