Gloria Mindock has been a fixture of the Boston literary scene for decades. In addition to running Cervena Barva Press and The Lost Bookshelf, she offers multiple reading series throughout the year. An accomplished poet in her own right, she is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Ash from Glass Lyre Press. Gloria’s poetry has been translated into 10 languages, and has appeared in numerous literary journals including Poet Lore, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Nixes Mate Review. Among other accolades for her service to the poetry community, she was the Poet Laureate of Somerville, MA in 2017 and 2018.
Gloria took the time to speak with me about the readings she offers at the Cervena Barva’s space at Arts at the Armory in Somerville. Since the pandemic began, she has moved her series online.
Does your series happen on a regular schedule, such as the second Tuesday of the month? If so, what is it?
I started out having the Cervena Barva Press reading series on Wednesdays but since I have my own space (Arts at the Armory, Basement B8), I am flexible and schedule readings when the readers are available. It is wonderful to not depend on other places for scheduling.
Before I had my own space, I had the series at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Harvard Square. I loved having it there. It was such a beautiful space and easy for people to get to. John Wronoski and his staff were the best! The gallery is no longer there.
How did this reading series come about?
I wanted to give my authors a place to read as well as other writers in the community and the world.
Did you develop it on your own, or do you collaborate with others?
I developed it on my own. Renuka Raghavan designs the reading flyers and all the event flyers for me.
Are you affiliated with any organization such as a journal, a press, a school, or a bookstore?
I have had many interns from Lesley University and other colleges such as Simmons, Emerson, Connecticut College, and Bennington. They have been a big help with Cervena Barva Press and The Lost Bookshelf.
What makes your reading series different from others?
I do not compare my reading series to others. I think we all have our own personal vision of what we want our series to be. I love attending other reading series and try to be supportive of them. We have an amazing community here in the area. I have readers who are fiction writers as well as poets. Last year for our 15th anniversary, I had 57 readings for July and August with only a few nights off. It was so much fun! Writers read from our community and many of my authors took part.
You can watch videos of many of our readings and events on YouTube. R. J. Jeffreys set up the Cervena Barva Press channel does everything on YouTube for us. I am so grateful.
Every other year, we have a series called, “Cervena Barva Press Reads All Over the World.”
Many of my authors schedule readings where they are from and invite others to read with them.
This happens from October through December.
Who comes to your series?
Mostly other writers attend the readings. Translations are my favorite to publish. Since the pandemic, readings have been virtual, and it has made it easier for having international readings. R. J. Jeffreys has been my co-host for the virtual readings.
What upcoming featured poets are you really excited about?
I am excited about anyone who reads for my series. I am in the process of scheduling for the summer, fall, and next year. Usually, the schedule is packed but I decided to slow down and concentrate more on my writing, and launching my new book, Ash, published by Glass Lyre Press.
Can you describe your venue? Is it wheelchair accessible?
Yes, we are wheelchair accessible. There is an elevator on the main level which will take you to the basement. The venue is cozy. Everyone is surrounded by books with chairs in the middle. I have the overhead lights off and have a lamp and stringed lights on to make the readings feel more intimate.
What can your guests expect when they arrive? Things like a cover charge, lines, or other helpful tips.
In my studio space, there is a charge of $5.00 to attend events. Since I pay rent, I needed to do this. Cervena Barva Press is not a non-profit organization so there is no funding.
If a person cannot pay, they are never turned away.
At every event, I serve white and red wine, bottled water, cheese and crackers, and other snacks. I try to make each event special.
Renuka Raghavan, Karen Friedland, and William J. Kelle have helped me with the readings in the Armory, collecting the money at the door, setting up the room, breaking it down afterward, and whatever else needs to be done. They are incredible. They all are part of the press and help me with so many things.
How does it work now that the series is online?
I do not charge anything for the online readings. Zoom has been a great experience. It is easy to have writers from all over the world be a part of the series. I love bringing different readers to the series that normally could not travel here.
Are you aiming for a particular aesthetic or vibe with your featured poets?
I am open to all types of work providing it is good. I look forward to hosting more international readers.
Does your series include an open mic? If so, is there anything poets should know before signing up for it?
I do not have an open mic at my series.
If someone would like to be considered as a featured poet for your series, how should they go about inquiring?
Email me at email@example.com. I would love a sample of work. It is ok to send a bio but that does not determine who I ask. I am more interested in the writing than how many books you have published or publications.
Do you have a mailing list or other way people can learn about your future readings? How can people sign up?
I have a mailing list. If anyone wishes to be on it, please email me and I will add you to our list.
At readings, I have a sign-up sheet. I have not done this with Zoom but in the future, they can put their email in chat.