The Blasted Tree

Episode 63 – Interview with Dani Spinosa

The Small Machine Talks – Episode 63

Amanda Earl interviews Dani Spinosa

Recorded on July 29, 2020 via Zoom

Dani Spinosa is a poet of digital and print media, an on-again-off-again precarious professor, the managing editor of Electronic Literature Directory, a co-founding editor of Gap Riot Press, and the author of Anarchists in the Academy: Machines and Free Readers in Experimental Poetry. She can be found online at and in person in Toronto.

We spoke about OO: Typewriter Poems, femmeship, overcoming the voice that says we have to be serious to be good, citations and name dropping as a feminist act, the “have you read” test, Kanada Koncrete, spider bites and omens, the latest titles from Gap Riot Press, women’s friendships, how great M. NourbeSe Philip’s Zong is, the typewriter as a male concrete poetry tradition and an object of women’s labour, a feminized work place, reading visual poetry over wine and more., the reclamation of “stupid” or “silly” with love, the perpetuation of the erasure of women in the canon via anthologies and scholarship, the importance of looking back and carving out spaces for women in the visual poetry community, new advances in digital vispo, the Vispo Bible and Photoshop. It was a great conversation.

OO: Typewriter Poems (Invisible Publishing, 2020)

Gap Riot Press

Electronic Literature Directory

Penteract Poetry Podcast – Dani and Kate Siklosi will be featured soon!

No Press, includes chapbooks by Dani

Petition: Abolish cash bail in the criminal justice system

Thanks to Dani for being on the show, to Charles Earl for processing, to Jennifer Pederson for intros and outros and to all of you for listening and sharing the episode.

Stay tuned for future episodes featuring Sachiko Murakami and James Lindsay in August and September, and other unforeseen shenanigans.

Episode 55: Interview with Dessa Bayrock, Post Ghost Press

Recorded on February 23, 2020

Aaron asks about the design and format of PGP microchapbooks and zines. Dessa talks about keeping them small for mailing, poetry socks, sticker broadsides. Amanda mentions Warren Dean Fulton’s photo booth poetry project through Pooka Press.

Dessa Bayrock lives in Ottawa with two cats and a variety of succulents, one of which occasionally blooms. She used to fold and unfold paper for a living at Library and Archives Canada, and is currently a PhD student in English, where she continues to fold and unfold paper. Her work has appeared in Funicular, PRISM, and Poetry Is Dead, among others, and her work was recently shortlisted for the Metatron Prize for Rising Authors. She is the editor of post ghost press. You can find her, or at least more about her, at, or on Twitter at @yodessa.

We speak to Dessa about her press, postghostpress, an Ottawa-based micropress, the joys of being able to carry poetry in a pocket and how that inspired her to create the press. We discuss pockets and Venn diagrams. Aaron asks about the difference between digital poetry and poems in the pocket.

Aaron asks what inspired the name “Post Ghost Press”? Dessa talks about her experience working at Library and Archives Canada, sorting World War I soldiers’ files for a digitization project, and a nightmare she had about a soldier.

We discuss the need to inform authors before posting their work on line as a publisher. We talk about creative non fiction and short forms.

Dessa talks about the meditative nature of putting together the chapbooks and the zine, old magazines and textbooks she uses for the backgrounds, and how the work inspires the choice of background. Work that doesn’t lend itself well to this type of design isn’t published. Amanda talks about writing with visual in mind. Dessa will ask writers what they envision for the design. Amanda mentions her loathing of Arial font.

Aaron asks about using media other than paper for the press. Dessa talks about seeing poetry in surprising places. The press’s mantra is that it can put poems everywhere. Amanda mentions needing collaborations between artists. Dessa talks about a project relating to tarot cards.

Aaron wants local coffee shops to put poems on their take out cups. Dessa wants to put short stories on beer cans and urges brewers to get in on it. Amanda reminds listeners that she writes about tea a lot and would have a few poems that aren’t P.G. available.

We talk about Small Poems for the Masses, a zine with 5 issues so far. Dessa talks about the zine being like a poem house party. Amanda asks for someone to do anthologies with contributions unbound. Dessa quotes Alice Munro. Dessa talks about the tarot project and how different cards with poem fragments would interact to form different poems.

Dessa talks about Kanika Lawton’s Monster (Girl) Theory, one of the microchapbooks published by PGP.

Dessa talks about how receptive and delighted people are about the press and the work.

Aaron tries to unfold Monster (Girl) Theory and we listen. We discuss ASMR?, initialisms vs acronyms.

We ask Dessa what the challenges of running PGP are. She mentions not having enough time.

Meanwhile Aaron keeps trying to fold up the chapbook.

Dessa talks about her Patreon subscribers and how patient they are.

Dessa has been inspired by The Blasted Tree, Kyle Flemmer. Amanda mentions her Vispo Bible chapbook, John, which she loves. Amanda also mentions Puddles of Sky and Michael Casteels.

Amanda mentions the Ottawa Zine Off and zines. Dessa talks about her dream projects and wishes she had more time to work on them. We talk about how great the poetry socks were. Amanda reminisces about how much everyone loved the socks at the John Newlove Poetry Award. Other possibilities: t-shirts, tea bag tags. Amanda mentions Alixandra Bamford’s Tasseomancy:

Dessa mentions resin casting for words to make dice. We discuss materiality and digital vs physical creation. Dessa is more comfortable with tactile form.

Aaron asks how publishing others inspires Dessa’s own writing. She says she writes less but better. We all talk about how being an editor affected our own writing. Aaron asks about current projects. Dessa talks about a collaborative project with a friend. Amanda asks about small press fairs. Dessa mentions the Magical Girl Market at the Shaw Centre on June 27.

Thanks to Dessa, to Charles for the processing, to Jennifer Pederson for the intro and outro and to you for listening. Stay tuned for a new episode soon!

Episode 35 – Ottawa Small Press Book Fair and more

The Small Machine Talks, Episode 35
recorded on …