On July 14th, Molasses Books, Bushwick’s beloved bar, cafe, and bookstore, will once again become the site of of a reading series where writers are asked to present their funniest, sexiest, and saddest work. Next month’s reading will feature work from writers who have published in outlets such as Esquire, xoJane, McSweeney’s, and the American Poetry Review. Bushwick Daily sat down over email with founders and hosts Amira Pierce and Nate Waggoner to talk literary shop.
Both Pierce and Waggoner agree readings are more fun when the rules limit writers. Pierce says, “We decided we needed to start a reading series where a handful of different readers read for a limited amount of time, and were required to make the audience feel something. The cool thing is we wrote a manifesto and it actually happened. Cooler still: we brought Nate into our fold and have made the event happen again, years later, out on the west coast and here in Bushwick!”
Waggoner (asked about why he chose Molasses as an east coast home for this series) says: “Molasses is a beautiful sanctuary of a space that sells cool used books as well as coffee and beer. The reading series is quarterly and after each one we ask Matt [Winn, the owner of Molasses] if we can have another one next season and he always says yes…You gotta check out Molasses if you haven’t. Make it your new spot!”
Both hosts seem interested in pushing the boundaries of what polite literary society thinks of as literary, and Waggoner suggests Bushwick might be one of the places where that battle can play out: “A great thing about Bushwick is there’s still a ton of freedom and room for experimentation. Even [in] your Williamsburgs and your Greenpoints, a lot of stuff has to be vetted by big names or someone’s monocle might fall off…Elsewhere in the New York, and Brooklyn literary scenes in general, I would like to see more underdogs, more weirdos, fewer powerful people who brag about going to see Hamilton a million times or whatever. I would like to see more connections between literature and comedy.”
July’s readers are Alana Levinson (former Medium editor, work in Esquire, NPR and elsewhere); Cassie J. Sneider (author of the book Fine, Fine Music, writes for Razorcake magazine and has work in xoJane and elsewhere); Lucas Gardner (author of the book Quietly, from Afar, work in Shouts and Murmurs, McSweeney’s and elsewhere); Corey Eastwood (memoirist and co-owner of Book Thug Nation); and Mara Jebsen (work in American Poetry Review, jubilat and elsewhere, chapbook “Alphabet” coming soon). The reading will take place at Molasses Books on July 14th at 8pm.