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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

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

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Congratulations to Alex and Kori for a great reading

Many congratulations to Alex Birkett and Kori Sayer for their fantastic reading at St. Johns Booksellers last night. It was so nice to have the opportunity to hear a singificant amount of work from these two, who are among the most exciting of the regular readers at the Cover to Cover open mic. Here is a sketch I made of Alex that includes some of what we heard:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Christopher Luna interviews David Meltzer and Michael Rothenberg for Rain Taxi

Please enjoy "Frenzied Sweetness," my newly published interview
with poets David Meltzer and Michael Rothenberg:

Hotter than Hades

The final installment of our spring Online Edition includes interviews with fiction writer and memoirist Kevin Sampsell and poetic collaborators Michael Rothenberg and David Meltzer. Also, of course, new reviews aplenty, featuring poetry by K. Silem Mohammad, fiction by Rikki Ducornet, a study of what’s “cool,” the latest incarnation of Batman and Robin, and more! Happy reading and stay tuned for the summer 2010 print edition of Rain Taxi Review of Books, coming soon! Go to and start reading!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Open Mic Poetry with featured reader Jack McCarthy Thursday, May 13

Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna
7pm Thursday, May 13, 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 reader, Jack McCarthy:

Jack McCarthy calls himself a stand-up poetry guy; he has been called a legend on the national poetry slam scene. The Boston Globe says, “In the poetry world, he's a rock star.” Poet Stephen Dobyns calls him "one of the wonders of contemporary poetry.” An engaging minor character in the film Slamnation and a member of two national slam teams, he was a semi-finalist for the Individual Slam Championship in 2000. His work has been published widely, and appears in the anthologies The Spoken Word Revolution, The Spoken Word Revolution Redux, and the prestigious Complete Idiot's Guide to Slam Poetry. His website is

The following items will be available for sale: SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACE NOTES: NEW AND CORRECTED POEMS (Book, $15), Actual Grace Notes (Chapbook, $5), Breaking Down Outside a Gas Station (CD, $10), and By Gift Unearned (CD, $10).

Jack McCarthy


(Because you want to say something appropriate to the occasion,
but you you don’t want to look like you actually expected to win)

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking,
I came today intending just to mingle,
To be content with praising, not critiquing;
With breathing the same air as Jimmy Tingle.
The categories here are very hard—
For instance, to distinguish Spoken Word
From Slam poetics challenges the bard
Who doubles as a judge. First? Second? Third?
The test, to cite Joyce Kilmer: what I’ve heard is,
Don’t talk about a tree, but show a tree.
At the other extreme, Spoken Word is
All the stuff we’re not quite sure is Poetry,
That seems it when performed, but not on page.
(I wrote this on my way up to the stage.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

THE WORK MAY 2010: Our thoughts are with Walt Curtis

MAY 2010

I have to begin with some sad news. Poet Walt Curtis, who recently entertained us with his poetry and sharp wit at Cover to Cover Books, lost all of his possessions, paintings, and manuscripts in a recent fire. For more information about this terrible loss, read

Although most this was irreplaceable, if you’d like to help Walt get back on his feet:

Walt Curtis Fund
Wells Fargo Bank
4233 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR 97213

Notes/Letters to Walt can be sent to:

Walt Curtis
c/o Mark Woolley
2644 NE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
Portland, OR 97212

When I sent The Work out as an email newsletter, I inadvertently forgot to include an event that is very dear to my heart. I am proud to present Alex Birkett and Kori Sayer, the authors of two new poetry chapbooks, whom I will introduce later this month at St. Johns Booksellers. The flyer features an illustration by Alex and a collage by yours truly:

I hope everyone enjoyed National Poetry Month. Toni Partington and I were up to our eyeballs in poetry, and she wrapped up her four-month tour in support of “Wind Wing” with great readings at Paper Tiger in Vancouver and Moonstruck Chocolate Café in Lake Oswego. Also, thanks to those of you who came out to hear me (with and without the great Julio Appling) at the grand opening of Olin Unterwegner’s new gallery. Here is an article about the reading. It contains several inaccuracies but has good pictures of me and Julio, and the writer had some nice things to say:

Here is another reading featuring Toni that will happen in the next few weeks:

"Eros On The Vine"
Wine and Poetry with Heather Strang, Sophia Tzeng, Pam Crow, and Toni Partington
7 PM, Wednesday, May 19, 2010
"up on the rooftops" at
22 Northeast 7th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 232-3063

I would also like to thank everyone who attended the latest incarnation of Art Conversations. Cover to Cover owner Mel Sanders, Toni, and I led a very lively discussion of where the Vancouver poetry scene is and where it’s headed. Judging by the many great ideas that were proposed, the ‘Couve is going to remain a hotbed of poetic activity for some time. Get involved!

Congratulations to Paulann Petersen, Oregon’s new (and very deserving) poet laureate:

Thanks to my patron and friend David James Randolph of New Way Media in California, who has posted the following poems on his blog: "Lost Arts, "A Philosophical Discourse on the Nature of Good and Evil," and "All beauty is at continuous war with God (Jack Spicer):"

On Friday, May 7 at 7pm, Toni and I will read poetry to help The Space Art Collective celebrate its grand opening at 2315.5 Main St (behind One World Merchants). The event will also feature drumming, dancing, live art, and live music (This Infernal Machine, Auxillary, Briz and Glitter Zombie!).

Here is an article from the Vancouver Voice about The Space:

Also, remember that this event happens on first Friday, which is the night that all of the downtown Vancouver galleries hold opening receptions for their new shows. For example, my friends Sara and Lauren will be showing some of their great work at Lincoln’s Gallery. Come on down and see what everyone in the ‘Couve has been talking about.

In July, Toni, David Madgalene, and I will be part of a special exhibition at Angst Gallery which will showcase “2 Be Named,” a series of one-of-a-kind art books that will feature a 200+ page collection of collaborative travel poems written between 2005-2010. The cover of each book is an album cover that has been painted, collaged upon, or otherwise altered by the three of us. Contact me about ordering information, and be sure to join us for a series of special readings in early July to support the show. Many thanks to Leah Jackson for hosting this exhibit.

Soon we will have all of the covers online, but for now, here are a couple of examples:

Open Mic Poetry
hosted by Christopher Luna
7pm Thursday, May 13, 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 reader, Jack McCarthy:

Jack McCarthy calls himself a stand-up poetry guy; he has been called a legend on the national poetry slam scene. The Boston Globe says, “In the poetry world, he's a rock star.” Poet Stephen Dobyns calls him "one of the wonders of contemporary poetry.” An engaging minor character in the film Slamnation and a member of two national slam teams, he was a semi-finalist for the Individual Slam Championship in 2000. His work has been published widely, and appears in the anthologies The Spoken Word Revolution, The Spoken Word Revolution Redux, and the prestigious Complete Idiot's Guide to Slam Poetry. His website is

The following items will be available for sale: SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACE NOTES: NEW AND CORRECTED POEMS (Book, $15), Actual Grace Notes (Chapbook, $5), Breaking Down Outside a Gas Station (CD, $10), and By Gift Unearned (CD, $10).

Here is a story about Jack that might be of interest:

Allen Ginsberg’s photographs of himself and fellow Beat writers are being exhibited at the National Gallery of Art:

I recently interviewed fellow Kerouac School alums Derek Fenner and Ryan Gallagher, co-founders of Bootstrap Press in Lowell, MA:

Finally, please remember to scroll down and take a look at the half-a-dozen submission calls I’ve included this month, a few of which have early- to mid-May deadlines.

Here’s to another Spring month
filled with love and language,
Christopher Luna

MAY 2010


1. VoiceCatcher Reading at St. John’s Booksellers May 8
2. Martin Espada in Seattle May 11 and 12 (worth a road trip!)
3. Judith Arcana at the Ledding Library’s Pond House (May 12)
4. Windfall Reading Series Presents Laura Winter and Carol Ann Bassett May 18 (Eugene, OR)
5. Critique Group May 2 & 100th Monkey Reading Series with Marie Buckley and Jon Seaman May 19 (Portland)
6. Tommy Gaffney at Paper Tiger Open Mic May 20 (Vancouver, WA)
7. Chuck Palahniuk, Ursula K. Le Guin, Lilith Saintcrow, Shannon Wheeler, and others at Write To Publish 2010 hosted by Ooligan Press May 22 & May 23 (PSU Smith Memorial Student Union)
8. Words Alive! Jumping Page to Stage like a Pro with Carolyn A. Martin, Ph.D. at Tabor Space May 23 (Portland)

VoiceCatcher Reading at the St. John's Booksellers

It's Parade Day in St. Johns!

Join VoiceCatcher editors and contributors at St. Johns Booksellers to celebrate the diverse voices of women writers on Saturday, May 8, 2:30 p.m.

Come meet us and learn more about the VoiceCatcher community.

We are also currently accepting Art Submissions for the first time. The submission window is now open (see for more details). Deadline: May 31st at 5:00 pm.

Saturday, May 8th at 2:30 p.m.
St. John's Booksellers
8622 North Lombard Street
Portland, OR 97203

Readers include:

Teresa Boze
Naomi Fast
Constance Hall
Nikki Jardin
Susan Mach
Nikki Schulak
Kristin Thiel

VoiceCatcher4 offers a panoramic view of the literary life in the Portland/Vancouver area.

Martín Espada in Martin Luther King County: Literary nonprofit Los Poetas del Montón (“Poets of the Heap”) is bringing internationally-acclaimed, NPR-censored poet/activist Martín Espada to Seattle this May! Espada will host a reading at 7 PM on May 11th in Room 389 of Mary Gates Hall on the UW Seattle campus as well as a reception/reading at 6 PM on May 12th at El Centro de la Raza (2524 16th Ave S). Admission to both readings is free of charge through a grant from 4Cutlure/King County Lodging Tax Revenue. For more information, find us on Facebook or contact BrittaLisa Gess at

Imagine the Angels of Bread
by Martin Espada

This is the year that squatters evict landlords,
gazing like admirals from the rail
of the roofdeck
or levitating hands in praise
of steam in the shower;
this is the year
that shawled refugees deport judges
who stare at the floor
and their swollen feet
as files are stamped
with their destination;
this is the year that police revolvers,
stove-hot, blister the fingers
of raging cops,
and nightsticks splinter
in their palms;
this is the year
that darkskinned men
lynched a century ago
return to sip coffee quietly
with the apologizing descendants
of their executioners.

This is the year that those
who swim the border's undertow
and shiver in boxcars
are greeted with trumpets and drums
at the first railroad crossing
on the other side;
this is the year that the hands
pulling tomatoes from the vine
uproot the deed to the earth that sprouts the vine,
the hands canning tomatoes
are named in the will
that owns the bedlam of the cannery;
this is the year that the eyes
stinging from the poison that purifies toilets
awaken at last to the sight
of a rooster-loud hillside,
pilgrimage of immigrant birth;
this is the year that cockroaches
become extinct, that no doctor
finds a roach embedded
in the ear of an infant;
this is the year that the food stamps
of adolescent mothers
are auctioned like gold doubloons,
and no coin is given to buy machetes
for the next bouquet of severed heads
in coffee plantation country.

If the abolition of slave-manacles
began as a vision of hands without manacles,
then this is the year;
if the shutdown of extermination camps
began as imagination of a land
without barbed wire or the crematorium,
then this is the year;
if every rebellion begins with the idea
that conquerors on horseback
are not many-legged gods, that they too drown
if plunged in the river,
then this is the year.

So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.

from Imagine the Angels of Bread
Martin Espada

from Judith Arcana

Hello good people .......

This note is to let you know I'll be reading
on May 12th at 7pm

The Pond House is one of the most pleasant places in our region to listen to poetry. The folks who create and sustain this monthly series love poetry, and they are exceptionally welcoming and generous - they provide everything from the necessary chairs-in-rows to broadsides of the featured poet's work & chocolate treats.

I hope you'll come. I'm looking forward to this event with pleasure: I'll be reading some new work and work-in-progress. The library is at 10660 SE 21st Avenue in Milwaukie, and the Pond House is behind the library. The excellent #75 bus stops one block away (as do a few others), and the library's parking lot is just north of its front door.

Library info at 503/786.7580 or

* 5/12 - Wednesday - 7pm - The Pond House Poetry Series - Judith Arcana reading *


The Eugene Public Library - May 18th 5:30 to 7:30
Windfall Reading Series Presents Laura Winter and Carol Ann Bassett

The evening's theme will be “Desert Landscapes.” Meet and hear the writers in person, with authors’ works available for purchase and signing. Admission and refreshments are free. In Laura Winter’s poetry, desert solitude is also filled with the lives of bats, lizards, nettles, white-crusted pools, and “shadows of moon and cloud.” She is the author of five collections of poetry including “Coming Here to Be Alone,” a bilingual volume in English and German. Based in Portland, she also publishes “Take Out,” an international “bag-a-zine” of art, writing, and music. Carol Ann Bassett teaches environmental writing and literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon. A naturalist as well as an author, her work often explores places generally considered empty or lifeless. Her books include “Organ Pipe: Life on the Edge”; “A Gathering of Stones: Journeys to the Edges of a Changing World”(a finalist for an Oregon Book Award); and most recently, “Galápagos at the Crossroads.” Her articles have been widely published, including in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Mother Jones, and Condé Nast Traveler. She was editor of The Tucson Weekly and has been an independent producer for National Public Radio. Sponsored by Eugene Public Library, Lane Literary Guild, Friends of the Library, the Eugene Public Library Foundation, and the Lane Arts Council with support from the City of Eugene Cultural Services Division.

From: Steve Williams
As April winds down, Constance and I are trying to take in everything in that we've been involved in this busy poetry month.

We are in fact, at bit breathless. We'd like to thank Henry Hughes and Eileen Elliott for a marvelous reading this last Wednesday. Our unofficial cookie meter says the evening was a success. What's a cookie meter you ask? Well the fewer the cookies that are left at the end of the night, the better it must have went. And last Wednesday, we only had two cookies left :)

Our normal Critique group meeting on the second Sunday of the month falls on Mother's day in May. So we are moving the date for the meeting to May 2nd. So bring a poem and 8-10 copies for feedback to Looking Glass Books in Sellwood at 5 p.m. If the weather is nice, we may even sit outside on the patio :).

Our next reading on May 19th at the 100th Monkey at 7 p.m. features an OSPA flavored event with Marie Buckley and Jon Seaman. You can read their info. at our website We also have open mic (1 poem or 2 pages max pls) so bring something to add your voice to the evening. And of course, cookies, writing prompts, art in the gallery etc.

Hope to see you all soon.
steve and constance

Greetings fellow word junkies,
Thanks to all of you who attended and or participated in last month’s poetry reading. We were all honored and illuminated by the powerful verse of Toni Partington and a slew of other fine poets as well as invigorated by the caffeinated brews of our host Zack. Good times, good times. This month's 3rd Thursday (May 20 at 7pm) we will be entertained again by a gaggle of local geese and by Tommy Gaffney. Tommy Gaffney was born and raised in Kentucky, somewhere between the projects and the trailer parks. In addition to Whiskey Days, he is the author of Three Beers from Oblivion (2006). His work has appeared in such anthologies as The Night Bomb Review, The Drunk Poets Society Anthology; Volume 2 and The Broken Word Anthology; Volumes 1 & 2. He has performed at the Insomniacathon, Wordstock, appeared on KBOO radio, and hosted the annual Artists Night Out Spoken Word Festival at Artists Repertory Theater. In 2010, Tommy was nominated for the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Gaffney's favorite colors are John Deere Green and Joey Ramone Black. Nowadays, you can often find him wandering the streets of Portland, Oregon. Here is one of his outstanding pieces as an appetizer.Hope to see you all at Paper Tiger on the 20th. For newcomers it's at 703 Grand Blvd in the 'Couve, between Evergreen and Mill Plain about a mile east of I-5.

Dan Nelson

Banshee Time
by Tommy Gaffney

Head for cover right around banshee time.
Dusk comes about like a fattened bottom lip,
The willows pull in their ears
while lightning bugs hunt down
little kids to taunt.
Sonnets crawl into the dog-houses out back,
boarding spiders and prey
now that the half-breeds are dead.
It’s hard to feel brave in open fields,
no corner to back yourself into.
If genes were balls,
maybe I’d be tougher by now
instead of scared of the dark.
Harrods Creek pulls down its blinds.
The county locks away the mowers for the night
while bluegrass winks at cartographers.
Crickets clear their throat
and banshees tip-toe the starting line

Chuck Palahniuk and Ursula K. Le Guin to Speak at Write To Publish 2010

Saturday, May 22 & Sunday, May 23
PSU Smith Memorial Student Union

Ooligan Press is excited to announce that award-winning authors Chuck Palahniuk and Ursula K. Le Guin will be sharing their publishing experiences at the Oolicon: Write to Publish open house event, May 23, 2010, at Portland State University.

Several other noteworthy Portland-area writers will be appearing as well, including: Shannon Wheeler, creator of Too Much Coffee Man and Eisner Award-winning artist; Deborah Hopkinson, Oregon Book Award-winning children’s author; Virginia Euwer Wolff, National Book Award-winning YA fiction author; and Lilith Saintcrow, popular urban fantasy author.

Write to Publish, affectionately known as Oolicon, is a conference organized by Ooligan Press. The primary goal of Write to Publish is to demystify the publishing process for writers. Write to Publish is different from other writing conferences in that it does not focus on the craft of writing, but rather on the process of getting published.

On May 22, Workshop Day, choose to attend workshops for writers or workshops for industry professionals. Come back on May 23, Open House Day, to mingle with professionals in the industry and to hear authors speak about their experiences with the publishing process.

Ticket prices are $130 for writers for the full conference (this includes five workshops and the Open House on the second day) or $32 per workshop. Ticket prices are $215 for industry professionals for the full conference.

To purchase tickets, please contact the Portland State University box office at (503) 725-3307.

Words Alive!
Jumping Page to Stage like a Pro with Carolyn A. Martin, Ph.D.

DATE: Sunday, May 23rd
TIME: 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
LOCATION: Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont, Portland
REGISTRATION FEE: $45 *proceeds will be donated to VoiceCatcher*

*Space Limited*

Your creative work is done and now you want present your work at a literary event. How do you prepare and practice so that your performance delights every audience? This half-day interactive workshop will teach you how.

Carolyn A. Martin, Ph.D., is a world-class educator, author, and keynote speaker who has delighted hundreds of thousands of business professionals over the past 24 years. Known for her humor, practicality, and passion, she now applies the lessons she's learned as a speaking professional to helping others perform their creative work.

This workshop is limited to ten participants-both men and women. Bring approximately five minutes worth of your writing to read and practice.


Guess What? VoiceCatcher is Calling All Artists!
Open Now For Art Submissions - April 1, 2010 through May 31, 2010 (5pm)

The VoiceCatcher editors invite you to submit original art for chapter markers in the 5th Edition. Submissions will be selected based on design, originality, and relevance to the mission of VoiceCatcher. See the Art Submission Guidelines for details (

Tacoma Arts Commission seeks artists for creation of highly-visible temporary installations and performance art

The Tacoma Arts Commission invites artists and/or artist teams residing in Washington and Oregon to submit proposals for the creation of temporary site-specific artwork as part of Artscapes. Opportunities include the creation of outdoor installations and/or performance art for Tollefson Plaza and temporary installations for a variety of interior window spaces in downtown Tacoma.

Outdoor Tollefson Plaza installations and/or performance art will be presented for one month each starting in June, 2010, and commissions for Tollefson Plaza are $2,000 each. Interior storefront installations will be displayed for three months each starting in June, 2010, and commissions for interior storefront installations are $500 each.

Artscapes is a temporary public art opportunity that encourages the development of contemporary art designed to enliven our streetscapes and everyday experiences. Artscapes is a project of Spaceworks Tacoma – a collaboration between the City of Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and Shunpike to activate empty storefront spaces in downtown Tacoma with creative uses.

Deadline for submissions is May 7, 2010.

The Call to Artists is attached and can also be downloaded at

Naomi Strom-Avila
Cultural Arts Specialist
City of Tacoma
747 Market Street, Room 900
Tacoma, WA 98402253.591.5191

Ruminate Magazine Call for Submissions

Ruminate: Faith in Literature in Art is currently seeking fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews, and reviews for Fall Issue 17 on the theme of Pilgrimage. The deadline is May 15.

Artists interested may submit online at And for more information, please email us at (replace (at) with @)

Sage Hill Press Poetry Prize
Prize: $250 and publication by Sage Hill Press in winter 2010-11.
Reading Fee: $15 Reading Period: April 1-August 1, 2010
Judge: Christopher Howell, award-winning author of 8 books of poetry and publisher of Lynx House Press.

Guidelines: Open to all poets who have not published a full-length collection of poetry. Submit one copy of a full-length poetry manuscript of at least 48 pages. Individual poems may have been previously published in journals or chapbooks, as long as the author holds the current rights. The manuscript title, poet’s name, address, telephone number, and email address should appear on a cover sheet separate from the manuscript. Manuscript should be bound by staple or binder clip and include no identifying information other than the manuscript title. Manuscripts that do not follow the above guidelines will be recycled without consideration. We will confirm receipt of manuscripts within 30 days, via email. Please do not contact us before then.

Ethical Considerations: To maintain integrity, Sage Hill Press requests that you not enter this year's contest if you have studied with, or have a close relationship with, Christopher Howell. Also, members of the editorial board will not consider submissions for which their relationship with the author might make selecting a manuscript improper. We love you, friends, but not enough to risk our reputation.

Send manuscripts and check payable to “Sage Hill Press” to:

Sage Hill Press / Powder Horn Prize
1024 Summit Boulevard
Spokane, WA 99201

Have you experienced violence and identify on the queer/trans spectrum? Do you have a piece of writing or artwork about it? Please share it!

Transrelating, a ‘zine “on sex, gender, relationships and the rest of us” is accepting submissions for its next issue.

Violence: behavior intending to hurt. Many in the trans/queer communities share the far too common experience of violence directed toward their gender identity and/or sexual orientation- bullied at school by classmates, hurt at home by family, hurt by lovers/partners, hurt by strangers, hurt by a homophobic/transphobic/body-negative/sex-negative culture, hurt by ourselves.

This issue of Transrelating seeks to share some of the common experiences as well as how we can redirect this trend and change a community/culture.

All pieces of writing and artwork are welcome (academic essays, rants, poems, stories, pictures, paintings, drawings, etc).

Email submissions to:
Submissions should be sent by June 1st, 2010.

Call For Art Opens

It's time to submit... your creativity!

PDX Bridge Festival, in partnership with Portland City Art, is pleased to announce our 2010 Call For Art!

We are looking for artists of all types—painters, sculptors, photographers, collagists, installation artists, film makers, performers, and musicians—to take part in this community-sourced, citywide celebration of the bridges. Using “Bridge” as a thematic or metaphorical element of your work is encouraged, though it is not required. The “Bridge” theme may include—but is not limited to—bridging communities, bridging styles, bridging time periods, concepts, politics, perspective, mediums, etc. In other words, we are open to all quality works of art and performance, and leave it up to you to explain the bridge link.

Art will be exhibited at PDX Bridge Festival in a variety of traditional and non-traditional venues, including Olympic Mills Commerce Center, City Hall, Pioneer Place Mall, East Bank Esplanade, and at galleries throughout the city.

To submit your art for consideration at PDX Bridge Festival, please visit the submissions page on our website ( If you have questions, please direct additional inquiries to