I am a day late in posting the link for my final article on poetry for National Poetry Month for Southern Tier Life Magazine as I was out getting some fresh air and sunshine. It has been a pleasure to write these articles about poetry which has been the one true creative mode of my lifetime. It has helped me in so many ways and constantly allows me to discover things about the world and the people in it. More importantly, it helps me to see myself.
This final article is about inspiring youth through poetry and my most recent journey with my zine Durable Goods, which I resurrected from retirement for a group of kids in Missouri plagued with a life of trauma. Please enjoy the hope and inspiration growing in today’s poetry community. You can all make a difference, even in a small way, that may turn into something life changing. Don’t give up on that idea.
Read. Write. Support the small press. Be kind to each other.
Durable Goods: The Missouri Collective is a micro-zine that fits in the palm of your hand. Once upon a time it was filled with writers from the small press and traveled all over the world, was archived in libraries, and touched every continent. It was a zine about connection and tangibility. It was something to look forward to. It still is, only in a different way.
At the end of 2021, I revived this zine which had been out of print since 2013 or so to begin a collaboration with the editor of Rusty Truck, Scot D. Young. He is also an educator. He is a man who cares about children. He’s a man who loves poetry. In rural Missouri, he teaches a class of poetry to children who are stuck in a trauma loop. These kids are abused in ways we never want to imagine and what he has given them is a way to vent these atrocities and to make some sense of the good parts of their identity.
Scot had the students and I had a zine. We formulated something on the fly and got the kids to work. We reached out on Facebook to see if any folks were interested in receiving this work and we had 70 folks subscribe. DG has never been about making money and always about connection. The cost of a subscription covers the cost of basic materials and all the extras that come in the mail are my own donation. Keeping the zine inexpensive has meant accessibility to everyone. This first year we have had several benefactors who donated books for the kids, their time to educate them, funds to purchase new poetry to expand their horizons, and even money to buy food because these kids often don’t eat. Scot and I are forever grateful to these people who have opened their hearts.
Durable Goods #4 featuring Angel Hill went out earlier this month. This leaves 4 more issues for the year. The purpose of this post is to start generating interest for the 2022-2023 series of Durable Goods: The Missouri Collective. Subscription prices are based on the number of issues, which is based on the number of students in the class. I do send internationally, but this cost is a bit more. This year there were 8 students so the cost was $6.50 domestic, $13.00 international. I imagine the class size will be similar each year, but you never know how popular Scot will get.
There will only be 75 available subscriptions each year because I am a working woman with other creative projects and active endeavors. Currently, 25 of the 75 spots are already either verbally reserved or paid for. If you are interested in taking a chance on poetry from these teenagers and would like to be a part of the Durable Goods experience, you can send me an email about your interest. Please place “Durable Goods” in the subject line so I can properly file the email. You wouldn’t have to pay until the new cycle is about to begin. This is just a place holder. You can email me at email@example.com
Read. Write. Be Kind to Each Other. Support Small Press.
As many of you well know, I used to produce a microzine called Durable Goods. It started in 2009 and ended in 2013. Many things were accomplished with this zine and its distribution reached every continent in the world, every state in this country, and was archived in countless zine and university libraries. Over the years, I have been asked if I would start Durable Goods back up. It is always a hard question. It was my most favorite project that I’ve ever produced, but toward the end it was labor intensive beyond my singular capability. I was folding 250 copies every two weeks by hand as well as handwritten note cards, stamped bookmarks, and handwritten envelopes. Add in a full time nursing job and a kid and trying to have my own creative output. It became too much so I ended it at its peak.
Recently, I was approached by Scot D. Young of Rusty Truck about this very thing. Is Durable Goods ever coming back? The thought of being that involved in one project with where my life is now seemed overwhelming, but as we talked, something came to mind. Scot works with teenage kids who have been through the wringer—abuse of every kind, poverty, hunger. These kids find some direction and solace in writing. This struck a chord with me because my whole life has been saved and elevated over and over again by writing poetry. It has always loved me. It has always been there.
So, Durable Goods is coming back for a special issue series. There will be eight issues, one for each of the kids. Some of you may know that Durable Goods has traditionally been invite only and I sent the kids their invite letter yesterday. Scot will work with them on writing the poetry to fit the parameters of the zine and also teach them how to submit their work for publication. This project is about showing them how to put themselves out there but also that their words can mean something, that they can be heard, that they can make a difference not only to other people but to themselves.
I will be offering up the opportunity to receive this series of 8 zines just like it used to be. Postage has gone up a bit since then, but I still only charge for what it will cost for me to send. This project is about physical connection and sharing creative understanding. Here are the prices:
Domestic $6.50 (includes all 8 issues with shipping) International (Euro) $11.15 (which works out to be $13.00 US) International (Pound) $9.50 (which works out to be $13.00 US) International (Canada Dollar) $16.25 (which works out to be $13.00 US) **Any other conversions will be assessed per need basis
A new feature is that you’ll be able to send the cost of the issues via PayPal (leathyd or by looking up Aleathia Drehmer) or Venmo (Aleathia-Drehmer). You can also send me payment in the mail or you can send a chapbook of your own writing that is of equal value (address to be provided privately). Please remember to include your mailing address with payment or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you.
We have had many generous folks who are paying kindness forward. Currently I have 5 domestic subscriptions paid for if anyone is interested and cannot afford to be part of the project and my aunt Michelle just kindly donated one international subscription. Scot D. Young had an anonymous donor who is sending funds to buy the kids supplies for writing, Richard Hansen of Poems for All is sending them a selection of tiny poem books, and Jack Varnell from Social Yet Distanced Podcast has offered a podcast about the project when it is finished.
We are hoping to have something done by the end of October. Feel free to email me with any questions. Thanks for supporting these kids and small press poetry. Aleathia