The Poezia Writing Group, co-founded by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, author of The Air Around the Butterfly, and Colin Watkins, meets regularly in the Common Grounds Coffee Shop in Lexington, Kentucky. The group is free and open to anyone who would like to attend, and holds meetings for writers of both poetry and prose.
Katerina remembers the first meeting of Poezia which took place on 2/8/07, "I had just started writing again, after an eleven year writing pause, and I had started writing in English. I needed both to learn to write again, and to write in a new language. I looked for a poetry group to join, but I was unable to find one. Then I decided that I would start one...I was terrified for many reasons – I didn’t know if anybody would come; I didn’t know what people would expect from me, and if I would be able to deliver. Most of all, since, at the time, I had written only one poem in English, I wanted to continue writing, and I felt that I needed to connect with other writers as my lifeline. Along with my friend Colin Watkins, we met in Common Grounds for the first time on that day, and I was happy to see six other people for whom poetry was a priority. Soon, the group grew so large that we had to divide it by genre.”
Katerina also hosts a radio show called Accents on WRFL every Friday at 2 PM featuring the work of a spectrum of authors. Eventually, an independent press, Accents Publishing, grew from the radio show. "When the plan to launch Accents Publishing started to come together, the question I had to answer next was whom to publish. The answer was easy and complete. The first author was Jim Lally, a poet-farmer who had been writing poetry for over fifty years and hadn’t yet published a book. He put together the manuscript “Stick Tight Man” – a beautiful book where personality and compassion shine through every poem. The second author was Jude Lally – a gifted young man in his twenties, who delivered the manuscript “The View from Down Here.” Early in his life, Jude was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease called Friedrich’s Ataxia, and with humor and honesty, Jude describes in his book the experiences of a person who is faced with special challenges in his life."
Despite the fact that the book publishing might be experiencing a turbulent period in the face of ebooks and the folding of Borders, Katerina feels that a new press still has much potential "Shifts in an industry are typically followed by updates in industry players and practices. As one of the new players, we create our practices with the new realities in mind, and thus we are able to use the changes in the publishing/book-selling industries to our advantage. Just as certain book-selling outlets are closing, others are opening up, and we are finding opportunities for our books to be promoted and sold. Rhett Butler of Gone with the Wind said that there are two times when fortunes are made – when empires rise, and when empires crumble. When we can hardly speak of making fortunes with a poetry-publishing small press, we can speak about reach, influence, audience and growth. We believe that we can, and we will, get established as a major literary press."
The March 3rd event will begin with featured readings from the eight newly-released Accents Publishing chapbooks. Authors will arrive from New York City, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Louisville and Lexington to read their works in the Carnegie Center.
Following the readings, the Poezia Writing Group will host an open mic for audience members in celebration of its fourth anniversary.
The chapbook titles, in alphabetical order, are:
Bee-Coursing Box by Matthew Haughton
Bloom on a Split Board by Nana Lampton
How Swallowtails Become Dragons by Bianca Spriggs
Metes and Bounds by J. Kates
Numbered Bones by Bobby Steve Baker
Of a Bed Frame by Dan Nowak
Original Ruse by Barbara Sabol
Plein Jeu by E. C. Belli