About this project
Poetry Flash Builds Community
Poetry Flash is what Lawrence Ferlinghetti called a “living newspaper.” We are committed to literary publishing that is rich in editorial content and that provides greater access to literary experiences for writers and the public. Each month, thousands refer to and enjoy Poetryflash.org.
We build community through literature, through literary publishing and experiences and events. In 1972, our founding editors “flashed” on the idea of combining a poetry calendar with a literary review (inspired by the publication Time Out), so that poets could dialogue on their work and find each other.
For almost 45 years, Poetry Flash produced events, workshops, and readings and published book reviews, interviews, essays, poems, calls for submissions, and the most comprehensive free literary calendar in the West—so that our community could speak, and hear, and create itself.
- A brief sampling of the hundreds of articles and poems published in over 300 print issues of this free, literary review, online since 2000: reviews of works by Joshua Beckman, Donald Revell, W.S. Merwin, Diane di Prima, Coral Bracho, (translated by Forrest Gander) Homero Aridjis, Dean Rader, Jennifer Sweeney, Glenna Luschei, hundreds of others; New & Noted features covering Julie Carr, David Meltzer, Matthew Rohrer, Holly Iglesias, Tom Sleigh, and dozens more. Our fiction reviews have included works by Lindsay Hill, Thaisa Frank, Jeffrey Eugenides; interviews with Tony Barnstone, Nigerian-American poet Chris Abani, Kim Addonizio, Susan Terris, Dorianne Laux, Willis Barnstone, Marilyn Chin, and more; essays on reading Anne Carson, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass on spirituality, and on Ferlinghetti, Phillip Lamantia, spoken word, and slam poetry; and poems by hundreds of poets. Much of that content can still be found under “Archive” on poetryflash.org.
- Poetry Flash produces the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, the Northern California Book Awards (and sponsors the Northern California Book Reviewers), and the Poetry Flash reading series—one of the longest-running reading series in the Bay Area, with over 40 readings each year; the series has presented almost 3,000 poets, writers, and artists since 1982.
- In 2015, our Poetry Flash Reading Series at Moe’s Books in Berkeley and Diesel, A Bookstore, in Oakland, presented three to five readings each month (Jean Valentine, Maxine Hong Kingston, Marsha de la O, Marilyn Chin, Ellery Akers, Rebecca Foust, Francisco X. Alarcón, Al Young, Dana Gioia, Rusty Morrison, C. Dale Young, Chana Bloch, Campbell McGrath, Victoria Chang, Lynne Knight, and David Roderick have all appeared recently). Last year’s 20th annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival was luminous (Simon J. Ortiz, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Jane Mead, and Heyday Books author/publisher Malcolm Margolin were among many presenters). The 35th annual Northern California Book Awards will take place at San Francisco Public Library on May 15, 2016, celebrating northern California writers and publishing: Last year, winners included Sacramento poet Julia B. Levine, for Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight, essayist Rebecca Solnit, and novelist Richard Powers for Orfeo; the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award honored poet and translator Willis Barnstone. (Poetry Flash presents the book awards and sponsors the Northern California Book Reviewers.) We also provide invaluable service to small and emerging literary art projects, many of them multidisciplinary, by fiscally sponsoring groups such as Danse Lumière and Undercover, a warm blanket, sandwich, and poem project for San Francisco homeless. All of these writers and projects have been represented on Poetryflash.org.
Gerald Fleming said Poetry Flash has been “the glue that has held us together for decades.” Poetry Flash weaves connections and creates spaces, through our events, our collaborations, and our publications. For the first 30 years, the backbone and core mission of Poetry Flash was our free literary newspaper; since 2000, that pulse has shifted to poetryflash.org.
A Modern Infrastructure for PoetryFlash.org
We continue to serve the cause and community of literature, but the Poetry Flash website needs to be retooled now. Its infrastructure is outdated and inadequate to support our core activities. We need a complete content management solution to manage our calendar listings, ads, donations, and editorial publishing—and a responsive design to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile audience. Everything we do depends upon bringing this new poetryflash.org to life.
We need your help to cultivate and build the legacy of this iconic and vital literary project—steadily humming along for 44 years—for the future. Each month, thousands refer to and enjoy Poetryflash.org. Our 2016 plan for Poetry Flash: Literary Review & Calendar will continue online issues to provide readers with quality writing from the Flash’s award-winning staff and contributors. Poetryflash.org is even now publishing more writing and more calendar events faster than our late great print magazine ever could, but we can do better.
With the retooled website, we'll be able to publish more original editorial content (reviews, poems, features); efficiently update our literary calendar and calls for submissions; publish and manage ads and accept donations more effectively; offer workshops and other literary experiences; support and promote our events and readings more powerfully; continue to build community through all of these activities with more sustained and greater impact.
We are reaching out to you, to our community, for help building this new online home for our work. For those responding to our barn-raising call, we have lovely rewards celebrating some of Poetry Flash's celebration of quality poetry, creative writing, and many community-building activities.
- For pledges of $10 or more, you’ll receive a bookmark with a poem (examples include singular poems by Joy Harjo, Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Kay Ryan, Suzanne Lummis, or Ellery Akers), and acknowledgment on poetryflash.org.
- Pledge $25 or more, and you’ll receive a rare, out-of-print poetry book co-published by Heyday Books in the California Poetry Series and edited by Poetry Flash editor Joyce Jenkins, or a signed out-of-print collection of Poetry Flash essays by Associate Editor Richard Silberg, Reading the Sphere: A Geography of Contemporary American Poetry (2002).
- For $50 or more, you’ll also receive a limited edition hand-printed poem broadside by Thyrsus Press, with original art, created for the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival (choice between excerpt from Jane Mead’s poem, “The Mule Deer on the Hillside/The River Dream/The History,” (signed) and Denise Levertov’s “The Breathing,” (not signed). When supplies run out, another equivalent and equally lovely broadside will be sent to you.
- For $100 or more, in addition to all of the above, you’ll get a Watershed T-shirt (with a quote by Gary Snyder, “—Nature not a book, but a performance, a/ high old culture.”) commemorating our annual environmental poetry festival. (Black with Watershed logo in lime ink; long sleeves available in women’s sizes, short sleeves for men.)
- Pledge $500 or more, and you will also receive a Poetry Flash tote bag (white ink on study black cotton) and a free ad on poetryflash.org.
- For $1,000 and above, backers receive all of the above plus a coveted manuscript consultation with Poetry Flash Associate Editor Richard Silberg. Get your poetry manuscript ready to publish, go over your essays or short stories, or get crucial feedback (in person or by mail) on a single poem or set of poems by an accomplished editor, reviewer, teacher, and published poet!
We can do this, with your help. Thank you for supporting #PoetryFlashNow!
editor and executive director of Poetry Flash
Risks and challenges
Our seasoned editors and designers have carefully scoped Poetry Flash Now! to meet the risks and challenges associated with design, development, and literary publishing. The risks we cannot fully anticipate are external to the project, such as rent increases.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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