What’s it like to self-publish a book? Ask Caleb Rainey!

I published a book. That sentence is so much bigger than the four words that contain it. Most days I still can’t believe it. Since I was in seventh grade I knew I was meant to be a writer, but being a published author is one of those dreams–and we all have them–where you simultaneously feel like you can do it, and it’s always out of reach. For so much of my life, there was always another step I needed to take: finish high school, get a college degree, get…

‘Coming out’ again: The Real MainStream brighter, better, and reinvented

Read about how The Real MainStream is reworking itself to better serve Iowa and Illinois. Whenever I run across one of my keepsake copies of the first 13 editions of The Real MainStream, published before the current worldwide pandemic, I feel awash in memories and sensations. “We’ll never give up the handshake!” joked a customer and I in early March. Mere days later, he and dozens of others in our circulation area announced they were saying “no” to not only handshakes, but all in-store traffic for a few months.  Back…

“The Negro Artist,” award-winning poet, opens up at 8 pm virtual reading tonight

While many of his fellow young Black men joined protests after the killing of George Floyd, Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey had different reactions: he felt paralyzed, catatonic, isolated, foolish and arrogant. Paralyzed and catatonic, because he felt stuck in 2011, when Eric Garner’s death by police choking was captured on video and first propelled Rainey to devote himself to improving Black lives. Isolated, because Floyd’s death made him feel as though society didn’t value his life or those of other Black men. And foolish and arrogant, because Rainey had…

Slam poetry in Iowa born 19 years ago

In the documentary, “Louder Than a Bomb,” a poet takes the stage and says “poets, breathe now.” Though I wasn’t a poet yet when I saw the film, I held my breath and then released it with him. In that electrifying and powerful moment, I breathed life into a poem for the first time. I felt the poetry begin to pulse through me.  That’s how Heather Knowles (aka Heather K, aka Slamama) remembers feeling when she saw “SlamNation,” shortly after founding the Des Moines Poetry Slam, Iowa’s first-ever poetry slam,…

Landmarks October 2019: News About TRM Advertisers

Check out “Trick or Trivia,” a benefit for the Emma Goldman Clinic, coming Oct. 27. It’s a night of trivia, games, prizes food and fun at The Mill, 120 E. Burlington Ave. Admission is $5 per person and benefits the Emma Goldman Clinic’s services of sexual, mental, and reproductive health. Shakespeare’s Pub & Grill at 819 S. 1st Ave. has expanded its menu with items including the vegan Impossible Burger. This favorite bar/restaurant/live music/events venue will also hold a Halloween Karaoke Party 9 p.m. Sat., Nov. 2. Go to www.shakespearespubandgrill.com…

The marginalization of spoken word, slam poetry

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″ _i=”0″ _address=”0″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0.0″ custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.3″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” hover_enabled=”0″ _i=”0″ _address=”0.0.0.0″] Them: “So, what do you do?” Me: “I’m a poet.” Them: “Me too! What kind?” Me: “Spoken word.” Them: “Oh, cool. Like rap and stuff? I write normal poetry.” There it is. The divide. It pops up constantly in conversations, the idea of “normal” poetry (or even worse, “traditional” poetry) that actively excludes spoken word poetry. It’s a common misconception that there’s a difference between spoken…

A self-made author shares his inner journey

Since he released his first book, “Look Black Boy,” this spring, Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey has been the subject of many articles and interviews. Here, he shares some of his inner-most thoughts and feelings about putting himself out there. I published a book. That sentence is so much bigger than the four words that contain it. Most days I still can’t believe it. Since I was in seventh grade I knew I was meant to be a writer, but being a published author is one of those dreams–and we…

Award-winning Iowa City poet combines drive, talent, discipline to self-publish

He works four jobs. He self-markets and books his own competitions, readings and performances — often working in the middle of the night or between shifts. And he wrote his book in about two months. Caleb Rainey, a University of Iowa graduate, is combining highly-crafted word-smithing, with self-coordinated time management that rivals the best professional systems, with old-fashioned hard work and sacrifice, with sheer drive to put his stage poems “to page.” The 24-year-old is in the midst of a national tour of competitions, performances, and readings to promote “Look,…