The Philly Sound: New Poetry Weekend

Friday, August 8 and Saturday, August 9, 2003
Philly Sound participants
Photo by Blake Martin

The Philly Sound: New Poetry Weekend featured over 50 poets reading for two days and nights highlighting a vibrant and burgeoning intersection of writers who have been working off the mainstream literary grid. Many of the poets involved in the weekend have been gathering weekly at local cafes and spaces such as La Tazza, Molly's Bookstore, and the Kelly Writers House for the past several years. The far-flung group represents an independent community of poets who have come together to produce, promote, and support writing that is both innovative and stirring.

The name The Philly Sound (TPS) is a riff on the classic era of soul music known as The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP). The connection between the producers and musicians associated with (TSOP) and the (TPS) new poetry weekend is the heart and soul of the musicians who congregated here and the poets who are gathering in Philadelphia from all over the country to perform their work. As Frank Sherlock puts it, "We're bringing in our people to represent (to some degree) the work all of us do, day in, day out for the Philly poetry scene. We are editors, curators, writers & everything else it takes to make Philly hot. People want to come to Philly to read. Things are happening here."

Organized by poets Tom Devaney and Frank Sherlock (TPS) new poetry weekend will be hosted by poets CAConrad, Greg Fuchs, Mytili Jagannathan, Chris McCreary, Molly Russakoff, Jennifer Snead, and Magdalena Zurawski.

About the hosts

CA Conrad

CA Conrad is a Philadelphia poet who co-edits FREQUENCY Audio Journal with Magdalena Zurawski, he also edits BANJO: Poets Talking, and 9for9 which will get its first live panel discussion at this festival. His book advanceELVIScourse is forthcoming from Buck Downs Books, DEVIANT PROPULSION is forthcoming from Soft Skull Press, and FRANK is forthcoming from the Jargon Society. You can visit his poetry webpage here and he wants us all to remember the words of a great Philadelphian, "THOSE WHO GIVE UP ESSENTIAL LIBERTY TO PURCHASE A LITTLE TEMPORARY SAFETY DESERVE NEITHER LIBERTY NOR SAFETY." --Benjamin Franklin

Tom Devaney

Tom Devaney is the author of The American Pragmatist Fell in Love (Banshee Press). He teaches creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania where he is coordinator of the Kelly Writers House. He also produces the monthly radio show "LIVE" on 88.5-FM, WXPN. Devaney is a regular free-lance writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer and for the past two years he has helped to plan the 2-1-5 festival. A Temple grad, Devaney recently moved back to Philadelphia from New York City where he lived from 1996 to 2001 and studied with Allen Ginsberg taking his MFA in Creative Writing at Brooklyn College (CUNY). Since 1995 he has continued to work with The Lost Art of Puppet Theater and the Animated Neck & Stars collective.

Greg Fuchs

Greg Fuchs is a photographer and writer living in New York City. He is the author of Came Like It Went, New Orleans Xmas, and Uma Ternura. He currently has an exhibition of his photography at Soho Letterpress.

Mytili Jagannathan

Mytili Jagannathan's words have appeared in Rattapallax, Combo, Interlope, 9for9, Mirage#4/Period[ical], and Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics. Her awards include an Emerging Artist grant from the Leeway Foundation and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. She lives in Philadelphia and frequents the Asian Arts Initiative.

Chris McCreary

Chris McCreary is co-editor of ixnay press and author of The Effacements (Singing Horse). His reviews and interviews have recently appeared in Drexel Online Journal, Rain Taxi, and Review of Contemporary Fiction.

Molly Russakoff

Molly Russakoff was teaching assistant at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute in 1977 and 1978. She was the recipient of a Pew Fellowship for poetry in 1994. She currently owns and operates Molly's Cafe & Bookstore in the Italian Market. She is also an editor of Joss magazine and poetry editor of The Philadelphia Independent.

Magdalena Zurawski

Magdalena Zurawski has published her work in The Impercipient, Mirage #4/Period[ical], Crayon, The Germ, and Explosive. Born in Newark NJ in 1972, Zurawski studied Comp Lit at Brown and took a BA in 1995. For two years she lived in Berlin on a Fulbright grant, studying German literature. She is working on a novel called "M."

Frank Sherlock

Frank Sherlock co-curates the La Tazza Reading Series in Philadelphia. His poems have recently appeared in PUPPYFLOWERS, TOOL & can we have our ball back? Past chapbooks include 13(Ixnay 1998) and a collaboration with CA Conrad entitled, end/begin w/ chants. Their latest joint effort is an open-ended project that's materializing as THE CITY REAL & IMAGINED:PHILADELPHIA POEMS.

The schedule

Friday night at La Tazza

7:00 - 10:00 PM: A reading hosted by Tom Devaney and Maggie Zurawski

Saturday at the Kelly Writers House

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM: 9x9 Panel hosted by CAConrad

12:30 - 1:00 PM: Reading hosted by Tom Devaney

1:00 - 2:00 PM: Reading hosted by Molly Russakoff

2:00 - 3:00 PM: Reading hosted by Chris McCreary

3:00 - 4:00 PM: Reading hosted by Greg Fuchs

4:00 - 5:00 PM: Reading hosted by Mytili Jagannathan

5:00 - 6:00 PM: Reading hosted by Frank Sherlock

6:00 - 7:00 PM: Hosts Reading

Saturday night party: Details TBA (Nicole McEwan)


Venues, travel, and lodging


La Tazza
108 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-922-7322

Kelly Writers House
3805 Locust Walk - one block south of 38th and Walnut.
Phone: 215-573-9748

Travel from New York City to Philadelphia

By train

The cheapest way to come by train is to take the NJ Transit local to Trenton (the train schedule with NJT and SEPTA are in sync -- one arriving the other departing within a 10 minute window.)

Here is a link for the NJ Transit. At Trenton take the R7 to either 30th Street Station in Philadelphia for those coming on Saturday and to Market East to those coming on Friday night.

At Penn Station go to a NJ Transit machine and put in the code for a round trip ticket to 30th Street Station -- off peak -- one way adult. If you do this then you will receive *all* your tickets (all 4) at once.

Otherwise, go to the NJ window and buy the round trip ticket (I think it's $15.75 total round trip) and when you get to Trenton go to either the machine or the upstairs window to buy the "round trip ticket" to Philly on the SEPTA R7 -- $10 total.

By bus -- from NYC Chinatown to Philly Chinatown


Open call for micro and small presses (8/9/2003)

For over eight hours on Saturday August 9th (TPS) new poetry weekend will feature (TPS) "the book room," which you'll find some of the most beautiful, unique, and hard-to-find limited-limited edition books by authors, small press magazines, and other "off the mainstream literary grid" printed matter. The space will feature books by poets reading over the weekend and is open to any poet, writer, or small press mags/publishers who wish to showcase their books or magazines.