vitriol, pushcarts, doc’s lab, ekphrasis + green apple books on the park, vids from the emerald tablet


vitriol cover by Akira BeardWe’re publishing a magazine called vitriol, part of a new bimonthly series that brings together musicians and authors. The release party for the first issue is Sunday, December 14th at 6:30pm at Doc’s Lab, with readings by Melissa Stein, Maw Shein Win, Benjamin Wachs, and Jason R Jimenez, music by Shenandoah Davis and Sean Nelson! 21+, $15 includes magazine

Get tixRSVP | Read the introduction and a preview of the magazine


Because we love the challenge at the end of every year to select six of the best pieces we published—in 13 books, two chapbooks, and a magazine, featuring 118 different authors!—this year we’re thrilled to have nominated the following:

When you have a chance, treat yourself and give them a watch:

You can read and watch our previous nominations below:


We’re doing a yearlong back and forth between visual art and writing, concluding with a gallery show and reading in December 2015. We’re currently open to visual art and would love you to submit, or to tell someone you know… the first two selections will launch us off on an unpredictable series! Let’s see where they take us.

@ green apple books on the park, jan. 5

And submissions are open! Through the end of Wednesday, December 17. Do it. Read in that beautiful bookstore. Get in there; sparkle + blink for the first 100 people. Curated by Sara Marinelli, Shideh Etaat + Evan Karp.

report from the emerald tablet

Our art exhibition, featuring 11 previous sPARKLE & bLINK cover artists, is up at The Emerald Tablet through the end of January. Watch and read our show, which was held there on 12/4:

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Would love to see you on December 14th!

quiet lightning books: the sacred text of rosa who is great

We are thrilled to announce the winner of our second book contestThe Sacred Text of Rosa Who Is Great, written by Marcus Lund and illustrated by Stella Peach!Rosa Who Is Great

An allegory told as legend through the voices of a town like yours and mine, The Sacred Text of Rosa Who is Great is a mini-epic of a seemingly normal person who only wants to be left alone, as understood by the community who didn’t understand her (some say him) while she was actually around. It was told across social media over the month of August, and will be the third in our series of Quiet Lightning Books.


Like Zack Haber’s if you want to be one of them playing in the streets… and Tupelo Hassman’s Breast Milk, which we published this year, we are printing this book with Tiny Splendor and will have a big release party sometime next year.

Thanks to everyone who submitted and made this hard on me and Sarah Ciston, the two judges of this contest. We will open up submissions to our third book contest on the night we launch The Sacred Text of Rosa Who is Great, and will keep you in the loop as things develop. Congratulations to Marcus and Stella!


Five Year Anniversaryql logo

We’re accepting submissions to the kickoff to our monthlong celebration of our 5-year anniversary; the show is on December 4th at The Emerald Tablet, and subs are open through the end of Wednesday, November 19th. Click here to submit.

We’ve got so much going on it’s hard to talk about. Quiet Lightning is changing. When the dust settles on 2014 we’ll have produced 69 shows featuring over 800 readings by 450 different people. We’ve done it in the road, in a cave, in a mansion, in a bar. We’ll have published 60 issues of sPARKLE & bLINK in 60 months, featuring cover art by more than 50 different local visual artists. And we’ll have our first full gallery exhibition of some of their work, kicking off a yearlong ekphrastic project.

IMG_0499-smallAs we set out to publish our third wonderful book, the first issue of our new magazine, vitriol, and our first full-length book (more soon), and gear up for the production of our second film, we want to thank everyone who has believed in Quiet Lightning for 30 minutes or for 30 months alike. From the volunteers to the staff to fledgling authors who braved a roomful of people for the first time to veteran authors who decided to send their work in to us, there has not been a single month or a single show gone by since December of 2009 that strangers and new friends alike have not surprised and delighted us.

Plenty of you have said incredible things about our times together; to quote one: “Not an event. A moment.” Here’s to making more of them together. We hope you can join us on December 4 for a literary mixtape, on the 5th for our artist reception, and for our year-ender on December 14th, the actual date of our anniversary and the vitriol launch.

We also want to thank the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and the Leslie Scalapino O Books Fund for their continued support of Quiet Lightning. With their help we have been able to produce consistent shows and publications, to collaborate with more than two dozen likeminded organizations and countless local businesses of all kinds, and we have been able to sustain a prolonged period of impressive growth that finds us more excited about what we’re doing than ever before.

What a wonderful year, and five years, it’s been!

Thanks for everything. We’d love to have you get involved any way you’d like. In the meanwhile, enjoy watching and reading our recent gem of a show at Viracocha, below.

Evan Karp
for Quiet Lightning

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sPARKLE & bLINK 59 from Quiet Lightning

literary mixtape + analog #qlbooks @ el rio

We’re taking over the patio at El Rio on Tuesday, June 3rd! Come hang out with us. We’ll have typewriters so you can request poems on demand from some of the evening’s readers and perhaps a special guest or two; you’ll also be able to use Quiet Lightning stationary to write your own words (we’re creating stationary just for this show!)… perhaps you’ll come up with some rough gems for our book contest?

We are proud to introduce to you our authors/entertainment for the evening, curated by Kristen Kramer + Sarah Carpenter!

sparkle + blink 53 cover art by Luis Pinto
sparkle + blink 53 cover art by Luis Pinto

Peter Bullen
Moneta Goldsmith
Xan Roberti
Sharon Coleman
Andrena Zawinski
Emma Winsor Wood
John-vincent Grecco
Marcus Lund
Tomas Moniz
Siamak Vossoughi
Jen Sullivan Brych
Mr(s) Tisatula

Doors at 1pm
Typewriters at 5pm
Show at 8pm
Typewriters, drinking
after show hours
$7-10 sliding, NOTAFLOF
First 100 get a copy of s+b

Book Contest

get to it!

Beast Crawl

submissions for the third annual daylong festival are open through jun 11

ArtSpan + Modern Eden

so excited to be doing a show w/ArtSPan on jun 5. two QL’s in one week! featuring Lucy Tiven, Colin Winnette, Kwan Booth, Denise Benavides, Carolyn Ho and Nate Waggoner responding to Fairy Tales: The Test of Time:

  • RSVP
  • More info
  • ArtSpan is going to give out Blick sketching materials to a limited # of folks so you (and the other people at this ARTIST MIXER) can respond to the literary responses to the visual representations of FAIRY TALES

Neighborhood Heroes

save the date: Thursday, August 7th @ the Contemporary Jewish Museum

book release at the haus of hipstamatic

Join us Monday April 7th at 7pm as we celebrate the publication of our first two Quiet Lightning Books at the gorgeous headquarters of Hipstamatic.

08-hipstamatic-82We asked our authors Zack Haber (if you want to be one of them playing in the streets…) and Tupelo Hassman (Breast Milk) to curate the rest of the evening and they’ve invited Amy Berkowitz, Carrie Hunter, Stephen D. Gutierrez, and Dan Sanders to read… and they all said yes!

We made the books with Tiny Splendor, who will be set up with a print sale. There will be cheap food and free ice cold draft beer courtesy of Lagunitas… which perhaps will inspire you to participate in the livestream of image-based storytelling via Oggl. Wait! There’s more… a special performance by Stella Peach!

Monday, April 7th Haus of Hipstamatic
74 Langton St. (b/w Folsom and Howard, 7th and 8th streets)
Doors at 6:45 • Readings at 7:30

Mowers by Wesley Powell (for web)
art by Wesley Powell


$7-10 admission includes sparkle + blink
$15 for s+b plus one author book

$20 for all three

No one turned away for lack of funds

This all happened as a result of our first book contest. Are you working on a book right now? We’ll be announcing our second book contest in the beginning of May.

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  The New ParkwayMay 12 is the premiere of our first short film Combustion at The New Parkway in Oakland! Please send us some work to be a part of that show. Perform at TNP!

Major thanks to the The Leslie Scalapino – O Books Fund for a recent grant that will help make this all possible!

Quiet Lightning is also made possible in part thanks to the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and would absolutely not be so darn great without the help and consistent good work of our board, staff, and volunteers. Our ears and minds are are always open, and so are our meetings — the next one is on April 20th (no joke). Send us a line if you’d like to attend and/or get involved in some way.

quiet lightning books: zack haber + tupelo hassman!

At the end of August we announced our first book contest: hand-write original work into a QL pocket notebook and hand it in before Halloween. We are proud to announce two winners: Zack Haber and Tupelo Hassman both convinced us to publish their excellent books, which will be released at a special show in April; both authors will read and have the opportunity to curate the rest of the evening.

Breast Milk • front coverZack’s if you want to be one of them playing in the streets… is a collection of poems as playful as it is profound, and Tupelo’s fantasy, Breast Milk, which was “written solely while breastfeeding/nursing, pumping, leaking, dripping, or otherwise expressing breast milk,” is exactly the kind of magic that should be bottled for adults everywhere.

Congratulations to Zack and Tupelo! They’ve each read for Quiet Lightning once (click their names in this graf to watch them). Both books will be printed in partnership with Tiny Splendor — get a feel for what they do (and a load of holiday gifts) at their open house on December 14th and/or 15th; you’ll see why we are thrilled to work with them!

QL has published 47 issues of sparkle + blink in our 48 months. When we first started publishing, we couldn’t even give copies to the authors; we could only afford to make 20 copies, the sales of which paid for the next month’s books. We wondered if that kind of publishing is wrong; we were getting the work out there, and people certainly read it… but we never wanted to be the Who’s Who of American High School Students of literature!

if you want to be one of them playing in the streets • front cover

Thanks to everyone who has supported us — by coming to the shows, by purchasing books, by giving us grant money and by giving us beer — we have been able to make better books reach more people. Since July, we’ve given out copies of sparkle + blink to the first 100 people at each show. Sarah Ciston has had a large part in making this possible, and I’d like to thank her for not calling me crazy when I had the idea to do this contest (especially since it was less than a month after we more than quintupled our production). We are beyond proud to be able to publish these books by Zack and Tupelo — the very first two authors of Quiet Lightning Books — not only because it marks a new era for us, but because the books are wonderful and we can’t wait to share them with you.

detail from Jovi Schnell's Optimist ClubA big serious thank you to everyone who entered our contest. We know it was a bit strange to ask you to hand-write your entries, but it was an absolute pleasure to read a collection of writings rendered so personally, with illustrations and comics and glitter, and from as far away as Australia, New York, and Ohio. Thank you for entering our contest; for writing; for meaning it enough to sign each word. If you want your book back, follow the asterisk.*

We’re celebrating four years on December 4th and there’s still room in Chicken John’s bus if you want a free ride to Fairfax, dinner and drinks on us (and a ride back, should you decide not to spend the night at Peri’s). Join us — at the drawing board; at the shows.

Born to Lose No. I and II, Lithograph by Kenneth SrivijittakarBeaming directly into you!

Evan Karp
for Quiet Lightning


* If you live in the Bay, you must pick it up at one of our shows (but first you must send us an email (to evan at quietlightning dot org) so we can keep yours safe at home until you’re ready for it); if you live outside CA, please send an email to the same address.