Gulf Coast celebrates 30 years at Lawndale Art Center

January 21, 2017, by

GC 30th Anniversary - Smith readingThis week we talked to poet, Inprint blogger, and University of Houston Creative Program graduate student Erika Jo Brown about Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature & Fine Arts’ 30th anniversary celebration coming up Saturday, January 21, 7 pm, Lawndale Art Center, 4912 Main Street. Since its inception, Inprint has been proud to support Gulf Coast, one of the nation’s reputed literary journals, which also holds readings and other activities. 

INPRINT: Congratulations on 30 years! For our readers that do not know a lot about Gulf Coast, please tell us about the journal, the organization, and all of the things you do.

ERIKA: Thank you! I’m pleased to work for Gulf Coast as a poetry editor and the reading series curator.  Gulf Coast was founded by Donald Barthelme and Phillip Lopate. We’re an arts and literary journal, run by very dedicated graduate students in the University of Houston Creative Writing Program (UH CWP). The print journal comes out each April and October. Recently, Gulf Coast merged with Art Lies. Unlike many lit journals, we’re committed to exploring visual art criticism, scholarship, and dialogues. 

INPRINT: What is the scoop on your events?

ERIKA: We have a pretty vibrant reading series, if I may pat myself on the back. We meet monthly at Rudz in Montrose and also host several Pop-Up events at our partner Brazos Bookstore. The Gulf Coast Reading Series proper consists of three student readers, plus a featured reader. We’ve been lucky to have some incredible guests come our way this past semester, including Hadara Bar-Nadav, Susan Briante, Monica Youn, and Lisa Olstein. And, we’re planning on hosting UH CWP alum Janine Joseph, Chen Chen, and Tim Z. Hernandez.

INPRINT: What can attendees expect Saturday night?

ERIKA: We’re so pleased to host Danez Smith as the featured reader for the celebration of the journal’s 30th anniversary! I saw Danez perform the poem “Dinosaurs in the Hood” in Minneapolis two years ago and it stuck with me. It obviously stuck with a lot of people–Danez has won a crazy amount of awards, including an NEA, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. We solicited Danez’s work for the journal and Danez answered with a beautiful serial poem we’re proud to feature in our winter issue. So, it’s all very simpatico.

But! Another part of our mission, in addition to cultivating a national audience, is to rep our city. So, Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton, the Houston VIP Slammaster, and Fareena Arefeen, the Houston Youth Poet Laureate, will be joining Danez on stage.

INPRINT: Anything else you’d like to mention?

ERIKA: Yes! Our event is at Lawndale Art Center, another community link that speaks to our commitment to the visual arts. They have a wild exhibit there right now. The audience will practically be in the sculptures! And, we’ll have some light refreshments. That’s always very important to me as an audience member. For more information click here.


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