Last month, a friend heard me refer to February as Letter-Writing Month. "I think you mean Black History Month," he said. Similarly, while you might know March best as Women's History Month—or, if things haven't been going well for you, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month—it's also been dubbed "Small Press Awareness Month" by the publishing community.
Powell's has been celebrating this venerable month for the past five years with Smallpressapalooza, a marathon reading of small-press poetry and prose that's curated by Future Tense publisher/Powell's employee Kevin Sampsell (he's also written for the Mercury a time or two). As ever, its lineup doubles as a great reading list.
Randy Blazak, The Mission of the Sacred Heart, 6 pm
Perhaps the only book ever to be based on an ELO album, Blazak's "rock novel" follows a handful of Portlanders in the year 2000.
Ryan Chin, Without Rain There Can Be No Rainbows, 6:15 pm
Billed as a "multimedia experience" with accompanying online videos, Ryan Chin's memoir describes a transformative trip to New Zealand and the death of a beloved dog.
Elly Blue, PDX by Bike & Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy, 6:30 pm
Elly Blue has a singular, two-wheeled passion, one she's explored in both zines and blogs as a journalist and activist. PDX by Bike is a pocket-sized guide to getting around the city sans car or bus pass, while Bikenomics explores myriad ways biking makes good financial sense.
Adam Gnade, Heat and the Hot Earth, 7 pm
Former Mercury Music Editor Adam Gnade writes delirious, drug-addled Americana, with frequently interconnecting stories of aimless, reckless youth.
Daniel Libman, Married but Looking, 7:15 pm
The Pushcart Prize-winning short stories of Daniel Libman offer a dirty-minded and at times uncomfortably frank look at marriage and relationships.
Martha Grover, One More for the People, 7:30 pm
A collection of Grover's zine Somnambulist, which describes with riveting, sometimes-painful honesty Grover's life after she's diagnosed with a rare disorder called Cushing's disease.
Joseph Riippi, The Orange Suitcase, 8 pm
The Orange Suitcase is a memoir told in fragmented stories; Riippi's new novella A Cloth House is due out this month from local small press Housefire.
Anonymous, Love Is Not Constantly Wondering if You're Making the Biggest Mistake of Your Life, 8:15 pm
The author isn't too anonymous, since he'll be taking the mic tonight; his Choose Your Own Adventure-style memoir about an alcoholic relationship is a clever, heartfelt must read.
Lisa Wells, Yeah. No. Totally., 8:30 pm
Wells is a sharp, thoughtful essayist and poet whose Yeah. No. Totally. smartly takes on hipster culture, environmentalism, and plenty more.
Sierra Nelson, I Take Back the Sponge Cake, 9 pm
I Take Back the Sponge Cake is billed as "lyrical choose your own adventure," a collaborative effort between Nelson and visual artist Loren Erdrich in which the reader is allowed to find her own way through the poems.
Diana Salier, Wikipedia Says It Will Pass, 9:15 pm
Salier's poetry chapbook chronicles a breakup in the internet age.
Brian S. Ellis, Yesterday Won't Goodbye, 9:30 pm
More poetry, this time it's "the kind of punk rock Americana that sings with open arms in powerful poetic form."