Literary magazine festival launches in Denver

Photo: Sarai Nissan - CU Sentry


   Witch Craft Magazine launched their first issue in the winter of 2015. The magazine was established by Elle Nash and Catch Business, and since its debut, it has only grown: on Aug. 5, Witch Craft helped launch the first This Lil Lit Fest, a showcase of regional literary journals and magazines.

 Denver summers are no strangers to festivals like the Westword Music Showcase and the Underground Music Showcase, and arriving  just behind their heels, the city has welcomed a new type of collaborative celebration. This Lil Lit Fest was presented by Witch Craft, Spy Kids Review, Bottlecap Press, and Nostrovia Press, and it is perhaps the first festival of its kind.

 This Lil Lit Fest hosted an ostensibly endless amount of local and regional poets and writers, as well as independent publishing presses to showcase their work and make new connections, all operating out of  Englewood, South Broadway’s infamous Mutiny Information Cafe, or Syntax: Physic Opera.

 The Spy Kids Review is an Arizona-based media and publishing collective who featured the festival’s featured poets in the their zines. On Saturday, Syntax hosted the Spy Kids Review Showcase at This Lil Lit Fest on South Broadway. Catch Business, New England native Alli Simone Defeo, and Steve Roggenbuck were three of the many poets selected to read at Syntax.

 There was a surprising amount of eager listeners gathered in the main  room of the Broadway haunt–not a seat was left unfilled. The poets very much represented the 21st century and what performed poetry is starting to sound like today. Rather than memorize their notes, or even copy them to an index card, they shamelessly read from their iPhone’s screens; watching this was an interesting glimpse into the next generation of poetry.

 The mood was light-hearted, and the poems were generally happy-go-lucky in tone. Defeo made awkward but clever jokes in between poems; it was sometimes difficult to discern which were jokes and which were stanzas. One of Defeo’s poems was  inspired by one-star Yelp reviews of national parks, serving as a sample of the humor inherent to Defeo’s poetry and also her personality. Most of the readings were about love gained or love lost–not unusual for poetry, though many mentioned the act of texting at least once.

 This Lil Lit Fest concluded on Sunday Aug. 7 with a slew of readings and social events such as a Backyard BBQ Book Exchange and the This Lil Lit Fest Poetry Party.  There was a mix of intrique and nostalgia surrounding the new styles of the selected poets. Though they were often vessels of modernity, the festival created an odd dissonance in those who are so used to reading the sad, masochistic poetry of Charles Bukowski–a poet who surely would have preferred writing on a typewriter and not an iPhone.

— Sarai Nissan

Syntax: Physic Opera

554 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

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