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BACKWORDS Press Release & Launch Recap & Photos

Greetings from the BACKWORDS Team! Your curators, Jenny M Chu, Phillip Trey Coates, and Matthew D Kulisch are humbled and honored by the support we received Wednesday, April 29 at the BACKWORDS Press Release & Launch Party for our inaugural issue. Over 90 people from the Portland art and literary community, from out of state, from education and nonprofit organizations—and plenty of joining friends and family—came to support our first issue and learn about the future of the press.

We want to again recognize our three writers: Elaina Ellis, Ocean Vuong, and Kevin Sampsell. Our online store is currently under construction, but you can still buy your Elaina, Ocean, or Kevin shirt by pledging to our Kickstarter campaign, and please remember that 10% of shirt sales go back to our writers. Please continue to show your support for them.

Speaking of t-shirts, much of our stock for the inaugural issue is now in the hands of our event attendees*, who are now carrying the work of our writers into the world in this new way. Much gratitude goes to them.

We had a small contest for the evening, too, which awards the winner one free BACKWORDS Press t-shirt printed with our logo and featuring an original short prose or poetry composed entirely at the Launch Party by one of our attendees. We received 23 submissions. Special mention goes to Elaine Walker’s “Unbroken” and Liz Mehl’s “Mercy on Me.” Our contest winner is Erin Osborne with the poem, “What of it?” Congratulations, Erin! (Please note that we will open submissions for our Fall 2015 issue on June 1).

We would like to thank our event supporters once more as well: Roya at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Molly Choma Photography, Jessie Hurayt, Ninkasi Brewing, Vibrant Valley Farm, and Coates Landscape Supply for all that they did to make this event possible. We would also like to thank Sophont for providing the music for the evening.

Lastly, our Kickstarter Campaign is now live. In our first three days of the campaign, 7 backers have donated over $1,200 toward BACKWORDS Press print shop set up costs, so that we can continue our mission to feature engaging words, support writers, and change the moment of encounter for poetry & prose writing through this new medium of the literary t-shirt press. By having everything in-house we can greatly reduce our production costs and have greater quality and creative control. We’re aware that future pressings could be even better, printed on higher-quality t-shirts, on a variety of colors and styles, and with our very own screen print studio we have the ability to do all this and more. With 53 days remaining, we need your help so we can reach our goal of $7,500.

Please visit us on Kickstarter if you haven’t already done so, and please share the project and this link: with your


Our team at BACKWORDS Press was simply floored by the excitement shown for our project at the Release & Launch Party on Wednesday and on Kickstarter. It only makes our commitment grow. Thank you.

Stay backwords,

Jenny M Chu, Phillip Trey, & Matthew D Kulisch * If you were able to attend, and bought a shirt featuring Elaina’s or Ocean’s or Kevin’s work, or simply snapped a few photos during the evening, don’t forget to tag your social media updates with #worntowords.

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