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$4,398 pledged of $8,000 goal
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$4,398 pledged of $8,000 goal
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About this project

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. 

Dena and Jenny, Jack London Bar
Dena and Jenny, Jack London Bar

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. 

Unchaste Anthology Contributors
Unchaste Anthology Contributors

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. 

One of the Unchaste Readers Series Event Flyers
One of the Unchaste Readers Series Event Flyers

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.

The Unchaste Logo, designed by Lorna Nakell
The Unchaste Logo, designed by Lorna Nakell

 

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.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Unchaste Anthology and Eternal Gratitude

    A copy of the 3.5" x 5" Unchaste Anthology, complete with poetry, prose, visual art, and prompts, and our eternal gratitude.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Unchaste Undies, Anthology, Gratitude

    Unchaste Undies (you choose from a set of styles) and a copy of the 3.5" x 5" Unchaste Anthology, complete with poetry, prose, visual art, and prompts, and our eternal gratitude..

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    26 backers
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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Hoodie, Anthology, Gratitude

    Unchaste Hoodie and a copy of the 3.5" x 5" Unchaste Anthology, complete with poetry, prose, visual art, and prompts, and our eternal gratitude.

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    11 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Essay Critique by Sarah Einstein

    Receive an essay critique by Sarah Einstein, whose essays and short stories have previously appeared in Ninth Letter, Fringe Magazine, PANK, Sixfold, The Fiddleback, and other journals. She has been anthologized in Southern Sin by In Fact Books, and her work appears in the upcoming anthology Writing Into the Forbidden, to be published by Ohio University Press in 2014. Einstein is the author of Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014), and the forthcoming book, Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015). Her work has been awarded a Puschart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Series Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is, of course, Unchaste. Limit 2 people, 3500 word essay maximum. Also receive a copy of the 3.5" x 5" Unchaste Anthology and Eternal Gratitude.

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Undies, Hoodie, Anthology, and Gratitude

    Unchaste Undies (you choose from a set of styles), a Hoodie and a copy of the 3.5" x 5" Unchaste Anthology, complete with poetry, prose, visual art, and prompts, and our eternal gratitude.

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    7 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Drink w/a Poet, a Memoirist & a Novelist

    Drinks with a poet, a memoirist, and a novelist - all at once in Portland, Oregon. Ask questions about publishing, writing, networking, etcetera. Receive an anthology (signed) and eternal thanks, as well.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Photo Session w/ Intisar Abioto

    Headshot photo session with Unchaste Writer and Photographer and founder of The Black Portlanders of TEDx PDX fame. This is an incredible deal and an amazing opportunity. Schedule with Ms. Abioto during fall/winter, 2017.

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Funding period

- (30 days)