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UHV Downtown Arts Series announces spring lineup, new event

Will Alexander
Will Alexander
Jasminne Mendez
Jasminne Mendez
Photo by Chris Metoyer
Orlando White
Orlando White
Allison Hedge Coke
Allison Hedge Coke
Steven Salmoni
Steven Salmoni
Susan Thackrey
Susan Thackrey
Elizabeth Robinson
Elizabeth Robinson
Kevin Auer
Kevin Auer
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.
C.J.-Martin
C.J. Martin
Kyle Schlesinger
Kyle Schlesinger
Elizabeth Robinson
Alice Vinson

The University of Houston-Victoria Spring 2018 Downtown Arts Series is gearing up for another semester of bringing talented poets and artists to the Victoria area, and this spring will feature a new two-day expo.

In addition to hosting four poetry readings, the series also will host its first Book Arts Expo from March 23 to 24. The expo will feature presentations by various book artists. All of the readings and expo events will take place in the University of Houston-Victoria Center for the Arts, 204 N. Main St. The events are free and open to the public. The readings will take place at 7 p.m.

Charles Alexander

“There will be such a wide-ranging series this spring, and I think the finest one-semester presentation of poetry readings we have ever had,” said Charles Alexander, UHV poet and designer in residence and co-founder of the series. “I believe we are one of the best literary series in the nation right now.”

The expo will offer workshops that examine different elements of book printing and publishing. Some of the topics include multicolor letterpress printing from wood type, the creation of and writing for artists’ books, book binding and structures, and collaborations with artists and writers. There also will be an opening reception at 5 p.m. March 23 and a closing exhibition at 7 p.m. March 24.

Community members interested in participating in the expo workshops should contact Alexander at 361-703-5147 or alexanderch@uhv.edu. The workshops also will be open for those who wish to watch and learn about letterpress printing, binding and artists’ books.

The schedule of visiting performers is:

Will Alexander and Jasminne Mendez, Feb. 10 – Will Alexander is a poet, essayist, novelist, philosopher, pianist, visual artist and playwright. His myriad books include “Vertical Rainbow Climber,” “Asia & Haiti,” “Above the Human Nerve Domain,” “Towards the Primeval Lightning Field,” “Exobiology as Goddess,” “Sunrise Armageddon” and “The Sri Lankan Loxodrome” and “At Night on the Sun,” from Chax Press. Mendez is a performer, educator and award-winning author. Her first multigenre memoir, “Island of Dreams,” was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015.

Orlando White and Allison Hedge Coke, March 3 – White is from Tólikan, Ariz., and is Diné (Navajo) of the Naaneesht’ézhi Tábaahí (Zuni Water's Edge Clan) and born for the Naakai Diné’e (Mexican Clan). He is the author of “LETTERRS” and “Bone Light,” a collection of poems Kazim Ali described as a “careful excavation on language and letters and the physical body.” Coke grew up in North Carolina, Texas, Canada and the Great Plains region and is of Huron, Metis, French Canadian, Portuguese, English, Irish, Scottish and mixed Southeastern Native heritage. She is the author of the poetry chapbook “Year of the Rat;” the full-length poetry collections “Dog Road Woman,” “Off-Season City Pipe,” “Blood Run” and “Streaming;” an illustrated special edition “Burn;” and the memoir “Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer.”

Steven Salmoni and Susan Thackrey, April 7 – Salmoni is the author of “A Day of Glass” and the chapbook “Landscapes, With Green Mangoes.” Other recent publications include poems in Nerve Lantern, Fact-Simile, Versal and Sonora Review, and articles in The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein and Studies in Travel Writing. Thackrey is a poet who lives and works in San Francisco. Her poems have appeared in a number of journals, including Five Fingers, Hambone, Talisman, Traverse and Volt, and her book “Andalusia” was published by Chax Press.

Elizabeth Robinson, April 27 – Robinson is the author of multiple collections of poetry, most recently “Rumor from Free Verse Editions.” She has been a winner of the National Poetry Series for “Pure Descent” and the Fence Modern Poets Prize for “Apprehend,” and her mixed genre meditation, “On Ghosts,” was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Writers and artists scheduled to attend the Book Arts Expo are:

Kevin Auer – Auer was apprentice trained as a letterpress printer and bookbinder, and has worked in the book arts for 25 years. He was the co-founder of Wolfe Editions, a commercial print shop in Portland, Maine, specializing in limited-edition print work.

Charles Alexander – In addition to his role at UHV, Alexander is a poet and the director of Chax Press, one of the nation’s most innovative and active small literary presses. Chax Press is known for a wide, inclusive, innovative and experimental vision in poetry, publishing poets that include Ron Silliman, Jackson Mac Low, Alice Notley, Linh Dinh, Nathaniel Mackey, Myung Mi Kim and many others.

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. – Kennedy describes himself as a Negro poet, a descendant of the enslaved people of the U.S. He is a Detroit letterpress printer who uses print as a form of social and political education, and his work is sold at galleries and museum shops across the South.

C.J. Martin – Martin is a poet living in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he works as a teacher and bookbinder. With Julia Drescher, he directs Further Other Book Works, a small poetry press and binding, letterpress and design shop.

Kyle Schlesinger – Schlesinger is a poet, book artist, theorist, and cultural critic whose scholarly writing focuses on the relationships between aesthetics, typography, poetics, art and new media. He is an associate professor and director of the graduate publishing program at UHV, as well as the proprietor of Cuneiform Press.

Alice Vinson – Vinson is an artist whose work ranges from mixed media artists’ books to interactive, multimedia installations. Her art is featured internationally. She teaches art and book arts at the College of Idaho.

For more information about the Downtown Arts Series, contact Alexander at 361-703-5147 or alexanderch@uhv.edu.