jan 5 @ green apple books on the park

Start ’15 with a literary mixtape on Monday, Jan 5 at Green Apple Books on the Park!

sPARKLE & bLINK 61 cover by Tracy Piper
sPARKLE & bLINK 61 cover by Tracy Piper

Allison Berke
Andrew Sloane
Claire Williams
Benjamin Wachs
Lisa Piazza
Charles Kruger
Mira Martin-Parker
Deborah Steinberg
Heather Bourbeau
Josiah Alderete
Cady Owens

Free copies of sPARKLE & bLINK for the first 100 people, featuring cover art by Tracy Piper!

This show was curated (and will be hosted) by Shideh Etaat, Sara Marinelli, and Evan Karp. We received 33 submissions and accepted 10 (30%). Of those 10:

  • 5 are reading at QL for the first time (50%)
  • 5 are returning (50%)
    • Benjamin Wachs (1x)
    • Lisa Piazza (2x)
    • Charles Kruger (5x)
    • Mira Martin-Parker (8x)
    • Deborah Steinberg (1x)

Submissions Open

Chemical Wedding / vitriol launch

read excerpts from + order vitriol magazine

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 @ the emerald tablet

This month, as Quiet Lightning celebrates five years, we’re proud to present a literary mixtape, an art exhibition, the kickoff to a yearlong ekphrastic project, and a chemical wedding with a magazine premiere:

art by Lana Licata
sPARKLE & bLINK #60 cover art by Lana Licata

December 4, 7:30pm (6:30)
The Emerald Tablet, 80 Fresno St.
$7-10, no one turned away for lack of funds
Readings byAlex PetersonKatie Wheeler-DubinSarah CarpenterPeter Bullen, Jeffrey Bussey, Joseph BodiePaul Corman-RobertsElise HunterJessica HahnDaniel Riddle Rodriguez + Simon Crafts

sparkle + blink for the first 100 people, featuring art by Lana Licata. Cheap ice cold draft beers courtesy of Lagunitas. First look at the art exhibition (more info below).

Curated and hosted by Evan Karp and Lapo Guzzini, we received 52 submissions for this show and accepted 11 (21%).

December 5 @ The Emerald Tablet: artist reception from 6pm to 10pm for our first full gallery exhibition, with Maga Rincon, Luis Pinto, Fuzz GrantWesley Powell, Tanya Hollis, Adam Carlin, Nigel Sussman, Cate White, Todd T. Brown, and our directors, Sidney Stretz and Laura Ceron Melo. Check out some of their work in the show:

vitriol art by Akira Beard
vitriol art by Akira Beard

December 14, 6:30pm (5:30)
Doc’s Lab124 Columbus Ave.
$15 — get tickets
Music by Shenandoah Davis and Sean Nelson
Readings by Benjamin Wachs, Melissa Stein, Maw Shein Win Jason R. Jimenez

The third in our Chemical Wedding series and the launch of our biannual magazine, vitriol; admission includes a limited copy (click the link to see contributors).

Advance tickets are recommended; between contributors and performers the 91-capacity is starting out ~ half full.

Food menu and full bar available. Come early and admire the magazine, mingle with a bunch of budding brilliant minds, and raise a glass to 5 more years of Quiet Lightning.

ql logoSubmissions are open

Quiet Lightning is made possible in part thanks to the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the Leslie Scalapino O Books Fund, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Vouched Books. All donations are tax deductible.

nov 10 @ viracocha + december five-year anniversary month

sparkle + blink 59 cover by Laura Ceron Melo
art by our own Laura Ceron Melo!

We begin with an Exit Manifesto, “we want to make / sure our labor is pointless.” Magic, “a glowing green neon hand with “Psychic” written underneath it,” “distilled almost to a vapor. / Meanwhile, the violation / of social distance defines” Mattress Man, for when we are wolves we will spare you, a Disappearing Mirror, a raspberry macaron disappearing behind red, red lips, flying kites as a kid, eating peanut butter on saltine crackers, maybe someone will hear us, we’re on a carnival ride, “the saintly palms positioned in” us, “the long terror that plants other mouths in” us – all inspired by + lifted from an all new spell entitled “Quiet Lightning 67 // sPARKLE & bLINK 59”

Kelsey Schimmelman and Allison Hummel have devised this well-balanced spell using the distinct strengths of Simon Crafts, Alexander Peterson, Jesse Nathan, Christine No, Jayna Swartzman, Ginger Buswell, Michael McLaughlin, Jessica Hahn, and Caroline O’Connor Thomas—all of whom, excepting Ginger (4x), are making their debut QL appearance. Guaranteed to tickle even the most elusive fancies!

The powers of 67/59 will live on in sPARKLE & bLINK, featuring art by our own Laura Ceron Melo and given out to the first 49 people at Viracocha on Monday, November 10 — but this will likely be the only time the verses come together to speak for themselves.

We’re selling a limited number of tickets to ensure seating, due to the room capacity. It would be wise to preorder a ticket if you hope to attend! Door tickets not guaranteed; get tickets here now.

$10-20, 1/2 of of the proceeds to benefit the magic that happens at 998 Valencia St.
Doors 7 p.m., show 7:30 p.m

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December FIVE YEAR

QL November illustration by Laura Ceron MeloIt feels impossible, but it’s true: we’ve been bringing writers of every imaginable kind to your favorite (and new favorite) Bay Area spots—this year alone to a dance club, a dive bar, a print shop, the headquarters of an app, a movie theater, a neighborhood patio, an art gallery, a co-working space, a museum, a hotel, a creativity salon, a cave, and a cultural center—for five years now, featuring a total of 777 different readings by 429 authors!

To celebrate, we’ve put together a few things in the hopes that you can join us for at least one of them:

Anniversary Events

Thursday, December 4: a literary mixtape at The Emerald Tablet « submissions open through Nov 19

Friday, December 5: the opening/artist reception for our first ever full gallery exhibition, featuring work by 11 s+b cover artists: Maga Rincon, Luis Pinto, Fuzz Grant, Wesley Powell, Tanya Hollis, Adam Carlin, Nigel Sussman, Cate White, Todd T. Brown, and our directors, Sidney Stretz and Laura Ceron Melo.

The exhibition will be on display at The Emerald Tablet through December and January; most of the art will be for sale, along with artist back issues and select prints.

Also on that night, we launch a year-long ekphrastic project: submissions will open for visual art, and Sidney and Laura will each choose their favorite piece; we will publish their favorites and open submissions of written responses over the course of the following three weeks, at which point we will publish our favorite written responses and open submissions to visual responses, repeating that process throughout 2015 and ending with another gallery show featuring all of the visual and written works!

Sunday, December 14: On the actual date of our five-year mark we are thrilled to co-present a third Chemical Wedding with Name Drop Swamp Records and The Emerald Tablet: live music by Shenandoah Davis and Sean Nelson and readings by Benjamin Wachs, Melissa Stein, Maw Shein Win, and Jason R. Jimenez! The show will also be the release party for the first issue of our new magazine, Vitriol—more about that soon also! We’ll be selling advance tix for this one too, since seats are limited; the show will be at Doc’s Lab.

Announcementsql logo


Soon: the winner of our second book contest, and our first solicited full-length!

A special holiday/end of the year package that includes admission to all of our monthly 2015 shows and their corollary issues of sPARKLE & bLINK, each Chemical Wedding, and everything else we publish in ’15: both issues of the biannual Vitriol, the chapbook, and the full-length for $100. ¡Hey that’s a $220 value! Impress your friends with the QL All Access Package. Make package jokes. Tell your grandparents. To order yours, make a donation to QL through PayPal and be sure to write in the note if you’d like the package(s) for yourself or as a gift, and don’t hesitate to contact us for any reason: evan AT quietlightning DOT org.

A new board member! Kelsey Schimmelman was voted into the Secretary position; she’s been the acting secretary for the last nine months or so after volunteering and expressing interest in getting involved. She’s the second person to be voted on (after Josey).

psst. We’re always looking for people to co-curate one of our shows. Last year—the first time we opened curation up beyond board and staff—we’ve had 18 different people make a QL mix, and they’ve all said good things about the experience (here’s an example).

Enjoy our last book and our last show below. Thanks for five amazing years! Hope to see you and celebrate together soon.

sPARKLE & bLINK 58 by Quiet Lightning

Chemical Wedding on 10/19/14

500 artists, a chemical wedding, and the pantheon at viracocha

If every artist is a reason, there are about 500 reasons to attend our show on Monday.

grammaThe show is in conjunction with ArtSpan + SOMArts, whose annual SF Open Studios and Day of the Dead exhibitions showcasing the work of over 450 local artists will be on view at SOMArts during the event.

Doors open at 6:30; come check out the art and have some cheap ice cold Lagunitas straight from Petaluma via keg (wine and non-alcoholic bevs will be available too).

At 7:30pm we’ll have QL 65, a barrage of word art featuring more than a dozen authors put into a metaphorical mixtape by Lauren Traetto + Evan Karp.

The first 150 people get a copy of s+b featuring art by Sidney Stretz!

Get advance tickets to reserve a book and a seat.ql logo

Announcing our November 10 venue: Viracocha!

KelseySubmissions are open through the end of Wednesday, Oct 22. We’ve done one show there, premiered the QL Chorus. Will we use both floors, one floor, the piano, the cat? Haha you’ll just have to see. Kelsey Schimmelman (pictured «) is curating this show.


ql logoChemical Wedding ii

On Sunday, Oct 19 we’ve got Derrick Brown, Bucky Sinister, Alexandra Naughton and Casey Childers reading with music by Randall Sena and Vince DeWald! Lagunitas will also be there, at The Emerald Tablet, for a 5pm show. You can reserve a seat here.

next up: litquake + artspan @ somarts

Our next show is part of Litquake on Monday October 13th, and will feature the following authors:

art by sidney stretzPeter Bullen
Avren Keating
Sara Marinelli
Sally Ashton
Kate Folk
Linette Escobar
Jill Tomasetti
Kai Carlson-Wee
Chloé Veylit
Kei Griot
Pablo Baeza
Karen Penley
Rose Linke
Shideh Etaat

with art by our own Sidney Stretz!

Curated and hosted by Lauren Traetto and Evan Karp (Want to curate a show?)

We’re sort of famous for good (Litquake) shows. This is our 5th year and our 5th Litquake! Watch and/or read our first four:

This will be our 65th show, and the 58th issue of sparkle + blink. The first 150 people in attendance will receive a copy. Be there early; this show is in conjunction with ArtSpan & SOMArts, whose annual SF Open Studios and Day of the Dead exhibitions—showcasing the work of over 450 local artists—will be on view at SOMArts during the event. Come check it out!

+ cheap ice cold drafts courtesy of Lagunitas

Monday October 13
SOMArts, 934 Brannan Street
7:30pm start

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  • We received 75 submissions and accepted 14 (19%)
  • Return readers this month:
    • Peter Bullen (5x)
    • Kate Folk (1x)
    • Linette Escobar (1x)
    • Kai Carlson-Wee (2x)
    • Chloé Veylit (2x)
    • Karen Penley (7x)
    • Shideh Etaat (4x)
  • First Timers: 7 (50%)

On the Horizon

ps. Thanks to everyone who came to Lookout Point to watch the sunset with us, and to all of you who stuck around for our first cave show! If you missed it, enjoy these photos courtesy of Gracie Malley and our Instagram friends:

[portfolio_slideshow size=large trans=scrollHorz showtitles=false exclude=”6048,6756,6066″]

sPARKLE + bLINK 57 by Quiet Lightning

sunset and the things that follow

art by Daniel Morales!
art by Daniel Morales!

Join us on Monday, September 15th to watch the sunset at Lands End Lookout Point, followed by an outdoor show at a nearby location featuring readings by Raul RuizBaruch Porras-HernandezAdam MoskowitzBrielle BrilliantGinger BuswellArtie MoffaMoneta Goldsmith, and William Taylor Jr.!

This will be a free show, and the first 100 people will get a copy of sparkle + blink, with art by Daniel Morales!

Bring a warm jacket and a scarf. No refreshments will be provided.

Sunset ~7:15 pm. Meet at Lookout Point parking lot at 6:30 and we’ll walk together to the readings, which start ~8 pm.

Note: This month’s reading is not ADA accessible, though arrangements might be possible. Send us an email with any questions.

sunset over sutro baths by Sunny Wu (Eric)

Curation: readings by Caroline Kessler and Evan Karp, art by Laura Ceron Melo



  • We received 79 submissions for this show and accepted 9 (11%).
  • Return readers this month:
    • Raul Ruiz (1x)
    • Baruch Porras-Hernandez (1x)
    • Adam Moskowitz (1x)
    • Brielle Brilliant (1x)
    • Ginger Buswell (3x)
    • Moneta Goldsmith (9x)
    • William taylor Jr. (7x)

This is our 64th show and 57th issue of s+b, featuring now 759 individual readings by 422 different authors.

Coming Up

submissions open for sept 15 show

Now accepting submissions of all kinds for our September 15 show, to be held at an outdoor location in San Francisco! More information to be announced closer to the date. Send us your bravest writing, send us your weirdest writing, send us the noises you make when you’re dumbfounded, send us your unspoken confessions, your only truth, your missed connections. Do it by the end of Wednesday, August 27th ———> click here to do it in style.

Below you can watch our first Chemical Wedding (we’re getting married every other month from here on out, y’all):

psst. Less than a month remaining for our book contest!

music + literature this sunday at the emerald tablet

If you want an unforgettable experience this weekend, join us on Sunday afternoon for an intimate performance by Luz Elena Mendoza and Edna Vazquez, in town from Portland to play The Fillmore the night before; they both make beautiful music and we’re thrilled to have them as part of our first collaboration with Name Drop Swamp Records and The Emerald Tablet. 

Well, technically this is our second collaboration, but it’s the first in this new ongoing series we’re doing because the first one was so inspiring. Read what Chris Peck the Town Crier had to say about the first one:

Was it the Portuguese wine? The fearsome beautiful bands?  Surely not.  It must have been that poet, Jon Siegel.  His voice was booming and sweet when he asked “Where is there a place left to Breathe, to Regain Strength, to Build New Hope, and Prepare For A Better Tomorrow?”  Was it J.Brandon Loberg’s poem, which quoted Alter the Path’s poem, which spoke of some Uncle named Failure?  No no. It was the cigarettes we smoked outside in Fresno Alley.  It was a small region of sky I looked at, as I paused between two undefendable assertions.  After some cocktail of the above, I said “This must be culture”.

If I know you, you’ve read much about the death of culture in San Francisco. This is not one of those entries.  This is about a small culture, of which I am a part.  Across ten years, mainly in one venue and on one street corner and a smattering of roofs, we’ve made something.  We know each other’s poems, and each other’s moments.  Some happened in front of a crowd: a rude, lovely man takes a well-deserved sandwich to the face.  Other moments were private, and then seeped out through the lenses of the tribe: I am naked and dusted by a fire extinguisher.  These people did these things here, though many of us have moved.

Last Sunday, June 22nd I went to the Emerald Tablet to listen to poetry, hear some bands and see old friends who were either back in town or still living here.  If I’d only accomplished that, I would have gone home very happy.  In addition to these things, though, I answered for myself a couple nagging questions:  Are we a culture? One that’s worth re-uniting? Read the rest of the entry

Joining Luz and Edna will be Terry TaplinMonica ModyLiza St. James, and Raul Ruiz, writers we are proud to share with you. We’re going to have two readings, followed by a performance, followed by two readings and more music. There will be cheap ice cold draft beer, thanks to Lagunitas Brewing Company, and (as always at The EmTab) complimentary snacks. Join us! You won’t forget it.

Here’s the RSVP | Get tickets here

show at 5pm, doors at 4:20
80 Fresno St.
$10-20 sliding, no one turned away

Submissions open to September 15 show

We’re doing a special show in September at a secret location TBA … shortly before the show. But it will be in SF. We’re doing this one in the middle of the month because our October show with Litquake + ArtSpan is on the 13th. Submit here!

Read and/or watch our last two shows

Chemical Wedding I

put your heroes in a museum

But be sure to take their work home with you. First 150 people get a copy of sPARKLE & bLINK, featuring art by Tanya Hollis created for this very evening!

an answer to your question by Tanya Hollis

Readings by Norma Cole, Peter BullenYiyun Li, Sarah GriffinPeter Orner, Lauren TraettoMatthew ZapruderMoneta Goldsmith, and Katie Crouch! Approx. playtime: 75min + intermission, w/Lagunitas draft beer and books for sale by Vouched.

ql logoThursday, August 7th @ Contemporary Jewish Museum
Doors at 6 pm, readings begin at 6:30
impress your friends, get advance tickets

736 Mission St. (btwn 3rd and 4th)
$5 (addtl donations tax deductible)

Submissions for our Litquake show open thru the end of July 30

New series in collab w/The Emerald Tablet + Name Drop Swamp Records:

Music + literature. First show is Sunday, August 17th, w/performances by Luz Elena Mendoza and Edna Vazquez (catch them both w/Lila Downs at The Fillmore the night before), and readings by Terry TaplinMonica ModyLiza St. James, and Raul Ruiz!

We also have a show on Saturday, Aug 9 as part of the 25th Annual National Poetry Slam. It’s our first hotel show! Also our first three-shows-in-one-month month. Courtyard Marriott Oakland, 12:30pm. Announcing the lineup soon; thanks to all who sent us work.