Small Press Spotlight :: Belladonna*
Belladonna* Press is a volunteer based poetry collective located in Brooklyn New York. In 1999 Rachel Levitsky founded the press after the success of a salon style reading series that grew out of Bluestockings’s Women’s Bookstore on the Lower East Side. By 2000 the collective was publishing ‘chaplets’ of the readers’ work from the series.
Belladonna* works to promote an inclusive literary community focusing on women writers exploring unpredictable, multifaceted, fun and experimental poetry, prose and other hybrid forms. The works published with Belladonna* cross boundaries and question the binaries around gender, culture, and politics. These poets write from a subjective perspective that is both performative and conscious.
The collective, being run on a volunteer basis, creates a tight knit community of individuals discussing similar political theories and ideas around creativity. The artists, whom are often volunteering for the press as well as being published under the name, often collaborate with outside institutions. Dixon Place has housed many Belladonna* events including readings and other literary performances. As a small independent organization, they work closely with local literary bookstores and other small presses like Futurepoem to promote and and collaborate on projects. As their community grows they spread the opportunity to get involved with the feminist, avant-garde questions around poetry.
Belladonna* publishes chapbooks as well as trade books, like Proxy and Mauve Sea-Orchids. They have worked with Eileen Myles, Latasha N. Nevada Diggs, Lydia Davis, and Rachel Levitsky. There is an urgency to the writing that comes out of Belladonna* that they create an impertive for the reader. Rachel Levitsky comments in an interview with Sinas Queyras for the Poetry Foundation called “Poetry as Event: Belladonna*,” “we promote this work because we want and need it and the writer who creates it.” These authors are creating change through their writing, by engaging with their language you are participating.
Entry filed under: Beyond 112th St., Featured Products, Shop Local, Small Press Spotlight. Tags: authors, books, chapbooks, community, Comparative Literature, independent, indie first, literature, local, philosophy, poetry, reading, shop local, Shop Small, small business, small press, spotlights, writing.