SPECTRA features innovative & award-winning poets from across the country with Quad Cities-based poets & writers at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Avenue Rock Island, IL), unless otherwise indicated.


Two SPECTRA Reading Series Events in October!

Release Party: For A Second, In The Dark
by Alec Hershman
Friday, Oct. 6 at 6pm | Rozz-Tox | Free & Public
$5 Suggested Donation

The SPECTRA Reading Series will host the release party for a new chapbook published by MWC Press: For A Second, In The Dark by Alec Hershman of Ann Arbor, MI on Friday, October 6 at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave. Rock Island, IL). The book will be available for $10 at the event. Hershman’s book is an Editor’s Choice Selection for the Foster-Stahl Chapbook Series, which is currently open for submissions.

The event will start with an open mic at 7:00 p.m., followed by a feature reading from Hershman, who will be joined by three other recent chapbook authors: Sophia Best (Pink Bathwater, 2023 Iowa Chapbook Prize winner), Emily Kingery (Invasives, Finishing Line Press, 2023), and Aubrey Ryan (CHOIR, MWC Press, 2021). Event is free and open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation to support youth writing programs at MWC.

Featured readers include Sophia Best, Emily Kingery, and Aubrey Ryan.

Alec Hershman is the author of two previous volumes of poetry: Permanent and Wonderful Storage (Seven Kitchens, 2019) and The Egg Goes Under (Seven Kitchens, 2017). He is a grassroots labor organizer and currently serves as the Chair of Education for the Ypsilanti Industrial Workers of the World. He lives with his husband and dogs in Michigan.

Pre-order For A Second, In The Dark from MWC Press by clicking here. 

SPECTRA Reading Series Presents
erica lewis: mahogany Tour
Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7pm | Rozz-Tox | Free & Public
$5 Suggested Donation

The SPECTRA Reading Series will host a special event featuring acclaimed poet erica lewis on Thursday, October 19 at Rozz-Tox (2108 3rd Ave. Rock Island, IL). Lewis, who lives in the Bay Area, will be stopping in the Quad Cities on the Midwestern leg of the tour for her new book mahogany, recently published by Wesleyan University Press.
Doors for the event open at 7:00 p.m., and readings will start at 8:00 p.m. lewis will be joined by another celebrated poet, Becca Klaver, and two local rising stars: Melissa Conway and Htoo Htoo. Event is free and open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation to support youth writing programs at MWC.

mahogany Book Description (from Wesleyan University Press):

mahogany takes its name from the dark wood prized for its durability, workability, and elegant look, and from the Diana Ross movie, whose theme song asks the listener to evaluate life’s journey, asking if what lies ahead is what you really want. This book of poems emerged from the covid years, during which the poet was caring for her mother, and navigating a grief-turned depression after her mother’s death. This book is also the third in a trilogy, and like the first two books (mary wants to be a superwoman and daryl hall is my boyfriend), mahogany is steeped in the music of a 70s pop artist. Each poem here takes its title from a line of a Diana Ross and the Supremes song, and songs from Ross’s successful solo career. lewis writes short, abbreviated, lines; a kind of Ashbery-an stream of consciousness that proceeds vertically down the page. As postmodern psalms, these poems connect dailyness to timelessness, merging the historical and the beloved through reverence for roots, family, music, and pop culture, and the life we actually live. mahogany is a lyric lament about the passing of time and unimaginable loss, and at the same time it models the daily search for joy, and the deep shine that can arise from the darkest times.mahogany

erica lewis Biography:
erica lewis (San Francisco, CA) was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her books include the precipice of jupiter (2009, with artist Mark Stephen Finein), camera obscura (2010, with artist Mark Stephen Finein), murmur in the inventory (2013); and the first two books of the box set trilogy: daryl hall is my boyfriend (2015) and mary wants to be a superwoman (2017).


We’ll continue to update the 2023 SPECTRA schedule soon! Please check back and join the SPECTRA Facebook group for updates on our events and other readings, workshops, etc. from all over the country! 

SPECTRA manifests thanks to the generous support
of the Illinois Humanities and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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