By Matt Marn
Four Chambers Press is ready to launch their latest collection of works, assembled from an open call to writers in the community. “Welcome Home: Poetry and Prose for Welcome Hospitality” will serve as the launch event for the publication, this Saturday, October 3, at Welcome Diner on Roosevelt Street in Phoenix.
Welcome Diner will not only be the venue for the publication’s launch event, but is the subject of the works inside. Four Chambers’ founder and editor-in-chief Jake Friedman said Welcome Diner is a beloved staple in the Phoenix community, and has become a point of pride for people living in the area.
“The goals of the Welcome Diner and Four Chambers are closely related, using culture and space as a way to relate people to each other,” Friedman said. “We decided to do something for Welcome – we felt very strongly. It turned out to be very rich, in both meaning and material. We hope the works encourage people to see Welcome in a different way, but also their sense of place – their sense of home.”
Four Chambers is basing this project on the idea of an open call for writings and prose based on an event they held in March with the Phoenix Art Museum, where the publication called for writers to submit work responding to pieces featured in the museum. The response was impressive, and Friedman said he hopes the activity – and the printed work that came as a result – helped make a difference in the community.
Friedman said while a musician’s trajectory through their career may be more clear-cut – learn, practice, gig at small events, and work toward larger concerts – it is very difficult for writers to have those defined trajectories, and progression through the local arts scene can be difficult. Four Chambers works to create more visibility for writers, and in a sense, help build their market.
“Giving directions like this, seeing who comes out… we can help produce meaning in people’s lives,” he said. “We are breaking down barriers. We meet a lot of new people; give them a different sense of being, of belonging. We get to ask people to try something new. We provide a lot of structure and support within the community. A lot of times, we are able to include who don’t write that much, who don’t consider themselves writers. We try to help the community; create the kind of city we’d like to live in.”
This time, Four Chambers asked writers in the community to turn their sights to Welcome Diner, a favorite spot in downtown Phoenix. They received another impressive amount of entries, all highlighting the open, inviting nature of the diner. Saturday evening at the launch party, authors will be present to read their writings and prose live to the gathered patrons celebrating the diner.
“Ultimately, it’s a celebration of Welcome,” he said. “We want our launch party to be a joyous affair, experiencing the book with the readings. We always feel the product should be an embodiment of the work put into it. This is a way for people to get together and celebrate a common good. Besides, that’s what Welcome Diner is all about.”
Friedman enjoys having built this relationship with people Four Chambers has met along the way, and being able to see the community can create, based on a specific source of inspiration.
“Through that recognition and awareness, they engage on a larger conversation, such as the importance of place and identity,” he said. “We have established a reputation for ourselves; now it’s time to establish a reputation for single authors, as well. We are a humble organization… people are very talented, smart, and resourceful in their own right. We don’t create anything – we are facilitators, helping bring people together.”
The Four Chambers Press “Welcome Home” launch party will be held at Welcome Diner – 924 E Roosevelt St in Phoenix – Satruday, October 3. The event is free to attend, and will begin at 6:30 p.m.