Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rockford Poetry and The Rock River Literary Series

The third book in the Rock River Literary Series, The Blood Dark Sea, by Dennis Gulling, has been a great success. The book release party at JR Kortman Gallery was a blast, and we saw all the people we had hoped to. Tim Stotz was the guest bartender, and he concocted a specialty drink called The Blood Dark Sea. 

I had stressed out about hosting the event all week, and ironically, as soon as I got behind the microphone I completely disregarded the notes I had been rehearsing. I'm pretending to look at them here just to give myself time to gather my thoughts. The Stella Artois was a useful companion, as it was all night

In addition to celebrating Dennis Gulling, who is finally getting his due as one of the great Outlaw Poets in America, I was able to do my impersonation of Jesus Correa, the author of the first book in the Rock River Literary Series, Iced Cream. 

It was fun to get a chance to read from his book. He couldn't be there, because being true to his credo that he is "The best dishwasher in the world," he was washing dishes. 

Overall, I really think it was a great event to promote Rockford's literary presence, and almsot all of the people I would have wanted to be there showed up. 

After my heart surgery in 2013 I knew I wanted to promote the work of other Rockford poets and writers. Perhaps the hardest part of the process has been the name of the series. Everything here has the Rock River in it, but nonetheless, I have lived on that river my entire life, so I just added my book series to the pile of things that have the now completely unoriginal name. Three books later I'm really looking forward to the next three books. I'd still like to see a little more sunshine from the local press and civic-minded organizations that complain all the time that peope have a negative image of Rockford, yet when I try to export our best writers to a national audience they are of no help. How are we supposed to change a national perception if we don't promote the people and organizations that are doing good things in this community?

Despite all that, I didn't start doing this for any other reason than to just celebrate the talented local writers we have in Rockford. I'll continue to do it if the local audience comes around or not. I'm really happy about the next couple of books we have coming up, and after a short break I can't wait to jump back in and get them out there. 

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