R152. Bridges, Not Walls: Building the Literary Community

Room 3 & 4, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Thursday, March 8, 2018
10:30 am to 11:45 am


This panel explores the challenges of building and sustaining a literary community including success stories, nuts and bolts strategies, and lessons learned. As the third poorest city in America, Buffalo faces numerous challenges; and yet, the literary arts continue to thrive in this Rust Belt city. Learn how and why. Discussion topics include supporting local writers, reaching underserved populations, and fostering a cultural ecosystem that promotes the literary arts as a cornerstone of democracy.


Barbara Cole is the artistic director of Just Buffalo Literary Center and a 2011 fellow in poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Cole received her MA in creative writing from Temple University and her PhD in English, specializing in poetics, from the University at Buffalo.

Noah Falck is the author of Snowmen Losing Weight and several chapbooks including Celebrity Dream Poems. He is the education director at Just Buffalo Literary Center and curates the Silo City Reading Series, a multimedia poetry series in a 130-foot abandoned grain elevator.

Rachelle Toarmino is the author of the microchapbook Graphic, the poetry pamphlet Rebound, and the chapbook of embroidery poems Personal & Generic. She is the cofounder and managing editor of Peach Mag, and teaches Spanish at an elementary school in Buffalo, New York.

Jonathon Welch cofounded Talking Leaves Books in Buffalo in 1975. Currently a member of the Board of Directors of American Booksellers Association, he advocates for the importance of small, independent and university presses for the health of the publishing ecosystem and a truly democratic society.


March 27–30, 2019
Portland, OR

Oregon Convention Center