New Wave, No Wave: Guest post by Joan Kane

Ed. note from Andromeda: I hadn’t realized Title Wave had made this apparent policy change! I’m still a big supporter of TW and want to find out more. Today, we have Joan Kane’s take on the matter; we invite booksellers and other authors to weigh in…

Could it be that Title Wave’s decision to stop supporting authors (local and otherwise) by selling their new books and hosting their readings is the best thing to happen to Anchorage’s literary offerings in years? I find that I’ve a bit more diversity to my book and media selections through old standbys Metro Music and Books,, and other outlets, and more time to spend actually reading, writing, and attending events elsewhere since I’ve chosen not to spend money or time at Title Wave this year.

This weekend, authors and playwrights Joy Harjo, Diane Glancy, Susan Power, and Terry Gomez arrive in Anchorage to inaugurate the yearlong Alaska Native Playwrights Project. On Saturday, January 23, a range of free performances mark the first Native Theatre Festival at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. More details are available through the Heritage Center’s Web site.

Also this week, writer Nikki Giovanni presents her work as part of the University’s Civil Rights Month Celebration on Thursday, January 21 at the Wendy Williamson auditorium.

In early March, Sherman Alexie will also present his work at UAA. These readings join the second installment of the Still North Reading and Performance Series, which will include readings from Olena Davis and Kary Wayson at MTS Gallery on February 5.

When Title Wave’s manager Angela Libal shared the news with me in November about the store’s decision, I initially lamented the loss of a venue for writers, visiting and otherwise—many of my colleagues and professors from NYC enjoyed including Alaska on their reading tours when invited to read at the strip-mall bookstore, but in recent months, the store’s move seems to have breathed life into new and existing venues, making the prospects of readings and performances elsewhere a great deal more attractive.

Joan Kane (Inupiaq), a Whiting Writers’ winner, is a poet and playwright. She is the author of newly-released The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife and the play, The Gilded Tusk, which is in its reprise run at The Anchorage Museum.

5 thoughts on “New Wave, No Wave: Guest post by Joan Kane”

  1. I was shocked when I first heard this news, but like Joan, I've quickly adapted. I only hope other groups will continue to pick up the slack so we don't miss out on interaction with writers willing to make promotional stops to Alaska.

  2. Though the point about new upswellings for the arts is well taken, I find this post oddly truncated. For those of us who have no idea what the Title Wave news is, or how it came about, or what's behind it, a little more context would be welcome. Can anyone provide some background?

  3. Good point. We Anchorageites are well-trounced in the state for tendency toward Anchor-centrism. Title Wave is the big indie bookstore in Anchorage, and the most consistent venue for hosting author signings and talks. They started as a used book store and have opted to go back to that. Why and how? Mangerial choice, apparently zooming in on the bottom line in a shifting economy.

  4. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    I also get the sense there is more news here, and we will try our best to get it. I've sent some emails to Title Wave and I welcome info from anyone else who has it. I should add that I felt a little uncomfortable running this post without the whole scoop (the former report in me warring with the current novelist, unpaid blogger, and harried mother in me), but then I had to remind myself we are not a newspaper, and without a staff we can't necessarily jump on every story to get all the facts first. The best we can do, sometimes, is to let our guest bloggers post their opinions (within our editorial guidelines) and then keep the conversation and group-powered, collaborative fact-gathering rolling.

    But I do agree, anonymous. We all want to know more!

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