So, me, Sara Jaffe, Tyler Brewington, Kaia Sand, Coleman Stevenson, Zoe Tambling, Spencer Williams, Sam Lohmann, Veronica Martin, Francesca Chabrier, John Beer, Aubrey Bauer, Ashley Toliver, Donald Dunbar, Jamalieh Haley, Nora Wendl, Travis Meyer, Liz Mehl, Lindsay Allison Ruoff, Rachel Springer Dunbar, Nathan Hirstein, Ally Harris, Lisa Ciccarello, Brandi Katherine Herrera, and Sarah Bartlett are going to do a marathon reading of Lisa Roberson’s Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office of Soft Architecture. The reading is in the YU kitchen and will start at 2pm this Saturday, and it won’t ever really stop in our new hearts.
Next Sunday night at Holocene, I’ll be collaborating with cellist Harry Gilbert in his performance of Eve Beglarian’s composition of my poem Testy Pony from Fjords. This performance will be a part of an event called The Marriage of True Minds put on by Classical Revolution PDX. It’ll be an evening celebrating LGBTQ composers, featuring the works of Lou Harrison, Pauline Oliveros and emerging Portland composers. You should come. Ok.
A NEW OCTOPUS BOOKS WEBSITE!
At this dawn of AWP, I wanted to share with you that our Octopus Books website has been completely updated thanks to Travis Meyer and his First Letter + Company. Please check it out, look around, see what is new, maybe buy a book. Also, at our AWP table, you’ll be able to check out a few new things in person: new full-length books by Bianca Stone and Emily Kendal Frey, a chapbook by Wong May in anticipation of her forthcoming full-length book, new Octopus Books tshirts, and the rest of our catalog and Poor Claudia’s.
In the summer of 2009, after getting an email about running over a squirrel from Brandon Shimoda, and then after getting an email from Mathias Svalina about a mermaid, I decided to re-work their stories into little dream poems. This is how Fjords started. Since then, the first volume has won the Oregon Book Award and is now in its second printing. It has a gold foil stamp on the cover instead of silver, but all the poems are still the same, including that squirrel one, and that mermaid one (which became the Black Angel of Death).
Some art is going to be happening at The Old Church downtown tomorrow night, the 9th annual Works. A little bit of my art is going to happen there too. And a little bit of your ten bucks at the door will go to benefit p:ear, a local non-profit that mentors homeless youth.
Black Cake Records, Kelly Schirmann’s Portland-based record label/audio archival of contemporary poets, has just released two new records, one of which is from Sorrow Arrow by Emily Kendal Frey—ten poems from her second book of poetry, Sorrow Arrow, forthcoming from Octopus Books on April 1. That’s right, everybody, get in line, save up twelve of your dollars, and listen to these poems while you wait.
One of my favorite poets and friends, Mathias Svalina, is going to write and deliver people’s dreams to them through the month of June. Every day, he will write one distinct dream for each of his subscribers, and either hand-deliver those dreams if the subscriber lives within 3 miles of him, or he will send them to the subscriber via post. Every day, if you subscribe, you could have your very own dream written for you by one of our most talented and dedicated poets. You can also subscribe to someone else’s dreams. This is Mathias’ ideal job. He is only accepting 100 subscribers, so I would buy a subscription now. He’s almost booked.
Subscribe to Mathias Svalina’s Dream Deliver Service here.
On February 5, 2006, one of my oldest and very best friends on the planet, Kate Bingaman-Burt, started drawing her daily purchases, every day, every every day, and posting them here. Today, February 5, 2014, 8 years after she started this project, she has drawn her last. It is a cup of iced coffee. You should visit her iced coffee. And every drawing of every one of her daily purchases before that too.
Guest poetry editor C.D. Wright over at PEN America put up some pieces from a book I’m working on called Agnes the Elephant. Also, she said some kind words about me, and she called me an ideafat bibliorat. Maybe read what she said, then read what I said.
I’m going to be sitting at this table at Literary Arts starting on Sunday, March 23, from 5-7, and 5 other Sundays after that one too, leading a poetry workshop that focuses on short poems. This workshop will focus on the success of narrative and lyric within a poem while keeping in mind ideas of restraint and concision in language, of letting go of the need to explain and contextualize ideas and images, in order for the poem to accomplish a lot in a little space.
Would you want to join me? Ok!
Aroma, a band from Tucson, Arizona, features Brandon Shimoda reading from Grave on the Wall (Coming down the partially shielded hill) from his poetry book Portuguese co-published by Octopus Books/Tin House. You can hear Brandon on their album, Oni, reading from the poem on track 1, “Mnemonic”, and track 5, “White Strawberries.”
Check out Portuguese here: http://octopusbooks.net/author_shimoda.php
Check out Brandon on Oni by Aroma here: https://aromanth.bandcamp.com/
My friend, Steve Leathers, recorded a song using some instruments, his voice, and the words of a poem of mine called “Leaving the House” from Fjords vol 1. Listen to it here. Then listen to me read it here with the Chicago Q Ensemble at The Hideout in Chicago. Can you tell these versions apart?
Trimet and the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge Naming Committee announced their four finalist names for the new light rail bridge, but it somehow left Working Kirk Reeves Transit Bridge from its list. So many fewer city visitors will now know how Reeves so uniquely, proudly and precisely represented this community, our working street performer culture, and especially our community’s issues with mental health, homelessness and suicide. It would have been a truly amazing gesture to the many citizens of our city, and their families, who struggle with a similar situation as Reeves to see his name on that bridge, to see that their own city recognized and honored him in particular. I have heard so many people describe seeing Reeves perform on the Hawthorne Bridge as one of the highlights of their commute—so this would have been such an appropriate moniker for a commuting bridge. Of course, there were many commuters who ignored him on that bridge too, something to which I’m sure he was pretty accustomed. But, Trimet, I’m especially saddened you’ve chosen to be one of those who ignore him. I’m certain you have good reasons for this oversight, but from here it seems you missed a big chance.
Anyway, I’m so happy that the Abigail Scott Duniway Transit Bridge is a possibility for a name. You got at least one exactly right. Good job. Please don’t ignore her too.
But Cascadia Crossing? Cascadia instead of Reeves? Did you really have a meeting in which the committee agreed that Cascadia Crossing would better represent the non-car commuters of Portland better than Reeves? You claim that in considering a name for the bridge, you would ask questions like “Is it inspirational? If so why?”, “Does it reflect how bridge connects people? If so, how?”, and “Any special cultural meaning?” Are you really willing to say that Cascadia Crossing is somehow better suited for a bridge name considering those criteria? Did Cascadia Crossing really have more enthusiastic, sincere and important support than the people of Portland’s campaign to name your bridge after Reeves? Do we need yet another thing named after our bio region? How about Generic Personality-less Bridge? Cascadia Crossing sounds like a suburban mall. It is difficult to watch this particular committee be so afraid to consider Reeves. If you somehow drop the other ball and don’t name the bridge after Duniway, it’ll be even clearer to me that you are run by the unimaginative, cowardly, and heartless. And at that point I will probably just call it the Working Kirk bridge anyway.
Spend the next half hour on your back on the kitchen floor. Turn the lights off. Leave the water running a little. Listen to THE NOVA SCOTIA RECORDINGS by the poet Dot Devota Then go make something happen in a different room. Leave the water running.