Oregon Cultural Trust

LitWatch September: Prompts, Poetry Readings, Live Performances, and PICA’s TBA:21

It’s TBA time! Amy Leona Havin checks out the literary side of PICA's festival and other book events.


Photograph from the IPRC Facebook page

This month the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is calling for community participants for its “Poetry Is A Prompt” community healing project. The inclusive project is one of the City of Portland and Creative Laureate Emeritus Subashini Ganesan-Forbes’s thirteen picks for developing of an immersive experience based on healing and regeneration through the arts. 

“Poetry Is A Prompt” is described as “a collaborative poetry installation that is an opportunity to reflect on grief and healing from the past year of heightened racist violence and the evolving COVID pandemic, as well as the many personal losses each of us have experienced.” 

In the project’s first stage, IPRC invited Portland poets and writers Intisar Abioto, Stephanie Adams-Santos, jayy dodd, Catie Hannigan, and Coleman Stevenson to create a few optimistic lines that will be added to a sculpture created by artist Crystal Thomas in hopes that their works will inspire others in the community to add their own thought-provoking words of reflection and encouragement to a featured paper garland.

Go to the mouth of the river in you,

where you have felt the swell and dammed it,

where your body ends and begins… 


Oregon Cultural Trust

Stephanie Adams-Santos

“In this next stage of the pandemic, IPRC staff wanted to recreate something similar but to experiment with how it might feel to create collaborative poetry in this moment, a year and a half later, partially in person,” said IPRC Executive Director Alley Pezanoski-Browne. “We wanted to experiment with poetry as a way to heal … to share the process of reading, writing, and creating together.”

All are welcome to participate though Sept. 16, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between noon and 6 p.m. at IPRC’s new Martha Grover Zine Library & classroom, 318 S.E. Main Street, Suite 145, Portland.

Photograph from PICA’s Twitter

For those of you who get a giddy feeling at turning the calendar page from August to September knowing that PICA’s TBA Festival is just around the corner, I have also compiled a condensed list of this year’s multidisciplinary events that involve writing or literature aspects, or works by writers:

The Who Cares Clock (T.W.C.C.)
Eileen Isagon Skyers
September 16-October 3
Location: This is a printed publication

Directed by Jennie MaryTai Liu & Simon Liu with sound by Andrew Gilbert
September 17-October 3
Location: PICA Annex

Panel Discussion: Garrick Imaani, Travis Stewart, and Brook Colley with Ashley Stull Meyers
September 18
Location: Streaming Online


Oregon Cultural Trust

Good Mourning: Rituals for Displacement
Mia Imani
September 19
Location: TBD

Artist Conversation: Emily Johnson, Raven Chacon, Drew Michael, and Holly Mititquq Nordlum
September 19
Location: Streaming Online

Artist Lecture: Eileen Isagon Skyer
September 22
Location: Streaming Online through PNCA

Co-Curated by S.J Norman and Joseph M. Pierce
September 22-December 20
Location: Knowledge of Wounds

Emily Jones & Hannah Krafcik 
September 30-October 2
Location: PICA & Streaming Online

Dáyquiri: Little Poems
Heldáy de la Cruz
October 2
Location: This is a printed publication

And now, on to my regular September calendar of events!


Oregon Cultural Trust

Week 1: September 1-7

Photograph courtesy of Powell’s Books

Jane Kirkpatrick in Conversation with Craig Johnson

Presented by Powell’s Books
Thursday, September 7
5 p.m. via ZOOM

Jane Kirkpatrick discusses her new book, The Healing of Natalie Curtis (Fleming H. Revell), in which a singer and musician experiences a breakdown right before playing with the New York Philharmonic for the first time. Due to this event, Natalie goes on a quest for healing, which introduces her to the sacred music practice of America’s Indigenous heritages. Kirkpatrick will be joined by author Craig Johnson of the book and Netflix television series Longmire.

Week 2: September 8-14

Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic with Featured Reader Jeffrey Morgan  

Presented by Christopher Luna and Morgan Paige
7 p.m.
Live Event
Art at the Cave, 108 E. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, Wash.
$5 suggested donation; advance registration required

If you’ve been craving in-person readings, hop over the bridge into Vancouver, where Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic has you covered. Featuring Jeffrey Morgan, author of Crying Shame (BlazeVOX) and The Last Note Becomes Its Listener (Conduit Books & Ephemera), this month’s event will also include an open mic. To register or attend, email christopherjluna@gmail.com by no later than midnight on September 8 to indicate your interest in performing or watching.


Oregon Cultural Trust

Our Ladies of Darkness: Strange & the Familiars, Bright Raven, Jennifer Robin

Presented by Laurelthirst Public House
Friday, September 10
9-11:30 p.m. 
Live Event
Laurelthirst Public House, 958 N.E. Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232
$20; proof of vaccination and masks required

Jennifer Robin, Portland powerhouse writer, performer, and author of Earthquakes in Candyland (Fungasm Press), will be featured in this live literary and musical event, alongside Strange & the Familiars and Bright Raven. “Consider us your guides on this journey through the darkness, Laurelthirst says of the event. “Deep down, you know that the only way is through.” Since this live event takes place in Multnomah County, masks will be mandatory. The venue is also requiring proof of vaccination or negative Covid19 test within 48 hours of the performance.

Week 3: September 15-21

Workshop: Build Your Own Publicity Plan

Presented by Literary Arts
Wednesdays, September 15-October 6
6-8 p.m. via ZOOM
$195; access program available

Self-promotion is arguably one of the most important things authors can do to increase their audience base, their chance of publication, and to advertise their forthcoming books. In this four-session workshop, English teacher and Mind the Bird Media founder Heather Brown will host a group of students as they learn about marketing, creating timelines, general expectations of the industry, and “how to collaborate with your press, and when (or whether) to hire an outside publicist.” Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org to learn about Access Program financial options.

Livestream Poetry Reading: Brittney Corrigan and David J. S. Pickering


Oregon Cultural Trust

Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
Thursday, September 16
7-8 p.m. via ZOOM
Free; advance registration required

Characters like Medusa, Bigfoot, and the Mad Hatter are reimagined as parents in Brittney Corrigan’s new poetry collection, which looks at popular myths and folklore from the lens of daughters. Her poems offer unique perspectives of love, shame, grief, and anger, disrupting the traditional way that these age-old stories are told. Corrigan will be joined by native Oregonian David J.S. Pickering, author of Jesus Comes to Me as Judy Garland

Photograph from PICA TBA:21 program website

The Who Cares Clock (T.W.C.C.)

Presented by PICA’s TBA:21
Thursday, September 16-Sunday, October 3
Price: Four forever stamps
Only available via USPS 

This piece joins Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s 2021 Time Based Art festival as a print-based offering “released at random over an undetermined amount of time and available only through the mail.” Created by Brooklyn artist, writer, curator, and author of Vanishing Acts Eileen Isagon Skyers, The Who Cares Clock examines concepts of forgetfulness, linear time, giving up, and abstract time. To participate and receive a printed publication, mail an envelope with four forever stamps to:

T.W.C.C. c/o
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art 
15 N.E. Hancock Street
Portland, Oregon 97212-3936

Defne Suman in Conversation with Maureen Freely


CMNW Summer Festival SB FIXED #1, TP, Top

Presented by Powell’s Books
Tuesday, September 21
7 p.m. via ZOOM

Join Defne Suman as she talks about her new novel, The Silence of Scheherazade (Head of Zeus). A story about Scheherazade, a son born in the ancient city of Smyrna during 1905, this epic tale weaves through themes of death, grief, love, and birth through “the intertwining fates of a Levantine, a Greek, a Turkish, and an Armenian family.” Maureen Freely, author of Sailing Through Byzantium, will accompany Suman in conversation.

Week 4: September 22-30

Creating the Graphic Novel: Inception to Publication

Presented by Literary Arts
Wednesday, September 22
7-8 p.m. via ZOOM
Free; advance registration required

Jonathan Hill, author of Odessa, will be joined by past 2014-2020 Oregon Book Award winners Barry Deutsch, Nicole J. Georges, Aaron Steinke, and M.K. Reed for a panel discussion about the inception, creation, publication, and process of creating successful graphic novels. This is a free event, with advanced registration required for attendance.

Photograph courtesy of Annie Bloom’s Books website

Livestream Reading: Stephen Cohen: Baggy Red Pants and Other Stories

Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
Monday, September 20
7-8 p.m. via ZOOM
Free; advance registration required


CMNW Summer Festival SB FIXED #1, TP, Top

Lake Oswego writer, performer, visual artist, and musician 3 Hand Stephen, aka Stephen Cohen, will appear virtually at Annie Bloom’s Books for a reading and performance from his newest collection, Baggy Red Pants and Other Stories. This book has received praise from local artists including Born Crazy author Bonnie Bostrom: “I just read Stephen Cohen’s charming book. He provides the lucky reader with glimpses into his life by writing scintillating vignettes and sharing his art pieces, poems, and lyrics. His is a rare kind of creativity, one that uses everything at his disposal to make something novel and enchanting. This book is proof of his creative genius.”

Margaret Renkl in Conversation with Mary Laura Philpott

Presented by Powell’s Books
Monday, September 27
5 p.m. via ZOOM

Margaret Renkl will read from her newest release, Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, in which 60 of her pieces written for The New York Times form a collection of natural beauty. Renkl, who’s been called “the voice of the South,” will also discuss Graceland, At Last (Milkweed), in which she writes about her experiences with the complexities of her home region. Renkl will be joined by I Miss You When I Blink author Mary Laura Philpott.


Submit your literary events, workshops, readings, and book releases to the Oregon ArtsWatch LitWatch Monthly calendar. Send your event information, press materials, and book review inquiries to Amy Leona Havin at amyleonahavin@gmail.com.

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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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