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AWP 2023 Offsite Reading: Sarah Gerard’s “The Butter House”

AWP 2023 Offsite Launch Event & Reading

Sarah Gerard’s The Butter House

6:30pm, Friday, March 10th, 2023

About the Event

Join us in Seattle for an intimate cat-themed launch event for Sarah Gerard’s new chapbook, The Butter House. Sarah will be reading an excerpt and signing copies. Paperbacks ($12.00) and limited-edition hardcovers ($20.00) will be available for purchase during the event. The cafe also offers wine, beer, coffee, tea, snacks, and merchandise for sale.

NEKO Cat Cafe in downtown Seattle is a 13-minute (0.5 mile) walk from the Convention Center, or a 6-minute ride on the #49 bus. NEKO is a sanctuary for rescue cats. Through relationships with area shelters, the cafe showcases hard-to-adopt cats in this unique cafe setting. With the exception of a few permanent residents, most cats at NEKO are adoptable. Please contact editors@coniumreview.com if you have accessibility needs that may require accommodations.

Pre-order a limited-edition hardcover,

and claim your spot in the cat room!

This main cafe area is free and open to the public. We will be reading and signing in this public space, and all are welcome. However, the cat room has limited capacity and controlled access. This ensures the cats have a safe environment without overstimulation or unnecessary stress. We have reserved time in the cat room for those who are interested. We’re holding these spaces for people who pre-order the limited-edition hardcover version of Sarah’s chapbook. The cost of the hardcover is $20. Copies are will not be mailed; you can expect the book to be ready and waiting for you at the event (along with several kitties).

Sarah Gerard will be reading and signing books at 6:30pm. Choose 6:00pm if you’d like to access the cat room before the reading. Choose 7:00pm if you’d like to spend time with the kitties afterward. Before entering the cat room, NEKO will ask you to sign a liability waiver.

About the Book

The Butter House follows a woman who moves from New York to a Florida bungalow with her boyfriend. She navigates contradictory landscapes of love and possession, nature and built-environment, empathy and sympathy. She becomes a surrogate caretaker for a colony of feral cats. She grows a garden. She interrogates what it means to care for somebody or something. This is a delicate story, but it chooses deliberate moments to scratch and bite with the ferocity of a territorial alley cat.

About the Author

Sarah Gerard (she/they) is the author of the novels True Love (Harper, 2020) and Binary Star (Two Dollar Radio, 2015) and the essay collection Sunshine State (Harper, 2017). They are the recipient of a 2021 Lambda Literary Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. Sarah’s short stories, essays, and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, T Magazine, Granta, McSweeney’s, The Believer, Vice, Electric Literature, and the anthologies We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida, One Small Blow Against Encroaching Totalitarianism, Tampa Bay Noir, Erase the Patriarchy, and I Know What’s Best For You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom.

Book cover for Sarah Gerard's "The Butter House"

Editor Update: James R. Gapinski’s 2018 Book Tour

Join The Conium Review‘s managing editor, James R. Gapinski, as he celebrates the release of Edge of the Known Bus Line (Etchings Press, University of Indianapolis). Later this month, James embarks on a five-state reading tour, with stops in Seattle, Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Portland.

The tour kicks off on August 29th with a featured reading at the Two Hour Transport series in Seattle. Next stop is Boswell Books in Milwaukee. Then James visits Chicago for a conversation with former contributor and recent contest judge Maryse Meijer, author of Heartbreaker (FSG) and Northwood (Black Balloon Publishing). In Minneapolis, James reads with local and visiting authors Maya Beck, Madeline Reding, Kathryn Savage, and Erin Sharkey. Finally, James returns home for a reading in Portland. Full book tour details, Facebook links, and other information is available on James R. Gapinski’s author page.

EOTKBL Book Tour flyer (compressed)

Join us at AWP for “Literary Friction” offsite reading

Literary Friction banner

We’re pleased to be participating in an AWP 2017 offsite reading with F(r)ictionSibling Rivalry Press, and Upper River Boot Books. The event will be at Bar Louie, located at 701 7th St NW (just a few-minute walk from the convention center). Event starts at 8:00pm. No cover charge, and the first 50 people in the door get free drink tickets. Find the event on Facebook and share it with your friends.

Readers for Conium Press are:

  • Maryse Meijer, reading from “Her Blood,” published in The Conium Review: Vol. 5.
  • Melissa Reddish, reading an excerpt from her novella-in-flashes, Girl & Flame, published by Conium Press in 2016.
  • Kate Garklavs, reading her flash fiction, “In Memoriam: Lot 69097,” winner of our 2016 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Leesa Cross-Smith.

The Conium Review‘s outreach coordinator, Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, will also be reading from her Sibling Rivalry Press chapbook, Adventures in Property Management. Readers for the other presses include David Abrams, Amie Whittemore, Ben Janse, Joy Baglio, Michelle Lin, Kazumi Chin, Kai Carlson-Wee, Anders Carlson-Wee, and Geffrey Davis.

We hope you can make it, and stop by The Conium Review‘s AWP bookfair table: 548-T.

Editor Update: James R. Gapinski to present at the Write on the Sound Conference

The Conium Review‘s managing editor, James R. Gapinski, will be presenting at the annual Write on the Sound Conference in Edmonds, Washington. His talk is scheduled for Saturday, October 1st at 10:45am. James’s presentation is entitled “Above the Noise: Navigating the Literary Magazine Arena,” in which he reflects on his five years as managing editor, and he’ll go on to explore strategies and online resources for authors who plan on submitting to lit mags. The presentation has a community-based focus, discussing ways to personally interact with editors and publishers in meaningful ways. Two-day conference registrations are already sold out (wait-list available), but you can still get a single-day pass for Saturday or Sunday.

“How to Become Besties with your Landlord in Apartment 8,” by Tyler Pursch


Before you embark on this impossible, Columbus-esque journey, know that failure is imminent and guaranteed. Stop being so naive. This is step one. Finding any sort of friendship between you and your landlord will be immediately decimated by a late rental payment. Or having friends over late. Or playing music too loud. Or playing music in general. Best to rip that band aid off now.

Stroll into the leasing office with your hopes up way too high. This is step two to achieving any great, unattainable goal. Not to mention it makes you look mouthwateringly gullible to the hungry eyes of a Landlord. The wet-behind-the-ears, young, careless renters are prey, for they will inevitably trash the place and never see their deposit again. But this time will be different. Tell yourself this over and over until you believe it. This is step three in the five-step plan. This time, you’ll do everything to make sure this landlord loves you. Your last landlord is history, so don’t talk about that. Pray she doesn’t call the last one for reference. Pray harder.

Hunch to shake her hand, because she’s four feet tall and three hundred and nine years old. It’s okay. Don’t panic. Stop fidgeting. Say “Nice to meet you,” but in a way that says “I’m a decent human being and not a complete animal.” She’ll wave you inside her lair, or, office, that smells exceedingly of a litter box and cigarettes. Her three brown-speckled tabbies will twist and weave between your legs, like Medusa’s snakes sizing up their host’s newest meal. You’ve just interrupted her show, so she’s reluctant to have you, but it’s in her black landlord blood to give a potentially reckless boy the opportunity to move into a brand new, spick-and-span apartment. She can practically smell the unwashed fiberglass shower and crusted-over spaghetti stain on the carpet from there. You make small talk about your job and how safe the area is and about her great grandson in Seattle. Smile with gusto, but not too much gusto. That’s creepy. Just look interested. She smiles at your enthusiasm and hands you a pen to sign, and you walk out with a key.

Step four comes as you pass her gardening the apartment complex flower bed facing the street. She works tirelessly, weeding and pruning and planting at the crack of dawn. Wave, then make a mental note to compliment her choice of flower down the road.

Three weeks in, peel off the passive-aggressive note taped to your front door about your car leaking too much oil and how it’s ruining the parking lot. This isn’t a great start, but it just means you need to do some damage control. Walk over and apologize. This shows manners and that you care about her plight. Another note four days later will ask you to turn the music down. Apologize. Your friends can’t park there. Apologize. You’re washing too many clothes at once in the community laundry room, you’ll break everything. Apologize.

At this point, begin to reconsider your grand mission. This is step five, and you had a feeling this would happen. Stop kidding yourself. The landlord-tenant relationship is fragile, but certain. You don’t need them to like you, you just need them to not hate you. Despite this, you’ll make a last ditch effort in the hopes for a fresh start. Bake her cookies because everyone you ask says that will make her like you. You’re willing to try anything at this point, so why not? Wait for the most opportune time to drop off the cookies, because that’s a casual thing people do all the time. Nope, not weird at all.

Knock on her door and explain that you just happened to have made too many. She’ll brighten like the Sun and her eyes will crinkle. An ocean of hope will crash into you. This is it. You imagine cloudless mornings on your patio where the two of you sit, sipping coffee and chatting; sharing stories only the best of friends share. Now you’re on a tandem bicycle in the park. Her in front, you on back. She’ll laugh, which makes you laugh. It’s the kind of laugh only best friends would understand.

Your landlord will take the saran-wrapped plate of cookies. She’ll say things like “Are those for me?” and “Bless your heart,” and “Do you smell smoke?” Turn to watch gray, lazy clouds rolling out of your open window and remember the second batch of cookies you’d put in the oven. Set off the smoke alarm.


About the Author:

Tyler Pursch is a poet and short story writer living in Spokane, Washington. He has forthcoming work in The Wire Harp. When he’s not trying to befriend his landlord, he’s hanging out in the back of poetry slams and editing work for his writing group, The Post Scripts.

Image Credit: © kamenuka / Dollar Photo Club