Poetry, Video Games and Tarot Cards Collide at Indie Event

Book and Tarot Deck Launch Entertains Crowd of 70

Tarot card readings were conducted at this indie-hybrid event. Photo Sophie Dufresne

On Sept. 23, Anteism Books hosted the launch of two poetry books, Place by Alexei Perry Cox and Wet Dream by Erin Robinsong, as well as a deck of tarot cards by Apocablyss Studios in the publisher’s gallery in Outremont. 

Outside the small venue, Perry Cox, who also teaches at Concordia, and Michael Nardone, a writer and editor who works with Anteism Books, greeted attendees from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.. 

“Alexei Perry Cox and Erin Robinsong are really dear friends of mine, and they’re both incredible poets,” Nardone said. “I was really excited about their books and wanted to do a launch for them.”

He added it was “two different events fused together” with the tarot deck launch happening at the same time.

Upon entering the studio, chatter filled the air, almost drowning the indie music played by the DJ. Near the back was a small bar and a friendly dog wandering from person-to-person, seeking attention.

Paloma Dawkins, founder of Apocablyss, a multidisciplinary company that fuses video games and poetry, told The Link that her team has been working on video games for the past five years. 

“We decided to open up a studio recently, and we want it to be about poetry [and] living in balance with technology and nature,” she said.

She added that she believes that nature and technology inform each other. “That’s kinda how we evolved as humans—through what we create,” Dawkins said.

This event is an invitation for the community to join Apocablyss in creating meaningful experiences and technology that matters, she explained.

The tarot deck Apocablyss launched during the event contains characters from several video games Dawkins has created over the years. She gave an example by asking The Link to pick a card from an array of extras facing downwards.

The card picked was Strength, which Dawkins explained “is about how it takes strength to love.” It features a scene where Casper—a character who follows the player throughout the game Songs of the Lost—reaches a hostile guard dog. 

Ashley Obscura, a Concordia alumnus who was The Link’s Fringe Arts editor in 2010, is a poet and a publisher who works with Apocablyss.

“Erin and Alexei are amazing poets and we [at Apocablyss] were so excited because we feel like the concepts that are in their new books are so in line with things that we’ve been thinking about,” she said, explaining that their lore “is trying to find bliss within the apocalypse.”

Many Concordia students in attendance said they were there for Perry Cox and to support her book launch.

From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., the poets read from their featured books as a crowd of over 70 people huddled together to listen. Tarot card readings were given for free throughout the evening until 11 p.m..