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Art of neighborhood

“Rooftop” by Cambridge artist Alethea Jones is one of the illustrations in the new issue of The Inman Review literary journal, founded to highlight local artists and writers. “Rooftop” by Cambridge artist Alethea Jones is one of the illustrations in the new issue of The Inman Review literary journal, founded to highlight local artists and writers. (Alethea Jones)
By Jan Gardner
Globe Correspondent / April 24, 2011

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Baristas at the 1369 Coffee House in Cambridge’s Inman Square come and go, but two have left a literary mark on the neighborhood. Two years ago, in between serving customers at the 1369, Zachary Aidan Evans and Jahn Sood used to talk about literature and their own writing.

One thing led to another and The Inman Review was founded as a venue for local writers and artists to express themselves. A thousand copies of the first issue were sold at a handful of shops throughout Cambridge. In addition, businesses help the Review by buying advertising and making donations. Lorem Ipsum Books provides free office space for the staff and a place to hold launch parties.

The celebration of the spring 2011 issue was a lively affair, attracting 100 fans with free beer, free verse, and live music. Cofounder Evans, who is the poetry editor, told the crowd, “Every single issue is a love letter to this community.”

Sood, now attending graduate school in New York, is the publisher and nonfiction editor. Annabel Gill, manager of the 1369, is the fiction editor.

In his foreword to the new issue, 1369 regular Robert Campbell, architecture critic for The Boston Globe, writes about the historical precedents for a local hangout becoming a force of art and community, citing bookstores Shakespeare & Company in Paris and City Lights in San Francisco. He views as a good sign that the 1888 building housing the 1369 has had a number of incarnations. In closing, he offers as a challenge the editors’ view that good writing and good coffee can help define the character of a community. “Let’s find out,” he writes. “Take a cup or mug, shut your laptop, and settle down with Inman Review III.”

Having the review exist solely in print — and not online — is the point. It’s important for this new generation of writers to connect in person, said Sood, who is starting to plan the next issue. The editors already have a backlog of poetry and fiction. Sood says they need more nonfiction, rooted in the neighborhood.

Newburyport festival
Leading abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, longtime publisher of The Liberator newspaper, was born in Newburyport, and it was there that he started his career as a journalist. With this month marking the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, organizers of the Newburyport Literary Festival on Saturday are highlighting Garrison’s contributions. More than 50 sessions will be held in nine locations throughout the North Shore city. Besides historians, other presenters include poets, novelists, memoirists, and children’s book authors. Sessions range from “Poetry as Social Obligation” to “Eye Candy: The Art of the Picture Book.” Of special note are Glenn Stout, editor of the Best American Sports Writing anthologies since 1991, and 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Paul Harding.

Details at www.newburyport literaryfestival.org.

Coming out
■ “Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology” by Alexis Madrigal (Da Capo)

■ “Billy Graham in Quotes” by Franklin Graham and Donna Lee Toney (Thomas Nelson)

■ “Sam the Cooking Guy: Just Grill This!” by Sam Zien (Wiley)

Pick of the week
Julie Arriens of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., recommends “Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler’’ by Jessica Speart (Morrow): “I had certainly heard about wildlife smuggling, but this completely bizarre true tale brings the black market for insects vividly to life. The cat-and-mouse chase between an intrepid wildlife agent and the notorious and highly unusual Japanese smuggler will shock and amaze you. Movie producers, take note!’’

Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.

BY JAN GARDNER | LITERARY NEWS