I want to share with you some important news regarding Small Press Traffic and our dearly beloved Executive Director, Samantha Giles.
Samantha will be stepping down from her post at SPT this summer, at the end of our programming year, after ten years of devoted and inspired service. During her tenure here, Samantha has continued SPT’s tradition of giving a platform to experimental poetry, while exploring other ways the organization could serve its ever-evolving community. As a director, Samantha has cultivated an ongoing dialogue and created programming initiatives like online workshops, residencies, and dinner talks. As an arts administrator & an artist in her own right, she has brought creativity, passion, & a sense of humor that will be truly missed.
Samantha was always asking us what we wanted from SPT, what we thought, so I thought it only fitting to put a question to her: what have the last ten years meant to you, what are your favorite memories, with what words of wisdom will you leave us? Her thoughts are below.
Please join me in thanking Samantha and wishing her well!
Jenn McCreary, SPT Board President
The time that Hiromi Ito read Killing Kanoko while her daughter accompanied her on the koto. The time that David Buuck, CA Conrad and Eileen Myles read to a sold out cramped room at Artists Television Access, the turned-away crowd set up their own readings on the street corner, and Eileen and CA staged a small reading at the laundromat next to the bar. When Leslie Scalapino, despite being in pain and exhausted, performed flawlessly for the last time at CCA. When Cecilia Vicuna passed the red thread. There have been so many breathtaking moments in the past decade of my tenure at Small Press Traffic and I'm so thankful for all of them.
I came to SPT as somewhat of a baby poet. I’d just finished up my MFA at Mills, I had barely published even a poem, I was still so green. And as I step down this June after ten and a half years as its Director, I’m leaving with so much gratitude for the ways the organization formed me as a writer and a thinker and a person in this community. I’m so grateful for the work I was able to do at, with, because of Small Press Traffic.
I'm grateful to have collaborated with hundreds of brilliant writers to create one of the few reading series in the country exclusively dedicated to experimental literature. I'm grateful to have hosted readings and talk and poets theater plays and workshops by some of the true geniuses of our time. Geniuses like Bhanu Kapil and Fred Moten and Fiona Templeton and Etel Adnan and Renee Gladman and Kate Greenstreet an Claudia Rankine and Alice Notley to name the tiniest sliver of greatness.
I'm grateful to have collaborated with writers whose names are less recognizable who gave their first reading at SPT, who found their first publisher, found a fellow collaborator, were inspired to start their own reading series or publication because of work they encountered at SPT. It really always made me so happy to hear how these interactions mushroomed out and folded back.
I'm grateful to have collaborated with some truly great Bay Area organizations: Artist Television Access and SFMOMA and St. Anthony Foundation and The Poetry Center and The Lab and This Will Take Time to name just a very few.
I’m so grateful for all that I learned and for the innumerable kindesses that the community of Small Press Traffic brought to my life. Thank you all so very much.
I’m not sure that I have words of wisdom except to say when you find something worth working for, something small and difficult and extraordinary, make sure you stay thankful for that space. I’m so grateful for the space that SPT will continue to hold for our community during its next chapter, and excited to see what comes next.
Yours in the struggle,