Fountainverse: KC Small Press Poetry Fest is a three-day poetry festival featuring poets representing independent poetry publishing houses from the KC metro and across the country. The fest features scheduled readings, a pop-up book shop, and open mic opportunities. The poets and presses are invited to participate by a creative board comprised of representatives from Kansas City’s various literary scenes. Each creative board member will take lead on hosting a national press and their two groups will have one of the six main feature events. All together, twelve groups will be featured, half from KC and half nationally based. Even more small presses will be represented at the pop-up book shop.
The Fountainverse mission is, first and foremost, to promote the poetics arts in their myriad manifestations. The organizers fully expect to grow the KCSPPF into a destination event for small presses and their poets from all over the world to gather in the heart of Kansas City for networking, project cross-pollination, collaboration, performance, and to sell some books along the way.
The first Fountainverse Festival occurred in 2016 (as the Poetry Throwdown) at Prospero’s Bookstore, a locally owned, independent supporter of literacy and poetry in Kansas City, Missouri. The inaugural Throwdown featured a mixture of local, regional, and national poets in a rapid-fire, 3-day, marathon of poetry readings. That event hosted more than 30 poets reading to audiences of over 250 people in 3 days. In 2017, the event brought in more national artists and its scope expanded to focus on authors publishing books via small poetry presses. 47 poets read to over 350 people, not including the open mic at Liberty Memorial or the Publishers Quorum, which featured 6 editors in chief with an audience Q&A. In June of 2017, the Throwdown changed its name to Fountainverse: Kansas City Small Press Poetry Press to better reflect the vision of the event.