PCS Clyde’s

LitWatch February: Celebrating James Tate, a love-themed poetry slam, and a conversation with novelist Jason Mott

Other bookish events this month include jazz bassist Chuck Israels on his musical memoir, Doran Larson's look at prisons from the inside, and Hamilton Nolan on the labor movement.

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love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

— “love is a place” by e.e. cummings

My favorite love poem of all time is surely [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in)] by e.e. cummings, with its richness and straightforward devotion. For this year’s month of love, however, I chose to feature his love is a place as a short ode to the celebration of St. Valentine — the third-century Roman saint who became the patron of lovers, beekeepers, and those with epilepsy. Originating from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which has roots in pagan rituals, Valentine’s Day became the feast of St. Valentine, and along the way, gathered influence from the Norman celebration of Galatin’s Day. The fete was later romanticized by Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare and became a day for exchanging cards and gifts after the Industrial Revolution. The holiday we know and love (or perhaps despise) today is undoubtedly a Hallmark Holiday complete with chocolates, balloons, extravagant presents, and corporate sales — but we can still appreciate its unique and often contested history (and connection to literary icons) and opt to commemorate the month with a healthy sampling of love poems and plenty of literary events.


Bassist Chuck Israels will read from his memoir, “Bass Notes” on Valentine’s eve at Powell’s City of Books.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, Chuck Israels will be at Powell’s City of Books to discuss his new book, Bass Notes, and his devotion to music. Israels was a bassist for the Bill Evans Trio and worked with Charles Mingus, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Joan Baez, and Herbie Hancock. His memoir draws the reader into a meditation of jazz history while musing about its future. Israels will also discuss his decision to leave the Bill Evans Trio this past year, conservatory and higher education music training, and “ill-advised crossover attempts” between classical music and contemporary pop, as well as the important give and take between disciplined collaboration and individual freedom for any artist. He will be joined by Jay Schornstein, an attorney specializing in intellectual law, entertainment law, contracts, and music copyrights.


Week 1: Feb. 1-7

Sponsor

MYS Oregon to Iberia

Literary Soiree
Presented by Tsunami Books
7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2 
Tsunami Books
2585 Willamette St., Eugene
Donation at the door

Eugene authors Dante Zuniga-West, Jorah LaFleur, Rick Levin, and Patrick Newson join Tsunami Books owner Scott Landfield for a literary soiree. This author reading will feature poetry and prose in celebration of the end of treacherous winter weather.

Doran Larson will read Feb. 4 from “Inside Knowledge” at Powell’s City of Books.

Doran Larson: Inside Knowledge
Presented by Powell’s Books
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Doran Larson’s Inside Knowledge, newly released from NYU Press, considers the American prison system from the perspectives of those experiencing it from the inside. Drawing on pieces in the American Prison Writing Archive, Larson argues that prisons spread more harm among their communities than they prevent or contain potential harm, and that they “degrade and debilitate” the incarcerated.


Week 2: Feb. 7-14

Bianca Bosker in Conversation with Karen Brooks
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Journalist Bianca Bosker will be joined by food critic Karen Brooks to discuss Bosker’s newest release, Get the Picture. Fascinated by the world of contemporary art, Bosker throws herself into the art world by rubbing shoulders with artists, collectors, gallerists, and other characters in the scene. Bosker develops a sense of what it means to live immersed in art through uniquely challenging encounters and her own experiences in the creative process, discovering art’s effect on culture, the economy, and the self.

Sponsor

PCS Clyde’s

Ten readers will perform their love-themed works at Roundabout Books.

Love Poetry Slam
Presented by Roundabout Books
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13
Roundabout Books
900 N.W. Mt. Washington Drive, No. 110, Bend
$5 ticket available here

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Roundabout Books’ Love Poetry Slam. Ten readers will each have five minutes to read up to three poems each about love, friendships, heartbreak, relationships of all kinds, and that which lights up the heart. To register, email events@roundaboutbookshop.com.


Week 3: Feb. 15-21

John Morrison and Willa Schneberg
Presented by Chaparral Books
1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17
Chaparral Books
5210 S. Corbett Ave., Portland
Free

Willa Schneberg — poet, ceramicist, curator, and licensed clinical social worker — will read from her new book, The Naked Room, and participate in a discussion about craft, passion, and a lifelong commitment to art. She will be joined by John Morrison, Oregon Book Award in Poetry finalist for Heaven of the Moment, reading from his most recent release, Monkey Island.

Hamilton Nolan will read from his new release, “The Hammer,” joined by Sara Nelson.

Hamilton Nolan in Conversation with Sara Nelson
Presented by Powell’s Books
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Hamilton Nolan, labor journalist who has written for In These Times and The Guardian, will read from his new book, The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor. Nolan explores the American labor movement, contending that unions are the strongest force for helping a suffering labor force. He explores where labor and politics meld and how battles within the labor movement will influence the future of American economics and existence. Nolan will be joined by Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Sponsor

All Classical Radio James Depreist

Reading: Roxy Manning and Sarah Peyton: Antiracism
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland
Free

Authors Roxy Manning and Sarah Peyton will discuss and read from their books How to Have Antiracist Conversations and The Antiracist Heart. The latter, co-written by the two authors, considers an innovative path to antiracism through neuroscience, questionnaires, and journaling. The authors unveil concepts such as bias and trauma, along with exercises for self-reflection. Manning’s How to Have Antiracist Conversations draws on concepts from Martin Luther King Jr. and questions whether an individual can be fierce and compassionate at the same time — explaining how it is possible to disrupt hateful and habit-based forms of behavior.

Join Jason Mott on Zoom as he discusses “Hell of a Book.”

Exploring Identity, Love and Being Black in America in Fiction Writing: A Conversation with Jason Mott
Presented by Jackson County Library
1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20
Online via ZOOM
Free

Jason Mott, a New York Times bestselling author, will join Jackson County Library live via Zoom to discuss his newest release, Hell of a Book. The novel tells both the story of a Black author embarking on a countrywide book tour and a young Black boy named Soot who lives in a rural town and his imaginary friend, The Kid. When The Kid begins to appear to the author, Mott’s characters and stories converge and new twists are uncovered.


Week 4: Feb. 21-29

Portland poets read Feb. 21 at Broadway Books from the recently published collection by the late James Tate.

Hell, I Love Everybody: An Evening of James Tate Poetry
Presented by Broadway Books
6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21
Broadway Books
1714 N.E. Broadway St., Portland
Free

Join Portland poets John Morrison, Zach Schomburg, and Leni Zumas as they read from Hell, I Love Everybody: An Evening of James Tate Poetry to celebrate the new posthumous collection by the American poet and Pulitzer Prize winner. This book features 52 of Tate’s poems, some dating from 1967, which have been described by The Poetry Foundation as “tragic, comic, absurdist, ironic, hopeful, haunting, lonely, and surreal.”

Sponsor

WESTAF Shoebox Arts

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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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