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LitWatch June: A field guide discovers Cascadia through art, ecology, and poetry

Other readings this month feature Portland poet Carlos Reyes, Ken Jennings of "Jeopardy!" fame, and photographer Jamie Beck's exploration of Provence.


Join five authors from the Pacific Northwest as they gather to read from Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry during a free event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, at Broadway Books. 

The book, edited by CMarie Fuhrman, Elizabeth Bradfield, and Derek Sheffield, is a diverse field guide of natural history, art, ecology, and poetry focusing on Cascadia — the stretch of land from Southeast Alaska to Northern California and between the Pacific Ocean and the Continental Divide. Through poetry, visual art, and stories of cultural history, Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry unifies 13 bioregions by expanding and elaborating on definitions of cryptobiotic soil, the giant Pacific octopus, ravens, marmots, snowberries, and 120 other animals, plants, and areas that compose the region. Unlike typical guides that rely on writing and photographs, this guide seeks to break the mold by featuring prose, poetry, sketches, classical natural-history drawing styles, graffiti art, and more.

Author Brittney Corrigan from Portland, author John Daniel from the Coast Range foothills west of Eugene, creative writing teacher Jessica Johnson from Portland, author Nick Neely from La Grande, and poet Jennifer Perrine from Portland will appear in person to share their insights on the area as they read from the guide, which has been praised as “a gift in reciprocity for the gifts of the land” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, author, scientist, and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Week 1: June 1-7

Dan Kaplan, Bill Carty, and Jae Nichelle
Presented by Powell’s Books
2 p.m. Sunday, June 4
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland

Author Dan Kaplan will be joined by poets Bill Carty and Jae Nichelle to discuss his newest release, 2.4.18. The book is an erasure of the Feb. 4, 2018, issue of The New York Times and considers the importance of context in both artistic and journalistic writing. By distorting facts through the removal of written portions of the original articles, Kaplan takes the reader on a wild ride of what is and is not essential.

Ocean Vuong in Conversation with Anis Mojgani
Presented by Powell’s Books
6 p.m. Monday, June 5
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hill Crossing
3415 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton


Washougal Art & Music Festival

Ocean Vuong, author of the novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, is back with a poetry collection, Time Is a Mother. Vuong, a 2019 MacArthur fellow, will talk with Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani about the collection that deals with grief, loss, acceptance, memory, and ritual in the face of his mother’s death.

Moe Bowstern, Mic Crenshaw, and Erin Yanke in Conversation with Jonathan Mozzochi and China
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, June 6
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland

Moe Bowstern, Mic Crenshaw, and Erin Yanke, co-authors of It Did Happen Here, will discuss the book chronicling the 1988 Portland murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw by racist skinheads and the racial context behind the crime. The book also compiles interviews with those who worked to fight injustice, including members of the Portland chapters of Anti-Racist Action, Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, and the Coalition for Human Dignity, to form an oral history of a socially and morally significant time in the city. They will be joined by Jonathan Mozzochi, founding member of the Portland-based Coalition for Human Dignity, and China, activist, community organizer, doula, and educator.

Week 2: June 8-14

Poetry in Translation: Reading and Conversation with PEN Award Finalists
Presented by Literary Arts
4 p.m. Saturday, June 10, via ZOOM
Free, registration required

Daniel Borzutsky, translator of Paula Ilabaca Nuñez’ The Loose Pearl, winner of 2023 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, joins other translators of PEN finalists from Chile, Haiti, Iran, the Slovenian-Austrian border, and Bolivia in an online event. Other translators are Conor Bracken (No Way in the Skin without This Bloody Embrace by Jean D’Amérique), Elizabeth T. Gray Jr. (Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season by Forough Farrokhzad), Tess Lewis (distant transit by Maja Haderlap), and Lynette Yetter (Adela Zamudio: Selected Poetry & Prose by Adela Zamudio).

In a June 15 Zoom presentation, Jamie Beck will discuss her book about living in France.

Author Talk with Award-Winning Photographer Jamie Beck
Presented by Jackson County Library Services
11 a.m. Thursday, June 15, via ZOOM


Washougal Art & Music Festival

Jamie Beck, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning photographer, will discuss her newest release, An American in Provence, in a Zoom presentation. The mixture of art book, travel diary, memoir, and cookbook focuses on the south of France and melds escapism, practical advice, and recipes in one beautifully photographed collection that chronicles Beck’s time in and feelings about France.

Week 3: June 15-21

Portland poet Carlos Reyes, pictured at the Poets’ Bar in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in France, will read from his collection of poems about his world travels on June 19 at Annie Bloom’s Books.

Poetry Reading: Carlos Reyes and Richard Robbins
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, June 19
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland

Based on reflections about his time in the Caribbean, South America, and Europe, Carlos Reyes’ autobiographical poetry collection, The Four Hinges of the World, considers the world as having four corners, four hinges, and therefore four doors to walk through. Reyes will be joined for a reading by Richard Robbins, poet and author of The Oratory of All Souls.

Ken Jennings: “100 Places to See After You Die”
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, June 19
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland

Ken Jennings, author, Jeopardy! champion, and current Jeopardy! Masters host, will read from his new book, 100 Places to See After You Die. The book is a spoof on a travel guide, listing humorous afterlife destinations and answering possible search queries like “Which circles of Dante’s Inferno have the nicest accommodations?” and “Where’s the best place to grab a bite to eat in the ancient Egyptian underworld?”

Science writer Jennifer Ackerman discusses her book about the enigmatic owl on June 20 at Powell’s Books.

Jennifer Ackerman: “What an Owl Knows”
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, June 20
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland


Seattle Opera Pagliacci

Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way, will read from her newest work, What an Owl Knows. The book discusses the history and biology of owls in addition to new scientific knowledge behind how they behave, think, and process their surroundings. Through personal field observations and in-depth research, Ackerman lays out the compelling and thought-provoking evidence for why owls are important — not only to their ecosystems but to the world at large.

Week 4: June 22-30

Poetry Reading: Stephen Thomas and Teresa K. Miller
Presented by Mother Foucault’s Bookshop
7 p.m. Thursday, June 22
Mother Foucault’s Bookshop
523 S.E. Morrison St., Portland

Stephen Thomas, poet and founder of The Cabaret Hegel and sustainable agriculture community Gemeinschaft Sonnenwald, will read from his book Journeyman. He will be joined by Teresa K. Miller, National Poetry Series-winning author of Borderline Fortune, sped, and Forever No Lo, reading from her work.

Poetry Reading: Bill Siverly, Barbara Drake, and Michael McDowell
Presented by Broadway Books
6 p.m. Thursday, June 29
Broadway Books
1714 N.E. Broadway St., Portland


Oregon Cultural Trust

Bill Siverly, Barbara Drake, and Michael McDowell, three poets who have been meeting at each other’s houses for a decade and call themselves the Maple Table Poets, will read from their collections in the last reading of the season for Broadway Books. Siverly will read from Starry Night, Drake will read from The Road to Lilac Hill, and McDowell will read from The Hundred-Year House.

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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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