Blue Cactus Press Newsletter

We made it through Tacoma Arts Month and we're still breathing! And yes, we know it's a Saturday morning so we're keeping this newsletter short and sweet so you can read it in bed, in sweatpants and in denial that you'll have to get up, eventually. Check out what we've been cooking up in the world of publishing below! 

Upcoming Events


Nov 17: Jose Olivarez & Michael Haeflinger 

Join us at Open Books in Seattle tomorrow, November 17, for an evening of poetry by José Olivarez and Michael Haeflinger. The event will begin at 5PM, and will include readings, signings and opportunities to meet the poets. If you didn't get a chance to hear Olivarez read when he was in Tacoma last spring, or Haeflinger read at his launch in September, now's your chance! 

(José Olivarez & Michael Haeflinger Poetry Reading, 5 pm, Sunday, Nov. 17, Open Books: A Poetry Emporium, 2414 N 45th St, Seattle, FREE)

Dec 8: Village 253 Handmade Market & Mingle

Blue Cactus Press will be one of more than 30 local vendors specializing in homemade and locally crafted goods at the 5th Annual Handmade Market & Mingle at Union Club Tacoma. Event admission is free and there'll be free food and kid crafts. Come browse our newest books, chat with us about the publishing process, and pick up a copy of our newest books (which are perfect holiday gifts, duh). You can also get tickets for an awesome raffle benefiting local charities. Every maker, including Blue Cactus Press, will donate 10% of their sales to the chosen charity.

(Village 253 Handmade Market & Mingle, 6 pm, Monday, Dec 8, Union Club Tacoma, 539 Broadway, Tacoma, FREE)

The Prickly Pear Podcast 

NEW Episode: Lucien Vedego & The Great Avocado

We asked Lucien Vedego, a multi-disciplinary artist with work in the fields of music, painting, writing, acting, and modeling, to join us for a silly but heartfelt conversation last month. What did we talk about? You, Tacoma, and what keeps cool kids like Lucien walking through your streets. We deep dived into conversation about honesty, “facebooking it” in real life, friendship and the artistic process. Give this a listen as you head to Seattle tomorrow for a poetry reading (hint, hint). 

Publishing News


We're Finalizing Our 2020 Author Lineup! 

Okay look, this is not a teaser, but our lineup is not 100% finalized so we can't tell you about all of the books we're publishing next year. We're still waiting on a few more signatures to dry before we can announce everyone on our 2020 lineup. But, that doesn't mean we can't name drop a few peeps right here, right now, and spam you with details later. So, here's what we know: 
We acquired Kellie Richardson's debut poetry collection, What Us Is, and will be redesigning and publishing it under BCP in early 2020! This may be one of our slickest moves yet, and we're excited to bring What Us Is to wider audiences at independent bookstores across the PNW. Keep your eye out for this lil' beauty in late winter/early spring! 

We heard Jonah Barrett was pulling together a short story collection of queer, speculative fiction  and we immediately knew we wanted it. So, we went and got it (after much wine drinking and hugging in Olympia). Jonah's writing is heartbreaking, cringe-funny, and bitingly honest. We couldn't pass this one up. Expect to get your hands on Jonah's book around Halloween (come on, you saw that one coming). In the meantime, know that Jonah is a filmmaker in Olympia and makes a lot of cool/wierd stuff. Here's one of his latest creative works: The Tetrahedron.

Our fearless leader (okay maybe she's not fearless but she manages her anxiety alright), Christina Butcher, is writing a book of poetry. It's called Vega. It's about death, family dynamics, gender-fluidity and consciousness. She is terrified of marketing this book as both publisher and author, so be gentle with her as the year progresses. Most likely, Vega will launch in December, because nothing screams Christmas like death. 

Stay tuned for more news on who and what we're publishing in 2020 in social media and at!


Find Our Books are at Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery!

That's right, we worked with Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery in Seattle to bring our first title, Still Clutching Maps by Christina Butcher, to the gallery's shelves!  Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery is a multi-use space hosting art exhibitions, a gift shop for artists and artisans, and a community space for spoken word, music and arts related lectures and workshops. Most of the art at Nepantla is by artists of marginalized communities, including Chicano and Mexican-Americans.

Still Clutching Maps is a natural fit for Nepantla, as she's a Chicana poet from New Mexico, and much of her work centers on her heritage and lived Chicana experience. We encourage you to pop into the gallery to peruse art and books, and learn more about the other artists in the space. Nepantla is located at 9414 Delridge Way SW, Seattle.

A Note From the Publisher

My Long-Winded "Thank You" to Portland 

Earlier this month, I headed to Portland for a poetry reading with Free Range Poetry PDX. I really wanted to connect with poets and readers in the City of Roses. Seriously, I really, really wanted to connect with them, which helped me stay positive as my friends and I dealt with three successive setbacks: I left my poetry and merch at home. I got a flat tire near the Tacoma city limits. I drove to the wrong. fucking. venue. The journey was epic, to say the least.  

Anyway! I was on a lineup with a two other featured readers, poet and Shaman Jonathan Merritt and poet Armin Tolentino, and we were set to read after a short open mic. And I gotta' tell you, friends, the readings that evening were phenomenal! I was inspired by the poets who read at the open mic, partially because their poetry (in content and form) was diverse, and partly because everyone was so welcoming of us out-of-towners.

More than 20 people packed into a tiny library conference room to read and listen to poetry, and the mutual support was palpable throughout the room. Needless to say, I was delighted to participate and honored to read alongside Jonathan (who took me to church, oof) and Armin (who brought me back to science).  So, to everyone who came out to read, support, and organize the reading, thank you.  I'll see you soon, I'm sure.  - Christina 

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Blue Cactus Press · P.O. Box 2082 · Tacoma, WA 98401 · USA

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