Wednesday, June 13, 2007

About the MSP&LS


For 15 years (ending in 2001), MSP&LS published Maryland Poetry Review, a magazine of national and international prominence that was designed by David Ashton and featured poetry, short fiction, interviews and reviews as well as work by Maryland visual artists.

In recent years, MSP&LS has redirected its efforts into publishing the popular Poets' Ink broadsides and Attic, a new journal dedicated to "building the literary community from the top down."

Attic was brought into being with the express purpose of giving young editors a chance to learn the "trade" of small press literary magazines. The first Attic issue attracted work from some of the area's finest established writers and showcased new talent: Devin Higgins, a recent college graduate, designed the magazine, which featured drawings by talented young artist Meredith Burke, who also was--with UMBC graduates Danny DiCrispino and Mike Beyer--an editor. the The second Attic issue is being compiled by Beth Varden, a UMBC student, who is building on initial efforts by Burke and by Sarah Miller, another UMBC student.

Three Conditions Press continues in its mission to publish poets of merit, giving special consideration to those living and/or working in the Baltimore area. Three Conditions--a subsidiary of MSP&LS--has published several chapbooks, including House of Corners by Bertha Rogers and three volumes of poetry.

10 Tongues, its second volume, by Reginald Harris, Director of Technology at the Enoch Pratt, was a Small Press Selection of the Independent Publishers Guild, a distinction that ensured national and international distribution. 10 Tongues was also a poetry finalist in the Lambda Rising Literary Arts Awards and in the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards.

In 2003 Handprint on the Window by Dan Cuddy, a Loyola College graduate, was published. Reviewer Laura Barnitz wrote: "Handprint on the Window receives my highest praise. It is clear and comprehensible to those, like myself, who read poetry only on days when nothing else will console us. Cuddy's poetry is full of humor, wistfulness, anger, resignation, and empathy--and all of that coming from a point of observation that shifts from wide angle to very specific."

Shades of Light by Dennis Barnes, managing editor of Poets' Ink, will also debut this fall.

Reading Series

For years, MSP&LS has been committed to a monthly reading series that most recently has been hosted as the Third Sunday Reading Series at the popular Minas Gallery (815 W. 36th Street, Hampden, MD, 410-732-4258).

Featured readers have included Richard Peabody, Lalita Naronha, Ned Balbo, Joe Harrison, Luke Tennis, Olu Butterfly, Kim Roberts, Carol Quinn, Sam Schmidt, and Moira Egan.

Poet Carly Sachs immortalized Piotr Gwiazda's reading at her Five Feet Above Water blog: "Baltimore is a lot funkier than DC. Yesterday I went to hear Piotr Gwiazda read at The Minas Gallery. I am so excited that he is going to be the lead editor for my book (his book, Gagarin Street, won the 2004 WWPH first book award). He's my first poetry crush in a while. I think what makes a poetry crush is honestly someone's work. When you just want to read more and more of their poems. Anyway, after a cozy reading in a gallery that has art and vintage clothes we had a beer at one of the most fun and divey bars--Frazier's and then dinner at the Golden West---kitsch kitsch! The menus are old records. A place that kind of reminds me of the Zephyr back in Kent before it turned bar."

The open mic at our Third Sunday Reading Series always attracts stellar novice and established writers and musicians such as Alex Colvin, Karla Mancero, and Karen Elliott.

MSP&LS often hosts publication parties to introduce the newest and latest literary offerings of favorite writers. Recently, works by Ellis Marsalis, Julia Wendell, and Michael Salcman were celebrated at pub parties.

Every Poets' Ink broadside is honored with a contributors' reading held throughout the area at venues that include The Village Learning Place, The Baltimore Ethical Society, Barnes & Noble: Reisterstown, The Enoch Pratt Library, and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.


Over the years MSP&LS has sponsored workshops lead by writers such as Barbara M. Simon, Reginald Harris and Linda Joy Burke. Currently, our free Poets' Ink workshops provide writers--especially those just finding their voices--with an opportunity to have their poems read and critiqued by established writers and editors, such as Dennis Barnes, Hugh Burgess, Kathleen Cocoran, Dan Cuddy, Brian Langston, and Gregg Mosson.


Over the years MSP&LS has partnered with many area organizations to foster and sponsor state and local literary events: Baltimore County Board of Education, Baltimore Ethical Society, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, Baltimore Writers Association, Barnes & Noble, Breathe Books, Catonsville Public Library, Chesapeake Arts Center, Clayton's Fine Books & Cafe, Enoch Pratt Library, Harford Poetry Society, Minas Gallery, The CityLit Project, The Learning Bank, The Village Learning Place, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Washington Writers Publishing House.