Monthly Poetry – Andrea Hollander, Paulann Petersen, Lex Runciman

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.

What Is Justice? A Personal Exploration – Bill Denham

Join us for a reading from What is Justice? by Bill Denham.

Matthew Avery Solomon and Noel Espinoza were murdered on September 4, 2008. Three men were charged with the crime. In What Is Justice?: A Personal Exploration, author Bill Denham studies the crime and what it reveals about himself and about our broader culture’s pursuit of retributive justice. Incorporating poetry, philosophy, theology, and memoir, Denham suggests an alternative system borne out of our inter-connectedness and reliant on the exercise of our imaginations. What Is Justice?: A Personal Exploration is an engaging, deeply personal, and deeply felt exploration into the meaning of justice. It is an essential and thought-provoking piece.

“In death will come, poet Bill Denham attempts the near impossible, coming to terms with the approaching end of life without nostalgia, sentimentality, self-aggrandizement, or any of the other traps into which we mortals fall. That he succeeds so completely is his astonishing gift to the world, and a testament to a life lived, suffered, and loved in open-hearted service and wonder. A must read for anyone who will someday pass from this world.”

– Gary Turchin, author, Falling Home and The Healthiest Man on Earth

“There is a murder; there is a pending “execution.” There are victims and there are perpetrators. Into the midst of these deep contradictions, Bill Denham plunges with his honest, searing, hope-filled poetry. He dares to imagine that we are all bound together in this human crisis as one. We are not “over-against”; we are rather “with” and “belonging to.” That solidarity evokes compassion that presses toward restorative justice and away from revenge. Denham sees that “It falls to me” to do justice. Indeed it “falls to me” and you and you and you. Those who enter Denham’s world of poetic imagination may be called to care in transformative ways. It is his hope. Indeed it is our hope!”

– Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Bill Denham, educated at Davidson College in North Carolina (BA in English 1963) and at the University of California (MA in English 1967), began writing poetry at the age of sixty after a forty-year hiatus from his youthful passion. He has written nearly 800 poems and has published three volumes of poetry, Looking for Matthew (2012), of gossamers and grace (2016) and death will come (2018) and a mixed prose/poetry essay: What is Justice? a personal exploration (2019). A long dramatic dialogue with his special needs son, Do you remember, Dad? appeared in the anthology, Daring to Repair (Wising Up Press, 2012). He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, June, a former high school classmate in Winston-Salem, NC.

Poetry Night – John Sibley Williams, Coleman Stevenson, Cindy Williams Gutierrez

Join us for our monthly poetry night, this month featuring John Sibley Williams, Coleman Stevenson, and Cindy Williams Gutierrez.

What happens when metaphysics and social critique meet? Poetry that has to find a new form to express the tension it embodies. John Sibley Williams’ newspaper-like columns in As One Fire Consumes Another do just that. Here, transcendent vision and trenchant social insight meet, wrestle, and end up revitalizing one another.

About Metaphysik: Written to accompany the Metaphysik deck by Daniel Martin Diaz, this series of essays by poet and artist Coleman Stevenson muses on concepts of connection and creativity. Readers are invited to think about the ways they access information, form ideas, and communicate those ideas to others. The essays are followed by a set of corresponding exercises, ways of interacting with the Metaphysik cards to explore their compositions. Diaz’s illustrations that inspired these essays and exercises are interspersed throughout the pages of the book, offering readers additional opportunities to connect with a world of mystery and imagination.

Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women explores the global oppression of women—and testifies to their resilience—in over 20 countries around the world. Based on real-life incidents ranging from Brazilian “honor killings” and Indian sati to Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and “Mississippi appendectomies” to rape as a weapon during the Rwandan genocide, this poetry collection bears witness to the sociocultural forces that have waged war on women’s bodies, freedom, and humanity. Inlay with Nacre is herstory—the plight of Woman as bride, wife, mother, and daughter—and a call to action to restore the Feminine in the world.

John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize, 2019), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press, 2019), Disinheritance, and Controlled Hallucinations. A nineteen-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Southern Review, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, TriQuarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Coleman Stevenson is the author of Breakfast, The Accidental Rarefication of Pattern #5609, and The Dark Exact Tarot Guide. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications such as The Portable Boog Reader, Gramma, Paper Darts, Seattle Review, E-ratio, Osiris, Louisiana Literature, Mid-American Review, tarot.com, and the anthology Motionless from the Iron Bridge. She is also the designer of tarot and oracle decks including The Dark Exact Tarot, The Vitriolic Tarot, and The Personal Oracle. She has been a guest curator for various gallery spaces in the Portland, Oregon, area, and has taught poetry, design theory, and cultural studies at a number of different institutions there. Her current fine art work, exhibited in galleries around the Pacific Northwest, focuses on the intersections between image and text.

Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez is inspired by the silent and silenced voices of history and herstory. Her new collection, Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women, was awarded the 2018 Willow Books Editor’s Choice Poetry Selection and a 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship. She was selected by Poets & Writers Magazine as a 2014 Notable Debut Poet for her poetry collection, the small claim of bones (Bilingual Press/Arizona State University), which placed second in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. Cindy received the 2017 Oregon Book Award for Drama for Words That Burn, a dramatization of the WWII experiences of William Stafford, Lawson Inada, and Guy Gabaldón. Cindy earned an MFA from the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast MFA Program with concentrations in Mesoamerican poetics, drama, and creative collaboration. She is a cofounder of Los Porteños, Portland’s Latino writers’ collective, and the founder of El Grupo de ’08, a Lorca-inspired, Northwest collaborative-artists’ salon.

The Poet’s Toolkit Part 3: Sense – Kate Gray

During poetry month, honor your tender and fierce heart. Add tools to your poetry toolkit. You’ll start with sound, how your words can change your reader’s body. No experience necessary. You’ll write and share in a tremendously safe environment, using the Gateless Method. This workshop will give you practical ways to distinguish this writing form from others, practice in applying the tool, and the light to show you how brilliantly you shine.

Part 1 of 3: Sound (Monday, April 15th, 6-8pm)

Part 2 of 3: Shape (Tuesday, April 23, 6-8pm)

Part 3 of 3: Sense

All sessions will be held in the loft at Another Read Through. Register for each part a la carte on a sliding scale ($60-80), or for all three at a discounted rate of $150. Limited to 12 participants. For more information and sign-up, please contact Kate Gray at dangpoet@gmail.com.

Poetry – Toni Lumbrazo Luna, Christopher Luna, Claudia F. Savage

Toni Lumbrazo Luna’s Wind Wing is a poetry collection inspired by the lives of women. These poems provide a glimpse into life on the edge of mental illness, courage, transition, and discovery. The women inside this book have faced the impossible.

Message from the Vessel in a Dream is the first full-length volume of poetry by Christopher Luna, Clark County, WA’s first poet laureate (2013-2017) and the founder of Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic. The book contains work spanning 20 years, and favors prose poetry and collage poems assembled and arranged using found material. The book is dedicated to Carlos Santana, the guitar virtuoso and eponymous “vessel” who gifted Luna with the only line of poetry he has ever received from a dream.

Claudia F. Savage’s Bruising Continents is “the love story lurking deep inside the drama of these poems reveals that eros properly seen is a force as monumental as continental drift” (Dan Beachy-Quick).

Toni Lumbrazo Luna (formerly Partington) is a poet, editor, visual artist and the author of two poetry books: Jesus Is a Gas and Wind Wing. She’s co-founder of Printed Matter Vancouver providing editing and small press publishing. Originally from central New York, she’s made the Pacific Northwest her home for thirty years. She co-hosts the Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic in Vancouver, WA and serves on the Clark County Arts Commission. Toni is currently working on her third collection of poetry tentatively titled “Driven by Hope” and on her first memoir, titled “Life in View of the Crazy House”.

Christopher Luna served as the first Poet Laureate of Clark County, WA from 2013-2017. His first full-length collection of poetry, Message from the Vessel in a Dream, was published by Flowstone Press in 2018. Luna has an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and is the co-founder, with Toni Lumbrazo Luna, of Printed Matter Vancouver, a small press for Northwest writers which also provides writing coaching, editing, and manuscript review. He has hosted the popular Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic in Vancouver, WA since 2004. Luna’s books include Brutal Glints of Moonlight, GHOST TOWN, USA and The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of Stan Brakhage and Michael McClure 1961-1978.

Claudia F. Savage is part of the performance duo Thick in the Throat, Honey. Her latest collection of poetry is Bruising Continents (Spuyten Duyvil) with recent work in BOMB, Denver Quarterly, Columbia, Nimrod, Water-Stone Review, and Anomaly (the interview series “Witness the Hour: Arab American Poets Across the Diaspora”). She is a 2018-2021 Black Earth Institute Fellow and her collaboration, reductions, with visual artist Jacklyn Brickman, is forthcoming in 2020. Her poetics are influenced by rabid reading, Alice Coltrane, and long hikes in drippy forests. She teaches privately, through Literary Arts, and lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, OR. www.claudiafsavage.com

The Poet’s Toolkit Part 2: Shape – Kate Gray

During poetry month, honor your tender and fierce heart. Add tools to your poetry toolkit. You’ll start with sound, how your words can change your reader’s body. No experience necessary. You’ll write and share in a tremendously safe environment, using the Gateless Method. This workshop will give you practical ways to distinguish this writing form from others, practice in applying the tool, and the light to show you how brilliantly you shine.

Part 1 of 3: Sound (Monday, April 15th, 6-8pm)

Part 2 of 3: Shape

Part 3 of 3: Sense (Wednesday, May 1, 6-8pm)

All sessions will be held in the loft at Another Read Through. Register for each part a la carte on a sliding scale ($60-80), or for all three at a discounted rate of $150. Limited to 12 participants. For more information and sign-up, please contact Kate Gray at dangpoet@gmail.com.

Poem-a-Day: How to Write a Connected Series

A Chapbook in a Month – POEM-A-DAY: HOW TO WRITE A CONNECTED SERIES with Penelope Scambly Schott

In this workshop we will discuss how to create an extended body of work that goes together, whether by topic or tone or sequence.  Poet Penelope Scambly Schott (author of NOVEMBER QUILT and other books) will briefly describe her process and results. Then we as a group will brainstorm topics and approaches. We will each experiment with an organizing idea and make notes toward a first poem in our own possible new series.

If participants are interested, we can plan to meet again in about a month to see what we’ve done.

Group limit: 15. Cost: $28. Prerequisites: none.

To sign up email Penelope: penelopeschott@comcast.net

The Poet’s Toolkit Part 1: Sound – Kate Gray

During poetry month, honor your tender and fierce heart. Add tools to your poetry toolkit. You’ll start with sound, how your words can change your reader’s body. No experience necessary. You’ll write and share in a tremendously safe environment, using the Gateless Method. This workshop will give you practical ways to distinguish this writing form from others, practice in applying the tool, and the light to show you how brilliantly you shine.

Part 1 of 3: Sound

Part 2 of 3: Shape (Tuesday, April 23, 6-8pm)

Part 3 of 3: Sense (Wednesday, May 1, 6-8pm)

All sessions will be held in the loft at Another Read Through. Register for each part a la carte on a sliding scale ($60-80), or for all three at a discounted rate of $150. Limited to 12 participants. For more information and sign-up, please contact Kate Gray at dangpoet@gmail.com.

AWP Offsite event with Armenian-American Poets

AWP offsite events are free and open to the public, so join us in welcoming this group of Armenian-American poets to Portland!

Arminé Iknadossian’s debut poetry collection, All That Wasted Fruit, addresses the sacred feminine. Cofounder of Outside the Lines: A Creative Collaborative for Women, Arminé also leads Poetry in the Labyrinth at The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles and performs her poems for The Poetry Brothel.

Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak, a poetry/performance collection, and Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter, a memoir. Her novel, The Fear of Large and Small Nations, was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction. She teaches writing at NYU.

Lory Bedikian’s The Book of Lamenting won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. She has an MFA from the University of Oregon. Her work was a finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry and for the AROHO’s Orlando Prize. She received a grant from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial fund.

Shahé Mankerian’s poetry collection, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist for the Bibby First Book Award, the Crab Orchard Series, the Quercus Award, and the White Pine Press Competition. He is the co-director of the L.A. Writing Project and the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School.

Lola Koundakjian has authored two poetry books and read in four international poetry festivals in Quebec, Peru, Colombia and West Bank. She co-curates the Zohrab Center’s poetry reading series in midtown Manhattan, and runs the Armenian Poetry Project in multiple languages and audio.

Veronica Pamoukaghlian has written, edited, and translated a variety of literary works, including New York Times bestsellers. She has contributed to anthologies and print journals, and has her own book of poetry, The Beauty of Disaster.

For Every Girl: New & Selected Poems – Kate Gray

Join us for the launch and celebration of Kate Grey’s new collection, For Every Girl: New & Selected Poems.

“[For Every Girl is] a collection dissimilar to most new and selected books. These poems, from a life of writing, come together in an arc that pulls us like ‘a rope across her palm’ into girlhood, adolescence into adulthood where the illusions of family become broken and truth reigns. We love hard and deeply in this book—cousins, aunts, uncles, mother, lovers. And even in the deepest betrayals Ms. Gray makes us hold in one hand pain and the other compassion, in one hand loss the other hope.” – Jeff Knorr

Kate Gray’s first full-length book of poems, Another Sunset We Survive (Cedar House Books, 2007) was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and followed chapbooks, Bone-Knowing (2006), winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Prize and Where She Goes (2000), winner of the Blue Light Chapbook Prize. Kate’s first novel, Carry the Sky, (Forest Avenue, 2014) stares at bullying without blinking. Over the years she’s been awarded residencies at Hedgbrook, Norcroft, and Soapstone, and a fellowship from the Oregon Literary Arts. Her poetry and essays have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. In Any More, Black Shoe, Kate Gray’s novel-in-progress, she narrates, in Sylvia Plath’s voice, what led to The Bell Jar and her suicide attempt in 1953. Kate’s passion comes as a teacher, writing coach, and a volunteer writing facilitator with women inmates.