Join us for our monthly last-Thursday poetry reading! This month we have work from Andrea Hollander, Paulann Petersen, and Lex Runciman.
Blue Mistaken for Sky, Hollander’s fifth full-length poetry collection, reads like a memoir in verse. It explores a mature woman’s life after divorce. The poems are unselfconscious, and they detail with grace the pleasures and difficulties of aging and the evolution of personal relationships through a life.
One Small Sun, by Paulann Petersen, takes readers from a fur shop in Oregon to a Hyderabadi shrine in India’s subcontinent. Its pages contain a meditation on post-mortem photographs, an ode to the female earwig, an elegy for a grandmother’s panache. Tapping deeply into memory, relying on poetry’s ability to bring alive again what is coded into the blood, these poems ultimately form an arc of an aging woman’s life. This collection tells the tales of what she has always realized, is ever learning, but—only through poetry’s vehicle—can truly know.
Runciman will read from Salt Moons and from new work. Of his work, Erik Muller has said, “The buzzing confusion of everyday life can distract and dispirit. In such a provisional situation, what is the human prospect? What is the truth about us? Or the beauty to be experienced here? A major effort in Runciman’s work addresses such questions.”
Andrea Hollander is the author of five full-length poetry collections—most recently, Blue Mistaken for Sky, finalist for the 2018 Best Book Award in Poetry from the American Book Fest. Her fourth collection was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; her first won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Among her many other honors are two Pushcart Prizes (in poetry and literary nonfiction) and two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies, literary journals, and college textbooks, and was featured by Rita Dove in The New York Times Magazine, by Ted Kooser in his syndicated column American Life in Poetry, by Garrison Keillor in his radio program The Writer’s Almanac, and Billy Collins in his Poetry 180 online website for high school students. For twenty-two years Hollander served as the Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College, where she was awarded the Lamar Williamson Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In 2011 Hollander moved to Portland, Oregon, where she taught at both Mountain Writers and the Attic Institute before founding the Ambassador Writing Seminars, which meet in her home. Her website is andreahollander.net.
Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, has seven full-length books of poetry, most recently One Small Sun, from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, Willow Springs, Calyx, and the Internet’s Poetry Daily. A Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she received the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts. In 2013 she was Willamette Writers’ Distinguished Northwest Writer. The Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds chose a poem from her book The Voluptuary as the lyric for a choral composition that’s now part of the repertoire of the Choir at Trinity College Cambridge.
Lex Runciman holds a Ph.D. from the University of Utah and an MFA from the University of Montana. He has published six books of poems, most recently Salt Moons: Poems 1981-2016 from Salmon Poetry. An earlier volume won the Oregon Book Award. Individual poems have won the Kenneth O. Hanson Award and the Silcox Prize. His work has appeared in such journals as Poetry Ireland, Ploughshares, New England Review, Nimrod, Hotel Amerika, and Dime Show Review. He lives in Portland, Oregon.