By Doug Holder
For years I heard about Gloria Mindock the founder of the Cervena Barva Press, but I never met her in the flesh. She was the editor of the Boston Literary Review for a decade; she was involved in avant-garde theatre, ( her theatre company won a Rockefeller Grant) as well as being an accomplished poet and a strong presence in the arts scene in these parts. About 10 years ago I finally got the chance to meet her. I had noticed that she started a new venture--the Cervena Barva Press. I was intrigued--Somerville has always been a home for small presses--and so I want to see what this lady was about. She agreed to meet me in the basement of the now defunct Finagle-a-Bagel in the heart of Harvard Square. Our early meetings of the literary group the Bagel Bards met there every Saturday. At first glance she seemed to be very reserved and a bit nervous. But we all know what can be beneath placid waters. Gloria Mindock proved to be a dynamo -- with an infectious, zany laugh. With the help of her partner Bill Kelle, she has published over a hundred titles, including translations, plays, fiction, poetry collections and has received international recognition for her work--especially in Eastern Europe.
The Ibbetson Street Press of Somerville published her poetry book Blood Soaked Dresses that pays tribute to the Salvadoran people who suffered greatly during their civil war in the 1980s. I am also glad that Mindock published my first perfect bound collection of poetry The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel.
Mindock has now established a studio and bookstore for her press in the Somerville Arts Armory and has established a number of reading series, the current one being The First and Last Word Reading Series with her cohort Harris Gardner.
Mindock is an accessible, warm and kindhearted women, but doesn't suffer fools gladly.
Robin Stratton, the founder of the Newton Writing and Publishing Center presented Gloria with the Allen Ginsberg Community Service Award on May 14, 2016 at 1PM. For more info go to http://newtonwritingandpublishingcenter.com