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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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rockpile Tour Hits New Orleans October 23-25

New Orleans is the 3rd stop on the ROCKPILE tour!

Friday, October 23, 7-12pm: ROCKPILE Workshop and Poetry and Music Open Mic Jam Session

An open conversation with David Meltzer, Michael Rothenberg, Terri Carrion, and Bill Lavender... “Poetry & Music & the Troubadour Tradition, Art, Activism, Collaboration & the Source of Creation.” followed by an open mic jam session of poetry and music. Refreshments

Bob’s Studio
3027 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA
Admission Free
Sun, October 25th ROCKPILE PERFORMANCE: New Orleans

David Meltzer and Michael Rothenberg and Blodie with members of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band including Gregory Davis (trumpet), Roger Lewis (bari sax), Terence Higgins (drums), Julius McKee (sousaphone), Jacob Eckert (guitar)

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70113
(504) 827-5858 or (504) 352-1150

all events are by donation - $7 general / $6 students & seniors / $5 Zeitgeist members /Patrons & Children 15 and under free (unless otherwise indicated).

ROCKPILE is a collaboration between David Meltzer, legendary poet, musician, and essayist, and Michael Rothenberg, poet, songwriter and editor of Big Bridge Press. In the tradition of the troubadour and with the spirit of improvisation and collaboration, the poets will journey through eight U.S. cities and perform poetry, composed on the road, in a spontaneous fusion, with local musicians in each city.

Log on to for tour dates & daily blog updates with video and more!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Neeli Cherkovski and Jack Foley on Allen Ginsberg

Many thanks to Neeli Cherkovski and Jack Foley for their kind permission to post the following pieces about Allen Ginsberg, a person whose life and work inspired many of us to become poets:

Allen Ginsberg

Thursday, April 17, 1997


Editor -- He just couldn't help himself. George Will (Chronicle, April 10) must have been offended by the spontaneous, heart-felt tributes to poet Allen Ginsberg pouring in from everywhere, printed in the nation's leading newspapers after the poet's death.

Mr. Will, a defender of so called sacred values when they protect the privilege, splendor and bank accounts of his own class, is hardly the man I'd want to be instructing us on poets and poetry. He'd have to go back to the Bible and root out all those bad prophets who stood before the gates of Jerusalem haranguing the people for their greed and their war-like ways. He'd even find fault with that unmarried, bearded, long-haired gentleman who ran around with 12 male friends and upset the money- lenders in the temple.

Will alludes to Allen receiving a six-figure advance from a major New York publisher, as if that were something to be ashamed of. In reality, the author of ``Howl'' had long ago established a Fund for Poetry and his open hand helped many of his colleagues to survive.

George Will and his band of right-wing media mouths are meant to go the way of Senator Joseph McCarthy who brutalized our country with his self-right ]eous paranoia: Communists and homosexuals were taking over the country. Ferret them out. Smoke them out. All he succeeded in doing was bringing out the best in America, and he himself was exposed.

Allen Ginsberg stood for the free voice of each one of us, the beauty in every single soul, not just in the few self-chosen who think they own America.

San Francisco


I saw him first eyeing me from Radio Shack
pretending to look over electronic equipment
but really wondering what hot stuff he might haunt
Since dying, he’d become a chicken hawk
At the DVD store I “accidentally” brushed against him
He was surprisingly solid
“Excuse me, Mr. Ginsberg,” I said,
“I thought you were dead.”

“Young man,” he answered, “I am dead”
and then he laughed a big laugh
“You expect me to haunt supermarkets? Or book stores?
I try to keep in style.

What’s a nice poetic young man like you
with a copy of On the Road in his pocket
doing in a place like this?
Wanna see me change?”

What I had seen was the old Ginsberg of the 90s
hunched over, professorial, and with that funny squint
in his eye. Suddenly he was Hippy Ginsberg
of the 60s—loud, funny, dominant, bearded

He began to sing—badly
(death had not changed that)
until I was afraid that people would notice us
but actually no one turned around,
it was as if we couldn’t be heard by anyone

“Hare Krishna!” said Ginsberg, ha ha ha
“How about it, kid,
Wanna get laid? You look a little like Neal Cassady
Or at least some of you looks like some of him.
How about it, you wanna have sex?”

“I don’t think so, Mr. Ginsberg. I’ve never had sex with a ghost.”
"Nothing to it,” he answered,
and suddenly my clothes were off
and I had an erection
and I was coming as I’d never come before.

Ginsberg hadn’t touched me,
and he was still standing there fully clothed, laughing.
“How did you do that?” I said.
“It’s just a trick we ghosts have. Pleasure is heaven. Heaven is pleasure.
You get me? The Beat Generation, Kerouac said,
that was just a bunch of guys trying to get laid.
In heaven we do it all the time.”

“You’re in heaven?”
“Well, I’m somewhere, and I call it heaven. Even the CIA is there,
and all the people they killed. We all get on pretty well together.”
Suddenly he was Professor Ginsberg again. “Same multiple identity,”
he said as he vanished
“into air, into thin air”

In my hand was a book whose title was The Posthumous Writings of Allen Ginsberg
but as I tried to open the book
its pages withered and vanished.

“You’ll have to wait for that volume,” said Allen’s voice
and he laughed again. “Wouldn’t you like to have that book?
You’ll have to write it yoursel—”

Courage teacher, old poet, have you become an owl of wisdom, a hawk of power, a swan of beauty, a sunflower, a leaf, a bit of sunlight, a worm burrowing in the earth?—

Have you become

Jack Foley

Monday, October 12, 2009

DADA '09 in Vancouver, WA this Saturday, October 17: Poets welcome!

Toni and I will be reading poetry at DADA '09 in Vancouver on Saturday. Poets and artists are welcome, but it sounds like you need to act fast. My thanks to tireless radio maven Cara Cottingham for informing me about this.

Check out this description of Saturday's event from DADA organizer Greg Bee:

In Vancouver WA, our Dada is the brainchild of myself, Greg Bee.

In 2005 Raygun joined forces with Shameless Productions to create Zombie Dada. A festival of art, costume, politics, music, and of course, zombies. Weeks of exhaustive planning have gone into all the dada's since then to make these events true to their purpose and roots. The results have been a joining of the outsider art community to create a random event celebrating expression and art of all genres, levels, and mediums. For the sake of art, we continue to have dada's. the next dada is not just a shameless project, but a product of the entire deconstructionist art community of Vancouver WA.

This year we already have a great group of visual artists and musicians as well as other performers attending and showing off they're projects.

We would love to have a representation of our poet, writer and spoken word friends to represent Vancouver's written art forms.

Any ideas or desires to share your creativity with Dada would be appreciated. If interested you're welcome to attend the artists hanging at 1602 lincoln ave, downtown vancouver, wa. 6-9pm on thursday the 15th of October. Or just come to the actual event on oct. 17th 3-9pm at the same address.

any questions -


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kate Greenstreet and Linda Russo at PSU October 16

a poetry reading by

Kate Greenstreet and Linda Russo
Friday, Oct. 16
6:00 pm

Neuberger Hall 407
(English Department Conference Room)
724 SW Harrison
Portland State University

Ahsahta Press published Kate Greenstreet's first book, case sensitive. Her second, The Last 4 Things, will be out from Ahsahta in September 2009. This is why I hurt you, her most recent chapbook, is available from Lame House Press. New work is forthcoming in journals including jubilat, Court Green, Hotel Amerika, Practice, Saltgrass, and MAKE.
Linda Russo is the author of MIRTH (Chax Press, 2007) and o going out (Potes & Poets, 1999), and her poems appear in recent issues of Bird Dog and Fence. She wrote the preface to Joanne Kyger's About Now: Collected Poems (National Poetry Foundation, 2007), and is currently writing an essay on writing that braids journal writing, literary criticism, & biography. A graduate of the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo, she currently teaches creative writing at Washington State University.

Peter O'Leary and Michael Autrey at Concordia Coffee House October 25

Spare Room presents

Peter O'Leary
Michael Autrey
Sunday, October 25
7:30 pm

Concordia Coffee House
2909 NE Alberta
$5.00 suggested donation
Upcoming Readings

November 29: Nico Vassilakis & Crystal Curry
December: Marathon reading: date, text(s), location TBA
January 17: Kyle Schlesinger, Charles Alexander, & Joel Bettridge
February 21: Bill Berkson


Michael Autrey was raised in Oregon, and attended schools in France, Greece, and his home town of Portland. From the Genre of Silence was published by Dos Madres Press in 2008. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, and has lived and worked in Prague, Geneva, New York, Washington DC, rural Paraguay, and south India. He resides in Portland.
Peter O’Leary’s books include Depth Theology, Watchfulness, A Mystical Theology of the Limbic Fissure, and Wren/Omen. Benedicite is forthcoming soon from Answer Tag Home Press. He lives in Berwyn, Illinois, and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Vocations to poetry and religion have committed him to the pursuit of an itinerarium mentis in deum, the journey of the mind to God, with particular attention devoted to the mystagogical-initiatic and the mytho-poetical.



When the sun caressed your irregular profile,

minted it on a wall of cinder blocks,

I appraised what I should have kissed.

Instead of opening my hand closed into a fist.

Now you don’t take my word for it

and not because words fail;

skin doesn’t take as wax takes the signet.

Speech cannot touch where we put our lips.

Sitting next to you my heart contracted,

gripped for an instant blood’s gist.

A pity this is so melodramatic:

the afterlife of love is everything love is not.

Escaping east, deep in Big Sky country,

the path of droplets up the windshield

mirrors the Leonids’ streaking descent,

each wish a wish for you

to be looking when I look back.

High beams magnify the eye shine

of nightjars on the macadam’s edge.

(They feast on what the headlights attract.)

Wipers smear the sludge of insects.

Sagebrush drifts against the miles

of whistling barbed wire fence.

A Great Horned Owl flies

up from a swollen doe, roadkill odalisque.

Is nothing written on the body?

A braid of scars tails off at your sacrum:

agony, translated into Braille.
(From the Genre of Silence)
Michael Autrey

from Benedicite

Make holy

all you works of God with praise & exultation

you angels of God & you heavens, you magnifiers of all the single quantum’s original energy

you hydrogen & helium, you universe of frenzied particles billowing out

you primordial billion years depthless night shuddered toward transfiguration through

you praise, you magnification

you unbearable creative moment

you consuming sacrificial force;

make holy

you galactic internal dynamics, you spew of stars, you luminous intensities

you waters coursing over heaven & you dynamos generating their power

you slow-burning yellow star

you socket of life

you Sun & Moon

you same sized argentine luminaries drifting in the skies

you fungal spores into the sinuses huffed

you wicked lunar eclipse

you dais of cooling light years
Peter O’Leary

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cohen, Cherkovski, Bukowski, and The Bridge Lady: Poetry E-Newsletter October 2009

Hello everyone,

Many thanks to for publishing the following poems:

“The Buddha of Independence Day”

“Lost Arts”

“minor convergence” (Ghost Town, USA 2008)

“things get serious in Ghost Town” (Ghost Town, USA 2008)
Please see item 11 below for information on how to submit to OutwardLink.
We have two exciting poetry events this month. I hope to see you at one or both of these:
Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna
7:00pm Thursday, October 8, 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, Sage Cohen, author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry (Writers Digest Books, 2009, $18.99) and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World (15.95). She writes four monthly columns about the craft and business of writing and serves as Poetry Editor for VoiceCatcher 4. Co-curator of a monthly reading series at Barnes & Noble, Sage teaches the online class Poetry for the People. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and awarded a Soapstone residency.

Sage is publisher of the Writing the Life Poetic blog and zine at! To learn more, visit
If I've reached for your lines
By Sage Cohen
If I've reached for your lines (I have) and cupped in each hollow a tender word (I will), the fullness of night that turns in blades through this darkness will give me something I can follow, some net of stars that will hold me closer than I know how to be held. And into that great sentence unfurling to paragraph into the dream that our bodies weave together, too heavy to contain what we know, too impossible to line our shelves with the sturdy preservatives of time and tomorrow, will be the moment unadorned, light as a nightgown, empty as a name.

Then, on the fourth Thursday:
Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna

7:00pm Thursday, October 29, 2009
Cover to Cover Books
1817 Main Street, Vancouver
McLoughlin Blvd. & Main Street
With our featured reader, Neeli Cherkovski, a longtime contributor to the West Coast literary scene. Emerging from the LA underground of the Sixties, Cherkovski, is an applauded poet, critic and literary biographer. He has written ten books of poetry, including the award winning Leaning Against Time, Elegy for Bob Kaufman and Animal; he is also the author of two acclaimed biographies, Bukowski: A Life and Ferlinghetti: A Biography; his book, Whitman’s Wild Children (a collection of critical memoirs), has become an underground classic.

In the late 1960s Cherkovski co-edited the poetry anthology Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns with Charles Bukowski. Since 1975, Neeli has lived and worked in San Francisco. For ten years he was writer in residence at New College of California, where he taught literature and philosophy.

Neeli will read from Whitman’s Wild Children and his memoir in progress. He will also have two works available for sale: From the Canyon Outward ($12.95) and a limited edition, lettered A to Z, with tipped-in original acrylic drawing, ($35.00, not available from publisher).

The following afternoon, Friday, October 30, at 2:00pm, he will deliver a free talk (donations welcome) entitled:


SEPTEMBER 4 (excerpt)
By Neeli Cherkovski
I said poetry and grammar come
round to the creek, I meant that
sitting on a log in the mid morning
alone is a silent song, I imagine
we are loves, I guess when I
came across your smile on a cloud
it was as if I had found something
with a meaning I cannot explain

now sitting in our garden I suppose
there are moments i will never
fathom, there is time to
attempt it, every line of the poem
is either a sentence or a dynasty
and I hope to find proof, though
it doesn't so much matter, your
smile and your eyes widen, would you
stay by my side and one day sing
for my ashes?

it is September 4,today, cold, cruel,
just the mere idea, my mind floats
on a river, my mind used to be
what they call the souL. . .

On the evening of the 30th, Neeli will also be appearing at the Writers Dojo:
Oct 30, 2009: Reading with Neeli Cherkovski

Neeli Cherkovski reads from his new book of poems, From The Canyon Outward.Cherkovski lives and writes in San Francisco. His poertry books include Animal, Elegy for Bob Kaufman, Leaning Against Time, which earned an PEN Award for Excellence in Literature, Fronteras Rotas, published in a bi-lingual edition, and the newly released From the Canyon Outward. Another collection, The Manila Poems, is forthcoming. He has also written biographies of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Charles Bukowskii, and is the author of a book of critical memoirs, Whitman’s Wild Children. For many years, Cherkvoski served as writer-in-residence at the now closed New College of California where he also taught literature and philosophy. He continues to teach poetics at various locales throughout the SF Bay Area and is completing a new memoir.

Time: 7:30pm, Friday
Door: Opens at 7:00pm
Cost: Free
Where: Writers' Dojo
7518 (and 7506) N. Chicago Ave
Portland, OR 97203
(503) 706-0509

I hope that some of you will be able to attend Econvergence (see item 1 below). My apologies to Dan Raphael for not getting the newsletter out sooner. I’d love to hear from anyone who was able to attend, especially if you made it to Noam Chomsky’s talk.

Here is another great event happening this weekend:

From Jo An Sterr: “October 3rd – The Afghan Women with LunchDon’t miss the chance to have an Afghan lunch on Saturday, October 3rd at 12:00 noon at Vancouver Heights United Methodist Church in Vancouver. Lunch will be prepared by Ahmad Qayoumi who is an Afghan American from Vancouver. Reservations are required by calling Sharon Royle at 360.693.4936. Lunch is free, but donations will be requested. Following lunch there will be a presentation of the play, The Afghan Women, at 1:30 and a discussion time with Mr. Qayoumi and the cast at 3:30.

The play is a very powerful readers theatre production. An inspiration to become part of "the conversation of the world" comes to the audience as the Afghan women are encouraged to throw down the burqa and stand up to their oppressors and the code of ethics like that of the warlords. The director of the drama team is J. Christopher Cleveland and the players in this production are Chris Cleveland, Karen Cleveland, Jo`an Sterr, Laura Blaisdell, Janelle Petersen, Rick Giles and Raquelle Avila. You are encouraged to experience The Afghan Women. This is a ‘don’t miss’ event!!! See you there!”


1. Econvergence with Noam Chomsky, Derrick Jensen, and readings by local poets October 2-4

2. Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon reading at the Central Library October 4

3. Would you like to join others who are pledging to write a novel in a single month?

4. WARM UP FOR WORDSTOCK with Poetry and Wine @ Blackbird Wineshop (NE Portland) October 9

5. THE BRIDGE LADY, a new one-woman show written and performed by Sharon Wood Wortman, October 13-18

6. Jerry Harp at Barnes and Noble Vancouver October 14

7. Tammy Robacker’s The Vicissitudes book release, reading & signing party (Tacoma, WA) October 25

8. River & Sound Review first annual Duckabush Prize for Poetry (deadline October 31)

9. Writing classes at Multnomah Arts Center

10. seeking submissions

11. “Lives of the Poets: Laura Jensen, Tacoma, Washington's reclusive genius” by Heidi Broadhead

1. Dan Raphael wants you to know about Econvergence, a Northwest Regional Gathering on the Economic and Ecological Crises taking place in Portland Oct. 2-4 that will feature guest speakers such as Noam Chomsky and Derrick Jensen: “I'm helping to put on ecoNvergence, northwest gathering on the economic and ecological crises, w/ keynote speaker Noam Chomsky. October 1st-4th, first 3 days at the 1st Unitarian Church (SW 12th & Main) and Sunday at PSU's Smith Hall. Around 90 talks, workshops and events. See the schedule ( and other information at Tickets needed for Chomsky (10/2) and Derrick Jensen (10/3), but everything else is free (donations gladly accepted), including the west coast premiere of Danny Schechter's new film, Plunder, 10/1. A couple poetry events scattered through the program, with people like Kaia Sand, Jim Grabill, Frank Sherlock, Alicia Cohen, Jonathan Skinner, Casey Bush, Aaron Vidaer and Melissa Sillitoe. Many of these people and more will be at the post-Chomsky poetry reading, 10/2, 9:30-12:00 @ SeaChange gallery, 625 nw everett. Go to the website and look at the program, an amazing diversity”

2. The anthology, Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon, brings together thirty-three poets to create a mosaic of Oregon. Organized thematically into seven of the state's ecoregions, this collection takes the reader on a statewide tour of poetry. Editor Liz Nakazawa will be reading poems from the book. Please bring your own Oregon-themed poem to read.
Sunday, October 4th
1-2 pm
Central Library
U.S. Bank Room
801 SW 10th Ave.
3. Natascha Bruckner would like to know if you’d like to join her and many others who will attempt to write a novel in a single month:
4. WARM UP FOR WORDSTOCK with Poetry and Wine @ Blackbird Wineshop in NE Portland.
Join us on Friday evening, October 9th, from 7 – 9 to enjoy a reading by four of Oregon’s most highly regarded poets, Peter Sears, Shaindel Beers, John Morrison and Pamela Steele. The reading, sponsored by
Breakerboy Communications, in association with Oregon Literary Review, helps kickoff Wordstock weekend. Come early to enjoy Blackbird’s Friday night wine tasting, then stay for great words by some of the region’s finest writers.


PETER SEARS teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University. His poems have appeared in national magazines and newspapers: Saturday Review, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Mademoiselle, The Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, and Rolling Stone. His poems have also appeared in literary magazines; Field, Southern Poetry Review, Northwest Review, Zyzzyva, Poetry Northwest, Ploughshares, Antioch Review, New Letters, Iowa Review, and Seneca Review.

SHAINDEL BEERS’ first full-length collection, "A Brief History of Time", was published this year by Salt Publishing. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is currently an instructor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, and serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary (www.contrary Listen to her talk radio poetry show, “Translated By,” at

JOHN MORRISON's book, "Heaven of the Moment", won the Rhea & Seymour Gorsline Poetry Competition & was a finalist for the 2008 Oregon Book Award in poetry. Morrison’s poetry has appeared in numerous national journals including the Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, and Southern Poetry Review. He has taught poetry for the University of Alabama, Washington State University, and in the Literary Arts Writers in the Schools program where he served as director from 2006-2009.

PAMELA STEELE is the author of Paper Bird (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2007), her first full-length collection of poetry, which was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. Steele earned an MFA from Spalding University in Louisville, KY in 2004 and is a Fishtrap fellow, a recipient of the Kentucky Writers Coalition’s Jim Wayne Miller Prize, and the James Scarbrough Memorial Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including High Desert Journal and The Louisville Review, and she has been a judge for the Oregon State Poetry Association Poetry Competition.


Blackbird Wineshop is located at 4323 NE Fremont, Portland, 97213. Wine tasting begins at 6 p.m., and includes a $6 tasting fee. There is no charge for those attending just for the reading.


Breakerboy Communications is a Portland-based writing firm that helps people and businesses tell their stories. Find out more at

5. THE BRIDGE LADY, a new one-woman show written and performed by Sharon Wood Wortman. In this one-bridge-after-another multimedia event involving narrow escapes and invisible disabilities, the WRBs (Willamette River Bridges) take on human characteristics, a mother and daughter jitterbug to Fats Domino music, and audience members, via footage filmed July 10, 2009, climb through the arch ribs and up to Fremont’s two-foot wide catwalk for a flagpole look at Portland.

With guest musician Stephen Cohen and dancer Dori Davenport
and directed by KATE HAWKES.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 through Sunday, October 18
Opening performance benefits the Oregon Writers Colony
Closing performance benefits Fertile Ground and the Portland Area Theatre Alliance
Tickets are $15 for the benefit performances
and $10 for Wednesday-Sunday (matinee) shows.
(The run includes a Saturday 17 matinee)

Reservations: ,
phone: 971-244-3740 for more information.

"The Bridge Lady" is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Cultural Council.

Copies of the CD “The Band of Bridges,” with the illustrated booklet 12 Steps for Climbing the Fremont Bridge, will be available for sale at the performances.

The show is not appropriate for children, although the CD is!


From Shawn Sorensen:

To the Best Group of Poets and Poetry Fans Around:

BARNES & NOBLE VANCOUVER is delighted to host highly touted writer JERRY HARP for our 2nd Wednesdays Poetry Group, 10/14/09, at 7 pm. How highly touted, you ask? Harp was just distinguished as one of the top 150 poets in Oregon’s history (as announced by Poetry Northwest - I'm reading Creature and find it to be pure high art - carefully perceptive and sophisticated in mood and meaning. Both Creature and Urban Flowers, Concrete Plains are pre-pay titles, so please call the store and order by 10/6/09 if you'd like a book to arrive at the store (free shipping) or at your door in time for the event. You can also order a book after listening to this fine poet on October 14th. Lastly, we have several copies of Best American Poetry 2009 on our shelves. Best American Poetry 2009 features... you guessed it, Jerry Harp. He’ll be accompanied at the event by free treats, coffee and tea, a fabulous open mic featuring many of you, and the area’s largest selection of poetry titles.

Join us!

Poet-at-Large/Large Poet,


Local Poet Tammy Robacker Pens First Book, The Vicissitudes.

TACOMA, WA--Northwest poet, Tammy Robacker, celebrates and releases her first book of poetry, The Vicissitudes, published by Pearle Publications. The public is invited to join the poet for a special book release, reading, and signing party held Sunday, October 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the bellaballs art studio located at 747 South Fawcett Avenue in Tacoma. Current 2009-10 Urban Grace Poet Laureate of Tacoma, Antonio Edwards, Jr. will be emceeing the poetry event, which is free and open to the public.

Robacker’s collection of poetry, The Vicissitudes, was made possible due to funding by the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) grant awarded to her this past year from the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Arts Commission. After the signing party, the book will be available in November for purchase online at:

The poems in The Vicissitudes range from painful family vignettes to joyously celebrated moments marking Robacker’s journey. They speak to her personal experiences with a fractured family dynamic, cancer, loss, love, and self-discovery too. "It is oftentimes the ups and downs of life, things we suffer or endure, the vicissitudes beyond our control, that shape the path of life we will lead; who we become," said Tammy Robacker. “My poems are mementos of that journey.”

Local bellaballs owners, Lesli Jacobs-McHugh and Diane Hanson, have designed and hand-blown a collection of Limited Edition ‘Vicissitudes’ bellaballs—created exclusively for sale at the release party for Tammy Robacker's first book. The bellas are 3" in diameter and will be sold for $28 each. They are inspired by the book’s hot pink and black cover designed by Seattle designer, Martin McClellan. The Vicissitudes bellas are transparent, hot pink glass floats embossed with sterling silver and 24 Karat gold on a black ground with the bellaballs ‘beautiful’ design adornment.

“Lesli and I met Tammy through a writing project at the beginning of our own new business venture last year—when bellaballs was still a concept. She has always been there for us. Supporting us and encouraging our dream,” said glass artist, Diane Hanson.

“We are honored to be hosting this reading and celebrating the release of her new book," said local designer, Lesli Jacobs-McHugh.

Tammy Robacker studied Creative Writing and Poetry at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1993. Now, actively involved in the South Sound poetry community as a poet, a freelance writer and a volunteer, Robacker also serves as secretary of the board for Puget Sound Poetry Connection and secretary of the board for Exquisite Disarray Publishing, a non-profit literary arts organization that publishes Northwest writers. In 2009, she co-edited a Tacoma poetry anthology, with former Urban Grace Poet Laureate of Tacoma, Bill Kupinse, called, In Tahoma's Shadow: Poems from the City of Destiny. Her poetry has appeared in Plazm, Floating Bridge Review: Pontoon, Word Salad, Pens on Fire, and the Allegheny Review.

The Vicissitudes: Book release, reading & signing party
Free and Open to the Public!
Host: Poet, Tammy Robacker
Date: Sunday, October 25, 2009
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: The bellaballs art studio
Street: 747 South Fawcett Avenue - Suite B
City/Town: Tacoma, WA

Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009
Subject: online journal sponsors poetry contest

A River & Sound Review, an online journal and live literary entertainment program, is proud to announce the first annual Duckabush Prize for Poetry! The winner will receive $500, a featured spot on a future RSR Live Production, plus publication in an upcoming issue of our journal.

The final judge for this contest is award-winning writer Judith Kitchen - poetry reviewer for the Georgia Review and editor (along with former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser) of the anthology of bird poems, “The Poets Guide to the Birds,” published by Anhinga Press.

Please visit for more details, to check out our journal, or to download podcasts of our live shows. We look forward to reading your very best work!

Contest Rules:

Reading period is open until October 31st, 2009 (postmark date).

Three poems per entry, regardless of length. Our entry fee is $10. All subsequent submissions for that season's contest are $5. Please make checks out to A River & Sound Review.

Writers may submit as many entries as they choose, provided each entry is mailed in separate envelopes and each accompanied with the proper entry fee.

All submissions will be considered for publication in our online literary journal.

Simultaneous submissions ARE allowed, but writers must inform RSR staff if any submitted work has been accepted elsewhere and withdraw it from the contest.

Manuscript Format:

Please submit one copy of your poem(s) and make sure your name does NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript(s) itself. On a separate page, print your name, full mailing address, email address, and phone number. Also list the title of the pieces you submitted.

Electronic submission WILL NOT be read for contest entries.

Mail entries to:

A River & Sound Review
2009 Poetry Contest
17317 136th Ave. Ct. E.
Puyallup, WA 98374


Multnomah Arts Center
7688 SW Capitol Highway
To register, or for more information, call 503-823-2787.

Full catalogue (including classes for children and adults in art, dance, theatre, music, ceramics, textiles, metal arts, printmaking, photography, etc.) available at

Writing & Reading Poetry
Ages: 18 & Up

In this workshop, we’ll look at how poetry works, as writers and as readers. We’ll write in response to exercises, and in response to what we read; we’ll read closely one another’s work, and the work of other poets both familiar and not. The challenge of reading poetry pays off in two ways: empathy for the situation of our readers, and the discovery of new possibilities. Open to anyone (beginner or veteran) who writes poetry and wants to deepen their understanding of the art.

301934 Tu. 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Oct. 6 - Dec. 15 [10 classes; no class Oct. 13]
David Abel

Workshop: Art becomes Muse
All Ages

Discover the many gems the Portland Art Museum has to offer -- while writing poetry! Through guided tours and independent study, we’ll learn how to transfer the lines and forms of paintings and sculptures into lines of verse. In this one-day workshop we’ll look at and respond to a variety of works while simultaneously learning about the rich literary history of poems written in response to visual artworks. All experience levels welcome. Museum admission included in course fee.

302711 Sat. 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Oct. 17 [1 class]

Poetry: Art becomes Muse
Ages: 18 & Up
(see description above)

302712 Th. 6:00 - 8:00 pm

Nov. 05 - Dec. 03 [4 classes]

Joseph Bradshaw

Writing From Experience

Ages: 18 & Up

A good life story is one of the most important gifts we can offer ourselves, our children, our friends, and our community. With that in mind, this workshop will give you an opportunity to write your own life story that may have become buried or eclipsed. Whether you wish to keep your writing to yourself or share with others, this class will help you get started.

301937 Tu. 9:30 -11:30 am

Oct. 13 - Nov. 17 [6 classes]

Barbara Schramm

Creative Writing for Families
Ages: 6 & Up

Want to learn something new about your kids or parents? Every member of a family sees their shared experiences differently. Discover each other through a new lens while polishing writing skills in a supportive, informal atmosphere and learn how to bring writing into your home. In this class you might write a collaborative story about a favorite event, journal together or on your own, make an activities calendar, invent new names and titles for family members, or compose a poem describing what makes your family unique. Enroll three family members and the fourth is free.

302745 Sat. 10 am - 12 pm

Nov. 14 - Nov. 21 [2 classes]

Amy Minato

Writing Fiction

Ages: 16 & Up

Are you ready to write the Great American Novel? Or do you simply want to express yourself creatively? You will discover inspiration and support through discussion and inclass exercises. No writing experience necessary.

303277 Th. 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Oct. 08 - Dec. 03 [8 classes]

Susan Wickstrom

10. We are pleased to announce the launch of (, a new website for poetry and prose, welcoming writers of all ages, backgrounds, capabilities, cultures, ethnicities, faiths, genders, nationalities, and orientations who seek to advance the dialog of diversity within their communities and throughout the world.

Our mission is to use writing to promote communication by illuminating and deconstructing the labels, categorizations, stereotypes, and misinformation that prevent the growth of relationships between different groups of people.

You can also find us on Facebook ( and on Twitter (, where you can Fan or Follow Us to receive the latest news about additions to the website, new functionality, and notices on submission windows.

We've just started out, and we're looking for more material. Please see our submissions policy
( for more information.

If you like what you see on the site, please send us your poetry or prose and join our community! Webmaster
Regine de Lune (Edie Lungreen)


Thanks to Connie Walle for forwarding this link:

“Lives of the Poets: Laura Jensen, Tacoma, Washington's reclusive genius”