I write this in a Manchester, NH cafe, caffeinating, quietly gnawing on bread I snuck in. The past couple months have been the usual Nostrovia! chaotic. A four-day Greyhound transported Neeko Ford & I from Oakland, CA, to New York, NY, where over-stimulation snatched the flesh under our eyes and pulled till they bruised like Southern Coasts. I am absolutely exhausted. Buckling down on the East Coast, stepping out of the lack of routine of being on the road, and into the working world again, I am going to recap on Nostrovia!’s 3rd year hitting the NYC Poetry Festival.
2015 has been a crazed year for Nostrovia!. Early on, Christopher Morgan & I launched Nostrovia!’s first Chapbook Contest, for print publication & debut at the Festival. The successful publication of the winners was the result of a small press coalition’s collaboration between Nostrovia!’s co-manager Christopher Morgan, Fruita Pulp editor Kyle Harvey’s design skills, and Bottlecap Press founder CA Mullins bringing the publications from the digital realm into reality thru the mouth of his printers. With the group’s cooperation, the books ended up landing in N.Y.C. for their debut looking beautiful.
The winners, Bob Schofield’s Moon Facts / August Smith’s Bird Lizard Horse / Sarah Xerta’s Juliet (II), successfully debuted to the excitement New York’s literary hungry that ended up browsing Nostrovia!’s table. All 3 publications are currently available online at a ‘pay-what-you-can’ rate, the same as at the Festival.
Between touring with Books & Shovels, our traveling pop-up bookstore, editing manuscripts, social media promotions, soliciting reviews, and pushing Nostrovia!’s manifesto of Passionate Living > Making a Living, we’ve created a solid hearth in the literary community for us to rest in the warmth of as we plot our next moves.
There’s always more coming, but let’s go over the mushy asshole with a big heart that is New York.
We crashed on 149th street in Harlem on a bunk bed we stained with skin muggy like Florida, spent one night cuddle puddling for warmth on Coney Island sand, lugged over 80 lbs of books on Neeko’s & my back throughout the city, and had a wonderful cuffed experience for hanging around a park after dark.
We landed here border-lining broke. Drinking energy drinks to kill belly grumbles, we finalized materials for the festivals & roamed as much of the city as possible, unhealthily wringing experience out of the passing hours. 2014’s NYC Poetry Festival went incredibly well w/ the traveling bookstores’ debut, so we took a gamble. We threw all of our cards in on making it to the East Coast for the event, hoping to sell enough funds to reinvest into Books & Shovels and break even for the project’s futures.
& well, that’s poetry. We didn’t make it economically, but shit, that was a side note, a hope that isn’t a valuable focus to us. There were more than double the amount of vendors there were last year, and the large number of tables created internal competition between publishers and t-shirt sales. $$$ has never been a primary goal of Nostrovia!, the bookstore, or any of our projects. We wouldn’t be doing this if $ was at the wheel. We will never deny anyone literature because of $. Monetary drive is the noose of creativity, the imagination & soul.
It didn’t pay off economically, but damn, it was one hell of an adventure. We’ve been consistently enabled to continue doing what we love; poetry & working to inspire others. That’s why Nostrovia! is temporarily settling a branch in the East, to financially recuperate from this excursion, and refocus forward towards an upcoming traveling bookstore relaunch. Shout out to the wonderful souls, Chris Salas, Christopher Morgan, Jennesy Herrara, Zarina Zabrisky, Simon Rogghe, A. Razor, among so many others, that have kept our idealistic notions afloat.
I whole-heatedly believe it’s better to chase shooting stars than drown in a stagnant pond. Passion is a noose in its self, but I’d rather hang from a rope of star dust than drown quietly.
Jennesy on deck
Due to travel complications, Nostrovia!’s original stage line up for the event was changed. Sadly, Sarah Xerta & Bob Schofield were unable to make it. Rather, Neeko Ford + Leah Mueller + August Smith + myself hit the stage.
Nostrovia! Poetry’s table was managed collaboratively by myself, our San Francisco homie Chris Salas, Yonkers creative Jennesy Herrera, and a new friend & poet, Michael Ganjehlou.
Our last moments in New York were spent watching the sun set quiet over the noise of Harlem bopping below:
We send ❤ to the cats that have supported us cross country, and given us opportunities to chase our dreams. We send ❤ to the cats in the streets, the traveling kids, those capitalism has not afforded the ability to chase their dreams, the folks we’ve been having street poetry ciphers with, and those that are too stubborn to surrender their dreams even with society stacking weight against them.
Upcoming this October is Lit Crawl San Francisco, where I’ll be performing, and Books & Shovels will be kicking it w/ a surprise new project, and new potent voices. We’ve crossed the continent, East / West / East, and it’ll be time soon to do so again. More information coming soon. Nostrovia!