In 2010, I was sitting with my friends Zachary Schomburg and Drew Swenhaugen at Stumptown Belmont in SE Portland lamenting the lack of a nationally-recognized poetry event in our city. Before moving here in 2008, we'd been involved separately in literary projects in Omaha and Tucson and Tempe, Arizona — communities with small but dedicated scenes that punched above their weight. We saw a huge poetry scene in Portland, and an opportunity to create something that crystalized the vibrancy of the community. Bad Blood was born.
With our backgrounds in bands, activism, and advertising, we created a reading series that became a bonified scene in Portland, creating a reputation for bringing dynamic, nationally-recognized poets to town for readings that felt more like a DIY house show in the '80s than a stuffy poetry reading.
We made good-looking, limited edition pamphlets and flyers for each reading and gave them away. We were the first independent reading series in the country to secure an alcohol sponsor, so we gave away booze, too. Our events were always free and community based, leading to a national reputation and recognition as the best reading series in the country from 2011 until we celebrated our final readings at the 2016 AWP conference in LA, where we curated an entire weekend of events at our takeover of Ace Hotel DTLA.