We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiny Spoon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiny, what do you attribute your success to?
Tiny Spoon is an experimental bite-sized literary magazine. The term “experimental” is one that is charged with mystery and intrigue, just the way we like it. It defies a singular definition in its shapeshifting, ethereal nature and manifests new possibilities within and across genres. We publish work that wakes us up, that pulls apart the paradigms that confine us and shoves us into brilliant light by challenging conventions of form and content. We are the real, the raw, the eclectic newly forming, constantly evolving voice. From the very beginning, community has been at the heart of our brand and mission. One of the first acts of community we embarked on was the building of a Renga via the internet. Renga is a genre of Japanese collaborative poetry in which alternating stanzas, or ku, of 5-7-5 and 7-7 mora per line are linked in succession by multiple poets. We’ve always approached the heart of community building with a sense of openness. Even the basis of our issue contributes to an inner community within the creative world. Since Issue 3, we began hosting themes and contests for our issues. Thus far we’ve covered Consumption, Memory, Ecology, Solitude, and Collaboration–the issue we are currently spearheading. Externally, Tiny Spoon has expanded from small lit mag to magazine rooted in community foundation. Last year, we began hosting workshops. As we’ve expanded into 2021, we’ve included writing sessions and community outreach to other artists, which we call spooning sessions. Spooning sessions prove as a meeting of the minds between other presses, collectives, and artists. Together we exchange ways to work together, promote each other’s work, serve each other’s mission statements. This new form of community has been extremely exciting for us as we’ve already met so many great folx through this outreach. We are incredibly proud of our contributors and believe in going beyond the standard publishing relationship as they are a vital part of our process and community. We have published everyone from a 16 year old high school student to The Poet Laureate of Wisconsin and uphold them all equally on our platforms. Our weekly Feature Fridays honor and highlight our contributors, many of which are independent artists, writers who have projects in the works, art gallery openings, other performances, or run a magazine of their own. With the COVID Pandemic keeping us at a distance, we also began YouTube Video Release Parties to connect our writers and readers at a distance. We carry our sense of community into our physical publication ideals as well. In a world where digital is an easy default, we prioritize Tiny Spoon appearing in print. We are infatuated with the materiality of the book and the intimate experience of encounter. For accessibility, we also offer online PDF copies of our books so that everyone can enjoy the literature and art featured in our literary magazine without finances as an obstacle. Tiny Spoon has been around since the beginnings of 2019. Since then, we have continued to evolve beyond our magazine and introduced workshops, writing sessions, and collaborative projects. Over the summer to celebrate the release of our seventh issues Collaboration, we will be embarking on an experimental, collaborative poetic-music online experience in collaboration with Poetry Is (A Sound Collective). We’re looking forward to even more new things in 2021 and beyond as we continue to re-envision the interconnecting web of experimental literature and its community.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Sharing experimental literature and embracing community are two of our core ideals as a literary magazine. From the beginning, we wanted to foster an inclusive, expansive space for literature and art to live, which doesn’t leave anyone out. Finding spaces for experimental literature can be few and far between. It is within our experimentation and risk-taking that our notions of expression become more robust and lucid, which is where the energy of art truly breathes. Within this, we’re really drawn to the artistic process; the making of the work is as sacred as the work itself. Running a literary organization always poses its challenges but we’ve been incredibly lucky and grateful for those who have supported and contributed to us along the way. With tools like social media, interviews, and community organizing we’ve been able to gain traction for submissions and subscriptions. With our Spooning Sessions with other literary and arts organizations we created our own network of support. The real strength within the literary community comes from connecting these nodes of interaction and passion to create an interconnected web to celebrate what we all love.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Tiny Spoon’s earliest stages course through the streets and surrounding areas of Boulder. We have many spots that will forever be our favorite places to gather for coffee and dreams for our magazine, to scheme about upcoming publications and readings. We’ll start off at Trident Bookstore and Cafe on Pearl street, where we could order hibiscus tea, coffee, or wine, depending on the time and our mood. After enjoying our drinks, we’ll browse through their bookstore for enticing books of poetry and local publications. Then we’ll take a short walk to Two Hands Paperie, an absolute dream shop filled with everything paper related. We’ll gush over its decorative paper and notebooks, artistic pens and quirky accessories. Feeling a rush of artistic inspiration, we’ll hurriedly make our way to Art Parts to further fuel our creative desires where we’ll search through the repurposed crafting items with everything from scrapbooking, sewing, ceramics, paints, to beyond to find hidden treasures and countless emerging project ideas. Indulging quality drinks, books, and company seems to be a staple for our good times. Finding ourselves again on Pearl Street, we’ll grab tea at the Ku Cha House of Tea where we would sit at their low lying tables beneath skylighting and content plants. We’ll venture to the Boulder Bookstore and to the Beat Book Stop to seek out the new and old literary wonders. To top off the experience, we’ll grab lavender honey gelato from Gelato Boy and continue to walk the street, enjoying the street performers and people watching. One of the most unique places to eat and visit is the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse with its ornate sculpture and painting. Then we’ll walk next door to the Boulder Contemporary Art Museum to contemplate their rotation art exhibitions, which always inspires ekphrastic writing. Afterward, we’ll walk to the library, one of the most gorgeous, peaceful places in Boulder. We’ll visit the creekside and relax, muse at the place where we’ve read poetry to the flowing water and serene rocks. We’ll then go inside the library to Seeds Cafe to grab food and coffee to sit on the bridge overlooking Boulder Creek. No trip to Boulder would be complete without some outdoor hiking. Our favorites spots include the numerous paths at Chautauqua, Mt. Sanitas, Golden Ponds, Boulder Reservoir Park, and more. We’ll definitely spend time wandering in nature beneath the Flatirons. Any and every place near the mountains is perfection.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Tiny Spoon was founded while we were pursuing their MFAs in Creative Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Naropa University. We are eternally grateful for the unique space of the program for embracing experimental, cross-genre work, which fueled our desire to create a new print publication in a similar lineage. Our professors and mentors J’Lyn Chapman, Michelle Naka Pierce, Andrew Schelling, and Sarah Richards Graba were particularly supportive influences for their creative and editing pursuits.