Peach Picks: What to Read This Week

by / Feb. 15, 2017 12am EST


We celebrated Valentine’s Day at Peach Mag with four visual poems by local poet and interdisciplinary artist Alana Kelley. The poems, which feature pen and ink illustrations alongside text, are the candy heart messages you wish you had sent yesterday—tragic and sharp, but not without tenderness. My favorite of the four depicts a hand with its fingers casually moving toward something outside of the frame, and text that both sings and mourns, “HOW WE TOUCH / AND DON’T TALK ABOUT IT.” The illustrations are part of a larger project that Kelley has been self-publishing as part of her Fun-a-Day series, a month-long program hosted by local arts collaborative Sugar City in which artists are encouraged to produce one piece of art every day for the month of February. You can view Kelley’s project in full at Sugar City’s Fun-a-Day gallery opening next month.



Cringers Present: 
Steve Roggenbuck

Everyone has their own story about the first time they discovered Steve Roggenbuck. For me, it was in early 2014 when he posted a video to YouTube of himself reading “what is heavy petting and can we please do it,” a gentle love poem that reduced me to a giggling mess. That’s why last Tuesday night at Ashker’s on Main I listened eagerly every time someone got up for an open mic slot and told their own Steve Roggenbuck story. Most notorious for his YouTube channel, Roggenbuck is an entrepreneur in finding new ways and platforms to connect himself to his readers; he is one of the guiding forces behind Boost House, a publisher based in Tucson, Arizona, and at one point turned his home into a vegan co-op house and community arts space. These innovative means of connection rang through his reading; Roggenbuck had us shouting anti-Mike Pence chants as an improvised intermission, and accompanying him like a laugh track to a new poem he wrote consisting entirely of negative YouTube comments. Roggenbuck’s poetry is warm and relatable, with every poem reading like an inside joke he can’t wait for you to be a part of.


by Laura Theobald (poetry)
Boost House (2015)

During his reading, Roggenbuck read from THE BEST THING EVER, a chapbook of poems by Laura Theobald in which she used the predictive text software in iOS to construct poetry. The resulting collection is thought-provoking and surprising, full of shouts and joy and momentum. Improbable themes and phrases (“death,” “destruction,” “government,” “my mom”) recur and give the collection thematic unity, while also causing the reader to wonder what exactly is revealed in the application of an algorithm to our everyday conversations. Although some lines sound like they are spoken by a robot that is desperately trying to express its feelings for the first time, they are beautiful nonetheless. “I love you so much better,” Theobald writes, “now that I’m not sure how to do it for / the first time.”

“Peach Picks” is a new column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo, New York. For inquiries, contact Rachelle at