Embracing The Accidental: A Book and Music Adventure

Embracing The Accidental: A Book and Music Adventure on indiegogo

Two indie writers, a music maven, and a wily photographer take to the road to redefine the concept of a book tour.

Rami Shamir (TRAIN TO POKIPSE) and m. craig (The Narrows) are part of a new generation of writers who are creating different models of publishing and redefining what it means to be an author. They’re teaming up with Lynn Casper of Homoground—the premiere queer radio show that brings together the work of LGBT musicians—and Brooklyn artist Magda Rachwal—who will be documentating the journey—to break new ground in independent publishing.

A New Type of Author

Independent publishing, the unprecedented literary phenomenon by which authors are starting up publishing companies and taking on all responsibilities for their work’s printing, publicity, and dissemination, is quickly becoming an avenue for writers who don’t fit into the limited confines of conventional publishing. Unlike self-publishing—which in recent years has gained traditional acceptance (with a self-published title reaching the annual top ten list of legendary New York Times reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, in 2012)—independently published authors are molding a new Renassaince-style vision of twenty-first century authorship. Part publisher, part writer, the independent author relies heavily on strong community support and exacts an openness to experimentation that hasn’t been seen in publishing since the sixities.

Separately of each other, we coordinated teams to create our own presses—Underground Editions for TRAIN TO POKIPSE and Papercut Press forThe Narrows—and became independently published authors. Through consistently selling out at indie bookstores around the nation and garnering acclaim for our work, we’ve already shown that independent publishing is something that can be successful, and that there’s room in the culture for a new type of author.

The Plan

With your support, we’re intending to embark on a two-month adventure that will go beyond the traditional book tour to include workshops on independent publishing and build a new distribution model based on personal connections with indie bookstores. Influenced by the established DIY spirit of indie music and looking to experiment with the conventional notion of a book reading, we plan to host queer dance parties and live performances with Homoground in select cities along the way. We’re currently booking for events in fifteen cities, including Durham, New Orleans, Austin, Kansas City, Bloomington, and Pittsburgh, as well as getting int ouch with the many bookstores that we’ll be stopping at in between events to expand the distribution network.

Workshops on Independent Publishing

In these workshops we’re going to talk about the nuts and bolts of becoming an independently published author. This includes practical applications in editing, business start-up, finding the right printer, book layout and design, guerilla marketing methods, assembling the right support team, finance, and distribution. We’ll also discuss alternative methods of DIY publishing and zine-based book creation.

Building a New Distribution Model 

It’s time to establish a nationwide system of distribution that makes sense for indie authors. That system will prove to be very much like the one used by Barney Rosset and all the greats of American publishing—you get in a car and go build a relationship with the people at the bookstore in person. This tour has the potential to reintroduce a philosophy in the distribution of books and the dissemination of information, a philosophy that’s much more spirited in classic American optimism, where anything is possible and everyone is included.

Experimenting with the Conventional Concept of a Book Reading

Homoground will draw on its nationwide network of musicians to curate shows featuring local bands and DJs. Other than pairing with live performances, our readings will also be accompanied by puppetry and visual art by Magda Rachwal. Stepping away from the separation inherent in a conventional book reading, this is going to present us with the opportunity to bridge the gap between author and reader.


gas (based on 25m/gallon with gas at $3.8) – $1520

promotional materials – $560

food & lodging – $1000

emergency car repair fund – $1000

* Funds exceeding our goal of $4,080 will help us bring other authors and musicians to events in select cities.

Embracing the Accidental

In 1990, Barney Rosset—the famed founder of Grove Press and publisher of authors such as Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, and William S. Burroughs—gave a lecture at Syracuse University, where he discussed one of the driving forces behind his storied accomplishments in literary history: “I had wanted to publish Faulkner and Hemingway, but unfortunately other people were there ahead of me. I wanted to publish Norman Mailer, but he never offered anything to Grove, so I had to put in my paint box what accidentally came along. And so on to a pattern of the accidental. First, you have to set up for it…. eventually you can discern a pattern…. and finally you learn how to choose wisely…. The Autobiography of Malcolm X had accidentally fallen into our hands after Malcolm’s assassination. William Burroughs, Hubert Selby, and Jack Kerouac also had accidentally fallen into our hands.” In this spirit of openness, we are setting out to embrace the accidental, fortified by Barney Rosset’s example that if we are open to new possibilities, untold magic can occur.

One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things. 

                         Henry Miller

Our warmest thanks to all the wonderful people in our community that helped us with this Kickstarter: Margarita Shalina, Anjelica Young, Carly Howard, Arthur Nersesian, Frances Rex, Allie Falco, Katie Anderson, Bryn Jackson, Jules Persaud, Kim Harris, Adam Void, Chelsea Ragan, Sarah Lerner, Amela Parcic, Tyler Phillips, Kai Cameron, Spoonbill and Sugartown Booksellers, Molasses Books, and Flown for recording a great song.


St Marks Bookstore Reading…

Stephen Boyer reading from GHOSTS + PARASITE


Rami Shamir reading from TRAIN TO POKIPSE

A Reading to Celebrate Parasite by Stephen Boyer & Train to Pokipse by Rami Shamir

Stephen Boyer is the author of Parasite (Publication Studio 2012), GHOSTS (bent boy books 2010), and they compiled “The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology.” Their work has been published in many anthologies, zines and art galleries: 2nd Floor Projects, “Madder Love: Queer Men and the Precincts of Surrealism” (Rebel Satori Press 2008), Poets Theater in San Francisco, Shampoo Poetry, and Try. This past fall they’ve also helped curate GRRRLS ON FILM! and they maintain the blog minorprogression.com.

“Stephen Boyer’s novel Parasite is exciting, well-crafted and so utterly alive, you half expect it to shake you off and fly away as you turn its pages. Josh is the sort of boy who experiences nearly everything through his ass, so he’s not your usual sort of narrator, but if you’ve ever sat on anything weird, or anything splendid, this book will get to you just as it got to me.”
– Kevin Killian

Rami Shamir is a Zuccotti occupier and novelist. His work has appeared in Brooklyn Rail, Evergreen Review, SPANK Magazine and Adbusters. He is the author of Train To Pokipse (Underground Editions).

“TRAIN TO POKIPSE is a Catcher in the Rye for the new century, and Rami Shamir is an authentic literary voice for a new lost generation. POKIPSE, much like The Catcher in the Rye , will be a powwow of the alienated (elite), where America’s outsider youth can gather to infuse the vitality of their life for decades to come.”
– Barney Rosset

Nowhere like POKIPSE: Stephen Boyer and Rami Shamir celebrate the release of TRAIN TO POKIPSE

On March 12th, at Dixon Place, 7:30pm (free), Rami Shamir and I will be celebrating the long-awaited release of Rami Shamir’s TRAIN TO POKIPSE, the novel which legendary publisher Barney Rosset calls “a Catcher in the Rye for the new century,” the author will be reading selections from the book.

The historical details behind TRAIN TO POKIPSE’s publication have by now become legendary. Lawsuits, arrests, Corporate censorship, adamant support from leading figures in the American counterculture, all against the backdrop of the unfolding turmoil of its young author’s life, have made this a publication worth celebrating. Immediately after its recent release from the new imprint, Underground Editions, POKIPSE found itself to be the last book that legendary publisher Barney Rosset (the book’s editor and the author’s beloved mentor) would ever work on, excepting his own. (Rosset is the author of a soon-to-be released autobiography, tentatively titled “The Subject Is Left Handed.”)

I will be reading selections from my novel PARASITE and will probably talk about some personal, weird, fucked-up but important going-ons.. Oh, and Rami and I recently talked about his book and the life/death of Barney Rosset. If you haven’t heard it yet, do yourself a favor and click play.

Interview with Rami Shamir on the passing of his dear friend Barney Rosset and his new book TRAIN TO POKIPSE

Beautiful, tender, very personal interview with Rami Shamir about his new book TRAIN TO POKIPSE and the recent passing of his dear friend, mentor, and the great American publisher, Barney Rosset, creator of Grove Press and champion of Free Speech. If you’re in New York City, Rami suggests you pick up a copy from and always support, St Mark’s Bookshop. You can also buy it directly from the publisher, Underground Editions.

“TRAIN TO POKIPSE is a Catcher in the Rye for the new century, and Rami Shamir is an authentic literary voice for a new lost generation. POKIPSE, much like The Catcher in the Rye , will be a powwow of the alienated (elite), where America’s outsider youth can gather to infuse the vitality of their life for decades to come.”
Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press and legendary publisher of Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, and Samuel Beckett

Gary Indiana, author of The Shanghai Gesture, Rent Boy, and Do Everything in the Dark

“Sensitivity does not come easy, but when it arrives it surrounds you entirely. When you finish this book you will be surrounded by love, sensitivity, and hopefully a little bit of wisdom. Live on! I did. Thank you, Rami.”
Holly Woodlawn, Andy Warhol Superstar and author of Low Life in High Heels

“Reading TRAIN TO POKIPSE is like reading Dickens. Underneath this contemporary coming of age story is the same social analysis, the same investigation of lives lived and being lived, and the same kind of empathetic heart that listens to the world and reflects it in crisp and unexpected prose. Here we find the cracked lyricism of the street: the voice of the outsider reporting on the dispossessed. Rami Shamir has a beautiful and distinctive voice, and he is just starting.”
Penny Arcade, playwright, performance artist, and author of Bad Reputation: Performances, Essays, Interviews

“Rami Shamir is rapidly becoming the conscience of the No Generation. He is a master of that frozen moment when the eaters see what they are really eating. Gayer than Ginsberg, blacker than Kerouac, itchier than Whitman, slithering darkly toward the Billyberg Omphalos, Rami Shamir loads his pen with jizz, blood and drugs. A Nantucket sleigh ride up the rosy rectum of Generation N. Keep an eye on Rami Shamir.”
Phoebe Legere, composer and performer