by Lucy Findley
Spring 2019 Regis University Intern
Poetry events are rarely accompanied by punk music—but maybe they should be. A few weeks ago, I attended Punch Drunk Press’ “Punchapalooza,” a celebration of the magazine’s two years of success. Immediately as I walked in, I could sense what a close-knit and passionate group of people the Punch Drunk Press brings in. It wasn’t just their dark, punk attire that illustrated their likeness, it was their compassion for one another and the support they graciously handed out to everyone who presented a piece at the reading—and, of course, the live musicians who amplified the mood.
This event was unique in many ways, one of my favorite parts was the “Punketry” portion of the evening: a combination of improv slam poetry and punk. It was fun, exciting, and like many other ways to describe the night, heartfelt.
Not a single line of poetry went by without a “yes!” from the crowd.
“Punch Drunk Press’ mission is to provide a platform for established and upcoming writers, poets and artists to help them to share their passion with the world around them, whether that be a local in-person community or a global online community.”
Estefania Munoz was one of the first readers of the night and she made her mark within the ten short minutes she brought her poems to life on stage. The appraisal for her words was undeniably genuine and warranted. Before hearing Munoz’s poems, I felt very out of place. I walked in alone, sat down in the corner booth and had never felt so underdressed (or overdressed? Honestly, I’m not really sure which one). But as soon as she started reading, I realized I’m not as different from the rest of the audience as I thought I was. Every one of the poems Munoz read hit me in special place, and I left that night thinking about specific lines that I’m certain won’t be leaving my memory anytime soon.
This event was not what I expected, but I really do believe it may have been what I needed. I urge you all to not distance yourselves from people who you think are different than you just because of the way they present themselves. There’s much to be experienced, even learned when we get out of our comfort zones. Punketry reminded me to have a little fun with that process, too.
"Punch Drunk Press runs the monthly series Punketry at the Mutiny Information Cafe in Denver, Colorado. On the second Tuesday of each month, four featured poets read poems accompanied by Black Market Translation, an improvised punk band.”
by M. Bui
What happens when you put 12 publications, an array of zines and merch, and a bunch of lovers of literature all together in a cozy space with a bar and a stage? You get a room full of like-minded creatives and a festive feast of literature, complete with readings, drinks, and wonderful company with those who share in your love for language art and books. At least, that’s what I felt as I immersed myself in the scene at Meet the Mags Volume 2 in the heart of Denver a few weekends ago (yes, the specific evening happening to align with 4/20).
Never before had I felt so inclined to indulge myself in a literary world with many other like-minded people. The Meet the Mags event rounded up and featured 12 of Denver’s hottest independent lit mags at Syntax Physic Opera, offering an inviting space to chat, share, read, and listen to readings from the various publication there. Our very own Inverted Syntax was here featuring our latest print issue and later with a reading by none other than Kathy Fish (published in our print issue). This was the event to be at especially if you’ve been looking for a sampling of the literary scene here in Denver or simply to learn more about this hidden but rumbling culture of independently published literature.
The quaint and charming space of Syntax Physic Opera, found right along 554th and Broadway is the perfect spot for such an event. The warm lighting, artistic architecture, classy decor, and friendly bar with a vast selection cocktails and dishes helped make the music venue an enchanting literary haven. But it was those who filled the space that brought it to life: readers, writers, artists, lit lovers, fashion designers, coffee enthusiasts, and so much more, all with our loaded arsenal of zines, mags, merch, and more. From our numerous, varied backgrounds, everyone here came together to share in our common love of the literary culture.
I spent most of my time perusing each publication and thoroughly enjoying meeting with the people behind the scenes, learning about each publication and about the editors themselves. We chatted about everything from our magazines’ visions to the peculiar printing presses we use to the day jobs we find ourselves in when we’re not creating art. Typically, when we read published work, we sometimes forget about the hard work involved in the process of putting out a print issue; we may forget that there are minds and hearts behind those words and art, so it was a refreshing opportunity for me to be able to interact with other people behind the scenes of independent publications.
Attending this event was a wonderful way to wrap up my semester long internship at Inverted Syntax. The community, creativity, and passion that filled the venue that 4/20 evening was truly a treasure for any resident of the literary world--I’m already looking forward to Volume 3 of Meet the Mags. I left the venue with an armful of zines, cards, and merch, and a brain full of artistic inspiration.
All previous photos by M. Bui