Red Beard Press
Red Beard Press
Trans and GNC (Gender Non-Conforming) students from around Michigan have been helping the Board of Education with a proposal in order to allow students to use whichever bathrooms, names, and pronouns they prefer without needing the approval of parents or a doctor. Students like Illyana Bellafloor Balde and other members from The Neutral Zone's Riot Youth Program as well as teachers, parents, and lawyers, helped edit, outline the guidelines, and approve the proposal originally created by Kim Phillips-Knope, a Special Projects Consultant from The Michigan Department of Education. The importance of groups such as Riot Youth, QSA, and other student organized groups aimed at representing the voiceless are making a huge difference. Especially in a primarily conservative state like Michigan, these organizations are important. Other states such as Illinois, South Dakota, and South Carolina have passed plans which legalize discriminatory, trans-misogynist guidelines surrounding school behavior regarding trans and GNC students. The Neutral Zone and the teens involved in it are here and fighting, help support the voices of our teens! Read more below:
At the Neutral Zone we take pride in our ability to have teen leadership rolls. Since Carlina Duan, our former supervisor, left to teach in Malaysia, we have been noticing how much was left in her hands. We now have a consistent staff of somewhere around ten teens and we decided it was time to start giving the teens some of the roles which Carlina used to handle and now has handed to Mary Gallagher. We separated into a few categories: Financial/business, Communication/PR, Event Planning, Editing/Design, and Promotion.
Hopefully with our new system of putting our separate efforts into different areas we can focus more on our growth and dynamics with outside communities and also hopefully improve inner-press communication. We have in the past worked as a group on large projects but it usually boils down to one or two people working hard, hopefully this will help us spread the effort in order to establish our style & voice as a press.
I was talking with my mother when she was driving me home today. She was telling me how she wished people taught each other the things they know how to do more often. The way societies share is definitely evolving and the ways families hand things down their lineage is different than how our parents experienced it. Jeff Kass teaches poetry in his creative writing class where poets discuss learning how to cook from their parents or how to be strong from their ancestors. I've been seeing learning and the transfer of knowledge moving more into the hands of public spaces.
At the Ann Arbor youth slams and MLTAB, the poets teach about life in Michigan as youth. At home our parents teach us how to argue and be angry and still love. Our bosses and teachers teach us how to handle unfairness, how to waste and use time effectively. Randos (Randos: Noun. from latin word for confusion: formerly, the favorite form of acquaintance for the collective blog of Red Beard Press) teach us about the way other people think in blog posts and articles we see on the internet.
To be honest I think Red Beard is a really important press who is promoting learning within Ann Arbor. Recently there have been a lot of people who have been the target of national attention who really don't know what they are talking about or how to understand their relation to other people and their experiences. The writing we are putting out in the world helps promote the voices of those in Ann Arbor who don't have the ability to be heard, or people from outside Ann Arbor educating us on what it is like living elsewhere. Angel Nafis teaches about what it is like to grow up in Ann Arbor as a black queer woman. Jeff Kass teaches us what it is like to be an educator and father. Eli DeLing speaks from the perspective of growing up in a country hostile and violent towards women. And H. Melt gives us wisdom from Chicago on the issues and daily life of those struggling with gender queerness.
Hopefully we will be able to improve/strengthen our relationships with local bookstores and small businesses around the country such as Women & Children First Bookstore in Chicago.
Keep spreading the word, help us promote! Share the words of Ann Arbor's overshadowed authors and friends!
If anyone has suggestions of local businesses or authors/writers where Red Beard might find some support, our PR and Promotion staff members would greatly appreciate it. Also, if you have anything you are well versed in, please leave us a comment! Any knowledge/stories/ideas are great to hear.
"Poets should bring poetry into all the places where it allegedly doesn’t belong, to all the so-called ‘non-traditional’ audiences that are actually the most traditional audiences of all, from prisons to drug treatment programs, from community centers to urban high schools. (I once gave a reading at a boxing gym in Willimantic, Connecticut, to a team of young amateur boxers, mostly Puerto Rican. Their coach liked poetry.) I don’t know if writers have a collective purpose; I do know that our purpose should include a commitment to the collective." -Martín Espada, interviewed by Nicole Sealey for PEN America.
Pufferfish submissions are in! There are so many! We are rolling in them like money! Authors, please send us another copy of your work, they are all crinkled.
P.S. continue to spread word of Red Beard, our submissions inbox is always open even not during official submission dates! Keep us rolling all the way to the release party for pufferfish in April, actually, all the way until till June!!! Tell your friends, cohorts, co-workers, corn fields (just shout it at them, they like to hear news about us, we roomed together in college), families, children, and especially teachers!!!
This week we are very focused on staying on top of reading everything for our upcoming deadlines, however it is important for us to keep our past work revived. I encourage all our 440 fans to continue spreading word(s) of our older books. Uncommon Core Fiction was just released, Uncommon Core Poetry is still alive and vibrant and energized as ever!!! Teachers all over the country are using these works and if you are sick of the euro-centric, boring, outdated works we read in school continue pushing our teachers to pay attention to our contemporary textbooks. Spread word to writers, help us continue improving the ways schools teach writing.
In addition some of the books we've published in the past few years have been getting national attention. Angel Nafis, author of BlackGirl Mansion, was listed as one of the top contemporary writers to pay attention to. H. Melt's book was read by the poet laureate who loved it. And our very own former supervisor Carlina Duan, co-author of Electric Bite Woman and author of Here I go, Torching, was quoted and promoted by well known fashion blogger, Arabelle Sicardi. It is so important to support and help lengthen these voices. They are shouting on their own but help us make them scream.
"there is only snow. and inside: there is only muscle. only what I can give and flex- which is to say inside: there is a moon in me, a heart that swamps and swamps. today: oil and vessel. turnips I fried for dinner. joy I got from touching a friend's humble face. the monthly blood. the honest stutter. what I place my paws on: only rain, only squares of papaya, and the hundred lives in me all hard and tender, eager to sprout" -Carlina Duan, from "What I've lost", Here I go, Torching
About Red Beard Press
Red Beard Press is an independent, youth-driven publishing company dedicated to creating cutting-edge literary arts projects, publishing emerging voices, and inspiring passionate literary communities.