Smalldoggies magazine is a PDX-based online concern founded by writer/artist Matty Byloos—originally a print magazine based in California, it was dormant for a few years until its recent resuscitation, when Byloos moved from LA to Portland.
The magazine focuses on writing, photography, and visual art. "I like that a magazine or a website can bring into combination all of those various forms of expression," says Byloos. "That one place can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and bring them all into conversation, even if it's just a virtual place."
But Smalldoggies has an analog arm as well, in the form of a new monthly reading series hosted every second Thursday at SE Hawthorne's Café Magnolia. "I always wanted to have my own reading series," Byloos explains, "so my girlfriend [poet Carrie Seitzinger] and I started looking at other series around town for things we could add."
Byloos and Seitzinger ended up with two main goals for the Smalldoggies reading series: to develop enough of a fanbase that they could promise an audience to touring acts, and to "do it in public so it can be kind of a community, social event—so you're not just there for an hour and a half and then you go home, but you stay, have a beer."
Byloos estimates that September's reading, the series' first, drew between 50 and 60 people—"we drained the keg of Ninkasi." The turnout was due in part to smartly making connections with the Portland literary scene from the get-go. "We decided that for our first reading, we would honor the people who had spent time running their own literary series, and who didn't have time to showcase their own work," says Byloos. "So we asked Eirean Bradley, who runs the Portland Poetry Slam event; we asked Donald Dunbar, who runs the If Not for Kidnap reading series; and we asked Kathleen Lane, who together with Margaret Malone runs the SHARE reading series." A musical guest rounds out every reading—last month, the jug band Sassparilla, and for this month's installment, a one-time collaboration called Lithopedion, put together by members of the Invisible Orchestra.
Reading this month are Annelyse Gelman and Davey Mac, two young writers with exper-ience in Portland's slam poetry scene, and Ethan Saul Bull. Byloos ultimately plans to add a podcast component to Smalldoggies magazine, which he hopes will have a national scope while remaining rooted—in part via the reading series—in Portland. "I look at magazines like the Rumpus, that are national in their appeal but kind of tied to a city through a writer, and I wanted to do that for Portland. And for myself—it's been fantastic meeting colleagues throughout the country. And I think it's my nature to give opportunities to other people—I want to do things for people that I wish people had done for me when I was in my 20s."
Smalldoggies Reading Series, Café Magnolia, 1522 SE 32nd, Thurs Oct 14, 7:45-11 pm (reading from 8:30-9:30 pm), free with suggested donation, smalldoggiesmagazine.com.