The first time



Tiffany’s Wine Bar. The Colony. Toledo, Ohio. Circa 1977. An open mic poetry reading. My first.

I had only ever read in churches before. This is an entirely different scene.

I’m eighteen, surrounded by strangers. Adults with big hair, tie dye, and bell bottoms, all smiling, drinking wine on a sunny back patio, enjoying, listening intently to each poet. I’m sixth.

I get through my first two pieces, fine, but was there for my third, where I describe the power of my teen longings being recognized, seen, the final lines barely hinting that it was by another boy.

I finish, applause. Did they hear me, I wonder? Get my ‘gist?’

And there I stood for nearly two minutes/hours alone when this guy I spotted earlier, Bob, opens his arms and says, “Come here, you big fairy.” His full embrace imprinted forever.

Nearly forty years later, I find myself here opening a poetry bookshop in Toronto at Rick’s Cafe in Kensington Market. I say ‘I,’ but there are so many lifelong loving faces that fill the vision of this dream. My heart is full, my eyes burst. Such times. Truly a cause for celebration.

Poets. Lovers. Readers. Welcome to knife | fork | book .


Illustration: Tallaulah Pomeroy.  Book: HELEN GURI Here Come the Waterworks (BookThug, 2015). Photos: KIRBY

Snail Poems & The Braid


Collecting found texts, lyric poetry, and experimental prose, Eric Sneathen’s Snail Poems is an elegy born of the general catastrophe of late capitalism and the specific tragedy of personal loss. Committed to smallness and fragility, Snail Poems nevertheless spirals out, queerly navigating collisions of ecological devastation, the politics of friendship, and popular culture.

Eric Sneathen splits his time between Oakland and UC Santa Cruz, where he is a PhD student in Literature. His poetry has been published by Mondo Bummer, littletell, Faggot Journal, and The Equalizer, and his first collection, Snail Poems, is forthcoming from Krupskaya. He is also the editor and producer of Macaroni Necklace, a DIY literary zine and reading series featuring (mostly) writers who have not yet published a book-length manuscript.


The Braid is a fever dream of pregnancy and early parenting in the era of the police state. Meditative and urgent, it interrogates the idealized portrait of mother and child to wind up somewhere much messier. A love poem shot through with ambivalence; a sustained fuck-you to Ronald Reagan and his legacy; a moment of feminist possibility on the far side of collapse.

Lauren Levin grew up in New Orleans and lives in Richmond, CA with her family. Her first full-length book The Braid is forthcoming with Krupskaya Books in October 2016. Recent work can be found in the chapbook Only the Dead Are Never Anxious (Mondo Bummer), in the journal Open House, and forthcoming in the journal Hold.

Both titles newly released by Krupskaya Books



knife | fork | book @ Rick’s Cafe | 281 Augusta Avenue | Kensington Market

Doors open 6:30PM | Reading 7PM


Read Leak by Lauren Levin
Read Snail Poem by Eric Sneathen