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Now Offering: Poetry Workshop led by avery r. young

We’re pinching ourselves to make sure it’s really happening: avery r. young is headed back to Tacoma, and he’s holding a workshop with Blue Cactus Press, followed by a reading and book signing at King’s Books.

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Yup, definitely hapening. We’re excited to announce that on April 5th, Blue Cactus Press is welcoming writer, performer, educator and activist avery r. young to Tacoma in celebration of his new poetry book, neckbone. avery will kick things off by leading a small poetry workshop at 2pm at Defiance Square (a.k.a. Blue Cactus Press’ office in Tacoma).

Please note that workshop space is limited to 15 participants and registration is required. Cost for the poetry workshop is $25 per participant (registration fees go directly towards compensating the artist for his time and energy). Trust us, this will be the best $25 you ever spend.

BCP will also reserve two seats for youth poets, free of charge. Youth interested in participating must email bluecactuspress(at)gmail.com with the following information: first and last name, age, school currently attending, and a short statement explaining how participating in the workshop will benefit their artistic craft. We’ll email youth to formally offer workshop seats after reviewing submissions.

Adults can sign up for the workshop by filling out the form below AND submit payment via the “Pay Your Registration Fee” button below.

Pay Your Registration Fee

$25.00

Following the workshop, avery will hold a poetry reading and book signing at King’s Books at 5pm on the same day (April 5). The reading is FREE and open to the public. If you’ve never seen avery perform, you will be blown away. Do not miss this opportunity to see a nationally recognized and bomb-ass poet, activist and performer lay it down on the mic right here in Tacoma, or to create poems with him at the workshop! 

In the meantime, check out one of avery r. young’s performances here. 


About avery r. young:

Interdisciplinary artist avery r. young is a 3Arts Award winning teaching-artist, composer and producer with work that spans the genres of  music, performance, visual arts and literature. Examining and celebrating Black American history and culture, his work also focuses in the areas of social justice, equity,  queer identity, misogyny and body consciousness. As a writer, this Cave Canem alum has work featured The Breakbeat Poets, Coon Bidness, to be left with the body and Make Magazine.  He has also written curriculum and essay on arts education which appear in Teaching Artist Journal and A.I.M. Print.  Dubbed “sunday mornin jook joint,” his performance and work in sound design merges spiritual and secular aesthetics with dramatic and comedic sensibilities. He has performed in the Hip Hop Theater Festival, Wordstock and Lollapalooza. Has recorded with house producers Anthony Nicholson, Charlie Dark and is featured on recordings such as, New World Reveal-A-Solution, Audio Truism, Catfish Haven’s Devastator and New Skool Poetiks.  His new full-length release, booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid,  features songs and other sound designed created during his artist residency with the University of Chicago’s Arts and Public Life initiative.  It was during this residency that he worked worked on sound design and concrete poems called “cullud sign(s).” Through voice, sound, visual art and performance,  young is constantly exploring the forms and spaces in which poetry can exist. Most recently, he is the vocalist on flutist Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening (FPE Records) and his poetry is featured in photographer 3Arts Awardee, Cecil McDonald Jr.’s debut book, In the Company of Black (Candor Arts) and his first book neckbone (Northwestern University Press) will be available June 2019.  He is currently one of four directors for the Floating Museum and touring with his band avery r. young & de deacon board.

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We’re Taking Pre-Orders!

That’s right, it’s officially time to pre-order your copy of our two newest poetry books:

What Us Is by Kellie Richardson (Richardson’s debut poetry collection, newly re-published with BCP and sporting a swanky new cover design)

Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Price: $17.00
Pre-order here

What Us Is offers readers a glimpse into the head space of one of Tacoma, Washington’s most respected poets, Kellie Richardson. In her debut poetry collection, Richardson turns herself inside out to let others know they’re not alone.


 Terrain by Gina Hietpas

Publication Date: August 1, 2020
Price: $17.00
Pre-order here

In her debut poetry collection, Terrain, self-taught poet and educator Gina Hietpas offers readers a way to return to the land with care and dignity. Drawing from a deep well of personal observation, connection and participation with the natural world, Hietpas’ poems explore themes of allyship, care, and ultimately, healing. 


Why Pre-Orders Matter

🌵 When community members pre-order a book from an independent bookstore, booksellers are better able to gauge market interest and order accordingly. In turn, this helps small publishers (like us) determine how many books to print before we launch, gain traction with regional audiences, and spur initial book sales.

🌵 Pre-ordering books also helps authors by increasing their odds of making it onto bestseller lists, potentially opening doors for future book contracts, and increasing their rankings on Goodreads and other influential literary sites. All of these are important components for an author’s long-term market success. 

 🌵 Lastly, when community members pre-order books directly from publishers, we’re able to ensure we have enough capital to cover printing costs (one of the biggest expenses of a book’s production costs), and focus on other aspects of publishing (like setting up cool events and readings for you, dear readers). 


With this in mind (along with your burning passion for poetry and art), we hope you’ll consider pre-ordering your books directly from Blue Cactus Press, or with your local, independent bookstore (like King’s Books). Happy reading, friends!

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The Prickly Pear Podcast & Libro.fm are in cahoots!

Guess what, friends?! Libro.fm, our favorite independent audiobook platform, is our new podcast sponsor!

Libro.fm is the first and only company which lets you purchase audiobooks directly from your favorite local bookstore (we’re looking at you, King’s Books). When you sign up for Libro.fm, you can pick from more than 125,000 audiobooks, including New York Times best sellers and recommendations from booksellers. You’ll get the same audiobooks at the same price as the largest audiobook company out there (you know the name). But you’ll be part of a different story — one that supports community.

Here’s how our sponsorship works: Libro.fm now has a standing, special offer for listeners of The Prickly Pear Podcast: get 3 audiobooks for the price of 1 ($14.99) with your first month of membership.

All you need to do is use the following code when signing up for your first month of membership: PRICKLY

Every sign up with this code will help financially support Blue Cactus Press and the production of our podcast, AND you can still designate your favorite independent bookstore to receive a small portion of the proceeds, as well! You can also follow this link to sign up.

If you haven’t already, download the Libro.fm app on your smart phone (of course, it’s free) and start listening. It’s Friday, after all 🙂

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Author Interview: Kellie Richardson

We can’t keep Kellie Richardson’s book cover under wraps any longer! It’s too good to keep to ourselves, and the story behind it – and behind Kellie’s creative work in collage – is worth sharing. So, let us introduce you to The Art of Naming My Pain, a collection of prose, poetry and collage by Kellie Richardson.

The cover of is based on one of Richardson’s collage pieces, “Listen,” created in 2019 with acrylic, tissue paper and found items on canvas.

Continue reading Author Interview: Kellie Richardson
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¡Cover Reveal! for Low Static Rage

Yes, we did take a month off to recharge, but now we’re back with a vengeance, Tacoma, and we’re ready to reveal the cover art for Michael Haeflinger’s debut poetry collection, Low Static Rage.

“Polar Vortex” by Michael Bolsinga, 2014

This stellar cover art is from a painting by Michael Bolsinga, a painter living in Portland, Oregon. It’s titled “Polar Vortex,” and was created by Bolsinga in 2014. Check out more of Bolsinga’s work on his website, or on Instagram @bolsinga.

And before you ask, friends, let us set the record straight: yes, we’re publishing a book with no words on the cover. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch!

Why? Because at its core, Low Static Rage is art, and the poetry inside speaks for itself. Haeflinger crafted each poem with incredible attention to rhythm, form, lyricism, and tone, and we want his book to feel and look as artistic in the hand as it reads across the page. With that in mind, we feel that Bolsinga’s “Polar Vortex” offers the perfect visual pairing to Haeflinger’s poems. “Polar Vortex” depicts the same stark beauty, tension, and simmering energy as Haeflinger’s poems.

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We Come up for Air

Over the last few months, the folks behind Blue Cactus Press (including myself, the publisher, our authors, intern and new conspirators) have kept our heads down and our hands deep in the weeds of publishing work. Today we’re coming up for air, and we’ve got big news to share with you, our much-loved community. Read all about it below!

We broke-up with Amazon

Over the last two and a half years, we’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry, what we can do to conduct business ethically, and how best to support other businesses in the publishing chain. We’re still learning, but one thing we’ve known for a while is that when we utilize Amazon’s services – as a print-on-demand and sales platform – we aren’t serving anyone well. Sure, Amazon is cheap and fast, but every time we utilize it for publishing purposes, we take business away from printers and independent bookstores, no to mention severely lower profits for authors, artists, designers, editors, and our company. So, we’ve officially pulled our titles from all Amazon platforms. Doing this will allow us to better support other small businesses in the industry, including independent bookstores, printers, artists, designers and of course, authors.

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Hello, Carlisle!

Goodbye snow, hello spring! Well, almost spring. As we await blue skies and warmer weather, we’re also saying hello to a new addition to the Blue Cactus Press team: Carlisle Huntington. Please join us in welcoming Carlisle to the literary fold as a much-appreciated publishing intern! Carlisle is a student at University of Puget Sound, and she’s studying English and Creative Writing. Over the next few months, she’ll assist with all sorts of pesky editorial, marketing and distribution tasks here at Blue Cactus Press.

But before Carlisle’s work begins, we think it’s important to give you – our friends and readers – a sense of who she is and what she stands for. We held a quick Q&A session with Carlisle to do just that. Here goes!

Continue reading Hello, Carlisle!
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Live-Recording ft. José Olivarez & Britteney Black Rose Kapri

PPP Live Recording

This March, the Prickly Pear Podcast welcomed poetry giants  José Olivarez and Britteney Black Rose Kapri to Tacoma for a live podcast recording! José and Britteney joined our podcast host, Christina Butcher, and local poet Michael Haeflinger, for a chat about poetry, art and identity at King’s Books on March 20th.

The live-recording was sponsored by Write253, as part of the fourth annual Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB)-Tacoma teen poetry slam festival (March 2019). The festival culminated in a youth poetry slam on March 23 at Alma Mater.

Continue reading Live-Recording ft. José Olivarez & Britteney Black Rose Kapri

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¡The 2019 Lineup!

Before 2019 gets any further underway, Blue Cactus Press has a big announcement to make! In celebration of two fantastic years of publishing under our belt, we’re announcing our 2019 lineup of authors! Please join us in welcoming three phenomenal local artists, poets, and writers to the Blue Cactus Press family:

Continue reading ¡The 2019 Lineup!