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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.