Literary Kicks was founded in July 1994 by Levi Asher, then a struggling writer bored by his tech job at the headquarters of the JP Morgan bank on Wall Street. Operated surreptitiously from Asher’s cubicle as he pretended to work on PowerPoint presentations, LitKicks quickly became a popular online destination and critic’s favorite, also gaining wide usage on college campuses around the world.
Many incarnations, stunts, poetry readings and pancakes later, LitKicks continues to explore the meaning and relevance of literature in modern life. Asher is still at the helm, but LitKicks couldn’t survive without the excellent help and advice of Caryn Thurman and Jamelah Earle and the enthusiastic participation of a whole lot of people who send us poems, comments and occasional insults (usually we deserve it). In 2003/2004 we collected the best original works from more than fifty LitKicks writers into a book called Action Poetry, which got nominated for a prize but lost to a cookbook, which we would probably find discouraging if we stopped to think about it. But we didn’t.
We’ve gone through a wide variety of different looks in our thirteen-year history. LitKicks began as a very simple set of text pages about the Beat Generation, supplemented by Beat News, which future archeologists may someday identify as the earliest literary blog. This tribute replaced the front page for a few weeks after Allen Ginsberg died. We put on a huge poetry happening at the Bitter End in New York City to celebrate our fifth birthday in 1999, then greeted the new millenium with a completely new format featuring some lively message boards. We did some more live events, extending our reach to Battle Creek, Michigan and Bethesda, Maryland and culminating in an unforgettable evening of karaoke poetry at the Bowery Poetry Club in February 2003. But live readings can only reach a tiny segment of our audience, and we began shifting our focus to online events, including a superb writing tournament called The QUEST, an insane but rewarding 24 Hour Poetry Party (celebrating our tenth birthday, and featuring original poetry by Robert Creeley, Michael McClure, David Amram, Bob Holman and others) and October Earth, a politically tinged symposium on literature and human nature.
In November 2004 we ended all the above madness to launch our current blog format, which seems to be working out well. Our first blog redesign used WordPress, and in January 2010 we relaunched the site using the excellent Drupal software.
You can email Levi Asher at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can send review copies, donations or checks here:
328 8th Avenue # 337
New York NY 10001 USA
Thanks for checking out LitKicks, and don’t forget to write us a poem.