Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Show Weekend! Use Your Words!

Meet Vertigo from Poet's Haven...
My name's Chris Draime, but I'm better known by the pen-name Vertigo Xavier. I'm a blue-collar warehouse worker by day, and a small-press publisher and national poetry slam team manager by night. I run The Poet's Haven, publishing an online poetry journal, podcasts, chapbooks, anthologies, and more, as well as organizing several regular open-mic poetry readings and slams. The Poet's Haven has published work from more than 2000 authors. As for managing the Lake Effect Poetry slam team, well, I think I look like Charlie Brown managing his baseball team, but we have fun and the team's strong writing leaves a lasting impression when we go to competition.

I launched The Poet's Haven in 1997. This Halloween will mark the 15th anniversary. :-) This will be my first Avant-Garde show, but I am looking forward to participating in many more.

I'm less a writer and more a graphic designer, editor, and promoter. I suppose I'm the blend of my mother's artistic influence and my father's mechanical and mathematical influence.

As a teenager, poetry and art gave me a positive way to express the inner turmoil and angst that came from being a bookworm creative type in a football-obsessed town. As the World Wide Web developed, I wanted to share my writing and drawings with the public and provide a place for others to share their work as well. The few poetry websites that had sprung up by that time were either unedited sites where anyone could post anything,or sites that clung to the traditional print limitation where only so many pieces could be published each "issue." I saw the opportunity for a new style of digital publication, bridging the gap between the two old formats, an edited site with no limit on how much content could be added. The earliest versions went online in 1995 (including my own work as well as some work from friends), and what I wanted to create started to really come together over the course of 1996. By spring of 1997 other artists were submitting work on a regular basis, and by that fall it outgrew the webspace provided with my AOL account. At that time, I registered the domain, found some "real" website hosting, and went into operation as a full-fledged small-press publisher. From there, I expanded into more publishing methods, launching a (short-lived) print magazine, starting open-mic events and podcasts, and most recently launching the chapbook series and (resurrecting the print magazine as an) anthology series.
The writing I do these days is mostly of a satirical nature. I take a situation from life or from the world around me, and lampoon it, present it in a humorous and twisted way. When publishing someone else's work, the nature of the writing dictates how it needs to be presented. While many of the books I've published follow and fit in a traditional chapbook template, some works require something different, something extra. Some books call out to be a different size, some books need to be presented bound from the top instead of the side, and one book I'll be printing next year even required a mirror-reflective cover. (Cough, cough, that last one's my own. The title is "Vanity Pressing.")
I've often been asked why someone who has been publishing digitally since the frontier days of the internet would want to publish on paper. The answer is that there is an intimacy between a reader and a printed book that electronic publishing just can't duplicate. The feel of the pages and physical shape of the words just don't come across an eBook's LCD screen. With chapbooks, not only are you seeing and holding the artistic expression of the words, but knowing that the author and/or publisher personally assembled the volume you hold makes it all the more personal. Having a book printed by CreateSpace or Lulu might result in something that looks pretty on the shelf, but the direct connection formed between the reader and the creators is dulled.

The message behind my work is: "Hey, people! Try POETRY!" It isn't the boring thing you remember from those two weeks back in high school. It is a living, breathing expression of the world around you. Give this a read, sit down and listen. You'll be surprised and find something you enjoy!"

Check out these featured vendors at the first ever 2012 East Side Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature up to 120 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to the North East Ohio Make-a-Wish Foundation. This non-profit organization grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
2012 East Side Fall Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, September 23, 2012, 1:30pm-6:30pm
Terry Macklin Entertainment & Event Centre
6200 Enterprise Parkway
Solon, OH 44139
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, Event Coordinator at
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