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Nostrovia! + our traveling bookstore at Beast Crawl Lit Fest 2015 + the road East

I write this on a Greyhound, passing through the Midwest with Neeko Ford, en route to New Hampshire, lugging backpacks full of books.  The bags under my eyes are steeping in exhaustion.  Greyhound windows have framed desert, mountain ranges, open plains of flat, bumps of hills, and now thick green forest as we pass through Ohio.  Once we hit New Hampshire, we’ll be camping alongside the river and train tracks of my childhood, as we make final preparations to hit the New York City Poetry Festival.

Books & Shovels, our traveling bookstore, kicked off our most recent journey in Tucson, Arizona, in mid-June.  Neeko Ford, Sam Lennon, and I climbed into Sam’s pickup truck.  Under desert sun, we began racing boredom and passion to the Pacific.  We met a group of girls camping at San Onofre Beach, an hour or so North of San Diego, and had a couple beers around a campfire sharing stretched travel tales.

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Sam Lennon & his ukulele

We drove into Los Angeles without much transition.  We set the traveling bookstore up on Venice Beach to try and get the gas money to make our way further North.

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Neeko @ Venice Beach

Venice Beach did not treat us well, but we met some interesting folks.  We were the new kids on the boardwalk.  Veterans and cats who had been doing this for years, people who make a living, support their kids with street vending, had initial claim.  Some of the older guys  showed us the ropes of their community as we set up.  After a good seven+ hours of cooking in the sun, and not many sales, we packed up the store.  That night we found ourselves in the back of a smokey short bus as a new friend bumped jazzy beats for us to free style / yell poems over.  We dipped out in the morning for Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz is saturated with traveling kids.  We arrived in the late hours of the night, wandering downtown, whiteboxing food and trading jokes for smokes.  I was the first to wake in the morning, dazed with caffeine dependency.  I walked into a cafe, soaked up coffee with cinnamon + no cream, hungry, but killing that gurgle slowly.  I spent the morning writing.

We hit The Art Bar & Cafe open mic, set up Books & Shovels, and began doing our thing:

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@ The Art Bar & Cafe

The Santa Cruz poetry community really had our backs, and Books & Shovels received financial + morale support.  The real kick to our travels came after the show, after the store was packed up, and after the open mic’s after party gathering.

When we began this trip, we were gambling finances and time.  Setting out with enough money to make it almost to the Bay Area,  we had no where near enough in our wallets to fill the gas tank for the trip to New York City.  July 11th was Beast Crawl, Oakland’s Literary Festival, and July 25 + 26 is the New York City Poetry Festival.  We needed to get to the North East early enough to set up and make final preparations for the event. That did not leave us with much felixbility.

Now, with that in mind, Sam received notification of an emergency he had to attend to back in Tucson.  We were in Santa Cruz with time tock-tock-talking, never shutting up.

I wasn’t sure what the devil we were going to do.  There’s no way in hell we were going to ditch the books folks across the country had donated to Books & Shovels. At bare minimum, we needed to get up to the Bay Area to hit Beast Crawl.  We could figure out our next moves from there.  Christopher Morgan ended up saving our asses.

Christopher lives up in the Bay, and we already had plans to meet up, grab a drink, and discuss the chapbooks we’re debuting at the poetry festival in New York.  Christopher drove down to Santa Cruz, picked Neeko + I up, along with the crates of literature we’ve been carting around the country.

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Christopher Morgan + me

With the books safely stored at Christopher’s, Neeko and I backpacked around San Francisco, street performing, wandering Mission St, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, getting lost in City Lights Bookstore, and performing at a house show at the end corner of the Mission.Shout out to Chris Salas for chatting it up with two dirty traveling poets at City Lights Bookstore.  Chris lodged Neeko + I thru Beast Crawl, as we waited for July 11th, and with that day, Beast Crawl.  Our little Bay Crew hit roof top ciphers, disenfranchised poem walks, garage shows, street corner open mics, and a slew of adventures that would ramble this blog post into a novel.

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Good morning

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San Francisco

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Reading poetry to the sunset

& then July 11th hit.  At Beast Crawl, more than one hundred writers performed for the 4th literary take over.

I performed during the First Leg with Word Performances, alongside poet and author Zarina Zabrisky, dancing poet Cybele Zufolo Siegel, cabaret singer Nikola Printz, novelist Sabrina Seidner, wordsmith Todd Siegal, and violinist Autumn Turley.   Christopher Morgan and I set up Books & Shovels, and watched the artists unfold on stage.  Our Venice Beach smokey short bus friends, Alex and Brendan, had made it out to the Bay, and joined us.

After the gathering depopulated, we packed up the books into a padded tote bag.  Christopher left for prior engagements, and our odd ball Bay Area crew began mobbing.

jeremiah walton beast crawl

We bumbled over to an open mic where you received a shot of bourbon for performing.  We shared poems out front with other cats gathering from Beast Crawl as the open mic set up inside.  Here I met Clay Bugh who’d read at Beastly Be About It, curated by Alexandra Naughton.  Clay, Alexandra, Neeko, myself, our smokey short bus friends, Brendan and Alex, among other great poets, after that shot of bourbon, performed.  There was a young child that giggled every time someone said fuck or shit.

Rolling through the mic’s performances, Neeko + Clay + Alex + Brendan + Chris gathered our dis-coordinated crew, and rushed to the after party of people group sweating and cramming into the tight patio space of a restaurant.  Thoroughly drunk on the day, evening, night, and beer we’d been wandering with, we caught BART back to San Francisco and walked Mission St. through the night into the sunrise’s foggy hello.

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Neeko + Chris + me

Neeko and I had tickets for Manchester, New Hampshire, from Oakland, departing at 1:30 am July 13th.  Before we said goodbye to the Bay Area crew, we had a dirty poets cipher in San Francisco.

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me + Neeko + Clay + Brendan

We are to arrive July 16th in the mid-afternoon.  It’s the afternoon of day three riding among artists, writers, youth, junkies withdrawing, stoners, babies screaming, bangers, traveling kids, well worn people, bags-under-eyes people, people of America, cramming into a confined space, dazing away with the miles.

Soon we’ll be back East, soon we’ll be at New York City, soon soon soon these new chapbooks will debut.


jeremiah walton poet

Earlier on Greyhound in Kansas:

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Nostrovia! Poetry’s 2015 Chapbook Contest: Second Print Run + THANK YOU + Other Updates!

After a busy week of packaging + making trips to the post office, all orders placed by last week have been shipped! Lots of you are receiving your copies soon (if not already!), so be sure to send us pictures of your smiling faces with your chapbooks :D

We’ve also been blown away YET AGAIN by your collective support–after only one month, we’ve found homes for our entire 1st print run (75 of each collection)! Since we know some of you didn’t get a chance, we’ve already ordered a second, smaller print run for all three collections. So we should be able to ship the next batch of chapbook orders in ~1.5 weeks or so.

At this time my partner in crime, Jeremiah, is riding toward the NYC Poetry Festival via bus, hauling along Books & Shovels, his traveling bookstore. We can’t wait to share videos and photos of August, Bob, and Sarah as they perform from their winning chapbooks on stage.

And now, with most of the hard work done, I wanted to take a moment to give some special thanks to everyone who helped make this project possible:

Nostrovia! Writers
For starts, none of this would have happened without you writers. All +80 folks who submitted in just 48 hours reinforced our suspicions that our whole community is eager for a place to champion our work! And special thanks to our outstanding finalists, who showed nothing but tact and ongoing support during this contest.

I was really blown away by all the love from the review-writing community. Specifically, I’d love to thank Beyza Ozer, Dalton Day, Katie Burke, Matthew Sherling, and Beach Sloth for their reviews, as well as Chad Redden, Jackson Nieuwland, Sonya Vatomsky, Juliet Escoria, Matthew Rohrer, and Waka Flocka Flame for their perfect + timely back-cover blurbs.

Mark Cugini
I love, love Big Lucks, and all the great things Mark does to create a safe place for others and their writing, all the while promoting a more healthy diversity in the community. I was already really impressed with The BEST PRIZE, and at AWP 2015, I learned so much from Mark during a panel on Small Press DYI Publishing.

Kyle Harvey
When Jeremiah and I first discussed cover art, I immediately thought of Kyle, remembering his excellent broadsides + work at Fruita Pulp. Creating *gorgeous* cover designs after reading the winning manuscripts, Kyle went above and beyond, offering design advice + handling our cover’s layout while we experimented with different appearances.

CA Mullins
I’ve been long impressed with Craig’s steady output at Bottlecap Press, and knew his passion for customizing beautiful printed artifacts. With Nostrovia! Poetry and Bottlecap Press already being long-time allies, Craig wowed me with his flexibility and professionalism while we remixed the specs again and again, always trying to find the best dimensions for properly showcasing each writer’s work.

RJ, Megan, Katherine, Karsten, SB, Justin, Josh, E. Kristin, Isobel, and Darshana
Wow–special thanks to these ten awesome people for being the first to support our little online store. Your support means so much to us!

Sarah, Bob, and August
I cannot describe how wonderful it’s been to work with these three talented, giving, and utterly inspiring people. As I deeply admire each of these three, whether it be for their writing that moves me or the ways they express their life’s mission in the world, I was consistently humbled to work with Sarah, August, and Bob. They saw what we saw in this whole crazy thing, and embraced the mission wholeheartedly! Truly a pleasure, A+, 10/10, would work with again ;)

Jeremiah Walton
Of course I have to give an enormous shout-out to my brother and partner-in-crime. As the founder of Nostrovia! Poetry, Jeremiah welcomed me into his press with open arms, trusting me every step of the way + sharing whatever resources he’d acquired. Even when he was busy with all the other N!P obligations (manning the travelling bookstore, organizing F.A.L.D, cleaning up the website, or just co-driving our hype machine–let alone trying to find a stable charge for his phone or laptop!), Jeremiah has always been there, making himself available, jumping in ASAP to get stuff done and kick ass.

Samantha Kennedy
I have to give a special shoutout to my loving partner–thank you, Sam, for taking care of me while I stressed the fuck out, or for being understanding of all the evenings I spent staring at my computer screen beside you. Thank you for believing in me and this mission, and for being proud of the result <3 LOVE YOU <3

Here’s to next year everybody!! Remember, we still have ~25 copies left for each chapbook, and our writers made some INCREDIBLE video poems (worth rewatching over and over), so check them out! And if you receive your order, please send us a picture (tag us on any social media)


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Three Video-Poems by August Smith from “Bird Lizard Horse”

Oh wow!! August Smith teamed up with his friends to create these awesome videos, featuring three powerhouse poems from “Bird Lizard Horse”


“Two Stars, and a Sliver of a Third” from Bird Lizard Horse (ft. Alec Robbins)

“Mario Parties” from Bird Lizard Horse (ft. @John Carroll (pizzaboyfriend))

“Hello, Young America” from Bird Lizard Horse (ft. Steven Michael Holmes)

Buy “Bird Lizard Horse” for pay-what-you-want:
August Smith’s website:

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What Beach Sloth has to say about Nostrovia!’s 2015 NYC Chapbook Series

The wonderful soul that is Beach Sloth​ reviewed all three of Nostrovia Poetry​’s chapbook contest winners!  Review excerpts + links are incorporated below, along with links to purchase the publications, all available at the ‘pay-what-you-can’ + shipping rate, to avoid denying anyone of literature due to monetary reasons.

MOON FACTS by Bob Schofield​

“From the moon’s perspective the world is a sitcom. It is always changing though there appear to be similar themes throughout history. A lot of the earlier seasons of the world were a little atmospheric, not enough going on hence the moon kept it on in the background. Unfortunately the world gets a little too melodramatic for the moon’s tastes which is when the moon opts to stare out into the infinite space.”

Read the full review here

BIRD LIZARD HORSE by August Smith​

“Babyhood happened to everyone. People try to forget that long ago they were mere babies. Adults are always upset by babies. They forget what it means to be a baby: the confusion, the illogical situations, the things that adults simply deem “part of life”. Babies see right through that nonsense which is why they cry. Everywhere there are plenty of things that should drive people crazy: product placement, crass consumer sensibility, etc. Yes everyone can eat fresh but the question remains: should they? If Subway is eating fresh, if Quiznos is toasty, then what is the point of doing anything. What differentiates a slogan from a lie is repetition.”

Read the full review here

JULIET II by Sarah Xerta​

“Unfortunately it does not end so peacefully. Those who desire possession refuse to admit wrongdoing. Even when it would be the only human thing they could do, those who desire possession want to always be in control, to never admit that their actions were deplorable, that they destroy people. If those who desire possession admitted wrongdoing then they would feel remorse and would be force to stop their aggression, their preying on the innocent. A person dies and a person is born again, out of the hurt ready to start anew.”

Read the full review here

All three collections are available for pre-sale as a bundle deal, $12 + $5 shipping for all three. Each are individually available at a ‘pay-what-you-can’ rate. We aren’t going to deny anyone lit due to monetary reasons. Passionate Living > Making a Living.