Elizabeth Allen Berry is a multi-dimensional artist. As a spoken word poet, musician, and scientist she creates space for those in the in-between. She is a Queer advocate and is shifting the conversations around being LGBTQ and Trans in the world today. She is committed to inspiring our youth through a workshop series for students designed to create zines that empower their small business and add to their marketing through storytelling and self-publishing.
Elizabeth is the creator and founder of Cosmic Q Publishing. A zine publishing company, “For those Queer as the cosmos”. Partnered with her publishing company and a local nonprofit, Poetry Promise Inc., she has been teaching Poetry and Zine classes around Las Vegas to both youth and adults.
She is currently releasing her upcoming poetry book, “Becoming the Void Walker”, Chapter by chapter in zine format. A story of reclaiming her power and stepping into her cosmic body. Her work has been shelved in bookstores in four different states, and she has been a featured performing artist ten times in the last year both in the state of Nevada as well California and Arizona.
She is a true force within the local arts community and we are honored to spotlight her beautiful talent as we celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Seamstress of words, creator of realities, The cosmos her ink, her poetry the pen.
Come with her,
Sit back into the void
And fall back into eternity.
Tell us about your background and the road that led you to pursuing and practicing art and poetry.
I am a lifelong artist. Growing up In Minnesota, I was classically trained as a violinist. Music is my home base art, something that I will forever be surrounded by. I then moved to Laramie, Wyoming to pursue a degree in Entomology (the study of insects). During my studies I was captivated by the fervor and passion of scientists. I spent a lot of my time inside of museums and labs looking through microscopes and Preparing specimens for preservation. Although I was often exhausted by the monotony of linear science, The time I spent gave me new insights on the complexity of the world around us. After Graduation, I began writing for myself and to tell my story. Coming out in a place like Laramie, the same town that Mathew Shepard was brutally murdered, made me understand the power of my story. I understood that I had to stand in front of others and weave a new cosmos so those like me live in a safer world.
For those unfamiliar with the medium, what exactly is a zine? What type of themes do you focus on in your work?
Zines are DIY handmade Books. Zines originate in the 1960’s, Short for fanzine. They started as home printed fan edits to Sci-Fi novels. This simple concept has since changed and morphed into something that looks more like manifestos. Personal or Community Statements of unique expression.
What I love about this medium is holding another artist’s zine is like holding their beating heart. Getting to know someone’s passion so deeply. Peeking into someone’s soul. Zines also hold the character of the author. How they specifically bind their books, what program they use to design it, what printer they use, all these factors contribute to the feel of each book.
I work particularly with poetry and art zines. My goal through zines is to explore my relationship with others and greater society with words and art.
What inspired you to Cosmic Q Publishing?
Cosmic Q, prior to becoming a publishing company, was a podcast called “Queer in a Red State”. Coming from Wyoming, I met so many queer voices and thought that they needed to be heard and amplified. This idea still resonates through the core of Cosmic Q Publishing. Representation matters and there are so many different versions of queer. Each on of them deserves to be heard and held sacred.
The Q design Is my superhero emblem. My superpower? Being Queer as the Cosmos.
What do you think is the driving force behind independent publishing?
Independent publishing is Revolution. The Gutenberg Press revolutionized the world of replicability and access. Going through the internet revolution has made information so accessible but these tools cannot entirely replace physical mediums. Now independent publisher create waves in our communities by choosing voices of change to amplify and supporting them actualizing their work.
As a spoken word poet and Zine Queen, what is the relationship between zines and poetry?
I wanted to capture my live performance into something that can be held. As a spoken word poet, I animate the imagination of the audience. I speak my whole truth energizing the air particles between me and the viewer (the Void Space) and changing their perspective and reality through that intimate connection. With zines I can replicate parts of that intimacy. Just as charging the room with my words, I charge each zine with my intention and love. Hand stapling and folding each zine. Wrapping them in thread so they can be unwrapped like a present. Each one coming in a hand stamped envelope. All of these are intentional ways of connecting with the reader so that you can hear my voice as you read them and feel my hands when you touch them. These Zines contain parts of me just as my poetry performance is the rawest form of me.
Who are your artistic inspirations or muses?
Las Vegas is so full of such incredible artists I am so grateful to be a part of this community. I wanted to share a list of humans that are the center of fostering and growing local arts and have supported me tremendously. Ging Von Meijer, Wonderful folks at Avantpop Books, Ms. Aye Vee and her organization Beyond the Neon, Jen Taler and Market in the Alley, and my home open mic The Campfire Lv.
I also wanted to share some graphic novelists and their books that inspire me. Art Spiegelman “Maus”, Marjane Satrapi “Persepolis”, Maia Kobabe “Gender Queer”, Igor Hofbauer “Mister Morgan”.
Is there a piece you consider a “breakthrough” in your career?
During Pride month 2022 I was asked to be a featured poet at five events. I felt my community uplift me and show me that I am capable. That my words and performance is unique and that my voice deserves a platform to be heard.
Tell us about some of your recent projects and what are you looking forward to in the new year?
I have been working with The Cinematographer David Garzón and his production company La Casa Pielroja to make a poetry video. Last Year we released a collaborative piece called “Be Your Own Cowboi” that has been accepted to Five Film Festivals. (You can find that film on YouTube)
I am also Self-Publishing my upcoming Book “Becoming The Void Walker”.
In 2023 Cosmic Q Publishing will soon be launching our website and will start publishing other poet and artists so keep an eye out for that!
What advice can you offer artists starting out in this field?
Pick what it is you do best and show up consistently. Is it open Mics? Is it writing everyday? Through this exploration you will find what part of your art that others connect with. Each repetition of season will get you closer and closer to what makes you unique as an artist. This will only happen if you continue to show up for yourself. You are the only person that can show up for yourself. The world is waiting for you.
What is your interpretation of a Raw Femme?
A Raw Femme has chosen to value vulnerability. Has chosen to show all of themselves. Opened their heart to the world. Taking the concept of femme, personalizing it, shaping it, and crafting a reality that nurtures it and allows it to grow. A Raw Femme is powerful.
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