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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, April 30, 2010

Danika Dinsmore's Brigitta of the White Forest Available Now

Brigitta of the White Forest is now days away from appearing in the, er, flesh. Book flesh!

For lovers of fantasy adventure, for lovers of faeries, for parents with kids ages 8-12, or for any reader of middle grade fiction - - Brigitta of the White Forest is a fabulous adventure, a glimpse into a magical imaginary world. And it's being released next month!

The discounted pre-sale price is $10 until May 1, afterwhich the price increases to $12.95.

The first printing is a limited run "First Fan Edition" - meaning there won't be many of them around and they will all be signed and stamped by the author. There will also be a code inside each one that can be used in the future to access news and discounts.

This edition will ONLY be available from the publisher's website:

The next edition will be widely distributed, however, by purchasing directly from the publisher, 100% of the funds go back to the press.

Want to learn more?

Lori Calabrese, National Children's Book Examiner, interviewed danika regarding the book, which she called "a radiant first novel."

You can also learn more about the series on its website:

Thanks to all for your support!



Brigitta of the White Forest
a fantasy adventure for children of all ages
LAUNCHING in May 2010
pre-order now at


Visit Danika's worlds:

Monday, April 19, 2010



APRIL 2010

Interview with Ryan Gallagher, co-founder of Bootstrap Productions and author of The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus

By Christopher Luna

Bio (sent by author): “Ryan Gallagher lives in Lowell, MA with his wife, son, and daughter. Visual artist, author, translator, educator, and publisher. Author of two books: Plum Smash & Other Flashbulbs (poems) & The Complete Poems of Catullus (translations). Runs Bootstrap Productions ( w/ Derek Fenner (over 25 titles published so far). Teaches high school literature. Also (occasionally) teaches Thangka Painting (Buddhist line drawings) to locked-up kids.”

Ryan Gallagher with his children

Here is a description of Catullus that Ryan prepared for Exchanges ( magazine: “Catullus was born in 84 B.C. in Verona, is said to have moved to Rome around 62 B.C. and probably died around 54 B.C. The manuscript that I translated, known simply as The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus, was rediscovered in Catullus’ hometown around the 14th century. There is even a myth that the manuscript was found in an empty wine cask—after centuries of soaking up the spirits. Regardless, in just three decades, Catullus managed to fondle Venus, lick the sweat off the upper lip of Bacchus, and give birth to a blues lyric that has battled time. Catullus was a young, brash, salacious, and semi-famous celebrity at a time when most poetry was probably performed. Think Shelley mixed with Lou Reed and then some Lil’ Wayne (at his most vulgar moments)—his poems are political and mythological and sometimes absurd. In a great little prefatory description to his own translation, Jacob Rabinowitz asks us to imagine Catullus as a ‘playboy in the midst of a collapsing republic—roughly the Roman equivalent of a rock star. He could terrify a general or win a woman (or boy) just by inviting him to be the hero of a poem. Caesar begged for his friendship, and, what’s even more remarkable, Cicero shut up when he spoke.’ Catullus wrote many ‘love poems,’ and he wrote many ‘hate poems.’ He wrote mythology. He translated Greek poets like Sappho and Callimachus. He wrote a short, absurd play with two characters, one of which is the front door to a house, who tells us that one member of a famous political family knocked up his son’s wife because his son was impotent. He wrote heart-wrenching poems about his brother’s death and for people that have died at war. He belittled men (mostly ex-friends and politicians) for the small size of their—well, manhood. Some of his poems are about waking up with prostitutes and many more about his tumultuous relationship with his lover, or his primary lover, whom he names Lesbia, but who is known to be the historical figure Clodia, the wife of a conservative Roman consul.”

Ten years in the making, Ryan Gallagher’s The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus (Bootstrap Press, $15) is filled with raunchy, impassioned and irreverent poetry that is as provocative and relevant today as it must have been in Ancient Rome. Gallagher’s skillful use of contemporary vernacular, coupled with his ear for the music in the language, result in a translation that is both literary as well as accessible. The poems live and breathe, as if they had been written today. In his notes to the poems, Gallagher describes his approach:

I decided to try to find a way to fit the playful and colloquial language into tight poems which at  least visually resembled the original form of the Latin. Often times, the structure of the poem was as interesting to play with as shifts in voice, tense, and tone. I wanted to find a way to fit these shifts into a tighter form. (196)

Whether or not one is familiar with Catullus, Gallagher’s detailed notes place the work in its proper historical and literary perspective, while also taking issue with some of the choices made by previous translators of the work. For example, Gallagher has his own take on what some have characterized as misogyny in Catullus:

To focus solely on Catullus’s use of sexuality in his brash insults and label it misogynistic is too simplistic—of course he is, but his ability to be many things at once, or everything at the same time, or “negatively capable” as Keats would label Shakespeare, is what remains so strikingly crisp about his poetry. Many translators of Catullus into English, mostly Latin professors, seem to have missed this. Many translations lack shifts in voice that I see within individual poems, or even with certain lines. (194)

Gallagher boldly calls out those translators whose unwillingness to engage fully has led to boring and lifeless translations of great poetry. I appreciate the tell-it-like-it-is quality of these comments, which remind us that poets and translators are ambassadors of the culture, and have a responsibility to preserve it:

Anyone who views translation as having inherent problems, rather than lessons or challenges or opportunities, will almost inherently produce a dull version of a poem. A relationship with language must be built on the love of language to build poetry. (197)

The Complete Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus is one of the most fun books of poetry I have read this year. Congratulations to Ryan Gallagher for keeping this material in the public eye. I hope that you will pick up a copy of this book, a labor of love in which Gallagher demonstrates that he truly understands that “language, like love, is shaped by use” (204).

Full disclosure: Ryan 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.

Please also take a look at my interview with Bootstrap co-founder Derek Fenner:

CHRISTOPHER LUNA: When did you begin translating these poems and when did you complete the project? Did you know Latin before you began? Was it always your intention to translate all of the poems?

RYAN GALLAGHER: My first translations of Catullus were in high school in AP Latin (Lyric Poetry), which was a study of selected Catullus (his non-offensive poems) and some Horace. Many people (from earlier generations) have told me that they also translated Catullus, as well as Horace and Virgil--along with Cicero, Pliny the Elder, and Caesar when they were in high school, but Latin is not a very popular subject anymore in either high schools or colleges.

I picked up Catullus again when I arrived at Naropa ( and took Andrew Schelling's translation class. At first, I just wanted to put together a small chapbook of fun, salacious poems. But I was instantly hooked on the act of literary translation and Catullus' poetry. Along with some prompting from some peers and professors, I decided early on in grad school that I wanted to try and finish The Complete Poems. In retrospect, this was a bit ambitious for my first translation project, but I also remember thinking at the time that I wanted to finish the project before I was 33, the year Catullus supposedly died. I thought it was advantageous to be Catullus' age when translating his poems, as all the other translations that I'd previously seen were done by older men. I didn't end up finishing the project before the end of grad school, but that didn't matter too much to me either. I finished my first draft of the translations before my first child was born, five years ago, with the rush of oncoming responsibility--over those years I read many Catullus translations (some of which ended up in an annotated bibliography at the end of my book.) I also read just as many historical & biographical texts, which I decided not include in the annotated bibliography because Peter Green’s bibliography ( was more extensive and complete than my own, (though his translation is terrible.)

I took a year or so off after my daughter was born and returned to the translations and all of my notes and essays and finished the book. It was published in 2008, ten years after I began the project. Today, my wife and I also have a son and now I'm 33--it's my Jesus / Catullus year and I'm toying around with the idea of translating Ovid's Exile Letters, but wondering if I can stomach another potential 5-10 year project, since I can't afford to leave my job for a year or two and put all my attention to translating.

Did you receive guidance from instructors at the Kerouac school who are known for translation, such as Anselm Hollo and Andrew Schelling? If so, what was their advice? Did either of them give you any advice that you chose not to follow, and why?

One of the reasons that I enjoyed Naropa / The Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics so much was the pedagogical approach. Anselm Hollo and Andrew Schelling and Anne Waldman and Lisa Jarnot (professors during my time there 1998-2000) created a community where what one did and thought and wrote and said mattered. I also learned how to ask questions—these are gifts I've tried to carry with me, not just in my art, but in my own pedagogy as well. What I learned was that it was important to care enough to stand behind my own work and the work of others—I remember Anne Waldman (though this certainly could have come from any number of people there) saying that she couldn't think of a writer that she really respected that did not publish or translate or run a magazine or do something that promoted the work of other artists. (I'm paraphrasing from a distant and somewhat hazy memory, so maybe I'm making this up—but I feel like the sentiment must be true.)

I've been teaching high school now for the past eight years and am quite proud of this. My students are smart and talented and impressive in ways that I am unabashedly jealous of. Here is a recent Boston Globe article on the high school and community where I teach ( Malden High School in Malden, MA is one of the most diverse schools in the country and has over 50 languages represented at the high school (1,700 students). In any one of my classes, there may be 7-10 different languages represented and many of my students are multilingual; as a translator of poetry, this adds a dimension to my literature classes that I love & has kept me excited about teaching high school for the past 8 years.

I guess what I am really trying to say is I learned that I needed to make my art (translating, painting, publishing & writing) my life--that it wasn't a career path and that it wasn't a hobby. Of course, I learned this as much from my 'friends' and 'peers' at Naropa as I did from my 'professors', and as you know, all these lines and distinctions in nomenclature at The Kerouac School were fortunately and beautifully blurred and have since remained wonderfully malleable.

How did the translations change over time? Were any of these changes influenced by your ongoing research?

I don't really have any specific examples that I'd feel comfortable sharing in this context or format, but the poems definitely evolved over the years. At the beginning I played around with the possibility of translating without punctuation (but this was a dead end and more of an act of me projecting my own aesthetics on the poems rather than learning from them) and also I tried opening the form of the poems on the page--but this had already been done by Peter Whigham (Modernist translator) & others and I became more interested in trying to produce the quickness of Catullus lines in closed form. So I stuck with the original line breaks and form as best I could. I also kept track of every word by marking the poem number in the dictionary to pick up patterns and repetitions. Though this was a bit laborious and unnecessary at times, I was glad I did this in the end as it helped me understand the manuscript on the whole and how to justify choices in diction.

In your notes on the poems, you mention how helpful Louis Zukofsky's translations of Catullus were to you. What did you learn from Zukofsky that you have been able to apply to your original work?

I mostly just took from how Celia (Zukofsky, Louis’s wife) did word-by-word translations for Louis, which he turned into homophonic translations. But I felt no impulse to attempt what they did in any way.

Though it seems a bit 'romantic', when I translate a poem I first write out the original so I can 'feel' what it's like to write the poem--plus it forces me to just spend some extra time with the poem as is. Then I look up every word in the dictionary, no matter how minor—again, this forces me to spend some time with the poem before jumping into a translation and it also forces me to recognize patterns that emerge in the whole manuscript, which is important when considering the poems in relation to the whole. After the word by word translation is done and after I have spent some time with the original poem (both on the page and how it sounds) I go about translating it. By then, I usually have a sense of which direction I might want to pursue--I also make notes so that I can remember why I made certain decisions in case I want to use the notes in essays or argue with myself over decisions in relation to the whole manuscript.

Do you read the Catullus poems publicly? If so, how do you approach it?

Yes. Like anything else, it depends on the context of the reading--though I did give a reading in Geoff Young's gallery last summer in Great Barrington, MA where a woman was very upset with some of the translations and took a copy of my book from the table and tossed it at my feet as she stormed out of the reading—I think it was poem 97 that got her.

How has your own writing been affected by your deep study of Catullus? Do you have a favorite Catullus poem? If so, what makes it your favorite?

Poem 68, which can be found here:

Ryan Gallagher

With this, my fortune and my downfall, I feel the sharp
weight from the tears you dropped, written in your letter.
Like a violent shipwreck in the foaming sea swell,
I will get up and return to Death’s door
without the rest from the soft sleep of sacred Venus.
I’m left alone to suffer in bed.
The sweet songs of the old words of Muses
don’t please me when my mind is anxious all night.
I am grateful that you are my friend
and that you send the gifts of Muses and Venus.
But my troubles will not be unknown to you, Manlius.
It’s not that I hate my duty as a friend.
Accept this, even though my fortunes are sunk in waves
of misery. So don’t expect any happy lines.
There was a time when I wore the plain clothes of youth,
when life was a pleasure, spring flowers bloomed.
We were full of games that were not unnoticed by our goddess,
who mixes sweet bitterness with her spear.
So all of this enthusiasm has left me alone to mourn my brother’s
death. I’m miserable. My brother is gone.
You, my favorite brother, your death has numbed me.
Our one and only home is buried with you.
Every one of our joys perishes with you.
This sweet love of yours fed on life.
All of my mind is ruined. You, who left everyone
with your enthusiasm and a delicate soul.
So, when you write this note to Catullus to ask
if it’s terrible in Verona, where even the best
warm their cold limbs by themselves in bed—
it’s not terrible, Manlius, it’s just so miserable.
Forgive me then, if my sorrow has taken away
a gift which I cannot give you,
for the best writers are not here with me.
They are at the house in Rome, where we live,
at my place, where my time has gathered.
Only a small box has followed me here,
which has refused to help the sharp pain in my mind
or satisfy the nature of my soul.
If you cannot use this, then come here for the rest.
Besides, I would give you more, if there were any.


Quod mihi fortuna casuque oppressus acerbo
conscriptum hoc lacrimis mittis epistolium,
naufragum ut eiectum spumantibus aequoris undis
subleuem et a mortis limine restituam,
quem neque sancta Venus molli requiescere somno
desertum in lecto caelibe perpetitur,
nec ueterum dulci scriptorum carmine Musae
oblectant, cum mens anxia peruigilat:
id gratum est mihi, me quoniam tibi dicis amicum,
muneraque et Musarum hinc petis et Veneris:
sed tibi ne mea sint ignota incommoda, Malli,
neu me odisse putes hospitis officium,
accipe, quis merser fortunae fluctibus ipse,
ne amplius a misero dona beata petas.
tempore quo primum uestis mihi tradita pura est,
iucundum cum aetas florida uer ageret,
multa satis lusi: non est dea nescia nostri,
quae dulcem curis miscet amaritiem:
sed totum hoc studium luctu fraterna mihi mors
abstulit. o misero frater adempte mihi,
tu mea tu moriens fregisti commoda, frater,
tecum una tota est nostra sepulta domus,
omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra,
quae tuus in uita dulcis alebat amor.
cuius ego interitu tota de mente fugaui
haec studia atque omnis delicias animi.
quare, quod scribis Veronae turpe Catullo
esse, quod hic quisquis de meliore nota
frigida deserto tepefacsit membra cubili,
id, Malli, non est turpe, magis miserum est.
ignosces igitur, si, quae mihi luctus ademit,
haec tibi non tribuo munera, cum nequeo.
nam, quod scriptorum non magna est copia apud me,
hoc fit, quod Romae uiuimus: illa domus,
illa mihi sedes, illic mea carpitur aetas:
huc una ex multis capsula me sequitur.
quod cum ita sit, nolim statuas nos mente maligna
id facere aut animo non satis ingenuo,
quod tibi non utriusque petenti copia posta est:
ultro ego deferrem, copia siqua foret.

Here are my notes to the poem, also from Exchanges: The poem in the form of “the letter” may find its father in Catullus. Though poets have had their speakers address specific people throughout the history of lyric poetry, no one poet had so consistently and effectively adopted this as a style before Catullus, and certainly no other poet addressed the process of writing the letter in the body of the poem so specifically.

Poem 68 begins as a letter to Manlius, Catullus’ friend back in Rome, while Catullus was in Verona for the funeral of his brother. Catullus laments the misery he feels for the loss of his brother. Because of the mythology that Catullus includes later on in this poem, we are left to assume that his brother died at war, or at least for the expansion of the Roman Empire, a sin which we know is equally disappointing to Catullus. In any case, in lines 89 through 99, by alluding to the myth of the Trojan War, where King Menelaus is left by Helen (or, depending on the myth, she is taken from him against her will), Catullus once again questions why so many humans have died because of phallic posturing. Catullus blames his brother’s death, or anyone’s death for that matter that is the result of war, on feelings of jealousy and the privilege to act on it by powerful people.

Since I've written extensively on the ability of Catullus to present such varying styles of writing and weave them together within poems and manuscripts (both in my book and in the previous link), I think I'd like to mention the idea of writing letters as poems.

I'm very much aware of audience—I think writers have to be. Poems don't exist in a vacuum.

One thing (of many) that makes Catullus' writing so great is its occult intimacy. He seems to be the first Western poet to so directly use the form of the letter (which is more intimate than even dedicating or addressing a poem to someone) which creates layers of being 'in-the-know'. We might imagine that the person for whom the letter was written would 'get' almost everything in the letter (though we all know this isn't totally true, as we've all probably poured over intimate letters trying to read between the lines) and that a close circle of friends of either the writer or receiver of a letter would 'understand' more, and the layers could expand based on geography, time, language, culture, etc. But there is something universal in the act of 'pouring over a letter' and 'trying to read between the lines' that makes this form in poetry so intriguing and appealing. Especially in the time and place we live now, is there a stronger impulse in art than to be a part of something slightly occult, magical, and intimate? to be 'in-the-know'? to feel connected to people beyond surface-level interactions? What if this could happen with people that lived 2,000 years ago?

Also, Catullus never lost sight of the most basic and important reasons people write poems—to convince someone else to sleep with you. You can theorize all you want about poetry, and sometimes theory can be beautiful, but is there anything more beautiful than when a girl, all gawk and glitter, is in your arms (early afternoon) and full of intimate electricity? Probably, but it was the first thing I thought of and I went with it--you can have your own fantasy.

I recently interviewed your Partner in Truth and Beauty, Bootstrap Productions co-founder Derek Fenner. Briefly describe how Bootstrap Productions came about. What is your role in the press? Of all the books and magazines you have published, what makes you most proud? Where would you like to see it go in the future?

Here's the Wikipedia link: Though it hasn't been updated for a while, the history is pretty accurate. Derek and I handle pretty much everything in terms of the press. I guess the question may really be: Why is there a Bootstrap Press, instead of what we do, which is a pretty long answer--but maybe I'll just leave it at this: The books I am most proud of are my own books (Plum Smash and Other Flashbulbs & Catullus) and Derek's books (My Favorite Color is Red & I No Longer Believe in the Sun: Love Letters to Katie Couric) because we were both able to see these titles through the whole process and were in complete creative control over them. We were able to place our work along other titles, writers, and artists in the Bootstrap lineage to help further expand our artistic vision and community.

With that said, we recently released A NEW BOOK FROM ROME by John Wieners. The book is a limited edition (258 copies), beautiful hardback collection of a journal edited by Jim Dunn "from a six-month period between July, 1969, to January, 1970, covering his stint in Central Islip State Mental Hospital on Long Island to the time around Charles Olson’s death when he was back in Massachusetts living with his parents."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apply Now for Sage Cohen's Poetry for the People

SAGE COHEN offers POETRY FOR THE PEOPLE class, Levels 1 and 2 starting May 3

Tune into the poetry of your life -- and get it down on the page -- while cultivating your craft toolbox and fine-tuning your revision skills. Six classes in six weeks--taught by email.

Level 1: May 5 - June 16, 2010
Level 2: May 3 - June 14, 2010

Learn more and register:

Apply for 1 of 2 POETRY FOR THE PEOPLE scholarships -- for classes starting in May

Would you like to study poetry but can't afford it? Sage Cohen is offering two scholarships for her Poetry for the People Level 1 and Level 2 classes (one per class) starting in May.

Scholarship applications will be accepted through April 15, and winners will be announced on April 24 at Sage Cohen's blog:

Learn more and apply:

Monday, April 5, 2010


Hey folks,

April is National Poetry Month, and there is no shortage of events and workshops to look forward to.

On April 10 at noon, I will be facilitating a free, National Poetry Month edition of my writing workshop, The Work, at Angst Gallery (1015 Main Street). Bring pen, paper, and some poems to share. I will be sharing some good work and providing exercises to inspire some new work in all of you.

That same afternoon, Toni Partington and Eileen Elliott are teaching a free workshop at In Other Words Books (see Item two below).

On April 14 Toni Partington and I will host the latest in a series of Art Conversations at Cover to Cover Books in Vancouver (address and phone number below). We will discuss the role of the poet in our community, and how we writers can improve our ability to contribute positively to Vancouver’s well-being.

Congratulations to Mel Sanders, the owner of Cover to Cover Books, for the coverage she recently received in the Columbian regarding the struggle for survival of independent bookstores in a tough economy. The article also included photographs from a recent VoiceCatcher reading at the bookstore:

This month I will be hosting two of my favorite people, Portland’s Walt Curtis and James Honzik, both of whom are poets as well as visual artists:

Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna
7:00pm Thursday, April 8, 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 360-514-0358
or 360-910-1066

With our featured readers,
Walt Curtis and James Honzik:

Walt Curtis is Portland’s unofficial Poet Laureate. He has published 15 small-press books, including Mala Noche, which inspired Gus Van Sant’s first film. Curtis is a cofounder of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission, having written about neglected Oregon writers John Reed, Hazel Hall, Joaquin Miller, C.E.S. Wood, and others. For 35 years, he has co-hosted The Talking Earth on radio. The poet has performed in Penny Allen’s films Property and Paydirt. Bill Plympton produced the docudrama The Peckerneck Poet, and Curtis earlier performed in American Ferris Wheel. Having read with William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Ken Kesey, the aging “street poet” is legendary in the Pacific Northwest.

James Honzik studied poetry under John Yau, Bernadette Meyer, and David Trinidad at the Poetry Project at St. Marks Church, the heart of poetry in New York City, and with Charles Bernstein at the New School. He has lived in Wisconsin, New York City, and New Orleans, and currently resides in Portland. He has performed his work at the La Mama, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, CBGB's and many other venues in NYC, and on the West Coast in Big Sur, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and at Burning Man.


Christopher again:

Please take a look at the latest edition of Sage Cohen’s E-Zine Writing the Life Poetic, which features recent poems by Brittany Baldwin, Shawn Sorensen, Steve Williams, M, Toni Partington, yours truly, and others:

If you’d like to see previous editions of the zine:

Also, have a look at this interview with my friend Jason Mashak, an American expat poet living in Prague:

Onward Wordsmiths,
Christopher Luna



1. Call to poets and artists to address Hanford nuclear waste cleanup plans
2. Life As A Conscious Poet: A Free Reading and Workshop with Toni Partington and Eileen Elliott at In Other Words Books April 10 (Portland)
3. Penelope Scambly Schott at Barnes & Noble Vancouver April 14
4. Toni Partington at Paper Tiger Coffeehouse open mic April 15 (Vancouver)
5. Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer's Disease the Tacoma Dominican Center April 16
6. Eileen Elliott and Henry Hughes April 21 100th Monkey Studio (Portland)
7. Free poetry writing workshop with Paulann Petersen at Multnomah Central Library April 25
8. Liz Nakazawa, Toni Partington, Lex Runciman, and Sandra Stone at Moonstruck Chocolate April 25 (Lake Oswego)
9. Rigoberto González at the Milagro Theatre (Portland) April 26


From Laura Feldman:

Dear fellow poets and artists,

On February 10th I attended the latest Hanford Hearing held in Portland. It was to weigh in on Federal plans to use Hanford as a national radioactive waste dump while abadoning clean-up or containment of existing contamination, which is quite frankly and always has been for me, beyond my wildest imagination. It looked somewhat hopeful at the last hearing I’d attended after Obama had taken office and had dedicated a significant amount of money for Hanford clean-up. But now it seems that his administration has buckled to the stress of the nuclear industry in an effort /exchange to reduce carbon emissions, and joined some experts and environmentalists in packaging and labeling nuclear power as “green.” He recently gave the go ahead to build two nukes in Georgia, with 18 more to follow around the country.

A further twist to this frightening plot is that there are plans to begin shipping waste to Hanford before the Waste Treatment (vitrification) plant is operational. This means thousands of truckloads of radioactive waste rolling through Portland and Spokane en route to Hanford. The risks of this are imagineable and unimagineable—increase risk of cancer by simply driving next to one of these trucks.

As usual, despite the courage and spirit of those who testified at the hearing: cancer survivors who grew up directly downwind of Hanford, scientists and engineers who offer possible solutions, concerned citizens with passionate, useful and unlimited reserves of common sense, even politicians like Senator Wyden and the Oregon Dept. of Energy who know the risks of Hanford and are and have been advocating for Hanford clean-up—I leave feeling like an insane aslyum. As one citizen testified: “What do we have to do to make you clean up this mess up? The usual (and not unnecessary) answers —public education, political activism, maybe even physical protests, (conservation which a friend pointed out never gets mentioned!)—all of which has, is or will take place. But something more I felt needs to happen, and it has to come from the place where artists work-- the source, the universal call it what you will place. The place beyond the void, the apathy, the fear, the irrational government/industry/civic responses to the place where impossible connections can be made and unthinkable boundaries erased in not only thinking, but feeling, intuiting, perceiving, channeling what to do or not do about Hanford.

I’d like to convene a group composed of poets, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, singers, etc. with some of the experts and key stakeholders in the Hanford phenomenon to create a response, a sane and inspiring, thought provoking response that increases public awareness about this issue and perhaps even miraculously offers the way toward solutions. I’m thinking of getting a grant to pay participants and purchase necessary materials and make public the results of such a gathering.

I would be most grateful for any feedback you can give me on this idea. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. I’m feeling more desperate and frightened about Hanford than I ever have before. A sheer creature fear. If you think I’m barking up the wrong tree, please say so. If you can direct me to a different tree, all the better. If you do think this is a useful project, would you be interested in participating? This in no way commits you. I fully understand that no one has any spare time or spare money or spare anything, and that Hanford is a handful to contemplate.

Feel free to share this with other downwinders.

If you’d like more information on Hanford go to, Heart of America Northwest. There is still time to submit comments regarding this hearing. The deadline is March 6th.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


“No history is mute. No matter how much they own it, break it, and lie about it, human history refuses to shut its mouth. Despite deafness and ignorance, the time that was continues to tick inside the time that is.”

Life As A Conscious Poet: A Reading and Workshop with Toni Partington and Eileen Elliot

(not to be confused with life as an unconscious poet - that's another subject)

When: Sat, April 10, 2pm – 4pm (Free - donations to In Other Words appreciated)
Where: In Other Words Books, 8 NE Killingworth St, Portland, OR 97211, 503-232-6003
Poets/Facilitators: Eileen Elliott, author of Prodigal Cowgirl (2009) and Toni Partington, author of Wind Wing (2010).

"The highest purpose of art is to inspire." –Bob Dylan

This is a reading and workshop for writers or listeners -- you can do either or both!

Description: Life As A Conscious Poet

All around us stories unfold. Writing poetry can give life, breath, image, and understanding to these stories. We invite you to join us as we read poems from our books and use these poems as jumping-off points for your work. We will use writing prompts to identify your sources of interest and provide you with an observational strategy to heighten your day-to-day musings. We offer you an opportunity to live as a conscious poet who breathes in life while utilizing language to reveal its images.

Hello Literary Lad or Lady,

We have a wonderful group of regulars at our 2nd Wednesdays Poetry Group - warm, welcoming people and talented writers. But if you haven't been to one of our monthly poetry groups in awhile, please consider coming up or over. We still feature the very best authors - on April 14th at 7 pm we host none other than Oregon Book Award Winner Penelope Scambly Schott - along with an open mic and free coffee, all within the Portland area's 3rd largest bookstore. It's even gotten better as we host a easy-going poetry critique group from 6 - 6:45 in our cafe the night of Poetry Group, welcome to all.

And we host dozens of free community events every month. Bookmark us on your computer at

See who our guest is for our May Poetry Group...

Soon, and Happy Spring,
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

From Dan Nelson:

Greetings poetry lovers,

Many thanks and much appreciation to all the folks who got out the word and attended last months Poetry Night at Paper Tiger. It was a wonderful evening of wise and witty words centered around the thoughtful evocations of Jim Martin, and enhanced by many other fine local poets. This 3rd Thursday , April 15 at 7pm, at Paper Tiger (located at 703 Grand Blvd in Vancouver) we will have our usual open mic punctuated by the profundity and sage imagery of Toni Partington. For those unfamiliar with Toni here's a brief introduction and and a slice of her delicious word pie to pique your interest. Hope to see you all there.

Toni Partington lives and works as a poet, editor, artist, and life/career coach in Vancouver, Washington. Her poetry has been published in the 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) and her latest book of poetry, Wind Wing (2010) came out on Jan. 14th.

Toni serves as an Associate Editor for VoiceCatcher, an annual Pacific Northwest anthology of women writers and 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

At Frenchman’s Bar
By Toni Partington

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

For more information contact;
Dan Nelson

On Friday, April 16, from 7:00 to 8:30, Catherine Place, Center for Women in Tacoma, will sponsor a poetry reading from the Anthology, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer's Disease, Introduction by Tess Gallagher. Editor, Holly Hughes and other contributors will read from the Anthology at the Tacoma Dominican Center, 935 Fawcett St. S., Tacoma (between 9th and 11th). Beyond Forgetting will be available for sale and book signing. To know more abut the book go to:

Please join us on April 16 for this special event. For further information, contact Kay Mullen at:


From Steve Williams:

On April 21st at the 100th Monkey Studio, you won't want to miss Eileen Elliott and Henry Hughes.

Eileen has just returned from California for the winter. How apropos for her to read from Prodigal Cowgirl, her new collection of poems. She also, opens her house in Vancouver for visiting poets who need a place to stay while reading and giving workshops. And weren't we happy to learn that the identity of our mystery guest, 'TBA' turned out to be none other than Henry Hughes. A recent Oregon Book Award winner, Henry has a new book out -- Moist Meridian. We had the pleasure of hearing Henry read at a recent event and can't wait for you to all hear him as well.

So, two fine performers await you at the Monkey, 7 p.m., April 21st. Plus, don't forget, open mic and who knows what else :).

But wait, there's more...

Our next critique group is April 11th at Looking Glass Books, 5-7 p.m. Come join our lively group as we read and talk poetry. If you'd like feedback on one of your own poems, bring yourself and 10 copies. Maybe it will be nice enough to sit on the patio... :)

Also, we will be returning the night before from AWP in Denver. Where Constance will be representing Naugatuck River Review in some crazy thing called Literary Death Match. I suppose we'll have a story to tell...

All for now, see you soon
Steve and Constance

From Paulann Petersen:

Thanks to the Tarshis Family Endowment of the Library Foundation, I'll be giving a free poetry writing workshop at Multnomah Central Library on Sunday, April 25th, from 1 to 4 pm.

Enrollment is limited to 35, and registration will open on April 4th. You can register on line or by calling the library (503-988-5123).

For more details, please go to this site:

And please pass this announcement on to anyone else who might be interested.

Many thanks---
Paulann Petersen

Please note e-mail change to
Visit my web site at



Arrive early to order chocolate and beverages for enjoying poems by 4 of Oregon's premier poets. Linger afterwards to meet the authors, browse and buy their books.


Liz Nakazawa, Toni Partington, Lex Runciman, Sandra Stone.
Hosted by Joan Maiers.
Free and open to the public.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
6:30 PM

Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe
45 South State Street in downtown Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Free will donations accepted to assist a girls' orphanage in Haiti.


Literary Arts & Miracle Theatre Group Present
PEN World Voices Festival
Rigoberto González at the Milagro Theatre
Monday April 26 at 7:30

In conjunction with PEN American Center's 2010 World Voices Festival in New York, Literary Arts & Miracle Theatre Group present Rigoberto González at the Milagro Theatre (525 SE Stark St.).

Rigoberto González (Mexico/U.S.) is the author of eight books, including the poetry collections, So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks, a National Poetry Series selection, and Other Fugitives and Other Strangers. His most recent books are the young adult novel The Mariposa Club and a short story collection, Men Without Bliss. He is the recipient of the Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, winner of the American Book Award, and The Poetry Center Book Award. He writes a Latino book column for The El Paso Times, is a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, serves on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, State University of New Jersey.

The evening will feature a reading by Rigoberto González, an in-depth conversation between former Miracle Theatre, Board President, Cindy Williams Gutierrez and Mr. González, and a Q & A session from the audience at the end of the program.

We would like to acknowledge our community partners, Powell's, Portland Latino Gay Pride and
Los Porteños for helping us recognize the importance of sharing the voices among us.


- Tickets are $10 plus handling fee
- Available online at HulaHub
- By phone at 503.236.7253
- At the Hollywood Theatre box office daily from 1pm - 9pm
- Or at the door on the day of the event

Visit for additional information.

Literary Arts is a statewide, nonprofit organization that enriches the lives of Oregonians through language and literature. The programs of Literary Arts are Oregon Book Awards, Oregon Literary Fellowships, Portland Arts & Lectures, Poetry in Motion®, Writers in the Schools and Delve: Readers' Seminars. For more information about the programs of Literary Arts, please contact James Rishky at 503.227.2583.

The Miracle Theatre Group has been dedicated to bringing the vibrancy of Latino theatre to the Northwest community and beyond for more than 25 years. In addition to its national tours, Miracle provides a home for Spanish and Latin American arts and culture at El Centro Milagro, where it enriches the local community with a variety of community outreach projects and educational programs designed to share the diversity of Latino culture. For more information about the Miracle Theatre Group, visit or call 503.236.7253




Voicecatcher5 will open its ART SUBMISSION window on April 1st. Guidelines are posted on the web at --click on the page- Art Submissions.

Voicecatcher is a publication of writing and art by women -- Portland/Vancouver area women. Here's an opportunity to have your art featured in a local publication.

I hope you will consider submitting your art. Artwork will serve as chapter markers for VC5 which is due out this coming October. It is an opportunity to have your art in a superb publication read by many.

In any case, visit the website to learn more about Voicecatcher's purpose, readings and opportunities.



Feel free to forward this email to your creative network!


From Paulann Petersen: I'm delighted to help spread the word about David Biespiel's newest program at The Attic, The Attic Atheneum. David and I will be teaching the poetry component, and I'm especially pleased to be part of this because of the program's emphasis on building and sustaining community.

The Attic Atheneum is our groundbreaking alternative to traditional or low-residency MFAs.

An 11-month certificate program, the Attic Atheneum melds independent study under close faculty supervision, student receptions, public readings, and other special Atheneum events created around good food and great conversation, dialogue, and literary community.

Running for just under a year, the Atheneum is designed to advance your writing and seed your new literary life in the city.

Historically, an atheneum is a literary or scientific association dedicated to learning. And that's how we envision the Attic Atheneum, too.

The Attic Atheneum offers a unique & pragmatic format for an intensive focus on your writing while participating fully in your everyday adult life. And, it offers a thriving literary community of fellow Atheneum participants. The Atheneum will be comprised of 18 members: no more than 12 students (4 fiction writers, 4 non-fiction writers, and 4 poets) and six faculty.

An alternative to traditional or low-residency MFAs & also taking writing workshops from time to time, the Atheneum is structured to build on your strengths & encourage you to become an active participant in contemporary literary activities.

The 11-month program includes independent study under close faculty supervision, receptions,
public readings, and discussion, selected readings, and other Atheneum events created around good food and great conversation, dialogue, and community. Plus, an end-of-program urban retreat to focus on your future writing goals.

The Atheneum aims to foster a strong sense of community among both students & faculty and to make each year's class of students a unique collection of writers and readers.

Our vision is that, in the future, Attic Atheneum alumni will continue to interact with current Atheneum members and help broaden a thriving literary community from year to year.

How does it work? Throughout your Atheneum year, correspondence between you & the faculty mentor occur at regular intervals. Through building community & emphasizing an individualized course of study & engagement with faculty, our goal is not to duplicate the MFA model or to supply academic credentials, but to allow you to immerse yourself in your writing discipline, remain accountable to your aspirations over an extended and reasonable period of time, and spend 11 months reaffirming & renewing your literary ambition and skills.

Deadline for Nominations for the Atheneum Class of 2011
Must be received by Friday, April 24, 4pm.
Writers may nominate themselves.
Nomination/Application Form

Students in the Attic Atheneum class of 2011 will begin the program in July 2010 and conclude in June 2011.



21st Century Howlers: A New Generation Jazz and Blues Anthology edited by Tyehimba Jess, Duriel E. Harris and Patricia Smith.

In the past ten to twenty years, a new generation of poets has emerged that seeks to expand and deepen the call-and-response tradition of Jazz and Blues music into the 21st century. Many of these poets may have not experienced a time when Blues or Jazz were the country’s common vernacular or were played with any heavy rotation on their local radio stations.

As we quickly approach the centennial of Jazz and Blues, this anthology seeks to gather the voices of a new generation of Howlers: those poets whose work embodies or addresses the musical traditions of Jazz and Blues, and who began actively publishing no earlier than 1995. Editors are particularly interested in innovative approaches, reinterpretations, and engagements with the contemporary socio-historical moment and/or Jazz and Blues scene. Each poet featured in the anthology will provide a short commentary or anecdote on the ways Blues and/or Jazz have affected their writing.

E-mails should contain a cover letter and submission as one attachment in Microsoft Word. Previously published work must be acknowledged in the cover letter. Submissions will be taken on an ongoing basis until September 1, 2010, c/o <21stHowlers(at)> (replace (at) with @)