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LitWatch March: 5th Annual Writers Read Celebration pays homage to Papa

March brings ambitious projects: Writers imagining themselves in Ernest Hemingway's shoes, a modern riff on "Finnegans Wake," and a browse of the typical Soviet Jewish bookshelf.


If Ernest Hemingway were to visit the North Coast, perhaps he would take a trip on a fishing boat, as he did in 1934 in Key West, when Hemingway (left) and Carlos Gutierrez traveled aboard the writer’s fishing boat, Pilar. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
If Ernest Hemingway were to visit the North Coast, perhaps he would take a trip on a fishing boat, as he did in 1934 in Key West: Hemingway (left) and Carlos Gutierrez travel aboard the writer’s fishing boat, Pilar. Photograph: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

“If Ernest Hemingway arrived on the North Coast, what would he say?” That’s the question the 5th Annual Writers Read Celebration posed to 14 writers from Oregon and Southwest Washington.

They will answer March 10 with excerpts from original short stories and poems during an hour-long reading in the Cannon Beach Library. According to the event website, readers and works are:

Darrell Clukey, Cannon Beach: short story — The Passing Visitor
Celeste Deveney, Nehalem: short story — A Dog’s Tale
Butch Freedman, Tillamook: short story — An Old Man Surfs
Dian Greenwood, Portland: short story — On First Seeing
Craig Allen Heath, Longview, Wash.: short story — Papa at Cannon Beach
Marc Imlay, Longview, Wash.: short story — The Young Boy and the Seagull
Eve Marx, Seaside: short story — Nothing’s Going to Happen
Steven Mayer, Cannon Beach: short story — Hemingway at the Beach
Russell Myers, Vancouver, Wash.: short story — The Library
Jennifer Nightingale, Astoria: poems — Papa’s Bindlestiff and Eel Grass
Steve Price, Portland: short story — Leaving Cuba
Scott T. Starbuck, Vancouver, Wash.: poem — Salmon Prophet
L Swartz, Wheeler: short story — 12Step Famous
James A. Tweedie, Long Beach, Wash.: short stories — Castaway and Birthday at the Beach

The 7 p.m. event, hosted by Cannon Beach Library and NW Authors Series, will offer refreshments and snacks.  If you can’t attend in person, a live-stream will be available on the Cannon Beach Library website.

Week 1: March 1-7

Spoken Word with Shane Koyczan and Jorah LaFleur
Presented by Tsunami Books
7:30 p.m. Monday, March 6
Hybrid Gallery
941 W. Third Ave., Eugene

Join international slam poet Shane Koyczan, winner of the Individual Champion title at the National Poetry Slam and the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics, as he performs some of his most popular pieces, including We Are More. He will be joined by Jorah LaFleur, Writer in Residence at Wordcrafters in Eugene, for an evening of slam poetry and spoken word. Tickets are available from Tsunami Books.


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MacArthur Fellow Kiese Laymon will give a free talk March 7 on place, power, race and responsibility.

Consider This With Kiese Laymon
Presented by Oregon Humanities
7 p.m. Tuesday, March 7
Alberta Rose Theatre
3000 N.E. Alberta St., Portland
$15; limited free tickets available

Kiese Laymon, Rice University professor, 2022 MacArthur Fellow, and author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, will speak about place, power, race, and responsibility. The conversation will occur in person and will also be live-streamed at no cost on Oregon Humanities’ YouTube channel.

Week 2: March 8-14

Reading and Performance: Neal Kosaly-Meyer
Presented by Works on Paper: Experiments in Language and Sound
6 p.m. lecture, 7:30 p.m. performance Saturday, March 11
Passages Bookshop
1801 N.W. Upshur St., Suite 660, Portland
$10-$20, nobody turned away

Neal Kosaly-Meyer will perform a creative reading of A Finnegans Wake Project, based on James Joyce’s final, difficult novel. The Seattle-based composer has spent 11 years memorizing and learning Finnegans Wake. On March 11, he will perform Finnegans Wake, Part II, Chapter 1 (the ninth chapter) alongside auditory and visual elements after an introductory lecture and discussion.

Chaitali Sen will read from her new short story collection on March 13.

Reading: Chaitali Sen: “A New Race of Men from Heaven”
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, March 13
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland

Chaitali Sen, Texas-based author of The Pathless Sky, will read from her new book of stories, A New Race of Men from Heaven. Author Danielle Evans says the work moves “elegantly between the ache of loneliness and the grace of connection.” The collection follows a cast of wandering characters as they navigate their way through grief, loneliness, longing, hope, and newfound power.


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Philip Kenney in Conversation With John Brehm
Presented by Broadway Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14
Broadway Books
1714 N.E. Broadway, Portland

Join Philip Kenney, psychotherapist, meditator, poet, and author of Radiance and Where Roses Bloom, as he reads from his new book of haiku, Only This Step, from Finishing Line Press. He appears with John Brehm, Portland-area poet, teacher, essayist, and author of No Day at the Beach, for an evening of poetry and prose. Masks are required for this event.

Week 3: March 15-21

Reed College Professor Marat Grinberg discusses the Soviet Jewish Bookshelf on March 16.

Reading: Marat Grinberg: The Soviet Jewish Bookshelf
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 p.m. Thursday, March 16
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland

Marat Grinberg, Reed College professor and author of I am to be Read not from Left to Right, but in Jewish: from Right to Left: The Poetics of Boris Slutsky and Commissar, will read from The Soviet Jewish Bookshelf. In his newest book, he suggests that during a time when Soviet Jewish reading was limited, “reading uniquely provided many Soviet Jews with an entry to communal memory and identity.” Grinberg aims to identify the books on “the typical Soviet Jewish bookshelf, consisting of a few translated works from Hebrew and numerous translations from Yiddish and German as well as Russian books with both noticeable and subterranean Jewish content,” and highlight the generational importance of reading, especially for the Jewish community.

Michelle Dowd in Conversation With Liz Prato
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, March 20
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland

Michelle Dowd will read from her new coming-of-age book Forager, detailing her time living in and escaping from an apocalyptic cult in the mountains of Angeles National Forest. After being born into the cult started by her grandfather in the 1930s, Dowd survived a childhood of abuse, manipulation, and poverty before choosing to leave. Dowd will be joined by Liz Prato, author of Kids in America: A Gen X Reckoning.


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Week 4: March 21-31

Reading: Jacqueline Winspear
Presented by Broadway Books
6 p.m. Thursday, March 23
Broadway Books
1714 N.E. Broadway, Portland
$30 book pre-order required for entry

Join Jacquline Winspear, author of memoir This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing, as she reads from her forthcoming novel, The White Lady. The novel, which is not part of Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series, tells the story of a woman desperate to escape her past, a villager his wife, and a little girl, who together uncover difficult mistakes and move beyond their regrets. Masks are required for this event.

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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.


One Response

  1. I am delighted to see that two of my favorite persons from my past will be joining in conversation: Philip Kenney and John Brehm. Long ago I was a client of Philip’s and a student of John’s. I regret that I won’t be able to see you together at Broadway Books next Tuesday. All best to each of you in your writing and living.

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