Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon

LitWatch January: To the new year

2023 begins with readings by authors including Erika Bolstad, Nathan Slinker, Leanne Grabel, Bill Siverly, Curtis White, Dianne Stepp, and Josephine Woolington.

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With what stillness at last
you appear in the valley
your first sunlight reaching down
to touch the tips of a few
high leaves that do not stir
as though they had not noticed
and did not know you at all
then the voice of a dove calls
from far away in itself
to the hush of the morning

so this is the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible

— “To the New Year” by W.S. Merwin


Well, dear readers, we’ve made it to 2023! The year is off to an exciting start with author readings, book signings, an open mic, and book launches by local and nationally celebrated authors.

If your New Year’s resolution involves reading more local poetry, consider picking up a copy of The Naked Room, by Oregon Book Award recipient Willa Schneberg. The forthcoming collection, available Jan. 15 from Broadstone Books Press, explores Schneberg’s inner life as a professional psychotherapist through her complex personal and professional points of view. Through a reflective and empathetic lens, Schneberg looks at the larger system of psychiatric treatment and delves into its history of dangerous experimental treatments, rooted prejudices, and barriers to access.

Later that week, journalist Erika Bolstad will talk with author of The Golden State, Lydia Kiesling, to discuss Bolstad’s new nonfiction release, Windfall: The Prairie Woman Who Lost Her Way and the Great-Granddaughter Who Found Her. When her mother died, Bolstad learned her homesteader grandmother, committed to an asylum by her husband in the early 1900s, had left her family the mineral rights to her land.

Torn by her desire to know more of her family’s history, her professional understanding of the consequences of utilizing fossil fuels, and her knowledge of the financial stability the mineral rights could give her family, Bolstad headed for North Dakota’s challenging landscape. The event will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Powell’s Books, with signed editions available for pre-order.

Sponsor

Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon

Week 1: Jan. 1-7

Fishtrap Fireside: Sebastian Hobbs, Kathryn Kemp, and Nathan Slinker
Presented by Fishtrap
7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6
Bowlby Building on Main Street and via ZOOM
107 W. Main St., Enterprise
Free

Reed College student Sebastian Hobbs, Walla Walla University doctoral degree candidate Kathryn Kemp, and former Summer Fishtrap Fellow Nathan Slinker will be featured during Fishtrap Fireside. They will read from their most recent works, including Slinker’s 2015 limited release Nineteen Windows and a Door: Poems From the Black Mountain Fire Lookout.

Week 2: Jan. 8-14

In-Store Poetry Reading: Leanne Grabel and Elaine S. Nussbaum
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland
Free

Leanne Grabel — Portland-based writer, illustrator, performer, and creator of Brontosaurus — will read from My Husband’s Eyebrows, a collection of prose poems recounting her marriage. She will be joined by Elaine Nussbaum, who will read from Blood Moon, a collection of poetry about the first year and a half of the pandemic.

In-Store Poetry Reading: Bill Siverly and Penelope Scambly Schott
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland
Free

Sponsor

Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon

Bill Siverly, Portland area author and Native American and world literatures instructor, will read from his newest collection, Starry Night. The book explores Siverly’s time in Germany and Idaho, and considers the effects of humans on the world, from pandemics to drought. Siverly will be joined by Penelope Scambly Schott reading from Angels, a sensual and honest collection that is “tender toward dogs, tenderly pitying of men, ensnared by motherhood, and above all (or below all) humane.” (Alicia Ostriker, author The Volcano and After)

Week 3: Jan. 15-21

Vancouver Willamette Writers Open Mic
Presented by Willamette Writers
6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, via ZOOM
Free

The Vancouver chapter of Willamette Writers welcomes you to participate in this open mic event. Share a poem, short essay, short story, or excerpt up to 5 minutes long. Reading is first-come, first-read; to ensure you get a spot, email vancouver@willamettewriters.org. 

Curtis White will read from his new book, “Transcendent: Art and Dharma in a Time of Collapse,” Jan. 18 at Powell’s Books.

“Transcendent”: Author Reading by Curtis White
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

Curtis White will read from his newest book, Transcendent: Art and Dharma in a Time of Collapse. Recently released by Melville House, the work considers the future of Buddhism, whether Buddhism can find its place within the modern materialistic world, and how to separate the concepts of transcendence from ideas like “magic” and “miracle”. It also recalls artists drawn to Buddhist concepts in their works, such as the English Romantics, Beat poets, and participants of the 1960s counterculture.

Week 4: January 22-31

Sponsor

Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon

In-Store Poetry Reading: Dianne Stepp and Judith Montgomery
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland
Free

Portland poet Dianne Stepp will read from her collection The Nest’s Dark Eye, an exploration of shared emotions like grief, perception, and compassion for others. Stepp will be joined by local poet and author of Litany for Wound and Bloom, Judith Montgomery, reading from Mercy, which chronicles her path of caring for her husband as he undergoes treatment for cancer.

Josephine Woolington will be signing books at Roundabout Books in Bend on Jan. 24.

In-Store Event: Reading and Book Signing by Josephine Woolington
Presented by Roundabout Books
6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24
Roundabout Books
900 N.W. Mt. Washington Drive, No. 110, Bend
$5 or purchase of the book

Oregon author and journalist Josephine Woolington will sign and read from her debut work, Where We Call Home: Lands, Seas, and Skies of the Pacific Northwest. Woolington uncovers the vibrant species of flora and fauna in the Pacific Northwest and impresses their importance upon the reader with her tender stories.

Joy Castro and S. Tremaine Nelson
Presented by Literary Arts
6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, via ZOOM
Free

Join the author of One Brilliant Flame and Nearer Home, Joy Castro, and the editor of Northwest Review, S. Tremaine Nelson, in virtual conversation via ZOOM. The two will talk about Castro’s career and newest work, Flight Risk, which was a finalist for a 2022 International Thriller Award. Attendance is free of charge, but advance registration is recommended.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Amy Leona Havin is a writer, choreographer, and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, and is the Artistic Director of Portland-based multi-media dance company The Holding Project. Her works can be read in Humana Obscura, San Diego Poetry Annual, The Dust Magazine, The Chronicle, Mountain Bluebird Magazine, and others, and she has been shortlisted for the Bridport International Writing Competition Prize in Poetry. Havin’s artistic process is rooted in classical and somatic movement practices, non-fiction writing, and honoring the landscape of the natural world.

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