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LitWatch April: Gabrielle Zevin at Everybody Reads, National Poetry Month, Oregon Book Awards, and a talk with Salman Rushdie

Poets aplenty are on the literary calendar this month, as well as journalist Elizabeth Mehren and the Terroir Creative Writing Festival in Newberg.

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Gabrielle Zevin, author of “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” appears April 4 in Portland as the culminating event in Everybody Reads 2024.

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure: —
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

— from Lines Written in Early Spring by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Best-selling author Gabrielle Zevin will speak Thursday, April 4, as the culminating event of Everybody Reads 2024, a program that promotes shared reading and discussion of a single book, in this case, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. The novel unfolds into a nontraditional love story following the relationship of Harvard students Sam Masur and Sadie Green as they build a successful video game company. The book is a New York Times Best Seller, Sunday Times Best Seller, Amazon.com No. 1 Book of the Year, Time Magazine’s No. 1 Book of the Year, and was chosen by The Tonight Show’s Fallon Book Club. Movie rights to the book have been acquired by Paramount Pictures and Temple Hill Entertainment. Literary Arts is presenting the event, in partnership with Multnomah County Library and The Library Foundation, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall; tickets are $25 to $65.

Poet Tayi Tibble reads April 17 at Broadway Books.

April is National Poetry Month and is packed with poetry readings featuring local favorites and visiting poets alike. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, Broadway Books will host a conversation between Tayi Tibble (Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Porou), acclaimed Indigenous New Zealand poet, and Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe, Indigenous author, poet, and artist from the Upper Skagit and Nooksack Indian Tribes.

Tibble’s first collection, Poukahangatus, was named a best book of the year by The New Yorker. In Portland, she will read from her second collection, Rangikura, which explores desire and exploitation in transactional relationships. LaPointe will read from her new book of essays, Thunder Song, which looks at the role of music in “helping a new generation of Indigenous people claim the strength of their heritage while defining their own path in the contemporary world.”

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Broadway Books will end the month on another poetry note with the release of Cascadian Zen, an anthology of Northwest poetry. Jason Tetsuzen Wirth, Sōtō Zen priest and professor of philosophy at Seattle University; John Brehm, author of three books of poetry; Cate Gable, poet and journalist; Ann Spiers, inaugural Poet Laureate and Poetry Post steward on Vashon Island; Paul E. Nelson, poet and interviewer; and Robert Michael Pyle, author of 25 books of essays, poetry, fiction, and natural history will read from the collection at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30.

Week 1: April 1-7

Poetry Reading: Kim Stafford, Wendy Erd, Peter Kaufmann
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Thursday, April 4
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland
Free

Three poets kick off National Poetry Month. Kim Stafford, Oregon poet and essayist, will read from his third poetry collection, As the Sky Begins to Change. He will be joined by Alaska-based writer Wendy Erd, reading from the poetry collection It’s a Crooked Road, but Not Far, to the House of Flowers, and Peter Kaufmann, Alaska-based poet and storyteller, reading from his cross-cultural poetry collection, The Round Whisper of No Moon.

Elizabeth Mehren discusses her book, “I Lived to Tell the World,” on April 7 at Powell’s Books.

Reading: Elizabeth Mehren, I Lived to Tell the World
Presented by Powell’s Books
3 p.m. Sunday, April 7
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Portland-based journalist and educator Elizabeth Mehren will discuss her book, I Lived to Tell the World: Stories of Survivors of Holocaust, Genocide, and the Atrocities of War. Mehren, who spoke recently with Oregon ArtsWatch, shares the stories of 13 Oregonians who settled here after surviving the Holocaust, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Vietnam War, Rwandan genocide, and other atrocities. Despite what one might expect, their stories convey a message of hope.

Week 2: April 8-14

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CMNW Council

Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
Presented by Literary Arts
7:30 p.m. Monday, April 8
Portland Center Stage at the Armory128 N.W. 11th Ave., Portland
$12-$65 (Arts for All admission available)

Poet and author Kwame Alexander hosts Literary Arts’ annual celebration of the best in Oregon books. Of the 190 submitted titles by Oregon writers, 37 finalists have been chose in seven genres: fiction, poetry, general nonfiction, creative nonfiction, children’s literature, young adult literature, and graphic literature. In addition, Ellen Waterston of Bend will receive the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award.

Annabelle Dolidon presents French science fiction stories on April 9.

Reading: Annabelle Dolidon: French Science Fiction Short Stories
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland
Free

Annabelle Dolidon, French science fiction aficionado and Portland State University professor, will read from a collection of recently translated French science fiction stories, Continuum. A first-time English translation, the book was curated and edited by Dolidon and fellow professor Tessa Sermet. It includes science fiction themes ranging from simulated reality, speciesism, and ecology, to belonging and death, from authors including Julia Verlanger, Sylvie Denis, and Jean-Claude Dunyach.

12th Terroir Creative Writing Festival
Presented by Arts Alliance of Yamhill County
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 13
Chehalem Cultural Center
415 E. Sheridan St., Newberg
$60 early registration, $50 students, veterans, seniors

The 12th Terroir Creative Writing Festival features speakers, readings, and workshops from notable Oregon authors. Speakers include novelist Omar El Akkad, poet Kim Stafford; novelist Molly Gloss; journalist Steve Duin; and poet and Quaker minister Bethany Lee. The festival is open to anyone from seventh-graders to adults of all ages. For the full schedule, visit the Terroir Creative Writing Festival website.

Spill Those Guts Already: A Flash Memoir Class with Leanne Grabel
Presented by Eastside Jewish Commons
2 p.m. Saturday, April 13
Eastside Jewish Commons
2420 N.E. Sandy Blvd., Portland
$55

Sponsor

Portland Opera Puccini

Leanne Grabel, Portland poet, instructor, illustrator, and author of Brontosaurus, will lead a 4-hour flash memoir writing workshop. Participants will generate two pages of narrative writing “about the people, places, objects, moments that are unforgettable — that shaped your life.” The piece will be taken through a number of drafts until what remains is a short work resembling a prose poem. Grabel will also discuss the process of creating quick illustrations and organize potential one-on-one meetings for those interested in continuing the work.

Week 3: April 15-21

Salman Rushdie discusses his book about the 2022 attack on his life in a virtual event on April 16.

Salman Rushdie in Conversation with Suleika Jaouad
Presented by Powell’s Books, PEN America, and Random House Publishing Group
5 p.m. Tuesday, April 16
Virtual event
$28, includes copy of Knife

Salman Rushdie, writer, free speech advocate, and Booker Prize winner, will speak in a pre-recorded virtual event and reading of his new memoir, Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder. Thirty years after a fatwa was ordered against him, Rushdie survived a stabbing while on stage at a literary event in April 2022. His memoir, an account of his survival, is the first time he has spoken about it. The event includes a pre-selected audience Q&A and a closing note from PEN America. Rushie will be joined by Suleika Jaouad, author of Between Two Kingdoms.

Author Reading: Victor Lodato
Presented by Bloomsbury Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 16
Bloomsbury Books
290 E. Main St., Ashland
Free

Victor Lodato, playwright, winner of the PEN USA Award for Fiction, and author who divides his time between Oregon and Arizona, will appear at the Ashland bookstore for a reading and book signing. His novel Honey tells the story of a tenacious and glamorous woman who is the daughter of a notorious New Jersey mobster. When she returns to Jersey from Los Angeles, she must come face to face with her difficult past.

Week 4: April 22-30

Sponsor

Portland Opera Puccini

Reading: Erik Davis
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, April 22
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Erik Davis, San Francisco-based author and journalist, will read from his new release, Blotter, an account of the history, art, and design of LSD blotter paper. The work chronicles its development in the 1960s as a delivery device for LSD and follows its trajectory through the ‘70s and ‘80s, including use by San Francisco artist and professor Mark McCloud, who became involved with the LSD trade after beginning to collect the paper.

Authors Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy, top, talk animals with Rebecca Skloot on April 26.

Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy in Conversation with Rebecca Skloot
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Friday, April 26
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Bill Wasik, editorial director of The New York Times Magazine and co-author of Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus, will be joined by co-author and veterinarian Monica Murphy to discuss their new book, Our Kindred Creatures: How Americans Came to Feel the Way They Do About Animals. The book starts in 1866, when a group of activists began campaigning for changing the country’s animal laws and discusses how, by the end of the century, most Americans “had adopted a very different way of thinking and feeling about the animals in their midst.” Wasik and Murphy will be joined by Rebecca Skloot, science writer and author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Angela Hume Reads from Deep Care
Presented by Mother Foucault’s Bookshop
6 p.m. Friday, April 26
Mother Foucault’s Bookshop
523 S.E. Morrison St., Portland
Free

Angela Hume, Berkeley-based author of Deep Care: The Radical Activists Who Provided Abortions, Defied the Law, and Fought to Keep Clinics Open, will read from her nonfiction history of the abortion movement. Aiming to bring feminist history to wider audiences, the work begins in the 1970s with small groups of female medical activists and follows historical events to the 2022 Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson decision that has affected abortion access across the country.

Poet Jack Hayes reads April 29 from his nature-focused poetry collection.

Reading: Jack Hayes, Susan Rich, Gail Pasternack
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, April 29
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland
Free

Sponsor

Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante

Jack Hayes, traveler and author of the three-volume poetry collection Prayer Wind, will read from his work about nature and the cycles of the year. He will be joined by Susan Rich, author of Blue Atlas, reading from her story about a searching Jewish woman traveling from West Africa to Europe and Morocco. Gail Pasternack, president of Willamette Writers and ordained Maggidah storyteller, will also participate in the evening with stories and possible excerpts from her upcoming novel.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Amy Leona Havin is a poet, essayist, and arts journalist based in Portland, Oregon. She writes about language arts, dance, and film for Oregon ArtsWatch and is a staff writer with The Oregonian/OregonLive. Her work has been published in San Diego Poetry Annual, HereIn Arts Journal, Humana Obscura, The Chronicle, and others. She has been an artist-in-residence at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Archipelago Gallery, and Art/Lab, and was shortlisted for the Bridport International Creative Writing Prize in poetry. Havin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts and is the Artistic Director of Portland-based dance performance company, The Holding Project.

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