Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Dead Beats, the astonishing student run publication/readings/organization speaks!
I first heard about Dead Beats on twitter. An uber-successful student run group, Dead Beats doesn't just share the works of published writers, but it acts as a lift-off for unpublished ones. The top photo is from one of their sell-out crowded readings, and of course, you know who is in the second photo! (HINT: Kerouac and William S. Burroughs). I'm honored to host them here--and hope you all will support their readings (in the UK right now), and submit to them! Thank you, Dead Beats!
How did the idea for a student run publication organization come about? What was the initial reaction?
Dead Beats originated in a post-seminar study group whose numbers quickly dwindled to form the core membership of three that composes the organisation today.
Already deft at using social media to communicate with each other, the thought of broadening the readership was simply an organic step. We wanted to share not just extracts from published canonical authors, but also other unpublished writers' homespun material that would otherwise remain unseen.
The initial reaction was stupendous and the reach astounding: within our first two months we received upwards of one hundred submissions from the world-over and the fact that we published 62 pieces in only our second month of being established is a great affirmation of the vital role literature still plays in modern society. We were surprised and overwhelmed at the amount of support we received.
What made you decide on your wonderful name, Dead Beats, and how do you reach out to writers all over the world?
As relationships and group dynamics settled, we came to the realisation that the Beats were formative to our thinking; the sentiments of that generation, and the methods with which they expressed them, struck a chord.
However, the name was more of a formality than anything else. It described both our dispositions at this time last year and referenced our departed heroes.
As for reaching people, we still rely on word of mouth primarily and this seems to engender a more grassroots feel to the blog.
Who decides what gets published? What's the process like?
The three of us converge on a weekly basis to discuss each individual submission we receive, usually over coffee or pints depending on extraneous circumstances. Decisions are predicated on mutual agreement within the group. There are quite a few disagreements over submissions at times, and when this variance occurs is when we most look forward to the reader response.
There is a misconception amongst some of our contributors that we are only interested in work of a Beat orientation, yet, Dead Beats publishes work of both an inspired and inspiring nature; the Beats stirred the ethic of the blog but their work doesn't define our goals.
We have no reading season and accept submissions of short stories and poems all year round. We believe that this marks us out from other literary journals, as we are all about keeping a constant flow of literary quality.
What do you see that is up next for Dead Beats?
We intend to collate an e-book compendium of our favourite writers thus far, curate even bigger poetry events and try our hand at organising regional workshops. Sheffield is just one city with followers; we have the world to explore yet.
You've been getting sell-out crowds for your performances. Any chance of you bringing Deadbeats to the USA?
Only if you're paying!
Though tongue out of cheek, we will venture as far afield as we can when the funds allow it. Expanding literary awareness across the globe is a notion that very much motivates us. Should a city call, we'll be there.
What's obsessing you now?
Currently, we are on the cusp of celebrating our first anniversary gig. We're determined that it'll be the best poetry night Sheffield's seen: we've bought party hats and benzedrine, so it better be good!
What question didn't I ask that I should have?
You might have asked: "Who are the Dead Beats?"
We would have responded: "There is no 'Dead Beats', just a bunch of guys trying to get published" (Ginsberg circa Sheffield 2012).