“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself” – William Faulkner
On October 28, 2017, over twenty different publishers and a multitude of writers from across Oregon convened at Southern Oregon University for the sixth annual Ashland Literary Arts Festival. I was privileged enough to intern with Overcup Press for the day and assist them on the ground level. The guest speakers for the event included everyone from Oregon’s Poet Laureate Elizabeth Woody; founding member of the rock band Chumbawamba, Danbert Nobacon; and Overcup’s own Maryanna Hoggatt. In fact, these three gathered together for a panel discussion on using art as advocacy moderated by Phil Busse, the founder of the Rogue Valley Messenger. Maryanna related to the audience her pivot away from the writing of Tolly into involvement with social and political activism for Filipino rights. She stated that the message of bravery and overcoming doubt that is within Tolly was one that helped push her into researching and reconnecting with her heritage. Elizabeth Woody’s talking points were also very poignant. She discussed the responsibility involved in being Oregon’s Poet Laureate and how she balanced that with being a Native American woman. She focused on the entrenched racism that she has found in some rural Oregon communities, and how she hopes her poems would be able to open the eyes of people to this.
Overcup was able to garner many new readers at the event, connecting with students, authors, and other publishers. It was a privilege to work with them and I hope to do so more in the future!
-Patrick David McEntire