Laura Read, Dresses from the Old Country

Join us in welcoming Laura Read, who will share her new poetry collection, Dresses from the Old Country.

Dresses from the Old Country jumps back and forth in time to illuminate the identities of a life in progress: lost child, lonely adolescent, teacher, daughter, friend, wife, mother—a woman continuously shaped and reshaped by memory and experience. With an eye on gender issues, Read looks back at her childhood in the ’70s and ’80s as she observes how popular culture is shaping her sons’ lives today.

“Laura Read is one of the great love poets of our age – her love is wide and searching, generous and demanding. She offers the fullness, complexity, and yearning of a daughter’s, wife’s, mother’s, and lover’s feelings. Fully human and deeply nuanced, Read’s poems propose a vision of love that is generous, abundant, and self-sacrificing, but also these speakers will be damned if a woman offering so much of herself will be ignored or erased. This is a beautiful collection that envisions the end of muses and imagines what reciprocal and empowered devotion might make possible.” —Kathryn Nuernberger

Laura Read’s chapbook The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You won the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award in 2010, and her first full-length collection, Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral, was chosen as the winner of the AWP/Donald Hall Prize for Poetry by Dorianne Laux in 2011 and published in 2012 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her second collection, Dresses from the Old Country, will be published by BOA in October of 2018. Her individual poems have received awards from The Florida Review, Dogwood, and Crab Creek Review and have been published in many different journals, including most recently, Radar, Beloit Poetry Journal, Blood Orange Review, and The New York Times Magazine. She teaches English Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at Spokane Falls Community College and serves as the poetry editor for Crab Creek Review.

Aileen Keown Vaux, Consolation Prize

Join us in welcoming Aileen Keown Vaux for a reading from her poetry collection, Consolation Prize.

Regional, humorous, and wise, the poems in Aileen Keown Vaux’s Consolation Prize bloom from Central Washington State Fair themes. “Find Your Happy!” transforms into a meditation on joy’s ephemerality; “Celebrate What’s Great!” examines both the wonder and despair of our observational faculties. The first chapbook published in Scablands Books’ Channeled Chapbook series, Consolation Prize promises to be a quintessential Inland Northwest read, as quirky and bright as the Yakima fair that frames it.

Aileen Keown Vaux is the author of the Consolation Prize (Scablands Books 2018) who earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University. Currently, she lives in Spokane where she works as a Career Adviser for the College of Arts, Letters, and Education at Eastern Washington University. She writes poetry and non-fiction.

Poetry with Kristin Berger, Carey Taylor, and Christianne Balk

This month’s poetry brings us recent work by Kristin Berger (Echolocation), Carey Taylor (The Lure of Impermanence), and Christianne Balk (The Holding Hours). We meet the last Thursday of the month to hear from 3 poets and are excited to hear new work from these poets.

Matthew Minicucci, RACC Grant Recipient

Join us in hearing from Matthew Minicucci’s new book of poetry, EPODE, which examines the soundscapes of the American West through the lens and structure of a Greek tragedy. Support and funding for this project have been provided by an Individual Artistic Focus Grant by the Portland Regional Arts and Cultures Council, and the 2018 C. Hamilton Bailey Oregon Literary Fellowship from Literary Arts.

Matthew Minicucci is the author of two collections of poetry: Small Gods, finalist for the 2016 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press, and Translation (Kent State University Press, 2015), chosen by Jane Hirshfield for the 2014 Wick Poetry Prize. His poetry and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from numerous journals including the Alaska Quarterly Review, The Believer, the Gettysburg Review, Oregon Humanities, The Southern Review, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the 2018 C. Hamilton Bailey Oregon Literary Fellowship and the Stanley P. Young Fellowship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. This past summer, he served as Artist-in-Residence at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

Poetry Night with Sherri Levine, Liz Nakazawa, Rebecca Smolen, and Igor Brezhnev

A collection of voice poems, In These Voices by Sherri Levine allows us to peek inside the lives of a variety of characters. Levine, through the magic of language, embodies a jilted lover, a worried husband, a young woman, a son, a granddaughter and even a squirrel.

Painting the Heart Open by Liz Nakazawa includes poems of memory, thanks, prayer, bliss, dreams and blessings, embedded in color, and, while ethereal, are also rooted firmly to the earth. Hope is the sustaining thread even if some poems veer into darkness. Light is never too far away.

Womanhood & Other Scars by Rebecca Smolen explores what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. Through the eyes of the poet as young girl, teenager, daughter, granddaughter, wife and mother, we traverse both the triumphs and heartbreaks of womanhood. Let these poems blanket you in the realization you are not alone—you have a community who will help you navigate the waters of misogynistic behavior and societal expectations. The scars of each of our experiences are there to remind us how far we’ve come, and give us the strength to keep rising.

Igor Brezhnev’s new collection of poetry, america is a dry cookie and other love stories, is now available for pre-order. The book contains ninety nine poems (with one additional surprise poem) on one hundred and ninety two pages. The poem ‘america is…’ features 15 illustrations by two very talented artists, Grace Anderson and Bernard McKenna.


Sherri Levine lives in Portland, Oregon where she teaches English as a Second Language to adult immigrants and refugees at Portland Community College and Portland State University. Her work has been published in The Timberline Review, Hartskill ReviewVoiceCatcher: A Journal of Women’s Voices & VisionsVerseweaversPerspectives Magazine, The Poeming Pigeon, and The Sun Magazine. She won First Prize (Poet’s Choice) in the Oregon Poetry Association’s Biannual Contest (2017). Sherri recently served as Poetry Editor for VoiceCatcher. She escaped the long harsh winters of upstate New York and has ever since been happily soaking in the Oregon rain.

Liz Nakazawa is the editor of Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon (Ooligan Press), a collection of nature poems by 33 Oregon poets. It was designated as one of the Best 100 Books about Oregon in the last 100 Years by the Oregon State Librarian. It was also a Best Picks of Powell’s.  She also edited The Knotted Bond: Oregon Poets Speak of Their Sisters (Uttered Chaos Press), a collection of poems by 32 Oregon poets. Her own poems have appeared in Turn, The Timberline Review and The Poeming Pigeon journals and haiku has appeared in ahundredgourds.

In her free time Liz enjoys bird watching, dancing (both folk and ballroom), calligraphy, reading, hiking and walking, identifying trees and flowers, writing snail mail letters to her son and friends, and collecting old books, vintage writing paper and stamps. She feels incredibly grateful for the love and nurturing, as well as friendships and community, from the pulsating Oregon poetry community. Words bloom easily here in Oregon.

Rebecca Smolen is a writer based in Portland, Oregon transplanted from New Hampshire in 2014. She has a deep love for short story, poetry, hugs and animals. She grew up on a dead end road exploring drainage pipes and pond life. Since settling here, she works as a veterinary technician, volunteers with the Pacific Pug Rescue, chaperones class field trips occasionally for her two small children, promotes ‘feminism is for everyone,’ attempts to stay connected with friends, goes to as many writing workshops and retreats as her budget and time constraints allow, and pet sits on the side to earn funds for the aforementioned.

Rebecca enjoys writing darker than most would assume of her, diving deep into forgotten memories and her weird dreams which fuel her creativity. She loves twisting the normal route of thinking and creating new metaphors. She is a true believer that once put down in print, words are no longer for the writer, but instead are meant to help, heal or console others. You can find her writing recently published in the Unchaste Anthology, Vol. 2, Mutha Magazine, and VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

Igor Brezhnev is a poet, an author and an artist, amongst his other sins. He has been calling Portland, Oregon his home for the past five years, with occasional long visits to Phoenix, Arizona, which has been his home for over twenty years. He has first-hand experience with confronting depression, homelessness, poverty, and xenophobia, as well as more common ailments like heartbreak and spilled coffee. Igor has authored three books: the book of possibilities (2012), dearest void (2016) and america is a dry cookie and other love stories (2018).

Poetry Night with Julene T Weaver, Penelope Scambly Schott, and Christopher Luna

It’s National Poetry Month! Join us for a poetry night with local poets Julene T. Weaver (Truth Be Bold: Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS), Penelope Scambly Schott (House of the Cadramom Seed), and Christopher Luna (Ghost Town Poetry), for a mixture of new and older poems, and a mixture of styles and themes. This will be a night to remember!

Writing Salon with Celeste Gurevich

Our monthly writing salon is back!  First Saturday of the month from 6-7:30, led by Celeste Gurevich, who will gently guide you on this journey of exploration. This month’s featured poet is Kate Tempest, a young British phenom who should be more well known on our side of the ocean. Come hear some inspiring words, and then write your own! Limited seating.