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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Thursday, December 31, 2009

GHOST TOWN, USA October/ November/ December 2009


October 2009

The Catholics arrive home. Seeing me on the driveway pulling weeds, my neighbors leap from their minivan to begin working on their yard. Moments later, the Man of the House is taking an axe to the brush that has taken over the grass that lines his front curb. Although he has not acknowledged me in the three and a half months that I have lived across the street, he speaks his first words to me now: “Never ends, does it?” No, it doesn’t. The child molestation, the conspicuous wealth, the discouraging AIDS-ravaged Africans from using condoms, the Medieval moral strictures never seem to end, I think to myself. Aloud, I politely agree. As he swings away at the brush, I wonder, are the Catholics being competitive? Trying to keep up with the Lunas?

The People on the Bus

October 5, 2009

“Military’s not a good thing right now. Wish I’d stayed in. I’d be retiring in two or three years. They tried to get me after 9/11 hit. Offered me $26,000.”



Angelo and Jake play Roblox

“What does ‘God’ mean? Finally, I’m gonna use Super Fly.”


Biking through
the intersection of
MacArthur & Little Rock
I see a dead cat in the grass
cradling a bottle of beer
between its frozen paws.

The People on the Bus

# 32 Westbound

A blind guy who managed to ride for several weeks
without renewing his monthly bus pass
jokes with the driver:

“I should get a prize, like the president. Con of the Month.”



An unsettling moment
as the world outside rumbles
toward apocalypse—
no one in the Writing & Tutoring Center
appears to realize
that the ground beneath us
is about to split, shift,
and swallow us all.

I cannot merely “be still”
in the face of such catastrophe.

“Separate now”
The Indian chuckles
at his assignment for 097:
“I gotta write a paper about Little Red Riding Hood.”


Don’t make the bacon with hate
DADA ‘09
begins like a school dance
(only with more fishnets)
everyone quiet
shy, tentative
too warm?
too bright?

circling, eyeing
one another
not (exactly)

I like art that looks like it could hurt somebody

kids, dogs,
bikes and paint cans
under tarps
light breeze
and a view of
industrial Vancouver

makes a u-turn at the corner of Lincoln & 16th

Blessed by Rabbis
toss out
Bibles filled with
whiskey and Twinkies
lead singalongs like
“God’ll Fuck You Up”

Elk River Tree Fort Army
Sing about “Food and Pussy”
And ask the audience

“Does anybody believe in the rapture . . . me neither.”

You can don the horns
that still don’t guarantee
you’ll get laid
or sell anything
may not even
be able
to give it away

The People on the Bus

# 4 Eastbound

“Things got even uglier back at the house.
Johnny kinda blew up. . . .When ain’t Spider a dick?”


Angelo, on the way
to Tae Kwon Do:

“I see Ganesh in the sky.
He looks angry.”


As Barbara-Lynn noted
during her brief stint in Corvallis,
PNWers don’t know how to
drive in the rain.

I think of my faraway friend as
I curse at the douchebags
who speed their SUVs
through Vancouver puddles
near Marshall Elementary:

“Another asshole . . . Where do they find these jackoffs?”

The People on the Bus


Retarded girl discusses her
Halloween costume with her mother:

“I’m a Jonas fan. OO! You know where I can find some blood? Pure blood. Pure blood. Pure blood. Awesome. And Scars. Gramma’s gonna laugh at me for what? C’mon, Mom, it’s gonna be awesome. He’s gonna be so proud of his granddaughter. My Dad’s not lazy. We’ll go to his house and pick him up. Awesome. I got hit by a car. Nasty. Blood all over my face. Cuts. Cool. Cool. I can’t be an angel. It won’t be that long. 10:30. What are you ‘posed to be? Huh? A what? A mummy?”

The People on the Bus

November 2, 2009
# 4 Eastbound

Sneakers, slacks,
t-shirt, and jacket
ALL black
red Sting Ray ball cap:

“I’m not gonna play that role. Can’t do this shit forever. Boy’s paralyzed, but he’s still fuckin’ with ya.”

“Goin’ to treatment . . . again.”

“As the kids say, ‘Been there, done that.’
Judge says, ‘Five years in prison,
or twenty-five days,’
which one you gonna do?”

# 4 Eastbound

“That bitch is ugly, nigga.
She work at Victoria Secret.”


November 10, 2009

Clark College cafeteria

“My girlfriend’s 17. It’s legal in Washington. Woodland fuckin’ sucks, first of all. Couple of hot chicks, that’s all. I have like six hot neighbors. Hot and stupid. Because abunch of them moved from Texas. I don’t do drugs, don’t worry about it. Danny has a hot girlfriend, or had a hot girlfriend. . . . Yeah, I saw the picture. I saw a Maserati in Portland the other day. There was a silver one and a red one. Never seen one? I seen two. In Sacramento. Gotta go. See ya. Yep.”

The People on the Bus

November 12, 2009
# 4 Eastbound

red hoodie
leg shaking
inside filthy jeans

“I’ll probably be out there in 15 or 20 minutes, bro.
I just got outta there . . . I got two suspendeds.”

hangs up cell phone
makes another call:

“Hey Dad, how’s it going? I just got out of jail. Child support. ‘Cause I can’t afford child support. Hopefully they’ll fuckin—but I asked for treatment. They were gonna give me probation but I already went through all the hoops and tricks, and it didn’t do me any good. I want treatment. I have a problem. Had me on a bad path. I need help. Had the kids taken away from me and all that shit. . . . My best friend took that away from me. He told my boss I was a drug addict douchebag piece of shit.”


Waiting for the #32 after school
Angelo and I chat with Preston
who moved here from the Bronx in ‘95

turns out he lived in the same neighborhood
where I worked from 2000-2001
not far from The Old Yankee Stadium

we discuss
the weather and
the odd habit
local “white people”
have of wearing coats
in the summer
and shorts and flip flops
in the cold


November 19, 2009

many thanks to the anonymous young lady
who drove by and screamed

“you’re awesome”

as I dragged my tired, maligned
pitiful ass down Mill Plain

you have no idea
what your words meant
no way of knowing
how badly I needed
to hear that

The People on the Bus

November 23, 2009
#32 Eastbound
“’Cause, like, spiritually, man,
I’m almost like a rasta, knowhamsayin?
You might not know it, but I used to
wear dreadlocks, knamean?”


November 24, 2009

the writer wonders
whether to regard
the wolf’s head
atop the walking stick
of the man in the leather cap
who just passed by
as an omen?

The People on the Bus

November 24, 2009
# 32 Westbound

the Hawaiian C-Tran driver
hitching a ride home
sits at the back of the bus
eyes closed
shaking his head
to and fro
to the song on his iPod
eyes closed, bald
like a contented Buddha


November 26, 2009

On the Land Bridge, a guy stops to ask if we would allow him to give our dog a treat. When Toni agrees, the guy puts a milk bone in his mouth and sits down on the bench. It is then that she notices that the front of his pants are open. Figures we are the couple lucky enough to meet Vancouver’s only exhibitionist dog fucker.

The People on the Bus

December 2, 2009

on an overcrowded bus
filled with people
going to and from lunch
or to and from treatment
          a burly guy removes his
          blue baseball cap
          and sticks the left arm
          of his sunglasses
          into his left ear

to remove the filth
that has collected there

# 4 Eastbound

five men
some recovering
some newly released
cluck and lament
a recent spate
of killings
in the ‘Couve: 7 dead
in just a few weeks
road rage gone bad
on St. John’s


December 3, 2009

Found poem
dry erase board
Hawkins Hall 101:

Congrats, TAVIFA!

The People on the Bus

December 4
# 4 Eastbound

Mom of the Year
in a Santa hat:

“So stressful. One more hour-and-a-half on this bus and I’m gonna shoot ‘er. It’s a rebellion every time we get on the bus. You’re gonna make me late for work. She said, ‘No kickin’ on the bus.’ sit back. I am so sick of this conversation. I won’t tell you again. I will give you a swat on your butt. I am done. Back!”

# 4 Eastbound

“I got banned—I can’t go over there no more. How’d you get this outta the river? Livin’ large on a low budget. High standard for the hobos in the nation. On of my brothers was a crewman on a chopper back in the ‘Nam. I need to go down to the big city to see what’s happenin’ in Portland. . . . Lord’s Gym. They got some good gear in there. Guys in recovery, it’s $10 a month.”

Hippie high schooler in sandals
standing outside in 23-degree weather
waiting on the # 30:

“By the way, the hitting of the head
was the only thing
reported this weekend,
not the knee.”

# 32 Eastbound

“I take a whole bunch, and
what ends up happening
is I end up going
to the emergency room.”

#4 Eastbound

“Your Mom’s got a big ol’ booty. I’d totally tap that ass. You know, me and your Mom. . . . God bless alcohol. Still drunk from last night, crazy. . . . I’d totally stretch your whole out.”

“You’re so fuckin’ hairy. That’s so fuckin’ gross. I’m so glad I’m a lesbian. I share everything.”

“How do you guys do it? Do you have to scissor or something?”

“That’s so fucked up. You have to scissor or else only one of you can get off at a time, unless you 69 or something. Are you guys goin’ to the apartment?”

“Yeah, we’re goin’ to see your Mom.”

“I’m goin’ to see your Mom. I’ll bust all over that.”


December 14, 2009

Angelo informs us that

“35% of the world is robbers, and thiefs, and rapists.
There is never gonna be a great world of happy.”

According to Angelo:

“I wanna be like my Dad’s parents,
and have continuous non-stop puppies.”


Driving around the ‘Couve
looking at Christmas lights
Toni comments:

“You’ve gotta be some kinda
pimply-ass douchebag
to put an inflatable anything
up in your front yard.”


After Mr. Yu
presents Angelo
with his first belt
for tae kwon do (white with blue stripe)
he tells me that
he has enjoyed working with my son
watching him come out of his shell

Mr. Yu tells me that
Angelo has a sharp mind
and that this is far more important
to the martial artist
because while muscles can be developed
a strong intellect is much harder to obtain

On our way to Dahnn’s place
listening to Z100
(hoping it’s a phase the boy’s going through)
I am overcome by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
weeping silently to myself upon hearing
“Empire State of Mind”
dreaming of home

The People on the Bus

# 32 Eastbound

“Shit!” a passenger exclaims into her cell phone.

"Ma’am, Ma’am,” the driver admonishes, waving her hand
so that it can be seen in the rearview mirror:

“Don’t use language on the bus.”



It is the first Christmas morning
that we have spent together in years
and Angelo is a happy boy:

“I have the best parents, and the best Toni and Randy. This is going to be the best Christmas ever. It’s a very special morning. That’s fucking awesome, guys.”


Old man at the post office
complains about the Chinese clerk
telling his tale of woe
to anyone foolish enough
to make eye contact:

“If you wanna buy single stamps, go to this guy, ‘cause she won’t break a pack of stamps. I don’t know what her religion is, Buddha or something. The other day I tried to mail something to a Christian family and I had to use three Jewish stamps.”

Toni is wigged out
by the following sign


                                                                                                 on Fourth Plain
                                                                                                 near the VA

Angelo recites a classic:

Twas the night before fucking
and all through the house
not a creature was fucking
not even a mouse


In Angelo’s dream, his Mom had adopted him. Finally, she tells him the truth: that his adopted Dad died and that I am his real father. He also learns that I fight Shadow Warriors. His real Mom is caught inside a Shadow Warrior, and Angelo goes on a quest to find his real Dad and save his Mom.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Workshop with Christopher Luna begins Saturday, January 9

Well, while I'm here I'll
do the work –
and what's the work?
to ease the pain of living.
Everything else, drunken

Allen Ginsberg, “Memory Gardens”

Why do we write? What is the poet’s place in the world? What can we do to increase our ability to inspire and provoke with our words? How do we integrate our compulsion to create into our everyday lives? These and other questions and will be addressed in The Work, a new workshop facilitated by Christopher Luna.

At noon every second Saturday in January, February, and March, we will gather at Angst Gallery to listen to, discuss, and write poetry. The cost is $20 per session or $45 for all three months. Make all checks payable to Angst Gallery. Due to space and time considerations, the class can only accept eight people, so register now by contacting Christopher Luna at or 360-910-1066.

The Work begins Saturday, January 9, 2010 and continues on February 13, and March 13.

For more information about Christopher Luna, and to learn about poetry events in Vancouver and Portland, go to or email

Angst Gallery is located at
1015 Main Street
Vancouver, USA 98660

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All-Punk Issue of Chiron Review featuring poetry by Christopher Luna and many others is now available

The all-punk issue of Chiron Review is now hot off the press. You can get a copy for $7 ($3.50 for contributors) from Chiron Review, 522 E. South Ave., St. John, KS 67576 (check, money order or cash) or via Paypal:

This issue was guest-edited by Sarah Daugherty and features Meri St. Mary on the cover (photo by Monte Cazazza) and 7 poems/lyrics inside. "In the mid-1980s, Meri St. Mary was the full-lipped punk siren to drive the prepubescent San Francisco anarchists wild. She was beautiful and crazy-eyed, as feral as a foul-mouthed alley cat, with a voice like Patti Smith and an attitude straight out of an Aqua Net can."

Other poets featured are: A. Razor, Chairman Ralph, Puma Perl, D.C. Lynn, Dion Olivier, Doug Cox, Clifton Snider, Adelle Stipe, Gregory Sherl, Marc Olmsted, Andrea Janov, Dave Newman and Brian Fanelli.

There is also poetry by Henry Denander, Anna Badua, Andrew Hilbert, Tony Moffeit, Charles Rammelkamp, Kenny Nonymous, Joie Cook, John Oliver Hodges, Clint Margrave, Glenn W. Cooper, Adam Matcho, Elijah Kellogg, Adam Wisnieski, David S. Pointer, Robert Cooperman, Elizabeth Schumacher, klipschutz, Jennifer Fandel, Christopher Luna, LJ Moore, Cassandra Dallett, Kelly Scarff, Jeff Flaster, Rick Horton, Liz Worth, Naomi Tokuda, llori stein, Dan Wilcox, Adam Schechter, Rick D’Elia, C Ra, James Benedict, Carol MacAllister, Craig Blais, Susan Deer Cloud, Christopher Locke, Gene Mahoney, Greg Urbaitis, Hugh Fox, Pris Campbell, Paul Handley, Frank Johnson, tracy bischoff, Troy Schoultz, Tom Sullivan, Sean O'Brien and Kristin Berkey-Abbott.

Other highlights of the issue are an excerpt from the novel "A Long Slow Screw" by Eugene S. Robinson (Robotic Boot), stories by Victor D. Infante, Kenny Nonymous, Sab Grey, D.R. Haney, Doug Mathewson, Gregory K.H. Bryant, Michael Cuglietta, Larry Crist, Edward Jay Dawson, Chris Mortenson; a tribute to "we jam econo" by Charles Plymell and a review of Sean Punk's artwork by James Benedict.

The punk issue is illustrated with photographs by John Oliver Hodges and Adam Wagler; and art by Sean Punk/Simon Buch, Jeff Flaster, Dee Rimbaud, Henry Denander and Sarah Daugherty.

Since I accepted way too much stuff for this issue, a couple of the stories and poems that got cut will appear in the next issue of Chiron Review as will my small press news column, "News, Etc." I'll also post that column here and at Outsider Writers soon.

A note to contributors and subscribers: The issue was mailed out Wednesday, Dec. 16. It can take up to four weeks for the post office to deliver Third Class Bulk Rate mail. If you haven't received your copy(s) by Jan. 15, please let me know and I'll send more. (Extra contributor copies are $3.50 each to the address above.)

OTHER CHIRON NEWS: We remain closed to submissions until Sept. 20, 2010. After next summer’s issue, Chiron Review will take another very brief hiatus, while I learn new software and explore the possibility of a major format change (from newsprint to book form).

The spring and summer issues will be published as scheduled. If I am holding any of your work, I hope to get it into one of those two issues. And since subscriptions are managed by consecutive issue number, no subscribers will miss out on any issues they have paid for.

Due to economic difficulties and changes in the local newspaper industry, changing technology, and extreme increases in the cost of production, printing and postage, the last year (as has been for most everyone) has been unusually difficult and expensive for Chiron Review. To those who have subscribed and donated, I send my heartfelt gratitude. To those who haven't, if you have enjoyed Chiron Review, I hope you will take a moment to subscribe or renew your subscription. Your on-going support is vital.

For updates, visit Chiron Review's website:

Chiron Review has a new e-mail address. It is: An alternate e-mail address is


Monday, December 14, 2009

Rain Taxi annual fundraising auction this week

Dear Readers,

Our annual online fundraising auction is taking place this week, with great signed books, broadsides, chapbooks, specialty items and more! For more information, go here.

This auction helps Rain Taxi, a nonprofit literary organization, keep going. Of course, you can also help Rain Taxi by making a donation, or if you are an Amazon user, by entering Amazon through this link (or through the link contained on all our online reviews) before making your purchases—we get a referral fee for any purchase you make!

ALSO: We are pleased to announce the latest print issue of Rain Taxi Review of Books!

Featuring reviews of books by Wallace Shawn, Louise Glück, Paul Auster, Inger Christensen, Jonathan Safran Foer, Samuel Beckett, Christian Bök, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ian Rankin, Claudia Keelan, Alain Badiou, Vladimir Nabokov, Sergio Ramírez, and many more! Plus an interview with Paul Collins, remembrances of Jonathan Bayliss and Franklin Rosemont, and our review of Under the Dome (it's not what you think)! For the entire table of contents, go to!

Best wishes,

Your Friends at Rain Taxi

Saturday, December 5, 2009

DECEMBER POETRY E-NEWSLETTER: Tommy Gaffney, Heather Evanson, and Christopher Luna at Alberta Street Pub Monday, Dec. 7/ Casey Bush at Cover to Cover Books Thursday, Dec. 10

Poetry lovers,

Congratulations to the VoiceCatcher collective for a successful and well-attended reading at Angst Gallery last night. A portion of the proceeds benefited the Women’s Empowerment Coalition, who held a silent auction to raise money for their work at the YWCA with victims of domestic violence ( Constance Hall graciously read a story from the latest anthology by an imprisoned member of the collective, and a packed crowd was entertained and visibly moved by the stories and poems shared by Christi Krug, Carolyn Martin, Darlene Pagán, and Toni Partington. Toni read a poem for Gordon Patterson, a local teacher and bicyclist who was killed in a hit and run incident. One of Patterson’s students was present, and thanked Toni for her poem. It made me happy and proud to see several generations of women come together to celebrate and encourage female creativity and resilience, and to call for an end to violence against women. Congratulations to all.

Check out Alex Birkett’s excellent interview with Toni Partington about Voice Catcher 4 for Guerilla Media:

Congratulations also to my friend Brittany Baldwin, who is not only one of the best poets in Portland, but also one of its greatest chefs. Her catering business, Portland Home Chef (, is doing very well. Recently, Mother Nature News included her in an article about 40 chefs under 40. The story was soon picked up by Fortune Magazine. See item 5 below. I have also included one of Brittany’s poems, so you can see what I’m talking about.

Poetry does not slow down for the holidays. For example, Sage Cohen has passed her successful reading series on to Steve Williams and Constance Hall, who are doing great work in the Portland poetry community as members of OSPA and the VoiceCatcher collective. For more information about the new series, go to:, or take a look at item 3 below.

I would like to thank Sage Cohen ( for all the positive energy she brings to the scene. Sage proves that one can succeed without stomping all over others in the process. Sage invited me to be a featured reader at the Barnes and Noble series, so I count myself among those who are indebted to her for spreading the word.

Here is a recent article on Melissa Sillitoe and Luke Lefler and the great work they’ve been doing at Three Friends Coffee House and Show and Tell Gallery:

Here is a review of the recent excellent Three Friends reading, which featured Sara Gest, Sage Cohen, and Kristin Berger, all members of the VoiceCatcher collective:

I recently posted my Ghost Town entries for August and September:

Tommy Gaffney has kindly invited me to read with him on December 7, at the Book Release bash for his latest book, Whiskey Days:

Tommy Gaffney’s newest collection of stories and poetry, Whiskey Days (Night Bomb Press), is coming out in early December and is available for pre-order on the Night Bomb Press site now. Gaffney describes Whiskey Days as a “natural follow up to Three Beers From Oblivion, a little older, a little wiser, and bound to appeal to lovers of literature and Kentucky whiskey alike.” Willy Vlautin (Northline, The Motel Life) sings the praises of Whiskey Days, saying: “underneath the whiskey there’s a great poet here. ‘Grass Stains’ and “The Man Who Sold The World’ alone are worth the ride.”

The Alberta Street Pub will host an evening of “books and booze, music and muses” in celebration of Whiskey Days release December 7th at 7:00pm. Joining Gaffney at the Book Release Bash will be local poets Heather Evanson and Christopher Luna. The reading will be followed by a set from the instrumental surf band The Splashdowns.

"Heather was made and born in the state of Wyoming but grew up in a small town in Montana because all the towns there are small. She now lives in Portland, Oregon where she’s paid to sell forgetfulness. She is the author of many short works that few have had the pleasure of reading; however, some of her words have appeared in The Night Bomb Review and some have been performed on the airwaves of Portland’s community radio."

And, of course, don’t forget to join us for:

Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna
7:00pm Thursday, December 10, 2009
& every second Thursday
Cover to Cover Books
1817 Main Street, Vancouver
McLoughlin Blvd. & Main Street
“always all ages and uncensored”

for more info call 514-0358 or 910-1066

With our featured reader, Casey Bush:

Casey Bush is a senior editor, book reviews and poetry, for The Bear Deluxe Magazine, the Pacific Northwest’s finest environmental arts magazine, and is Non-fiction editor for the on-line literary magazine


they say when she was locked up in a closet by the SLA
Patty Hearst read Plato day and night
the philosopher whose disdain for people
was only matched by his interest in improving them
Plato considered good health
top most next best thing to being good looking
and then he met Socrates grotesquely ugly
and epileptic full of wisdom and warts
never to become an informed consumer
so long as billboards conceal a ravaged countryside
both celibate and syphilitic
what we did learn from the ancients
was not to tell students anything
that might lead directly to knowledge
answer each question with a question
make them earn it
conceal ultimate natural visions of beauty and unity
stash it somewhere in a chicken coop above the clouds
where everything is confidential
and there are periods at the end of each sentence
where everyone has a role
but usually not so well defined
as the pool hall drunk at a church breakfast
words and deeds will not shorten lines at the store
knowing thyself can be a drag
I mean reflection does not necessarily lead to illumination
if you can remember the past
we thank you for your consideration
if you can forgive the present
please serve on our advisory board.


Finally, in January I will begin facilitating a workshop at Angst Gallery entitled “The Work.” We will talk about what it means to be a poet, what poetry means to us, and listen to and read from instructive examples of fellow poets and elders. We will also write and critique new work. This monthly workshop will take place on the second Saturday of every month from 12-2. Please email me for more information.

Go out and spread the word,
Christopher Luna


1. Celebrating Grace Paley December 11 at Broadway Books (Portland)

2. Mapping Your Childhood Workshop with Steve Williams and Constance Hall (Portland)

3. Sage Cohen’s Poetry and Prose for the People Reading Series changes hands in January 2010

4. Carolyn Forché at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts December 13

5. Local poet/chef Brittany Baldwin mentioned in “40 chefs under 40” on Mother Nature Network

6. Paul Nelson’s “A Time Before Slaughter” available now

7. Michael McClure visits Seattle for a reading and workshop in March

8. Jack Foley on Harold Norse


Celebrating Grace Paley - 2009
December 11th at 7pm
Broadway Books - 1714 NE Broadway

On Grace's birthday - this year it's the first night of Chanukah - join us to celebrate the life and work of one of the great American writers and activists of the 20th century. Grace Paley’s decades of streetlevel action are inextricable from her writing; the two were braided passionately together throughout her nearly-85 years.

Featured writers are Gina Ochsner* and BT Shaw* - they'll read from Grace's work and their own. MC is Judith Arcana, author of Grace Paley's Life Stories, A Literary Biography.

Audience members will read bits from Grace's work too - and everybody will probably laugh and think a lot. Then they'll buy books for their own pleasure and for holiday gifts, joyfully taking part in the reading, writing, word-loving community fostered by one of Portland's much-loved independent bookstores.

*Gina Ochsner lives in Keizer, Oregon and divides her time between writing & teaching with the Seattle Pacific Low-Residency MFA program. Her stories have appeared in Glimmertrain, The New Yorker, Tin House, and St. Petersburg Review. Her story collections are The Necessary Grace to Fall (University of Georgia Press 2002, 2009) and People I Wanted to Be. Her novel, The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight will be out in 2010.

*BT Shaw was born and raised in Central Ohio; now she lives in Portland, happily near the source of some of the city's best Chinese food. She edits the Poetry column for The Oregonian and teaches at Portland State University. Her first book, This Dirty Little Heart, won the Blue Lynx Prize and was published by Eastern Washington University Press in 2008. Like Grace Paley, she, too, has awe for Auden.

For more event info, contact Broadway Books: 503/284.1726 +
For more Grace info:


Mapping Your Childhood
Leaders: Steve Williams & Constance Hall

How well do you remember your old neighborhood? And when was the last time you thought about what happened there during your childhood? For this Mapping Your Childhood Workshop, we will be journeying back in time to those places, people, and events that played a significant role in your development. Using maps you will draw (no prior drawing experience required), and prompts you will be given (such as “think back to a time when you couldn’t stop laughing”), you will bring the place alive again and use what you find there as fertile sources to jump start your writing. If you are suffering from blank page-itis, and no matter whether you prefer fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, poetry, young adult or children’s writing, this is the workshop for you. You will be given time for free writes based on the maps you’ve drawn and the prompts you’re given, and you will be encouraged to share what you’ve written with other workshop attendees. Please join us. We think you will be amazed by what you will find hiding in that old tree house or down at the playground!

Sunday, December 13th from 1-4pm
Cost: $25
All proceeds to benefit 100th monkey studios.

100th Monkey Studios
110 SE 16th Ave.
Portland, OR 503-232-3457


From Sage Cohen:

Poetry and Prose for the People Reading Series

Change is in the air! 2010 brings a new location, new hosts, new format and new series name.

Dear friend of the Poetry and Prose for the People Reading Series,

Thank you for your kind and generous support of our community of writers! I have enjoyed meeting so many of you over the past five years and simmering together in the possibilities of poetry and prose.

I am writing to let you know of some changes to the series starting in 2010. As we conclude two, inspiration-packed years at Barnes & Noble Lloyd Center, the series will be changing leadership, location and name.

In the hands of your gracious new hosts, Steve Williams and Constance Hall, the series will now be called: Figures of Speech Reading Series, sponsored by the OSPA. The series will take place at The 100th Monkey Studio, meeting on the third Wednesdays of the month, starting in January (with no December reading.) And this event will now include both featured readers and an open mic, to invite community participation and welcome the voices of all in attendance.

I want to send a hearty THANK YOU to Erika Kunders and Jay Nebel, two of the loveliest people I know, Community Relations Managers at Barnes & Noble Lloyd Center who have so generously hosted our series for the past two years. They have been a joy to work with, and we appreciate their warm welcome of our community. I would also like to offer humble thanks to Tomas Mattox, who jumped in to keep the series going strong while I took an extended maternity leave last year and has been my faithful co-host ever since. I couldn't have done it without him! And of course the series could not continue to thrive without the participation of you, our community of writers, listeners and friends. Thank you for all that you do to keep the literary love alive in Portland!

I'll look forward to seeing you at our next reading series event! Details are below!

Wishing you a peaceful and poetic holiday season,
Sage Cohen

When: Third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.
Where: 100th monkey art studio at 110 S.E. 16th Ave., PDX
What: Two featured readers each month plus open mic. time (two page max for open mic. readers)
Hosts: Steve Williams/Constance Hall

Join us as we transition from Sage Cohen’s fine reading series into our new home, new name, but hopefully the same warmth/quality/joy that Sage brought each month to the poetry community of Portland.


An evening with Carolyn Forché
Presented by WICA and the Hedgebrook Literary Series
Sunday, December 13th at 6pm
Whidbey Island Center for the Arts
565 Camano Avenue, Langley, WA

Author of four award-winning books of poetry, Ms. Forché's work as a "poet of witness" is revealed through her own writing, and her work as an editor, translator, teacher, and activist. The recipient of a Guggehnheim Foundation Fellowship, she has traveled to El Salvador and worked as a human rights advocate.

Her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Esquire, Mother Jones, and others. Ms. Forché has held three fellowships from the NEA, and a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship. She is presently Professor of English and Lannan Foundation Endowed Chair at Georgetown University. She is a member of Hedgebrook's Creative Advisory Council, a Hedgebrook Fellow and Master Class Instructor

Tickets: $5
360.221.8268 ­ 800/638.7631

More information available at


40 chefs under 40

These rising young culinary stars bring more than just good food to the table -- they link farms to forks and promote better health for people and the planet.

By Matt Hickman, Mother Nture Network

3) Britttany Baldwin, 30
Chef/owner/farmer, Portland Home Chef (
Portland, Ore.

"Portland Home Chef" Brittany Baldwin caters events and cooks delicious, nutritious meals for families throughout the greater Portland area. Her clients savor farm-fresh eggs and seasonal fruits and vegetables from Baldwin's garden, and rave both about the taste and value of the meals she prepares (less than $200 a week for nightly dinners that feed a family of four).

Founded on a zero-waste commitment, Portland Home Chef only buys food that's grown locally from as close to the source as possible, then composts and recycles everything — resulting in reduced food miles, fuel emissions and waste. Clear environmental values, immaculate customer service and memorable meals are the secret recipe for success; without ever advertising, Portland Home Chef has established a solid, long-term customer base and currently has a six-month waiting list.

Baldwin grew up in Denver, where she worked for her mother's landscaping business and honed her culinary craft in Boulder before making her way to the Pacific Northwest. While attending Portland's Le Cordon Blue Culinary Academy, she first conceived the idea of pairing her love of cooking with her family's roots in gardening. Within a few years of establishing Portland Home Chef in 2004, Baldwin rented an old farmhouse on the outskirts of town, established a thriving kitchen garden and began raising chickens and quail. As the only chef/farmer within a 30-mile radius of a major metropolitan area, Baldwin is redefining the personal chef paradigm by bringing the farm to her clients' tables.

6 green cooks

These culinary powerhouses use sustainable, locally grown produce to bring their dishes to the next level. Meet a half dozen under 40, chosen by the Mother Nature Network.

Brittany Baldwin
Age: 30
Chef/owner/farmer, Portland Home Chef
Portland, Ore.

Brittany Baldwin's idea for a catering business was simple: serve clients meals made from her own garden and farm. So simple, it seemed, that no one had bothered to do it. "I tried to find something like it on Google but nothing popped up," says Baldwin, "so I knew it was unique."

Baldwin, 30, graduated from Le Cordon Blue Culinary Academy in Portland before opening Portland Home Chef five years ago. She rented a half-acre farm and began raising quail and chicken. Soon her garden was thriving with beets, sweet peppers, onions, and salad greens.

Costing about $200 a week for a family of four, Baldwin arranges personal meals. Instead of ordering pizza, for example, she'll make a family dinner that looks something like this: mixed greens with goat cheese, chicken breasts stuffed with local mushrooms, and chocolate crepes filled with mousse. "`Locavore' was just coming on the scene -- I thought that was a perfect match," she says.

Baldwin's idea spread throughout Portland and she now has a waiting list longer than six months. A typical customer might be a young family of four that is too busy to organize dinner; or a grandmother following new dietary restrictions; or a wealthy couple who wants to entertain guests with fresh, local produce. "All the time and realize how lucky I am," says Baldwin." I wake up, I go out in garden, and I pull the order."

By Christopher Tkaczyk and Scott Cendrowski, reporters

And They Do, And It Does
by Brittany Baldwin

Refusing to settle for the expectations of my form
I run my hands over butter
and smudge it across the bottom of a hot pan
with my fingers lightly.
I close my eyes instead of looking for you,
I close my eyes and think of all the men
I’ve tried to explain this to,
but before I have a chance
they’ve already decided I must be gay,
I must’ve been beaten,
I’m way too damaged to be here on the other side
of things
mixing fire and metal on food.
Scared of the work in your hands,
settling against doors of misunderstandings
trying to create love,
trying to form love into a shape in my hands,
when there is only work
I am only working food through my skin.
They cannot see the rhythm,
they cannot see the processes,
they only see me with my eyes closed
in a cloud of stress and time.

My boss tries to talk to me,
tries to get me to start again
get me to slip butter across my pans
flip lines into meat
flip posole into circles that fall back on themselves
wrapped in a clear butter my teacher at school classifies as fat.
And maybe that’s the whole thing,
the way we classify things around us
into fears, advantages and games,
A game because each person throws you into a different title
and in the decision, in their impressions
I am crazy trying to find my rhythm and my desire to love what I am cooking.
I am oscillating between my ability to gain energy, an illusion this body can hold me to.
I am above thirty tables of tickets and papers of directions,
I am standing above them with my eyes closed because I used to look for you
and I can’t let myself do that anymore,
I am at the ocean in downtown Portland.
I am no longer trying to find you on the floor, watching the rhythm you have
with silver, paper and cloth.

There are clouds and rock.
I am at the ocean in my mind
and my boss has stopped to watch me,
coming close to ask what’s wrong,
what am I doing, am I okay.
He probably thinks it’s these tickets,
it’s the heat, it’s the stress,
but its just that I want to be held again
and held while I sleep

There’s a beauty though,
there’s the ocean,
there’s the Italian man in the movie I saw last week and he represents
everything I am waiting to happen,
leaning into the power of the hand holding me
if it won’t let you
“keep her scared,
keep her crazy,
keep them away from her until I get there,
can you hold her up until I get there”

and they do, and it does



A Time Before Slaughter
by Paul Nelson (

About the Book

In this epic poem, Paul Nelson re-enacts the history of Auburn, Washington, originally known as the town of Slaughter. Written in the spirit of William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, and Michael McClure, A Time Before Slaughter explores the history of this Northwestern place from the myths of Native people to the xenophobia toward Japanese-Americans, from the urge to control to the hunger for liberation. Set against the backdrop of a towering dormant volcano (Mt. Rainier), the beauty of the verse pays homage to the beauty of the place. "Here's one more big hunk of the American shoulder," said poet Michael McClure. "As Olson carved his from the North East, Nelson takes his from the Pacific North West. It's beautiful time-space in new words."

About the Author

Paul Everett Nelson is founder of the nonprofit Global Voices Radio and co-founder of the Northwest SPokenword LAB (SPLAB!). A radio broadcaster from 1980 to 2006, he has interviewed hundreds of authors, poets, activists, and whole-system theorists for a syndicated public affairs radio program. Nelson is past president of the Washington Poets Association. He lives in Seattle.

List Price


Pbk, 156 pp., B&W 6 x 9 in Perfect Bound on Creme

7. McClure

March 12-13, 2010
Rainier Valley Cultural Center
3515 S. Alaska St, Seattle, WA

Register for a workshop, reading, and lecture with the renowned poet.

Space is limited for the Saturday, March 13 workshop.

Private Lecture by Michael McClure ($30)
March 12, 2010, 7:30 PM

Workshop with Michael McClure ($100)
March 13, 2010, 1-4 PM

Public Reading with Michael McClure ($10)
March 13, 2010, 7:30 PM

All Events with Michael McClure ($140)
March 12-13, 2010


Thanks to Jason Mashak for forwarding this link to Jack Foley’s remembrance of Harold Norse in Contemporary Poetry Review:

Friday, December 4, 2009

VoiceCatcher4 Reading at Angst Gallery in Vancouver TONIGHT!

Come to First Friday in the ‘Couve tonight! Anni Becker has a show at Lincoln’s Gallery, and there will be a great poetry reading at Angst (details below). Congratulations to Toni, Christi, and the VoiceCatcher collective for another great anthology:

VoiceCatcher 4, an anthology of Portland women's writing, is here! Featuring new and emerging writers of diverse perspectives, voices, ages, orientation and experience, VoiceCatcher offers a panoramic view of literary life in the Portland area through the poetry and prose of more than 40 local women writers.

Join us in celebrating First Friday in Vancouver with a reading from VoiceCatcher's fourth edition. Come and hear a magnificent line-up of this year's authors reading selections of their work.

Readers will include:

Nancy Flynn
Constance Hall (Penname: M)
Christi Krug
Carolyn Martin
Darlene Pagán
Toni Partington

Angst Gallery
1015 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660
December 4, 2009
7:00 pm

This reading is being held in conjunction with The Women's Empowerment Coalition of Washington State University Vancouver’s The Silent Auction. Proceeds both from the auction and a portion of the VoiceCatcher book sales at the event will benefit the YWCA – a primary source for services to women in domestic violence situations.

Here is a profile of VoiceCatcher and Toni Partington that appears in today’s Columbian. According to Toni, “it has a little too much of me in it (I really haven't done this by myself) -- but it does stir some excitement about VC and the reading.”

VoiceCatcher 4 readings come to Vancouver
5:04pm Tuesday, December 1, 2009
By Elisa Williams Columbian staff writer

For the second year, the women writers involved with VoiceCatcher will hold a reading in Vancouver and that's thanks to Toni Partington.

If you haven't heard of it, VoiceCatcher is an effort to showcase prose and poetry from women writers in the Vancouver-Portland metro area. Women are asked to submit their work and pieces are selected for an annual anthology. VoiceCatcher uses any money raised from sales of the anthology to provide scholarships to women writers. VoiceCatcher 4, the latest volume, is available at Vancouver's Cover to Cover Books along with a variety of Portland-area book stores.

The effort to bring VoiceCatcher to Clark County was spearheaded after Partington, who lives in Vancouver, attended a VoiceCatcher reading in 2007 at Powell's Books in Portland. She was so impressed by what she heard that she decided to make a submission for the next edition, VoiceCatcher 3. Her work was accepted. She then stepped things up a notch by working to arrange a reading of the material in VoiceCatcher 3 at Barnes & Noble in Vancouver last year.

This year, Partington is once again elevating VoiceCatcher's involvement in Clark County. Not only will there be a reading in Vancouver, but at least two Clark County writers will be among those sharing material published in VoiceCatcher 4. Those writers are Partington and Christi Krug of Vancouver.

The reading will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Angst Gallery, 1015 Main St., Vancouver. For more information you can visit VoiceCatcher's Web site ( or call the gallery at 360-253-1742.

For this event, VoiceCatcher is partnering with The Woman's Empowerment Coalition of Washington State University Vancouver and donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of the anthology to the Vancouver YWCA. Along with Partington and Krug, other readers who will be at the event are: Nancy Flynn, Constance Hall (whose penname is M), Carolyn Martin and Darlene Pagan.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

With Gratitude for Neeli Cherkovski

Neeli Cherkovski and Christopher Luna
at Cover to Cover Books, October 30
photo by Toni Partington

Charles Bukowski and Neeli Cherkovski c. 1989
photograph by Chris Felver

On October 29 and 30, San Francisco poet and biographer Neeli Cherkovski visited Vancouver, WA, where he was the featured reader at Cover to Cover Books and delivered a talk on “Bukowski: The Beats and other Rebellions.” Accompanied by his partner, Jesse, Neeli shared stories about his relationships with many of our favorite writers and artists, including Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Willem DeKooning.

Neeli is a kind and learned man who was quite generous with the writers who questioned him about poetry. The Cover To Cover audience loved his Bukowski stories and enjoyed his memoir excerpt about an aborted visit to see Gary Snyder in his mountain home. Despite driving under the influence of LSD, Neeli remained the most sane of the three bohemians who made the ill-fated journey. Cherkovski’s recollection reads like a beatnik “Waiting for Godot,” with the elusive Snyder in the title role.

I was very moved by Neeli’s recitation of his own poetry, which flows down the page in skinny columns like pillars of tears. Like the best poets, his vulnerability is coupled with an inner strength and the eye of a seer. He read poems about former lovers and about his father, who Neeli described as a “great Dad” because he lived the life of a hobo.

On Friday, Neeli delivered a talk on “Bukowski, the Beats, and Other Rebellions” to a small, appreciative group that included Alex Birkett, local radio host Rich Lindsay, Eileen Elliott, Toni Partington, and myself. Neeli placed Buk in the great tradition of literary outlaws such as Blake, Villon, and Rimbaud. He told us that he and Bukowski met when Neeli was 16, and that they drank and bantered together for many years. He told us of Bukowski’s tenderness and his rages, and of the frustration and disappointment that old friends like Neeli felt when Bukowski went Hollywood and began hanging out with movie stars. In Neeli’s opinion, in his later years, Bukowski’s persona took over (Hunter S. Thompson went through a similar transformation). Neeli still prefers Bukowski’s early lyrical poetry to his later work, which, in Neeli’s opinion, often self-referentially invoked the persona created by the cult of personality rather than the man himself.

Neeli informed us that Bukowski read voraciously and aspired to be a great novelist like Hemingway or Fitzgerald. Both Bukowski and Kerouac were influenced by Jack London, who had similar problems with alcohol. Bukowski was a working person, never without a job, who strove for normalcy in his personal life. He adored his daughters, and proudly paid for homes and cars with cash earned from his writing.

The morning of Neeli and Jesse’s departure, Toni and I joined them for breakfast at Eileen’s. Eileen had graciously offered her home to our visitors, and was a superb host. Neeli was happy to share stories about Ferlinghetti, Corso, Ginsberg, and other poets he has met in San Francisco over the years. I really picked his brain, and he delivered. We talked about poetic lineage (a concept I was introduced to by Anne Waldman when I was her student at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics) and the transmission of knowledge from one poet to another. He told us of being locked up during the reign of the notorious cop Bigorini (who harassed the great SF poet Bob Kaufman for years) for posting a flyer for a poetry reading. Neeli also met the painters Elaine and Willem DeKooning and Philip Guston through his uncle, the abstract expressionist painter Herman Cherry.

Neeli reminded me that The Question is more important than The Answer. Poets often take years to formulate the proper question.

Here is a brief mention of Neeli Cherkovski’s vist to the ‘Couve from the Columbian’s blog:

I want to thank Neeli Cherkovski and Jesse for driving all the way up here to see us. The poetry community will not soon forget it. I would also like to thank Cover to Cover Books and the Writer’s Dojo for hosting Neeli, and Eileen Elliott for taking care of them while they were here. Finally, I’d like to thank my partner, Toni Partington, whose ideas, organizing skills, and support, made this event possible.

Here is a poem I wrote for Neeli. It was inspired by his talk, as well as conversations we had about the “anxiety of influence.” The italicized phrases are Neeli’s words. My poem is followed by two poems that Neeli emailed after his trip.

If you live in a world absent of the gods
how do you find meaning?
Neeli Cherkovski
a poem by Christopher Luna

If life fashions a writer
of the rock standing patiently
in the shadow of Everest
eking heart and soul
to spill forth from his
craggy granite skin
onto the soft earth
he need not be bitter
for the lifegiving waters
that gravity draws downward
into the sea
are made of the same stuff
that rolls over and through
the rock, providing nourishment
for the soil and vegetation
and animals in the valley.

It is enough to persevere
to observe and document
the elusive truth
and everpresent beauty
of the surrounding environs.

It is enough to conjure flesh and sinew
to attach themselves to the bones of the ineffable
through the sheer audacity it takes
to discover the question.

The truth is not as simple as it pretends to be.

Small as you are
rest in the knowledge
that even the giants
followed the path left
by someone greater than they

the transmission
freely given and
gratefully received
connects us one and all
to the great mystery
we’ve devoted our lives
to capturing in words

I may never be a warrior, but I try to follow
the path blazed by Allen
             Socratic Samurai of Shambhala
             patron of the arts & PR master
who was himself a devotee of
             Kerouac, Whitman, Blake, Pound,
                                  & Trungpa

We are all called upon to lock horns
with our elders, bedecked in hawk headdress
in the lyric arena
forced to face our fathers
in the steel cage of influence

mountain boy
chronicler of lions and bastards
friend to outlaw poets and
nephew of abstract expressionism

I offer this letter of acknowledgment
of the power of your words
the sincerity of your seeking
in gratitude for your service
to all who would expose
their weary souls
to the abuse of this
often cold and heartless world

By Neeli Cherkovski

I see the bridge inside of time, and wish to paint
the various moods of the morning as in "The morning of the poem,"
or to move from within the body, or to plead for something more, something
akin to a garden behind a brick wall, gated, with warning signs: "Stay Away,"
but you find the gate unlocked, stay away
from explaining, let the image make its own statement, we come
in the wake of many leaves, dark brown, brittle red, passionate pale
yellow, the flames
of misfortune, we come
in time to listen-in on silence, in time
to hear the beating of a drum in the distance, it must be
the neighbor, or the first pre-rush hour cars, the bridges
are choked, my enemy
lives in the garden, yet I may sit there
at 6 a.m. and find invisible things
doing things, I stand in the midst of a
forest, the tall trees, there is
a silence one may rely on, I prefer personal
things, private notes
from me to the goddess who is cast
in bronze

I cross the bridge, this one is so simple, night
invades, it is almost Halloween and filled with a moon, the
poem has come
from the morning (of the pen), the words
are strung on high wire, I open the gate and cross quickly,
quietly, so who are you to put up a sign anywhere you please?
the arrow you aimed has come
down to the rose, the single rose, it is here
in the garden on the garden floor it is half hidden under fallen rust
of the tallest trees, I guess there is no way
to return, no way to tell you the same old love story, I love you,
I love to, I hope, I use the word to tempt myself deeper into the garden
I use love to feel safe,
if this is the city then count on me, there are rows of roses in bloom
and more statues and a praying mantis, and a bloodthirsty

By Neeli Cherkovski

a man alone
follows the creek from
the ring of mushrooms
to the estuary, he puts a finger
onto the sun at midday and
waits for the grave swans to dive,
his ashen eyes follow the sunset, his burnt
vision rise over the horizon, night
flows across the fields, a man
alone putting the moon
in his mouth, dreaming
of love, eating the
flowers that grow
on the clouds, following
in the wake of Dante
and a secret tribe of
criminal poets who bend
the truth across a stretch
of stream, a man alone
in a cave with his snake
and his eagle, eager
to cross into Beauty and
Truth, but stuck in the shadows
of his shelter

Friday, November 20, 2009

GHOST TOWN, USA/ The People on the Bus August/September 2009


Outside Safeway
August 4, 2009
“Hello. Find a bike yet? Sweet….Use my name ‘n’ shit. See if ‘e calls. He’s just trying to be a sneaky little bastard. Don’t you hate those?”

The People on the Bus

#4 Westbound
August 6

Yasmin sits in the back
pierced forehead, blonde wig, dirty feet
impeccably painted fingers and toes
patchwork summer dress
vaguely Arabic, vaguely tribal tattoos
on her ankle, chest
“How are you, hon?” she croaks
legs up on the seat in front of her
to allow me to see straight up her skirt

at first I try to look away
but as my gaze is drawn back toward
the lacy white panties
and the tattoo on the inside
of her right thigh
she opens wider, and smiles

# 4 Eastbound

Inquisitive guy sits at the front
asks the driver if he ever gets tired
of the same route every day:


“The average driver drives 40,000 miles a year.”



Can the children
at the Early Childhood Education Center
see the runover corpse
of the black and white cat
laying so peacefully smashed
that it appears to be sleeping
on the road just outside the fence
on Fort Vancouver Way?



Manager to clerk:

“When Melissa gets back
I’ll let you fly the cage,
how’s that?”


At daybreak
before true waking occurs
when a child’s joyful cry
is indistinguishable
from a woman’s orgasm
or the shriek of a murder victim

how am I to decide
whether to leap the stone fence
in my slippers
in an effort to save the day
or remain here at my desk
waiting for the next poem?


It was bound to happen:
This morning, as I waited for the 32
at Louisiana and Andresen

a tumbling tumbleweed
tumbled by.

The People on the Bus

32 Westbound
August 17

curly white hair
granny shades
jeans and a white shirt
with purple vertical stripes
over purple t-shirt
compulsively rubbing
both pointers
with her thumbs:

“He had these little children’s books. There must have been something wrong with him. He was loud. I didn’t wanna talk to him. You remember that guy with the beard who just got off? I gave him 200, for his daughter, but he never paid her back. My daughter and her husband are going back to Utah, ‘cause Jeb’s sister got colon cancer. She’s only 45 years old. 45. That’s young. She’d taken chemo…. That makes you sick anyway. See more people in wheelchairs these days. More blind people. More wheelchair people these days, a lot more. These months are going fast, aren’t they?”

# 4 Eastbound

A succession of thugs
and tweakers embark
as the woman in the back seat
shouts into her cell phone
about the spiders that have
taken over her trailer home.

The guys at the back of the bus
are debating the ages
of the two teens who
just got off the bus:

“Girls today seem young, but they’re actually much older.”

Middle aged woman
in a black tank top
black mini skirt
terrible haircut
takes off her shades
and points to her left temple:

“It’s about what’s up here.”

Later she tells a friend
on the cell phone

“Wish I could be more positive and encouraging, but I’ve seen how disappointing life can be.”

“I saw Cat Eyes the other day. He’s sober. He’s fat. He’s huge.”



At the bus stop
in front of McDonald’s
the sunburnt woman
with the bright red visor
tells me she asked for a rosebud
but the tattooist hadn’t listened
and gave her a blossom instead
(the same tattoo her sister was wearing
when she’d fucked her husband)
so she had the blossom covered up
and turned into a peacock
the results of which
she pulled down her
spaghetti string top
to show me.

The People on the Bus

September 2009

September 5
Waiting for the #32

Reading Jeremy Gaulke’s
what the master does not speak of
I am approached by a fellow poet
who asks what I am up to
and promptly begins to recite
one of his own songs
then he unloads his life story on me:
former thespian, soldier, businessman
had a bad day & threw away 25 years of writing
military man for a decade
he began to question the morality
of dropping bombs upon people
who had never trespassed against him
somehow managed an honorable discharge
successfully avoided getting his ass shot off
today he’s “wandered off the Christian path”
and is rebuilding the life he lost
when his wife won the business
in the divorce.



Celestial Awakenings
A Metaphysical Community

the hills of the ‘Couve
are alive
with the sound of rubes

“How long d’you think that place is gonna last?”

The People on the Bus

13th & Broadway

Middle-aged African-American man
sits down to talk with a young black woman
on her way to junior high school. She informs him
that corporal punishment is no longer employed
in the public schools:

“They don’t do that anymore. They’re not allowed. If they hit you they get in trouble.”

“So what happens?”

“If you get in trouble, you got to afterschool detention.”


I notice that he often repeats the last thing that she has said, as people do habitually with toddlers.

“Yeah, an hour-and-a-half after school. You just sit there. You go to security.”

“Security? Police?”

“No, just security. They have tazers.”

“Tazers? You ever been tazed?”


“But you get in trouble with your parents when you get home, right?”

“Not really. They don’t do nothin’. My cousin slapped a teacher in the face. The teacher didn’t even press charges.”


During the first week of classes at Clark College
I overhear a student talking on her cell phone:

“She wrote a sentence on the board that was totally ambiguous, and wanted to know what the context was. You know what the context is? I don’t give a fuck.”

The People on the Bus

Waiting for the # 4

As I am calling Toni to tell her that I’ve decided that I like my cell phone because it reminds me of Star Trek, a woman with a mullet and a baseball cap walks by swinging a liter container of Coke and a boombox blasting “Twist of Cain.” I ask Toni if she has heard of Danzig. She hasn’t. “It has meaning for me,” I tell her.

# 32 Eastbound

The veins in the foot of the blonde woman
in grey slacks, black sweater over white-collared shirt,
rhinestoned sunglasses, and hair clip
pulsate as she studies the traffic signs
on the inside of her driver’s license handbook.



Bumper sticker:

Don’t let some scumbag

Walkin’ North toward Clark College on E. Reserve
I see a car parked in the gravel lot
next to the field across from Hudson’s Bay High
with its back windshield busted in.
Turning my head I notice half-a-dozen cops
doing training exercises in the rain.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nico Vassilakis and Crystal Curry at Concordia Coffee House November 29

Spare Room presents

Nico Vassilakis
Crystal Curry

Sunday, November 29
7:30 pm
Concordia Coffee House
2909 NE Alberta
$5.00 suggested donation

Upcoming Readings
December 19: Marathon reading: Clark Coolidge's Crystal Text and Leslie Scalapino's New Time
January 17: Kyle Schlesinger, Charles Alexander, & Joel Bettridge
February 21: Bill Berkson
March 21: Canarium Books Reading Tour: Suzanne Buffam, John Beer, Ish Klein, & Paul Killebrew


Nico Vassilakis works with alphabet both textually and visually. Recent books include Protracted Type (Blue Lion), Disparate Magnets (BlazeVOX), staReduction (Book Thug), and Text Loses Time (Many Penny). His visual poems and videos have been shown at festivals and exhibitions of innovative language art, and can be found online ( and Nico is a founding member of Seattle's Subtext Collective.

Crystal Curry's poems and reviews have appeared both off and online in journals such as VERSE, Denver Quarterly, Conduit, Open City, The Hat, Octopus Magazine and Action, Yes. She is the author of the chapbook Logotherapy Pant (Cosa Nostra) and the forthcoming full-length collection Our Chrome Arms of Gymnasium, which was selected by Dara Wier for the 8th annual Slope Editions Book Prize. She currently resides in Seattle, where she manages a gourmet deli and grades composition papers online.



Dear Dresden, said the perforations. Light shining through that one art project we call, for the last time, Plummet

These decentralized thoughts. A basket filled with pickings from a known source

Demurred then cordoned off – this part becomes touch less

Even blameless, thought Maude, moving across the food court trying to go unnoticed. Straws left behind. Overstuffed garbage cans. Lots of living going on (here)

Maude had cajoled the attendants into giving her extra attention

A cluster of people were detained

This horribly tiring thing.

Nico Vassilakis


& yea though I waltz

tasered & dowsed

through humerus mazes of quasars & brim-

stone sterna between thyself & thy

providence gave us

solar roses

of red-skinned urchins who lurk in the ions

of earthlings whoever

so loved the world

in pistils & stun-gunned the clean of hark

shall hark ever-lasting & sore

the pinks

shall inherit a petiole-tarsal garden
Crystal Curry

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vox: A Spoken Word Chorus at the Waterbrook Studio (Portland, OR) Nov. 20-22

Vox: A Spoken-Word Chorus

2127 N. Albina #108, Portland, OR 97227

Vox: A Spoken-Word Chorus Presents
Portland's Actors Reading America's Poetry

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, November 20-22
Where: The Waterbrook Studio
2109 N. Albina #108
Portland, OR 97227 (Directions below.)

Poets: Allen Ginsberg, Gertrude Stein, Robert Burns, William Shakespeare, Michele Glazer, William Stafford, Li-Young Lee, Jorie Graham, Donald Hall, Jane Kenyon, Marvin Bell, Kamau Daaood, Mary Szybist, Thomas Lux and more.

Readers: Gary Brickner-Schulz, Adrienne Flagg, Eric Hull, Theresa Koon, Quigley Provost-Landrum, Kerry Ryan, and John Vergin.

Poem Arrangements: Eric Hull

Poeturge: Michele Glazer

Tickets are available at the door on a sliding scale, $10-15.

For Information Contact: Eric Hull

In November, some of Portland's finest actors will present poems - both familiar and less known - in readings that experiment with form and expression.

The performers in this spoken-word chorus will present poems as a group: some phrases will be spoken in unison, others will be solo, and some will be divided among the members of the chorus in rolling waves or staccato fragments or languid, elegant expression. The poem makes the demands and the readers respond.

The poems have been arranged for the chorus by actor and director Eric Hull, and selected with the guidance of writer and PSU professor Michele Glazer. Hull has, for instance, taken Allen Ginsberg's "Footnote to Howl" and given it the kind of ecstatic beat-energy that it requires. You can find a recording at

In an arrangement of three works about grief and the recovery from grief, we present a moving medley of poems by husband and wife poets Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. Kenyon's poem about attending a funeral is blended with two of Hall's poems that trace the trajectory of his grief at Kenyon's death.

In "Liberator of the Spirit" by Kamau Daaood, the poet calls the great saxophonist John Coltrane a "freedom fighter/Liberator of the spirit from the shackles of formŠ." VOX uses the words of this poem to explore the choral possibilities of reading the words as if Coltrane was performing them, complete with his thrilling arpeggios spoken rather than played.

We will also, of course, present love poems, as well as light-hearted verse, and an excerpt from Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."

Visit or call Eric Hull at 503.901.5101 for more information.

Directions: Take N. Interstate Avenue to N. Tillamook. Turn west. Follow Tillamook as it curves around and down to Lewis. Turn right. Go one block. Turn right on Loring and park in the lot on the right. Enter on the corner of Loring and Albina.

VOX is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Work for Art

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rockpile Tour Hits Chicago November 17 & 19


ROCKPILE Symposium--Music and Poetry: The Art of Poetry Collaboration.
Tuesday, November 17th 5pm to 8pm
Columbia College Chicago,
Ferguson Hall
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
+1 312-663-1600‎

About: Since Kenneth Rexroth and Langston Hughes first collaborated with jazz musicians (but then Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have collaborated with authors, as well) poetry and music have enjoyed a special relationship. The subject ranges far and wide: Brecht's Threepenny Opera, Allen Ginsberg's manic rock combos, modern hip-hop, the singer-songwriter tradition of troubadors such as Bob Dylan and Lou Reed--the relationship between music, specifically jazz, and poetry has been percolating for generations. Sit in with these artists as they discuss this tempestuous relationship in a rapid-fire panel discussion about poetry and music.

Panelists include: David Meltzer, Michael Rothenberg, Art Lange, Dan McNaughton, Tony Trigillio, Ed Roberson, Dan Godston, Larry Sawyer, Francesco Levato, Terri Carrion, Bob Malone, and others.


Thursday, November 19, 8pm- 12pm
The Hideout
1354 W Wabansia
Chicago, Il 60622

ADMISSION: 10 dollars at the door
(all shows 21 & over unless stated otherwise
advance tickets online or by phone at 866.468.3401)

Poetry & Jazz Festival with ROCKPILE: David Meltzer, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion perform with The Spider Trio and The Bob Malone Band and special guests Art Lange, Ed Roberson, Francesco Levato, Larry Sawyer, Dan Godston Band with Renee Baker, Satya Gummuluri, Dan Godston and Jimmy Bennington

"Mapping Your Childhood" Workshop at 100th Monkey Studios (Portland) December 13

Mapping Your Childhood

Leaders: Steve Williams and Constance Hall

How well do you remember your old neighborhood? And when was the last time you thought about what happened there during your childhood? For this Mapping Your Childhood Workshop, we will be journeying back in time to those places, people, and events that played a significant role in your development. Using maps you will draw (no prior drawing experience required), and prompts you will be given (such as “think back to a time when you couldn’t stop laughing”), you will bring the place alive again and use what you find there as fertile sources to jump start your writing. If you are suffering from blank page-itis, and no matter whether you prefer fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, poetry, young adult or children’s writing, this is the workshop for you. You will be given time for free writes based on the maps you’ve drawn and the prompts you’re given, and you will be encouraged to share what you’ve written with other workshop attendees. Please join us.

We think you will be amazed by what you will find hiding in that old tree house or down at the playground!

Sunday, December 13th from 1-4pm
Cost: $25
All proceeds to benefit 100th monkey studios.

100th Monkey Studios
110 SE 16th Ave.
Portland, OR 503-232-3457

Monday, November 9, 2009



Let me begin by thanking Neeli Cherkovski for sharing his poetry and his wisdom with us October 29 and 30. I am happy to report that Neeli was received warmly by poets on both sides of the river. I really enjoyed his talk entitled “Bukowski, the Beats, and Other Rebellions” and hope to write more about the visit at a later date. I would also like to thank Mel for allowing us to hold the events at Cover to Cover Books, and Eileen Elliott for opening her home to Neeli and his partner, Jesse, while they were here. I could not pull off these events without the generous help of members of the community like these.
Congratulations to Herb Stokes, whose poem “Feeding Dolphins” won 1st Place in the OSPA Fall Poetry Contest in the category: New Poets / Dueling Judges by Judge A and 3rd Place in the category: New Poets / Dueling Judges by Judge B.
If you’d like to read the latest column I wrote for Sage Cohen’s “Writing the Life Poetic” E-Zine, go to:

If you’d like to read the previous columns, go to:

Please take look at “With Words and Song: An Interview with John Trudell” by Christopher Luna from the Fall 2009 Online Edition of Rain Taxi Review of Books:

Not convinced that poetry and music can work together? Check out recent posts from the Rockpile tour featuring David Meltzer and Michael Rothenberg at

As we continue to bring poetry to Vancouver, WA please email me with your ideas for how to make this town safe for poetry, art, and music. I am very encouraged by the presence of great galleries like Angst and Lincoln’s Gallery (see item 1 below), and events such as Dada ’09. Come out creatives, and show us what you’re made of!

Of course, don’t forget to join us for this month’s open mic reading at Cover to cover Books:

Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna
7:00pm Thursday, November 12, 2009
& every second Thursday
Cover to Cover Books
1817 Main Street, Vancouver
McLoughlin Blvd. & Main Street

“always all ages and uncensored”

For more info call 514-0358 or 910-1066

With our featured reader, Melissa Beal:

Melissa Beal, MD is the author of In Her Eyes. Having survived sexual abuse as a child, a traumatic near-death fall, alcohol abuse, and most recently, ovarian cancer, Melissa has been through more in her 54 years than most will in a lifetime. Her work is an account of human frailty, psychological demise, and transforming that pain through poetry.
Melissa lives in Salem, Oregon. She retired from 18 years of service at Pacific Pathology Associates, Inc. in December 2008 to pursue writing. Written over the course of a year during her chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, In Her Eyes is Melissa Beal's first book of poetry.

Rock on,
Christopher Luna


1. Lincoln’s Gallery and Lincoln’s Beard: New Art and Music for Vancouver

2. Matt Meighan’s "Songwriting as Truth-telling" workshop at Artichoke Music (Portland) begins Tuesday, Nov. 10/Matt Meighan plays at a house concert Nov. 15

3. Charles Potts on Blog Talk Radio talking about his new book “Inside Idaho”

4. Voice Catcher 4 Readings Nov. 11 and 16 featuring Naomi Fast, Constance Hall, Toni Partington, Paulann Petersen and others

5. Sage Cohen’s “Writing the Life Poetic” excerpted in “Writer's Digest Guide to Creativity”

6. Judith Arcana’s schedule of readings for November

7. New NW Poetry Calendar by Debi Stone

8. “How to Increase Consumption of Poetry by Non-Poets." Poetry Panel in San Rafael, CA Nov. 16

9. Poetry Foundation Launches Online Poetry Learning Lab

10. Applications are being accepted for Artist Trust’s 2010 EDGE Professional Development Program for Writers (Deadline Dec. 7)



Lincoln’s Gallery recently opened in Vancouver at 108 Main Street. It is definitely one of the coolest places in the ‘Couve: If you’d like to exhibit your art there, send an email to

Lincoln's Beard is a great band that plays every Thursday from 7:30 – 10:30 at the Brickhouse located at 15th and Main Street in Vancouver (

Other shows:

(art) December 3 First Friday Lincoln's Gallery Artist TBA
(Music) December 12 White Eagle Time TBA
(Music) January 23 Pop Culture Main Street Vancouver Time TBA

Since January I've been teaching a workshop called "Songwriting as Truth-telling" at Artichoke Music, and have been been having a great time with it. A lot of wonderful songs have been written by students during the course. The next set of classes starts this Tuesday (Nov 10), and I have room for a couple more students in my afternoon class.

We'll meet for six weeks this time (instead of the usual eight, due to the holidays) - Tuesdays from 11/10 through 12/22, with no class on 11/24, from 3 - 5:30 pm at my home in North Portland. It's a great chance to lean into your songwriting and share new songs with a small group of other songwriters (classes are limited to 8 people). A class description appears below and is also on the Artichoke Music web site. There is also an evening class, but it is full for November.

If you're interested in attending this time, have any questions, or would like to receive emails about future classes and one-day workshops, please let me know.


Songwriting as Truth-telling - Taught by Matt Meighan

Begins November 10

This class will explore songwriting as a means to uncover and express deeply-felt truths of the songwriter. We'll look at aspects of songwriting craft, but our main focus will be on the songwriting process itself. What makes a song feel 'true'? How does the songwriter invite and listen for truths that want to be told, then stay true to the song's heart even while using craft to shape it into a work of art?

We'll draw inspiration and guidance from great songwriters and poets, but most of all from the collective wisdom and experience of class participants. We'll write in class and between classes, share our songs, and explore ways of listening and responding that help draw out the writer's intention rather than impose the listener's. We'll create an inspiring, non-judgmental and fun space in which to deepen our songwriting practice.

As poet William Stafford wrote, "There is a knack about writing; that knack apparently comes to the individual through performing the act of writing and the act of considering writings. The aim is to induce a kind of jog through literature and its settings. It's a group project, the class; and if we can work it right the riches of the group will provide for us all."

The class is most suited for those already writing songs, but all levels are welcome. To register or if you have any questions, please contact Matt Meighan at


I'm writing to let you know about a show I'm greatly looking forward to: Kate Mann and I will present a house concert next Sunday (Nov 15) at 4 pm. Kate is one of my favorite songwriters and performers, and I relish the prospect of sharing the stage with her.

The show will be at McLundy's Green Room, a lovely, intimate listening room attached to Suzan Lundy's house in Brightwood, Oregon. McLundy's is a great community music venue and well worth getting to know. It's about an hour drive from Portland -- 12 miles past Sandy on the Mt Hood Highway.

Seating is limited so reservations are strongly encouraged, at The attached poster has details. If you don't already know Kate, you can learn more about her at or

I hope to see you there!



From Charles Potts

Dear friends, family and poetry lovers,

Charles Potts has a new book of poems from West End Press in Albuquerque, Inside Idaho, which contains selections from 100 Years in Idaho and Lost River Mountain, although 2/3rds of the book is published for the first time. The beautiful red cover features a photograph CP took of Leatherman Pass in 2005 from high in the west fork of the Pahsimeroi River in Idaho on his way back down from climbing Leatherman Peak.

will take you directly to the website where the book is easily obtainable by pay pal or send $18 to the PO Box 1773 below. We don't do credit card purchases anymore.

Happy Trails,
Charles Potts

The Temple
PO Box 1773
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Charles Potts was interviewed by Rafael Alvarado of Blog Talk Radio on Sunday the 8th of November. Subject was the new book, Inside Idaho, from West End Press.


Join the VoiceCatcher 4
publication celebrations

November 11, Barnes & Noble Lloyd Center

November 16, Powell's Books on Hawthorne

VoiceCatcher 4, an anthology of Portland women's writing, is here!

VoiceCatcher exists because a collective of women -- editors, authors, artists, poets and teachers -- who love to read and write wanted to collect the voices of local women and offer them to the community.

Featuring new and emerging writers of diverse perspectives, voices, ages, orientation and experience, VoiceCatcher offers a panoramic view of literary life in Portland through the poetry and prose of more than 40 local women writers.

Join us in celebrating the publication of VoiceCatcher's fourth edition and hear a magnificent line-up of this year's authors reading selections of their work at two events this month!

Mark your calendars and come prepared to be thoroughly entertained.

Wednesday, November 11, 7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Lloyd Center
As part of the Poetry and Prose for the People reading series, hosted by Sage Cohen and Tomas Mattox
1317 Lloyd Center // Gift section
Portland, OR 97232

Featured readers:

Favor Ellis
Naomi Fast
Heidi Schulman Greenwald
Constance Hall (pen name: M)
Christi Krug
Toni Partington
Wendy Willis
Monday, November 16, 7:00 p.m.
Powell's on Hawthorne
3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-3802

Featured readers:

Paulann Petersen
Abby Mims
Liz Prato
Carolyn Moore
Nancy Flynn
Kaitlyn Burch
Penelope Scambly Schott


From Sage Cohen

Some of my favorite prompts from *Writing the Life Poetic* have been excerpted in the *Writer's Digest Guide to Creativity* magazine, available in bookstores and on newsstands now!

This magazine features four, chock-full writing-boosting sections: Creative Habits, Creative Craft, Creative Business and Creativity Workbook -- all designed to get ideas flowing, words on the page and published work into the world!

You'll hear from leading thinkers, writers and teachers about the craft and business of writing -- including my mentor, platform guru Christina Katz, author of *Get Known Before the Book Deal.*

For just $5.99, you can give your creative practice a back-to-school shot of adrenaline by tapping into a wealth of wisdom from a range of genres.

Happy writing, poets! May the muse (and the moose) be with you.


From Judith Arcana
November 9, 2009 at 7pm at The Waypost, 3120 N. Williams in Portland

I'll be reading with Charles F. Thielman, Laura LeHew and Patrick Cahill, presenting work in the new Uphook Press anthology: you say. say. Editors Ice and Jane Ormerod will be here from New York. I haven't met these people yet, but I know this: the book is well done and they are serious about poetry-as-performance. for more info:

November 10, 2009 at 7pm at DIVA Gallery, 110 West Broadway in Eugene (note change in venue for this one)

SAME AS ABOVE - Uphook reading

. for more info:

November 11, 2009 at 6:30pm at DIVA Gallery, 110 West Broadway in Eugene

Screening of documentary film Jane: An Abortion Service + I'll be there with the excellent folks from Oregon's Network for Reproductive Options [NRO] talking about the embattled status of reproductive justice in the USA.

Refreshments served ..... $5 suggested donation ...... for more info:


* the other Eugene gigs this month, at the University of Oregon and Lane Community College, are not open to the public.


December 11th at Broadway Books in Portland: Gina Ochsner & BT Shaw are featured readers; ja is mc ..... more info later

*All info is (or soon will be) on the EVENTS page:

* Reply to those who've asked me about BLOGGING: I'm using my OP-ED page for that sort of thing (opinions on a variety of topics); blogging could happen, but not soon - for now, check out

For a good time, visit


New calendar to promote poetry readings, events, workshops, and open mics; and to help increase public awareness of poetry activities in our communities. If you would like your event placed on the calendar, please email name of poet(s) or event, date, time, venue with address, and contact email or phone. If you would like to help spread the world, please consider forwarding the link in your emails, or adding it to your poetry-related web pages. The poetry calendar covers Oregon and Washington. This is a new calendar, in development. Please send information to be included.

NW Poetry Event Calendar

If you have questions, feel free to contact me:

Deb Stone


Date Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 4:33 PM
Subject Monday Nov 16th Poetry Panel Seeks Your Insights

Dear Friends,

I am emailing to let you know that on Monday, Nov 16th, at Cafe

Arrivederci, San Rafael, I will be participating on a panel on "How to

Increase Consumption of Poetry by Non-Poets." The panel is hosted by MC

Angar Mora, and will also include Beth Ullrich, Marlene Weinstein, and

Shawn Pittard. We would love to have you join us and enter this important

discussion which concerns us all. There is $7.00 CASH cover charge which

will be applied to a 25% discount on food and beverages. The food is

excellent and inexpensive. If you plan on eating, it is best to join us at

or not too much later than 5:30 or 6 pm. The panel itself will convene at

7. There will also be an open mic (generally, limited to several minutes

each reader). If you are interested, please contact host Angar Mora at

415-492-8870. Cafe Arriverderci is located at 11 G Street in San Rafael.
Poetically Yours,
David Madgalene


Poetry Foundation Launches Online Poetry Learning Lab

New educational, media-rich poetry experience for teachers and students
CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation invites teachers and students to tap into its new online resource, the Poetry Learning Lab. Hosted on, the Poetry Learning Lab is designed for anyone who wants to learn more about poetry.

A dynamic resource for teachers, students, and learners of every age, the Poetry Learning Lab has been developed by the Poetry Foundation in conjunction with a team of education experts—including writing and literature teachers, librarians, and poets—to provide an immersive educational experience with poetry. By allowing students to experiment with different ways of reading poems—as text, sound, and visual artifacts—the Learning Lab provides readers of all levels with the opportunity to practice close reading and listening skills and to think broadly and analytically about poetry and poetics.

An extension of the Poetry Foundation’s comprehensive website, which includes an archive of more than 600 poets and 8,000 poems, the Poetry Learning Lab’s multimedia educational resources include annotations, reading guides, audio and video recordings, discussion questions, writing ideas, teaching tips, and podcasts. The diverse learning approaches incorporated within the tools provide students and teachers with endless ways to approach poetry, and ensure that individual learning styles are met. These features are offered in connection with 10 selected poems:

Louise Bogan’s “A Tale”
Robert Browning’s “Fra Lippo Lippi”
Lucille Clifton’s “won’t you celebrate with me”
Emily Dickinson’s “I started Early - Took my Dog”
John Donne’s “The Sun Rising”
Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “The Windhover”
Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Facing It”
Sylvia Plath’s “Fever 103°”
Walt Whitman’s “A Passage to India”
William Carlos Williams’s “To a Poor Old Woman”

Also serving as a one-stop portal for reference materials, the Poetry Learning Lab is replete with engaging articles about poets and poetry, bibliographies, a thorough glossary of literary terms, and a large selection of poetics essays and manifestos ranging from Plato to today.

Catherine Halley, editor of, says, “The Poetry Learning Lab takes something Robert Frost once said as a point of departure: ‘Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom.’ The Lab encourages students to attend to individual poems with a focus that’s rare on the Internet—and at the same time provides teachers and instructors with a unique range of supplementary material useful in teaching poetry, from a glossary of poetic terms, to a series of historic poetics manifestos, to a variety of pedagogical essays.”

The positive response from students across the country to Poetry Out Loud, a partnership of the NEA and the Poetry Foundation that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization and performance, suggests that readers of all levels are interested in the opportunity to enjoy poetry and learn more about their literary heritage. The Poetry Learning Lab builds on and fosters this interest in poetry by facilitating an interactive learning process that allows readers to discover for themselves the pleasures of engaging with difficult and precise language.

Teachers, students, and all users can also discover Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog, where poetry teacher John S. O’Connor guest-blogs about the joys of teaching and studying poetry.

The Poetry Foundation will host a booth in the Exhibit Hall at the annual National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) convention in Philadelphia, November 19 to 22, 2009. Staff will be available to answer questions and provide more information. For more information on the conference, visit

For more information on the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Learning Lab, please visit


For Immediate Release October 13, 2009

Contact: Nirmala Singh-Brinkman, EDGE Program, 206/467-8734 x20; toll free 1/866/218-7878



Application Deadline: December 7, 2009

Literary artists who reside in Washington State are encouraged to apply to participate in the 2010 EDGE Professional Development Program for Writers.

The EDGE Program provides artists with a comprehensive survey of professional practices through a hands-on, interactive curriculum that includes instruction by professionals in the field, as well as specialized presentations, panel discussions and assignments. The EDGE Program focuses on supplying artists with the relevant and necessary entrepreneurial skills to achieve their personal career goals and with the opportunity to develop peer support and exchange.

The EDGE Program for Writers is open to emerging or mid-career writers of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Applicants must be residents of Washington State but cannot be students enrolled in a graduate- or undergraduate-degree program. Applicants must commit to completing the entire 50-hour program.

Artist Trust will offer the EDGE Program for Writers from February 12 to March 26, 2010. Tuition is $400 per participant and includes a one-year Artist Trust membership. Limited financial assistance is available.

EDGE Applications and Guidelines are available at the Artist Trust office, on the website (, or by sending a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope to: EDGE Application, Artist Trust, 1835 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122-2437.

Completed applications may be mailed to the address above or hand-delivered to Artist Trust, located on the corner of 12th Avenue and East Denny Way in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, by 5:00pm on December 7, 2009. Mailed applications must have a US Postal Service postmark dated on or before December 7, 2009.

The EDGE Program for Writers is made possible by generous funding from


Artist Trust offers professional development workshops around the state: How To Build a Strong Grant Application; Moving Forward: Resources for Artists; and I Am An Artist. The I Am An Artist Workshop offers essential resources, funding opportunities, peer-to-peer evaluation, networking and hands-on feedback. For dates and locations of these and other workshops, visit

For more information, contact Miguel Guillen, Artist Resources Manager at or 206/467-8734 x 11 or toll free 866/218-7878.

Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Find out more at

I have several publishers interested in the three projects listed below. It’s enormously difficult and time-consuming to process email submissions, so unless you live outside the U.S, please send all submissions via USPS along with an SASE to June Cotner, PO Box 2765, Poulsbo, WA 98370


EARTH BLESSINGS: PRAYERS, POEMS, AND PROSE FOR CREATING A GREENER EARTH Preliminary chapters include: 1) Nature & the Environment; 2) Honoring the Earth; 3) Healing the Earth; 4) Cycles of Life; 5) Love, Kindness & Compassion; 6) Living Simply; 7) Our Children; 8) Honoring Animals; 9) Spirituality, Prayers & Blessings; 10) World & Community; 11) Joy, Praise & Gratitude; 12) Reflections; and 14) Inspiration. I particularly need submissions for chapters printed in bold. For desired spiritual tone, refer to my book, Looking for God in All the Right Places or the previous version of this book, Heal Your Soul, Heal the World. “Green publishing” is popular right now and focuses primarily on the nuts and bolts of how to improve the environment. In contrast, EARTH BLESSINGS is a spiritual book that will reflect upon the beauty of the earth and remind all of us to cherish the earth. Two publishers have expressed interest in EARTH BLESSINGS.Submission date closes November 10, 2009

WISDOM OF WOMEN: THOUGHTS AND POEMS FOR EVERY STAGE OF YOUR LIFE (Previously titled Girls Night Out and A Woman's Book of Poetry for the Soul) Over the past decade I’ve received wonderful submissions from female writers that never quite fit the particular theme of my general "inspirational books." These are poems and prose about womanhood, stages of life, memories, and everything in between. I would love to add a few more high-quality selections--poetry or prose. Unlike most of my other anthologies, there are no prayers in the book, but there is a chapter on Spirituality. The content of WISDOM OF WOMEN is much "edgier" than my other books. Chapters include: 1) The Strength of Us; 2) Relationships; 3) Motherhood; 4) Ordinary Life; 5) Self-Image and Beauty; 6) Aging Gracefully; 7) Heartache and Healing; 8) Joy and Gratitude; 9) Friendships; 10) Shared Experiences; 11) Spirituality; 12) Reflections; and 13) Inspiration. I particularly need submissions for chapters printed in bold. The submissions should not have an "I am woman, hear me roar" tone, but more "this is my experience as a woman." The collection will be for women to turn to when they need encouragement, understanding, inspiration, and to reflect upon the great blessings of being a woman. This book easily spans two generations and is geared to women in their late 20s to early 60s and possibly beyond. Submission date closes March 31, 2010.

GOOD DOG! BAD DOG! FUNNY DOG! A compilation of "funny dog" stories. Two publishers have expressed interest in this project. The word limit ranges from 180 to 600 words. My goal is to create a book as humorous as Marley and Me by John Grogan. Please put "FUNNY DOG STORY" on the lower left-hand corner of your envelope. Submission date is open.

I have several publishers interested in the three projects. It’s enormously difficult and time-consuming to process email submissions, so unless you live outside the U.S, please send all submissions via USPS along with an SASE to June Cotner, PO Box 2765, Poulsbo, WA 98370

Please feel free to forward this call to other writer friends and groups. Also, please visit for additional calls for submissions.

Winter Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA

For the last forty years, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, has
run the largest and longest residency Fellowship in the United States for
emerging visual artists and writers. Artists who have not had significant
recognition for their work and writers who have not yet published a book
with significant distribution are welcome to apply. Fellows receive a seven
month stay (October 1-May 1) at the Work Center and a $650 monthly stipend.
Fellows do not pay or work in exchange for their fellowships in any way.
Fellows are chosen based on the strength and promise of their work. Former
Visual Arts Fellows include Ellen Gallagher, Jack Pierson, Lisa Yuskavage,
Angela Dufresne, Geoffrey Chadsey, and Lamar Peterson. Former Writing
Fellows have won every major national award in writing including the
National Book Award and six Pulitzer Prizes. The list of former Fellows
includes Denis Johnson, Louise Glück, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Yusef Komunyakaa.

The postmark deadline for the 2010-11 Writing Fellowships is December 1, 2009.

2010-2011 Visual Arts Fellowship applicants may apply online beginning

December 1, 2009. Online submissions must be received by midnight February

1, 2010. FAWC will accept slide applications for one more year. Applicants

submitting slides, must have their applications postmarked by February 1,


For details, please visit: