Information about the Desert City Poetry Series, contemporary poetry & poetics, and poetry readings & events in central North Carolina.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Relentless

Relentless is the theme and modus operandi of my relationship with the local print and broadcast media. I worked for a publishing house for about a year and a half as a publicity director. I learned a lot, most importantly the value of unceasing effort and volume. In my experience, most media folks have a pretty high ability to ignore any attempt to contact them. I really don't blame them for that -- imagine that you are a news reporter and you cover books. Now imagine that there is a population around you of about 500,000 to 1 million people. Now imagine how many of those people are either book lovers, book writers, or book haters. The amount of noise and yammering for attention media folks must have to put with is pretty intense. So as a promoter or publicist, one just has to keep at it relentlessly and methodically. Eventually through repetition, the walls come down, and folks start paying attention.

Happily, I and the series have been lucky recipients of some media attention.

A key part of this strategy is the fine art of the press release. It is a form, and a form designed to deliver information quickly. It is also designed so that print media folks can cut and paste the press release and run it without by-line as a "news" item or with a by-line with slight revision. The use of press releases varies from place to place of course.

At any rate, so I write up a press release and send it out to my contacts in the local Triangle area media. I usually get at least a little something here and there -- sometimes the readings end up as "best bets" and such things (Brenda & Marcus's reading was a best bet last week.)

The press release -- if it isn't already clear -- is largely boring. When I send out reading announcements to my actual audience, those announcements are quite different, sort of silly, abrupt, and -- I hope -- catchy. I always post those announcements here on the blog (see a few posts ago for an example.) I've never posted a press release on the blog before, but what the hey, you know?

Somewhere somebody teaches people how to do all this stuff -- I learned it mostly on my own on the publicist job and in my work with the series since. I hope other folks find some of this useful for their own efforts.

So, in all it's boring glory -- here is the press release I wrote up for the Brent Cunningham & Tessa Joseph reading coming up on October 8th. (Try to) enjoy......

###
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
Ken Rumble, Director
Desert City Poetry Series
Internationalist Books
919-XXX-XXXX,
rumblek at bellsouth dot net
http://desertcity.blogspot.com http://www.internationalistbooks.org

“Former Student of Robert Creeley Featured Reader in Desert City Poetry Series”

Chapel Hill, NC, September 27, 2005 – A student of Frost Medal recipient poet Robert Creeley and founder of San Francisco’s Poets’ Theatre Jamboree, Brent Cunningham will be featured in the Desert City this month to celebrate the publication of his first book, Bird & Forest. Reading with Cunningham will be Tessa Joseph, Carolina Quarterly editor and doctoral student at UNC. Cunningham and Joseph will read Saturday, October 8th, at 8:00pm. The reading will be held at Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill. A two dollar donation is requested.

After growing up in North Carolina, Brent Cunningham traveled to Buffalo, New York, to earn his MA in English and study with the late Robert Creeley. Since 1999 he has worked for Small Press Distribution in Berkeley. A board member of Small Press Traffic since 2001, he was a founding curator of SPT’s “Poets Theater Jamboree,” a now-annual ritual of amateur experimental theater. His poetry, fiction, plays, vagaries and reviews have appeared in Radical Society, Chain, Rain Taxi, 580 Split, Kenning and elsewhere; he will soon appear in the Faux Press Bay Area Anthology. His first book, Bird & Forest, was published in June of 2005 by Ugly Duckling Presse in Brooklyn. In its review, Publishers Weekly wrote that “Cunningham here resembles his peers less than he resembles Helene Cixous and Maurice Blanchot, attempting at once to convey a vision and to deconstruct it.”

Originally from Maine, Tessa Joseph lives in Durham, NC, and is working on her dissertation in contemporary American poetry and poetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to her studies, she teaches creative writing and literature and has organized the English Department’s Creative Speakers Series. She is editor-in-chief of the literary journal Carolina Quarterly and a member of the Lucifer Poetics Group. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Sulfur, Seneca Review, Cold Mountain Review, The Displayer, Talisman, and others. In 1998, she received her MFA in poetry from Cornell University, where she also worked as an associate editor for the journal Epoch. At Cornell, Joseph was the last student of the great North Carolina poet A. R. Ammons. For three years, she served as the Coordinator of the Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program at the North Carolina Governor’s School.

Directed by local poet and 2005 Indie Arts Award winner Ken Rumble, the Desert City Poetry Series brings the best of contemporary poets to the Triangle for monthly readings of their work. Featuring a local poet and a visiting poet, the series begins this year on the heels of the highly successful 2nd Carrboro Poetry Festival. Past readers in the series include winners of Guggenheim awards, Fulbright Scholars, Poet Laureates, as well as recipients of numerous other writing awards.

Funding to support the fourth season of the Desert City Poetry Series has been provided by generous grants from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Orange County Arts Commission.

Brent Cunningham and Tessa Joseph will read their poems Saturday, October 8th, at 8pm at Internationalist Books, 405 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. The event is open to the public; a two dollar donation is requested.

CONTACT:
Ken Rumble, Director
Desert City Poetry Series
Internationalist Books
919-XXX-XXXX,
rumblek at bellsouth dot net
http://desertcity.blogspot.com,
http://www.internationalistbooks.org
###