Unchaste Readers Series: Women Reading Our Minds in Print
The Unchaste Readers Series is a Best of Portland, Oregon Reading Series Featuring Women and Gender Non-conforming Writers.
The Unchaste Readers Series features Women and Gender Noncomforming Writers and Spoken Words Artists. We speak the truth of our experience.
The Portland Monthly, Best of City Issue named the Unchaste Readers Series as one of three Best of the many incredible Reading Series.
The Unchaste Readers Series began four and a half years ago with a vision to feature only women’s voices – poets, novelists, memoirists, performing and spoken word artists.
The series took place in Portland, Oregon’s now closed Blue Monk in the basement. Jenny Forrester, had a vision for a women’s voices venue because the publishing world and the flourishing literary event world were overrun by the same voice – the same male version of the same storyline, the same life story, the same poetic aesthetic, the same shock value one voice lineup week after week. Dena Rash Guzman helped co-found and co-curated the series during its first year.
Over the next three and half years, the series grew to include transgender women and gender nonconforming voices and has taken place in The Jade Lounge, The Knock Back, Local Lounge, Crush Bar, and the American Legion Post #134. The series is now hosted by the generous and marvelous Literary Arts in downtown Portland, Oregon.
The word Unchaste is biblical, one of the many sources of patriarchy’s rules about women and virginity and all that is judgmental, restrictive, and violent with regard to women’s health and safety. As women, especially as Women of Color, as minorities of all kinds and especially as transgender women, and as gender nonconforming, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, so we reclaim our autonomy by claiming the word Unchaste.
Past readers have included award-winning authors and poets like Emily Kendal Frey, Carrie Seitzinger, Ariel Gore, Lidia Yuknavitch, Walidah Imarisha, and S. Renee Mitchell, Ellen Urbani, Sarah Einstein, Zoe Zolbrod, and Rene Denfeld, Wendy Chin-Tanner, Monica Drake, Kerry Cohen, Jenny Drai, KMA Sullivan, A.M. O'Malley among so many others. It's painful to begin naming because everyone should be named. New poets have been born at the Unchaste microphone, too. See the website to see the more than 235 people who are Unchaste Readers.
The series has always been a donation only shindig because accessibility of all types is a continuing goal, starting with at-the-door financial accessibility. The series has relied on donations to The Jar to cover costs from ads to airfare. Recently, The Jar has been divided among the readers as a small financial gift, but the pressure on The Jar has become strained just as the goals for the series have been expanding.
So, we're creating a print version of Unchaste now. In order for the series to expand its goals of continuing to pay readers and to produce a print version of the series, we need to ask for help.
Your contribution will support the Unchaste Readers as we create a print version of who we are.
This Kickstarter Project has two goals:
1) Request funding for the print version of the series entitled Unchaste Readers Series: Volume 1.
2) Request funding to pay the people involved in the series, specifically;
a) pay the print version of the series layout and design professional; and
b) pay the filmmaker for the Kickstarter video.
c) pay future contributors a small sum for their work on Volume 2.
d) (DREAM) pay future readers and cover costs, including the possibility of childcare, for future Unchaste Readers Series Events.
Paying readers will ensure that the series serves all voices rather than a fairly narrow demographic. The readers who struggle the most financially are often least represented at literary events so the ability to pay readers will result in many more readers from a diversity of backgrounds to participate. The series seeks to represent the reality of the community of Portland and the Pacific Northwest and Beyond. The series also seeks to create a loosely knit network of artists in order to work towards the goal of a more just and socially aware, high quality literary aesthetic.
With regard to the print version of the series, we’re starting with this: Unchaste Readers Series: Volume 1. It includes poetry, prose, and visual art as well as prompts for inspiration. The print volume will allow us to share our art in print with a wider audience and will inspire others to create art and will help us reach further into the Artistic Beyond and provide opportunities for more voices of Women and Women-Identified and Gender Nonconforming artists to gain access to the world of publishing as well as to continue to feature professional published authors and highly sought after spoken word and performing artists. The ultimate goal of the series is to provide a high quality audience and reader experience.
The current print anthology (Volume I) is compiled, but not printed. Unchaste voices will be brought to print in a beautiful, high production-value book that's easy to take everywhere: carry Unchaste in your pocket.
Scout Books are 3.5" x 5" beauties.
More information about the readers and the series can be found at Unchastereaders.com.
There will be a big party in PDX at Tabor Space. More TBA. October 22nd, 2016.
Risks and challenges
The series has not paid in the past until very recently. There could be hard feelings, but since reading series rarely pay readers, it seems unlikely.
The community built around this series for the last four years is strong and supportive. Because of this, the hard feelings seem even less likely. However; should this come up, being transparent about the funds and how much each performer gets based on the funds raised should take care of any conflict.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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