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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

Friday, February 26, 2010

THE WORK FEBRUARY 2010: An Interview with Derek Fenner of Bootstrap Press

An interview with Derek Fenner of Bootstrap Press

Derek Fenner (left) with Ryan Gallagher
co-founders of Bootstrap Press

Derek Fenner, a Kentucky Colonel, lives in Lowell, MA. A co-founder of Bootstrap Press (, he is also the project director of Unlocking the Light: Integrating the Arts in Juvenile Justice Education, a program he helped design to incorporate art in the professional development of the Department of Youth Services in Massachusetts. In addition, he founded an art mentorship program and taught art to juveniles in a maximum security lock-down facility for the State of Massachusetts.

Derek is also a talented writer and visual artist whose recent publications include Wild Schemes (Lew Gallery 2010), I No Longer Believe in the Sun: Love Letters to Katie Couric (Bootstrap 2009), and My Favorite Color is Red (Bootstrap 2006).

I No Longer Believe in the Sun is one of the most inventive, demented books I have ever read. A possibly semi-autobiographical chronicle of its author’s obsession with news anchor Katie Couric, this book will haunt and amaze you. It is unique in its intentional blurring of the line between a literary expression of reverence and borderline criminal behavior.

Next month I will post an interview with Ryan Gallagher, Derek’s partner in Bootstrap Press and the author of a superb new translation of Catullus.

Full disclosure: Derek and I were classmates at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and his press has published both my poetry (in the @tached document) as well as Literal Motion, a book which contains three interviews with the filmmaker Stan Brakhage.

Christopher Luna: How do you fund your publishing projects?

Derek Fenner: We bootstrap them. In the beginning we had some very kind donations to the cause from friends including the owner of a used car lot in Eastlake, Ohio and Big Ray, a southern gentleman. We also relied heavily on the sale of our visual art to fund projects, which usually happened at a fundraising event in some sort of bar, where my cousin from Kentucky, D. Fener (note the 1 ‘n’ spelling) did live auctions to the highest bidder ( Occasionally enough money builds up in the coffers from sales to support a project. A lot of times, we dig into our own pockets to cover the printing costs associated with a specific book.

Please tell us the history of Bootstrap. How did you envision it? What mistakes have you made? How has it changed?

It started late at night in a warehouse on N. Broadway in Boulder, CO, where I was illegally living and making my art. Jeff Chester lived down the hallway and it was through our long discursive late night meanderings that we really got down to the original intentions of publishing—this was our attempt at community-making. We started out by publishing a short-lived literary journal, the @tached document, made possible mostly by coffee with fellow Naropite, Todd McCarty.

Bootstrap HQ, North Boulder, CO.
Jeff Chester and Derek Fenner, circa 1999.
(Note 1st Bootstrap logo on floor)

1st Bootstrap Logo 

Around the time of the second issue of the @tached document, Ryan Gallagher joined the team and he and I started to focus on a run of limited edition chapbooks and a first book of poems by Steven Taylor. This was, I think around 2001. In the summer of 2002 we relocated to the Boston are and are now situated in Lowell, MA, where we publish our books. It’s interesting looking back at the first logo we did, it kind of looks like the shape of Massachusetts. I’m sure there are other Bootstrap histories out there (, and if you sit us down with a bottle of bourbon, we’d recollect even more light on the story.

“Surgo--rise up, surge. Insurgo--rise up, raise oneself up. A bootstrap operation. A goodbye to that wretched parody of the karmic round, historical revolutionary futility.” Hakim Bey

Recently, you threatened to put together a chapbook entitled "How Not to Get Published." Would you care to elaborate on the incident(s) that inspired this bold claim?

It’s not really an incident—many months we get more manuscript submissions than we do sales. And it’s not that complicated. Get to know us and/or our publications. Be a part of our community. Show us how you have envisioned your work to be seen, that you have taken the effort to publish yourself, before sending us a chain letter.

How did the Katie Couric book begin? Has she seen it? Did she respond?

In the beginning were the words, Dear Katie. No, it actually started out as a performance art bit, where I read all of these really over-the-top love odes about my love for Ms. Couric. At that time I also began doing some drawings of her.

Me and Katie  
by Derek Fenner
Me on the Today Show
by Derek Fenner

The reactions I received from the art and literary community were great, but it was the visceral and emotional reactions I was seeing in my friends and family, that led me to believe I was on to something. I got plenty of negative reactions to singling out Ms. Couric, so Derek Fenner, the protagonist, was born. His daydreams became more and more obsessive in both his letters to Ms. Couric, and in the drawings as well.

The letters (fictional) and drawings all became I NO LONGER BELIEVE IN THE SUN: LOVE LETTERS TO KATIE COURIC. I’m very happy with the book and its reception in the world. My favorite review, thus far, is by Steven Fama, over at the glade of theoric ornithic hermetica ( He said “the letter-poems reflect an id-egoic male tight-twisted sex-religion-TV-celebrity-fetish-terror-apocalypse is clarity-fantasy, amen.”

Has Ms. Couric seen the book?

I google myself all the time.

Katie and the Others
by Derek Fenner

What are your goals for the press/nonprofit? How many of your original goals have you reached?

We never really set goals. We didn’t know what we were doing, and still don’t. We just act and react to the world around us. We hope that we get the writers work we publish into as many hands as we can. We hope that young artists and writers out there stop waiting around for galleries to show their work and for publishers to print their texts and that they start their own spaces and publish themselves and their fellow artists and writers.

How did the two books you did for John Wieners come about? Tell me about the process of putting the books together.

Ever since we saw the publication of 707 Scott Street and while we were still at Naropa we often daydreamed about publishing a John Wieners manuscript. His work continues to leave an impressionable mark on our psyches. When Michael Carr approached us in 2006 at James Dunn’s encouragement, we were excited to know that he had transcribed and edited a journal that John Wieners wrote in 1970-1972, when he was 36 years old. The opening poem was titled, “2007,” and we knew right then that we had to find a way to publish the book.

There have been many great reviews of A BOOK OF PROPHECIES. Kevin Killian, in his Amazon review of the book (, talked about the San Francisco celebration saying, “The other night there was a launch for this book at New College here in San Francisco, and as reader after reader took the stage to read from this book, we were struck by how many of these poems, which we had never heard before, had the force and the "click" of what amounts to instant classics. They were new to us, and yet we felt we had known them forever.” That book was a landmark book for Bootstrap and this year’s A NEW BOOK FROM ROME is continuing in that same vein, of becoming an instant classic.

James Dunn and Charley Shively brought us ROME a year and a half ago, and we’ve done everything we can to produce this book in a way that honors the treasures found within. Instead of a wide soft cover release we decided to do something infinitely and intimately smaller, and are printing this book in a limited edition hardcover ( Bill Berkson, Duncan McNaughton, and Charley Shively all wrote in the afterword of this book and we are, with Dunn’s help, creating an exciting array of ephemera to include with the book’s publication. The book is slated for release on the 8th anniversary of author’s passing on March 1, 2010. We’ve created a video advertisement for this book that you can watch over at our blog. The video includes an excerpt of Wieners reading, “Supplication,” included in both NERVES and A NEW BOOK FROM ROME:


PROPHECIES cover spread  

ROME cover prototype

I am very interested in the series of portraits of artists you did for My Favorite Color is Red. How do you execute these images? When did you first conceive of this approach? Do you begin with a photograph?

You’re talking about my series, “100 People You Should Know.” This set of portraits began with space issues. I was living in an apartment in Somerville, MA with two roommates and didn’t have any real ‘studio’ space outside of my bedroom, so I had to work small and on paper. I retreated to drawing and forced myself back into that mindset by copying some famous self-portraits by other visual artists. It was in working on a portrait of Max Beckmann, that I hit on something of an aesthetic awakening in the process. I thought back to my days in art school and in preparing woodblocks for relief printmaking, and the way we drew our art as a guide to cut away the negative space from the image. My process for drawing these portraits is in the book. In short: I work from photographs. I make notations and begin the process of rendering the person as if going for a realistic finish, only shading a degree or two of detail to capture both the shadow and linear qualities of the portrait. I then begin to simplify the image by working with the photograph placed under a bright light in a dark room and I squint at both it and my rendering making connections on just one plane. I map together the connecting points of the portrait and get what’s often referred to as “a Warhol effect”. Or in the Obama Era, “the Shepard Fairey effect.” I originally intended to make all 100 woodcuts, but got lost in the drawing and never set out along that path.

(Top to Bottom)
Bernadette Mayer, Willem DeKooning, H.D.
by Derek Fenner

Why do 100? I wanted a project that was mammoth in attempting, but also with some kind of finite end to work toward. I was also looking at the portraits as a sort of personal essay of my influences. Which is why in the book, a quote from the artist or writer is included as a sort of annotated bibliography of what was shaping my art in the years 2002-2005.

Prints of the first 50 in an exhibit, 2004.

Discuss your influences. Who are the visual artists and writers who continue to inspire your work?

I could really answer this question with images. The portraits are a way for me to acknowledge the forces in my life as a reader, viewer, and human. But for sake of brevity, I’ll touch in on some milestones in three categories. Influence for me is what sticks, what gets me out of bed in the morning, and in front of the canvas or page. My friends, often bootstrappers themselves, are a first line of influence, many of them talented writers or artists themselves. Ryan Gallagher, my fellow bootstrapper, constantly keeps me on my toes, with both his quenching and overwhelming literary output, as well as his visual work as a painter and collagist.

As far as visual artists, I’m constantly asking myself if I lack the strength of Caravaggio, the wit of Duchamp, the dark-quiet of Witkin, the tender surface of Peyton, or the chaos of Spare and the West Coast Assemblage artists of the 50’s and 60’s never stray too far—Berman, Conner, Herms, and Jess.

In prose, Vollmann, Thompson, and Kerouac stick hard.

For poetry there’s far too many to get into the naming, but Naropa ( put a lot of oxygen in my veins. Lisa Jarnot as a poet (, field-guide, and friend got me into fields that were open and magickal.

What I’m reading right now: Gerrit Lansing, The Heavenly Tree, Northern Earth,Vik Muniz, Reflex, Joscelyn Godwin, Athanasius Kircher’s Theatre of the World, Carl Jung, The Red Book, Nick Cave, The Death of Bunny Monro, and the latest Lew Gallery editions: (!

What does Bootstrap have in the works? Are there any forthcoming books that you are very excited about which are worth mentioning?

A NEW BOOK FROM ROME, by John Wieners
PALM TO PINE, by Sunnylyn Thibodeaux

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Toni Partington reads poems from "Wind Wing" at St. John's Booksellers this Saturday at 2pm

Toni Partington
Photo by Anni Becker

Toni Partington reads poems
from her new book
Wind Wing
St. John’s Booksellers
2pm, Saturday, February 20, 2010
8622 N. Lombard St.
Portland, OR 97203

Poems By Toni Partington

Upcoming Readings

In Other Words (special reading and free workshop with Eileen Elliott, author of Prodigal Cowgirl)
2pm, Saturday, April 10, 2010
8 NE Killingsworth St.Portland, OR 97211

Paper Tiger Coffeehouse
7pm, Thursday, April 15, 2010
703 Grand Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98661

WIND WING is a collection of poetry inspired by the lives of women. The poems provide a glimpse into life on the edge of mental illness, transition and discovery. In three chapters, the poems expose the life of an only child with a mentally ill mother, the transitions of life, love and loss, and the societal and personal observations that lead to self discovery. Partington wrote the book over the past ten years as a way to reveal the stigma associated with mental illness and its impact on families.

At Frenchman’s Bar

Egrets assemble
levitate in slow motion
above the Columbia’s glass top
framed by fifty-foot twigs
upright to the sky

in silhouette

parked barges resemble a life
stopped abruptly
await permission to dock
unload the steerage of this long journey

when will it be time for you
to sail toward unknown ports
where women gather in flocks
lean into each other and
beckon you to land

BIO: Toni Partington is a poet, editor, and life/career coach. Her poetry has appeared in the NW Women's Journal, Selected Poems of the River Poets' Society, The Cascade Journal, VoiceCatcher (editions 3 and 4), and others. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Jesus Is A Gas (2009). Her latest book of poetry WIND WING (2010) is now available for $10. She also serves as an Associate Editor for VoiceCatcher, an annual Pacific Northwest anthology of women writers.

As a life/career coach, Toni loves to work with writers and artists interested in exploring ways to integrate lifestyle and work. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Chapman University, an MA in Humanities with a major focus in Literature and Literary Editing from the California State University, Dominguez Hills, and post graduate work at the University of Oregon to become certified as a Global Career Development Facilitator. Before embarking on other adventures Toni spent over ten years teaching and advising women in transition returning to college.

Toni is involved in promoting poetry, writing and art in Vancouver, WA with a lively group of friends and peers. She facilitates Life In The Moment, Poetry & Other Riches, which can be found on the web at Her circle includes poets, friends, family, and dogs, not in any particular order.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bill Berkson in Portland February 21-22, March 6

Thanks to David Abel for passing this along:

It’s the Berkson Difference Engine, hitting on the level of the syllable, illuminating arrays, pure products of daily utterance, mining one of the deepest veins of living vocabulary ever.
— Clark Coolidge

Bill Berkson in Portland

Details below — not to be missed!

Feb. 21: Spare Room * Feb. 22: Reed College * March 6: Back Room PDX

In two poetry readings and one informal discussion over a two-week period, noted New York School poet and art critic Bill Berkson will make a rare appearance in the Pacific Northwest, to celebrate several recent publications: Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press); and Ted Berrigan (a collaboration with painter George Schneeman) and Sudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981-2006 (both from Cuneiform Press).

Full Berkson bio and rave blurbs follow detailed event information.

(To read more about Berkson's recent books, go to

Spare Room reading series
Sunday, February 21, 7:30 pm
Concordia Coffee House * 2909 NE Alberta
$5.00 suggested donation

Reed College
Monday, February 22, 6:30 pm
Eliot Hall, Room 314
Free admission

Back Room PDX
"About Philip Guston" — a conversation with Rob Slifkin
Saturday, March 6, 6:30 pm
Cooley Art Gallery, Reed College
Free admission


Upcoming Spare Room Readings
March 21: Canarium Books Reading Tour:
Suzanne Buffam, John Beer, Ish Klein, & Paul Killebrew
April tba: Ammiel Alcalay & tba
May 15: David Wolach & Jen Coleman
June 27: Deborah Poe & Meredith Blankinship


Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet, critic, teacher and sometime curator, who has been active in the art and literary worlds since his early twenties. Director of Letters and Science at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1993 to 1998, he taught art history, critical writing, and poetry and directed the public lectures program there from 1984 to 2008. He studied at Trinity School, The Lawrenceville School, Brown University, Columbia, the New School for Social Research, and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

He is the author of eighteen books and pamphlets of poetry — including, recently, Gloria, a portfolio of poems with etchings by Alex Katz (Arion Press), Our Friends Will Pass Among You Silently (The Owl Press), Goods and Services (Blue Press), and most recently, Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press).

A collection of his criticism, The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings, appeared from Qua Books in 2004, and Sudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981-2006 from Cuneiform Press, in 2007. A new volume of his art writings and interviews, The Ordinary Artist, will follow soon.

Other recent books are What’s Your Idea of a Good Time: Letters & Interviews 1977-1985 with Bernadette Mayer (Tuumba Press); BILL with drawings by Colter Jacobsen (Gallery 16 Editions); and Ted Berrigan with George Schneeman (Cuneiform Press).

During the 1960s he was an editorial associate at Art News, a regular contributor to Arts, guest editor at the Museum of Modern Art, an associate producer of a program on art for public television, and taught literature and writing workshops at the New School and Yale University.

After moving to Northern California in 1970, he began editing and publishing a series of poetry books and magazines under the Big Sky imprint. Before coming to the Art Institute, he taught regularly in the California Poets in the Schools program.

In the mid-1980s he resumed writing art criticism on a regular basis, contributing monthly reviews and articles to Artforum from 1985 to 1991; he became a corresponding editor for Art in America in 1988 and also writes frequently for such magazines as Aperture, Modern Painters, Art on Paper, and others.

As a curator he has organized or co-curated such exhibitions as "Ronald Bladen: Early and Late" (SFMoMA), "Albert York" (Mills College), "Why Painting I & II" (Susan Cummins Gallery), "Homage to George Herriman" (Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery), and "Facing Eden: 100 Years of Northern California Landscape Art" (De Young Museum).

Past recipient of awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artspace, Yaddo, the Briarcombe Foundation, the Fund for Poetry, the Poets Foundation, and the American Academy in Rome, he was Distinguished Paul Mellon Lecturer for 2006 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and was awarded the 2008 Goldie for Literature from the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Advance praise for Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems

“This is a generous selection of work by an important poet of the New York School. Known for his relationship to the art world, Bill Berkson writes a critically astute, witty (‘no rest for liquidity’), and lyrically present poetry. The push of his work is upward (buoyancy and spirit) and outward into the real—an elevator sitting upright in the snow, ash on the keys. His love poems assert especially what all of his work knows, that ‘the universe reinvents itself ceaselessly.’With each new life comes a new language, from the beauty of the everyday to the skeptical and postmodern. But the purely poetic, as seen in his wonderful translation of Heine (‘Selfsame source of all love’s flows— / Lily, dove, sun and rose’) is also present, with its binding force and knowing glance.” —Paul Hoover

“I’d like to thank Bill Berkson for: epitomizing objectivity & subjectivity; amusedly living in the cerulean blue, alizarin crimson mixed with titanium white, & burnt sienna world we’ve got; & writing for us.” —Bernadette Mayer

“This is a keeper. A half-century of trenchant observations that never become cynical, of arcane knowledge (and gossip) neither obscured nor smug. Music and painting as natural as wind and light. ‘Logic can’t atone / Except the fun parts’ and ‘There is life in scatter yet.’ Indeed.” —Tom Raworth“

On Berkson's poetry:

“Berkson [makes poetry] by means of a language and a form that are never what one expects but more exciting and to the point.” —Kenneth Koch

“Bill Berkson’s writing is witty, musical, daily and deep, underpinned by a bracing integrity and shot through with gorgeous abstraction and other brilliant hookups between eye, ear, mind and heart.” —Ron Padgett

“There was always something of a mythical aura about Berkson, the collaborator of Frank O’Hara and one of the chiefs of the New York School whose friends included painters as well as poets. . . . Berkson’s own poetry is subtle and demonstratively abstract in the manner of, let’s say, DeKooning: it has an imagistic hardness and lushness that sweeps aside whatever you might have been thinking before.” —Andrei Codrescu, Exquisite Corpse

Friday, February 12, 2010

Two upcoming workshops

facilitated by Christopher Luna
Saturday, February 13

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. Join us tomorrow, Saturday, February 13 at Angst Gallery to listen to, discuss, and write poetry. The cost is $20. 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.

Last month we discussed ars poetica, and tried to write our own. We also agreed to write a poem in the form of a letter to someone telling that person something we have always wanted to tell them, but couldn't.

Please also bring examples of your favorite love poems, as we will be discussing the challenge of writing about this most important subject.

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

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

REMINDER: Registration Closes 2/27 for the ZAP Writing Workshop on 3/6 in Portland!

This one's not just useful for writers & artists + fun -- it's also a fundraiser
for the Red and Black Cafe, longtime/much-loved source of healthy food for body and mind
March 6th -- from 9am to 11am -- workshop led by Judith Arcana

For registration/info:
For workshop/info:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Laura Winter + open mic at Cover to Cover Books THIS THURSDAY

Open Mic Poetry

hosted by Christopher Luna
7:00pm Thursday, February 11, 2010
& 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, Laura Winter:

Laura Winter’s new book, Coming Here to Be Alone ($15), is a bilingual English-German edition focused on the High Desert and Great Basin. The western landscape with all its hoo doos, headlands, basin and range, whitewater and rain are the foundation from which she works. Winter’s love for improvised music also informs how she approaches using the English language. Laura has written for and performed with jazz musicians and improvisers in the US and Europe. Her work has been widely published, translated, and set to music for an art song series. She currently publishes the occasional TAKE OUT, a bag-a-zine of art, writing and music that features powerful voices from around the globe. Sleeping Leaves will also be available for $8. Everyone who purchases a book at this event will receive a free broadside.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Michael McClure in Seattle March 12 & 13

Michael McClure in Seattle, March 12 & 13

Dear Friend,
As you may know, SPLAB is re-launched in the Columbia City neighborhood, with events a short walk from the Link Light Rail line. We have a weekly writer's critique circle on Tuesday nights and we're proud to be bringing Michael McClure back to Seattle. (See the attached Press Release and flyer.)
     We had hoped that a poet of this caliber would sell out 20 workshop slots quickly, but that has not happened, so we're reaching out to you.
     We need 15 more workshop participants to make this a successful event. This will hopefully be the first of several Visiting Poets we bring to Seattle and we need your help.
     We're looking for sponsorship of the event. Sponsors will get an ad on the SPLAB website ( for at least 6 months and mention on the E-Fishwrapper for that time. That email goes out weekly to 400 poetry fans, mostly in the NW. There will also be an ad in the Program for the event. Sponsorships are from $250 to $1,000. This would be a great way to advertise your book, reading series, or business to a culturally creative audience.
     We're looking for folks to register for the workshop, lecture and reading. That would be $140 total. ($100 workshop, $30 lecture, $10, reading.) All events are March 12 & 13 at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center.
     We'd love to be able to raise the funds to advertise this on KUOW and that will cost at least $500.
     I have rarely come to you with requests such as this one, but as McClure says: Begging is heroic. Michael has been a huge inspiration for me and at 77, he does not have many trips to the NW left. So, please consider. SPLAB is a 501(c)(3) organization and we really need your help to make this work.
     You can sign-up on-line at:
     You can send a check to:

4634 43rd AV S
Seattle, WA 98118

Thanks for your consideration.

Paul E. Nelson
Global Voices Radio
C. City, WA 206.422.5002

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

THE WORK: Poetry Newsletter February 2010


Many thanks to everyone who came out to make Toni’s book launch at Cover to Cover a success. We were treated to a delicious potluck dinner, music by Alisha Judge, and many open mic poems and songs. I am very proud that so many people came out to support Toni’s new book, Wind Wing, because it rocks. Toni will also be reading at St. John’s Booksellers (Portland, OR) at 2pm, Saturday, February 20. Hope to see you there. If you’d like to read the Columbian’s recent article about Toni, go to:

Toni and I read together at Culture Control, a multimedia festival at Paper Tiger Coffee curated by Olin Unterwegner. I am also proud to report that both of us had art in the show. If you’d like to see and hear some of what happened that day, go to:

Thanks to Dan Nelson for inviting me to be the featured reader at the inaugural Paper Tiger open mic poetry reading (Third Thursdays, 7pm, 703 Grand Blvd., Vancouver). I was happy to see that so many of my friends came out to support me. I also received kind and supportive feedback from several people who were hearing me for the first time. I would also like to thank Olin for doing a great live painting to complement the Ghost Town poems, and to Zachary for hosting us. Finally, congratulations to those who stepped up to read their poems for the very first time. February’s featured reader at Paper Tiger will be Darlene Pagan (see item 4 below). I would like to encourage everyone to support this fun new event.

Join us on February 5 for a special event that will feature a collaborative art project:

Three Muses All you need is Love--Red, White and Black Ball
"--celebrate love and art with your creative community"
Friday, February 5 at 6:00pm - 2:00am
Brickhouse Bar and Grill, Vancouver
109 West 15th Street

And, of course:

Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna
7:00pm Thursday, February 11, 2010
& 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, Laura Winter:

Laura Winter’s new book, Coming Here to Be Alone ($15), is a bilingual English-German edition focused on the High Desert and Great Basin. The western landscape with all its hoo doos, headlands, basin and range, whitewater and rain are the foundation from which she works. Winter’s love for improvised music also informs how she approaches using the English language. Laura has written for and performed with jazz musicians and improvisers in the US and Europe. Her work has been widely published, translated, and set to music for an art song series. She currently publishes the occasional TAKE OUT, a bag-a-zine of art, writing and music that features powerful voices from around the globe. Sleeping Leaves will also be available for $8. Everyone who purchases a book at this event will receive a free broadside.

Christopher again.

I have decided to christen this newsletter The Work, in honor of Allen Ginsberg, who wrote in “Memory Gardens” Well, while I'm here I'll/ do the work –/ and what's the work?/ to ease the pain of living./ Everything else, drunken/ dumbshow. There is still room in my workshop, also entitled “The Work,” which will take place on February 13 at Angst Gallery. Please contact me for more information.

Rich Lindsay has invited me to join him on his weekly radio program, Kill Ugly Radio Adventure Hour on Thursday, February 25 at 5pm on KOUG ( or with iTunes at

The Kill Ugly Radio Adventure Hour is Every Thursday, from 5pm to 7pm, Pacific Standard Time on the KOUG. The KOUG is WSU’s radio station, streaming 24 hours a day at (iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player and VLC). Shows archived shortly after the live broadcast.

Your friend in poetry,
Christopher Luna



1. New work from Kaia Sand
2. Upcoming readings featuring Penelope Schott
3. Social Action Writing and open mic at Barnes & Noble Vancouver Feb. 10
4. Songwriting as Truth-Telling Workshop w/ Matt Meighan & Chris Kokesh Saturday, Feb. 13
5. Figures of Speech Reading Series Feb. 17 with Daniel Skatch-Mills and Anne Jennings Paris
6. Darlene Pagan at Paper Tiger Coffee Thursday, February 18
7. VoiceCatcher submission call (deadline March 31) and reading schedule
8. ZAP Writing Workshop with Judith Arcana March 6


from Kaia Sand:

Dear All,

My ongoing Remember to Wave poetry walk is now out as a book from the good people at Tinfish Press. This poetry/essay/mixed media collection is locally based (investigating the political history of Portland Expo Center--internment of Japanese Americans in 1942, the Vanport flood in 1948--as well as present day goings-on such as trade shows, Rose City Roller Derby action, and commerce near the Expo Center).

I am grateful that many people in Portland are supporting the work in various ways:

* This week, Street Roots newspaper features Remember to Wave. Carmel Bentley wrote beautifully about the book and the Vanport flood and the internment of Japanese Americans at the Expo Center. Issues can be purchased from vendors around town (who all earn money by selling the paper--75 cents on every dollar--a wonderful micro economy), and, as always, there are many reasons to read Street Roots (including an interview with Street Roots vendor George Mayes about his participation in the San Francisco march for federal affordable housing funding and rights of the homeless).

I will be participating in some events around town to celebrate the release of the book, and I'd be happy for your company:

* Feb. 7 (Sunday) 4 p.m. I'll read from the book at Powell's on Hawthorne (3723 SE Hawthorne Ave, Portland)

* Feb 19 (Friday) 7 p.m. I'll read at St. John's Booksellers (8622 N. Lombard St., Portland) in the neighborhood near the book's focus. I'll be reading with Allison Cobb, who's kicking off her new book, Green-Wood. Our books both investigate political history of particular places (the Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn NY for Allison), and both mix essay and poetry. This reading is especially significant to me because Allison and I launched our first books together six years ago (with Carol Mirakove in New York), so I think two times qualifies as a tradition!

* March 29 (Monday) 7:30 p.m. Allison Cobb and I will read at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

* April 10, noon, I'll lead a poetry walk starting at the Portland Expo Center MAX stop. This walk is hosted by Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and its new Submit Literary Magazine.

Links to more info for all this and other events that will come up are at and more info about the book itself is below.

Many of you supported this work, and continue to do so. Thank you. My poetry work is never completed in isolation.

All best,

"Woooo weee!--this book is really something! It's both "too much" and the "total package," and then some--sort of like an "All You Can Eat" site--a "smelter"--in a rock-alcove below petroglyphs. "Sand" plus "Wave" plus "Tinfish"--that's the cool combo, combined with Vision, Heart, Smarts, Reach, Diligence, Direction, and good doses of downhome, downright Whimsy! Are you ready? Step lively now. Be on alert. Keep up with Kaia. And REMEMBER TO WAVE!" Lawson Fusao Inada, Oregon Poet Laureate

Kaia Sand’s Remember To Wave maps the temporal palimpsests and traumatic political history of Portland, Oregon. Sand writes the seen and unseen city in the spirit of William Carlos Williams’ Paterson, Charles Olson’s Gloucester, or Barbara Jane Reyes’ San Francisco. She reads the geography of Portland for its displacements, exclusions, migrations, disappearances, ruins, and hauntings. Sand asks: “Do we need our ruins visible?” The answer resonates throughout Remember to Wave as poetry creates a deeply felt awareness of past and present injustices. In this profound and threaded mapping, Sand composes “an ode of accretion”—a song of our ruins rendered visible. Craig Santos Perez, author of from unincorporated territory

“Do we need our ruins visible?” asks Kaia Sand. “I carry old maps, but sometimes the space seems illegible because reclaimed wetlands and construction changed the shape of the land. I cross-check books and oral histories and photographs. I imagine.” Sand takes the reader on a guided tour of Portland, Oregon's hidden histories—those of the internment of Japanese-Americans, the shunting of African Americans into the part of the city that floods. Her book is composed of essays, a poetry walk, and poems that rise out of documents like histories from a nearly-forgotten past. Sand shows us how a past can be re-visioned through research and the poetic imagination.

• Remember to Wave • By Kaia Sand • 2010 • $16
Design by Bao Nguyen

Kaia Sand is the author of a poetry collection, interval (Edge Books 2004), a Small Press Traffic Book of the Year, and co-author with Jules Boykoff ofLandscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry and Public Space (Palm Press 2008), and she has created several chapbooks through the Dusie Kollektiv. Her poems lotto and tiny arctic ice comprise the text of two books in Jim Dine’s Hot Dreams series (Steidl Editions 2008). She lives in Portland, Oregon, with Jules Boykoff and their daughter, Jessica.


From Penelope Schott

Dear friends and co-conspirators,

As some of you know, I have a new book out so I am giving a bunch of readings. Here's the February-March schedule. If you can make any of them, I'd be delighted to see you. I promise not to be boring or obscure. Penelope

Wednesday, February 10, 7 pm, in the Milwaukie poetry series, the Pond House behind Ledding Library, 2215 SE Harrison. For directions you can call Tom Hogan at 503-819-8367. I'm the star reader that night so you would have to put up with a whole hour of me.

Tuesday, February 16, 7 pm, at Broadway Books, 1714 Broadway, 503-284-1726. I'm sharing the program with Henry Hughes who is a fine poet and often deals with interactions between men and women.

Thursday, February 25, 7 pm, at Looking Glass Books in Sellwood, 7983 SE 13th Avenue in Sellwood (the bookstore in the red caboose). This time I'm reading with Peter Sears, a wise and funny poet.

Wednesday, March 3, 7 pm, at Blackbird Wine, 4323 NE Freemont. You can buy wine by the glass. I'm reading with three other people whose work I don't know.

And if you happen to be at the beach in Manzanita on Saturday afternoon, March 13, I'm reading at 2 pm at the delightful Cloud and Leaf Bookstore on Laneda Avenue.

So that's the schedule. Maybe you could put one of them on the calendar. (Hey, go for 2 -- I don't always read the same stuff and I'm about to get copies of another book where I argue with a relentless magpie and usually lose.)

If you read this far, thanks! Penelope


Barnes & Noble Vancouver is honored to host Francis Payne Adler, editor of Fire & Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing for our 2nd Wednesdays Poetry Group. This is beautiful, heartfelt writing that makes a difference, featuring writers like William Stafford, Naomi Shihab Nye, Adrienne Rich, Li-Young Lee and Rafael Campo. For this February 10th, 7 pm event, Adler will be reading from Fire & Ink, which will be followed by an open mic. As always, we feature free treats and coffee and the area’s largest selection of poetry titles. B & N Vancouver is at 7700 NE Fourth Plain Blvd., 98662.

Speaking truth to power is something we can never have enough of. Please join us for this important event. Feel free to pass this announcement on.

Best, Shawn
Shawn Sorensen
Community Relations Manager
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Vancouver Plaza
7700 NE 4th Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98662
tel: (360) 260-3854
fax: (360) 253-5414

Chris Kokesh & I will co-host a songwriting workshop on Saturday, Feb 13. I'm excited about collaborating with Chris on this workshop and expect it to be a great day. The workshop limited to nine participants and is half full. If you're interested or have any questions, please let me know. See for more info.
- Matt Meighan

Figures of Speech Reading Series
Hosted by Steve Williams and Constance Hall

Join us February 17th at 7 p.m. at the monkey for our two featured readers, some open mic. time and a new writing prompt (it's a surprise). Hint: two lines

Daniel Skatch-Mills: Daniel Skach-Mills was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and raised in Portland, Oregon. He holds an undergraduate degree from Marylhurst University and a graduate degree from St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. His award-winning poetry has appeared in a variety of publications and anthologies, including: The Christian Science Monitor; The Christian Century; Sojourners; Open Spaces; and “Prayers To Protest: Poems That Center And Bless Us” (Pudding House Publications, 1998). His chapbook, Gold: Daniel Skach-Mills’s Greatest Hits, 1990-2000 appeared in 2001 from Pudding House; and a full-length collection, The Tao of Now, (Ken Arnold Books, 2008)was recently cited as one of the “…150 outstanding Oregon poetry books” in a list compiled by Jim Baker, columnist for The Oregonian; David Biespiel, editor of Poetry Northwest; and Jim Scheppke, Oregon State Librarian.

In and around Oregon, he has been a featured reader for events at Barnes and Noble (Vancouver); Looking Glass Bookstore; Marylhurst University; The Portland Classical Chinese Garden; Living Earth Gatherings; KBOO Radio; Blackbird Wine Bar; Moonstruck Chocolate Café; The Q Center; Broadway Books; The Tenth Muse Books (Seaside); Rilassi Coffee House; and The Friends of William Stafford He has worked as a volunteer docent for Lan Su Chinese Garden for the past five years; and, in 2009, was invited to Mexico City, Mexico to give a two-day presentation on Classical Chinese Gardens and Taoism. A spiritual teacher and former Trappist monk, he is currently working on a second poetry collection based on his monastic experience. He and his partner live in Portland, Oregon.

Anne Jennings Paris is a writer and visual artist living and working in Oregon City. She has an MFA in creative writing from San Jose State University and a BA in English Literarture from Wesleyan University. Anne's first book, a collection of historic, narrative poetry entitled Killing George Washington, was just released by Ooligan Press. Anne's work--both her painting and her writing--explores the intersection of natural history and popular culture. Anne currently teaches grades 3-12 at Alliance Charter Academy in Oregon City.

More info at

Paper Tiger Coffee Open Mic Poetry
Hosted By Dan Nelson
Third Thursdays
7pm, 703 Grand Blvd., Vancouver
February 18
With February’s Featured Reader
Darlene Pagán

Darlene Pagán is a writer and educator, mother and wife, scholar and activist, whose poems have appeared, or are forthcoming in Hiram Poetry Review, Two Review: An International Journal of Poetry and Creative Nonfiction, Willow Springs, The Birmingham Poetry Review, and VoiceCatcher. Her essays have appeared in The Nebraska Review, Literal Latté, and Mother Writer’s Literary Magazine. Her hobbies include playing troll in the Billie Goats Gruff and looking for worms in the rain with her two toddler boys. She has just completed her first book of poems, titled Something’s Liable to Break, and is already at work on another.

VoiceCatcher’s Call for Submissions
VoiceCatcher--an annual anthology featuring new and established women writers of diverse perspectives, voices, ages, orientations, and experiences--offers a panoramic view of literary life in the Portland/Vancouver area. We publish both poetry and prose.

The submission window for VoiceCatcher 5 is open from February 1 to March 31, 2010. For guidelines, please check our website ( We’d love to hear your voice.

Meet our contributors and editors at one of the upcoming readings:

Thursday, February 18 at 7 pm:
Looking Glass Bookstore
7983 SE 13th Ave
Portland, OR 97202

Thursday, March 4th at 7 pm:
Cover to Cover
1817 Main St.
Vancouver, WA 98660

Saturday, March 27 at 2 pm:
Central Library
801 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

Saturday, May 8 at 2:30 pm:
St. John’s Booksellers
8622 North Lombard St.
Portland, OR 97203


ZAP Writing Workshop at the Red and Black Café
with Judith Arcana
9-11am on March 6, 2010
400 SE 12th Avenue in Portland, Oregon

About ZAP Writing Workshops:

ZAP Writing Workshops are two hours long; they can serve the interests of both experienced writers and dedicated beginners because their goal is the generation of raw material. ZAP provides a jumpstart. Beginners can use the workshop as a start-up, an introduction to the use of prompts and exercises, an example of external guidance for internal purposes. Experienced writers can use the exercises to produce material for work in progress, initiate new projects, rev up, or be pushed in new directions.

Artists in other forms may benefit as well; ZAP can complement and spark their work in dance, sculpture, music, theater – whatever – through creative cross-pollination. Everybody may write in a variety of forms. The two hours will be focused on production: making words come out of your head and appear on your laptop screen or notebook page.

About Judith Arcana:
Judith, who created the ZAP Writing Workshop format, is a writer of stories, poems, essays and books; she's taught writing workshops & classes to high school students, law school students, doctoral candidates and other folks in other places. Judith believes art is in no way separate from anything else, and thinks its role in our lives is more complex and far-reaching than is usually assumed. She thinks the relationship between art and politics is intimate and ancient, and she agrees with novelist Toni Morrison, who says: “The problem comes when you find harangue passing off as art …. the best art is political and you ought to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time.”

Red and Black Café regulars may have heard Judith talk and perform in the café in July or December of 2009. Visit her website ( to learn more about her writing, her history as a teacher and activist, and her attitude (click on BIO, OP-ED, WRITING + other pages and sub-pages for info).

This workshop is a fundraiser for the café.

For registration/more info, go to the ZAP workshop page at the cafe website:

For a good time, visit