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Christopher Luna performs with Tyler Burba by Nathan Tompkins

Christopher Luna performs with Tyler Burba by Nathan Tompkins

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photos from the Richard Brautigan celebration and open mic at the Clark County Historical Museum January 2011


Thank you to everyone who attended our Richard Brautigan reading and open mic at the Clark County Historical Museum on January 13. We heard poetry from Christi Krug, Steve Williams, Constance Hall, Jim Mockford (who read poems by Robert Frost and Alfred Lord Tennyson), Jim Martin, Dan Nelson, Alex Birkett, Dennis McBride, Carter Crockett, Kori Sayer, Mike G, Rob, Mary Otte, Emmett Wheatfall, Jessica Samuelsen, and Mokii. I welcomed my dear friend and partner in truth and beauty, Ernesto Claros, back to Vancouver. It was a great night. We had close to 50 people in the room. I am so proud to be a part of this literary community, which continues to grow.



Special thanks to Susan Tissot and the museum staff for staying open late and being such gracious hosts, and to John Barber, who shared his thoughts about Brautigan’s writing and a few personal stories about Brautigan. Check out John's amazingly thorough Brautigan site, http://brautigan.net/

John Barber shares his thoughts
about legendary NW writer Richard Brautigan 

Read the Columbian's brief mention of the reading:
http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/jan/21/poet-laureate-for-vancouver/

Constance Hall performs a poem by Patricia Smith

Christopher Luna



Thanks, too, to everyone who attended my talk on courage at National Unpublished Writers Day, which took place on January 30, Brautigan's birthday. The museum plans to make this an annual event. Congratulations to the museum for their amazing Brautigan exhibit and to procuring the Brautigan Library, a collection based on an idea he wrote about in his book The Abortion: An Historical Romance.  


Finally, here is the text of a poem I read that night that mentions Brauitgan, written wehn I was living in Queens, NY, working in the Bronx at the H.W. Wilson Company, and pondering how a move out to the Northwest might change my life....

A spiked baseball bat
for Ward Connerly

The sky is slate grey and its raining and a day spent mired in preparation for an article on the dismantling of affirmative action has left me kinda depressed and I’m sitting on the company bus next to a co-worker who may or may not be aware that she is a lesbian and I’m reading Richard Brautigan’s Revenge of the Lawn particularly charmed by the stories for his daughter he is always gentle and sweet and reverent toward her and I gaze out the window wondering “is this how it’s going to be in Washington?” wondering whether I’ll be able to handle it or will I succumb to light deprivation anxiety I don’t drink coffee after all (except with my love) and Rose is on the bus and the nervous disheveled girl who reminds me of Marie Grosso my first girlfriend in tenth grade who would not kiss me no matter how far into the woods we went and I listen to the excited chatter behind me as the bus makes its way down the street and as we turn the corner I once again check out a brick wall where someone has painted:

J-LOVE

TAZ

SHORT

BROWN

TINY

and we pass Dean’s Shoe Shop and JCR Percussion and Highbridge Fashions (now closed) and I wonder about the folks living in these tiny apartments we pass and just then I notice a sliver of blue splashed across the horizon above Yankee Stadium and the windows on the apt. building light up and twinkle like glitter and as the green greenery of the oh so green trees passes by I become happy as I nod my head to the tune I have just constructed but before this new attitude can take hold I see a blonde haired girl with one hand over her newly bruised eye speed down the street, her righteous swaggering red bandanna bedecked boyfriend a few menacing steps behind and now I sense that it is truly time to go home.

 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Poem beginning with a line by Brittany Baldwin

There are ways people solve you
Brittany Baldwin

Finally found our Western groove:

I will show the strength of laws. Man will only find truth when he searches for truth. Life has its laws. I don’t believe in laws. I am eternal. I hate dramas. I already met you in the future, I don’t need to meet you in the past.

The sky is like a painting.
Happy, with a hint of confusion. Always.
In every car there’s a story.
Your ultimate identity is totally open space.
It’s OK to take naps, as long as you wake up.

I don’t wanna be a scumbag of the earth.
Intentionality is not my forte.
I never really thought too much about algae.
I knew him as a poet, an affliction we shared.


The great poet and chef
Brittany Baldwin


Credit where credit is due:

Finally found our Western groove. Tian


The sky is like a painting. Happy, with a hint of confusion. Always. Angelo Luna

In every car there’s a story. Annette Ernst

Your ultimate identity is totally open space. Allen Ginsberg

It’s OK to take naps, as long as you wake up. Eileen Elliott



I don’t wanna be a scumbag of the earth. Alex K

Intentionality is not my forte. Dan Raphael

I never really thought too much about algae. Kristi M

I knew him as a poet, an affliction we shared. Rick Vrana

"Innocent Deflowered by a Paper Tiger Under an Orange Moon:" Congratulations to Jenney Pauer and a new collage poem by Christopher Luna

Jenney Pauer's reading on Thursday night was brilliant. What amazes me is how real she is, as if the events described in her poignant poems had happened moments before. You cannot fake the kind of raw emotion that she exhibits in performance. You either feel it, or you don't. Jenney is able to put herself right there, and we go along with her. Inspiring. She shows us how it should be done.

The open mic was one of the best poetry readings I have ever attended. I alternated between laughing, crying, and staring ahead in astonishment. For example, I wept uncontrollably at the finish of Dennis McBride's incredible piece which invites us to contemplate that Hitler may have once had love in his heart. Or Jeff Samuelsen's hilarious depiction of an estrogen-fueled Western. What a great night.

What follows is a collage poem that incorporates lines from poems and offhand comments I heard during the course of the evening. I should warn you that it gets a bit filthy, so if that's not your thing, move along. If you want to know who said what, I've included a key below the poem.

In gratitude,
Christopher Luna


Innocent Deflowered by a Paper Tiger

Under an Orange Moon

It was her first reading and
I saw the notebook spin
beneath her trembling fingers
tentative phrases spiraling forth
from the paper into the air
winding ‘round the mic
like the heart’s secret yearning.

Stumbling, sincere,
thinking about picking up
an electric typewriter
she opens her mouth and begins to speak:

“There’s this great big fucking moon out there tonight. I didn’t really expect her to touch my vagina through my pants. Flirted with the paleontologist. He invited me up to his penthouse. I was discovering what it means to be a woman—never mind, I won’t explain that. I talk a little funny because I had oral surgery. I’ve never had any power in my relationships. I have a slight disposition. Red and pink parts. I covet like a motherfucker. Alluding to purity. None of us have any salvation. The sound of salvation is the sound of shame. But I can breathe. Thanks for listening to my ventations.”



There’s this great big fucking moon out there tonight. . . . None of us have any salvation. Ric Vrana

I was discovering what it means to be a woman—never mind, I won’t explain that. Mary McIntosh

I talk a little funny because I had oral surgery. Christi Krug

I’ve never had any power in my relationships. . . . The sound of salvation is the sound of shame. But I can breathe. Mike G

I have a slight disposition. Rhonda Grace

Red and pink parts. Alluding to purity. Jan Ice

Thanks for listening to my ventations. Darlene Costello

Friday, February 18, 2011

Poetry from the Edge of Europe with Paulann Petersen, Paul Merchant, and Kelly Lenox Friday, February 25th

Poetry from the Edge of Europe

Paulann Petersen, Oregon's Poet Laureate, is joined by Paul Merchant and Kelly Lenox, both poets and translators, for an evening of contemporary poetry from Slovenia, Greece, and Turkey. Petersen will read poems by the great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet, along with poems she’s written for Hikmet. Merchant will read from his new book of translations from the Greek: poems by Ritsos about Cavafy. Lenox will read from her translations of Slovenian poet Maja Vidmar. This is the first in an occasional series highlighting local translators, writers, and publishers of literature from around the world.

Friday, February 25th @ 7pm
Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. (800) 878-7323

The poets presented here, from the eastern edge of Europe, remind us of how very different the cultures and experiences of this world can be, and yet how very much we have in common. Kelly Lenox, poet and translator, will read selections from her translation of Rooms (Sobe), the most recent book by Maja Vidmar, a contemporary Slovenian poet whose work has won every major award in that country. Paul Merchant, director of the William Stafford Archives at Lewis and Clark College, will read from his translations of Yannis Ritsos, one of the greatest 20th century Greek poets, as well as an activist and member of the resistance in World War 2. Paulann Petersen, Oregon’s Poet Laureate, will read translations of Nazim Hikmet as well as a few of her own poems about him. Hikmet was a 20th century Turkish poet who spent much of his adult life in prison.

Open Mic night at Spring Creek Coffee House (Milwaukee, Oregon) Saturday, February 19

Saturday, February 5, 2011

THE GHOST TOWN POETRY TOUR continues Thursday, February 10 with Turiya Autry + open mic

THE GHOST TOWN POETRY TOUR CONTINUES*

Open Mic Poetry
7 pm every Second Thursday since 2004!

Hosted By Christopher Luna and Toni Partington

This month’s reading will be held in a special location:

Anam Brugh Studio
Home of Marcia McReynolds
3512 F Street, Vancouver, WA 98663
Behind the YWCA

The Studio is behind the house. Go down the driveway to the right of the garage.
Follow the sidewalk all the back to the colorful door.

Bring a pillow or a low lawn chair, and any food or beverages that you would be willing to share. There is seating for about 25 as is.

Turiya Autry

This month’s featured reader is Turiya Autry: A firm believer in the power of art to heal, transform and inspire, Turiya works with students of all ages. Full-time faculty at Portland State University, she also works independently through several artist-in-residency programs. Since the late 90‘s, she has provided workshops and performances at over twenty universities and over fifty schools k-12, reaching thousands each year.

Turiya’s shared stages with well known figures like Angela Davis, bell hooks, John Trudell, Nikki Giovanni, Ursula Le Guin, Lyrics Born, Spearhead, Saul Williams, Kevin Garnett and Hillary Clinton. She has toured nationally, performed internationally, and co-hosted a talk radio show.

Whether teaching university courses or youth workshops, rocking the mic or working behind the scenes, Turiya is a positive motivational force. She encourages people to look more critically and lovingly upon the world around them.

Available for sale: the anthology Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution ($15) and a special world premier chapbook of love poems ($5) Turiya is creating just for this reading, a collection so new that the title is a mystery not to be revealed until Thursday night!

Language Acquisition
by Turiya Autry

i chew your language awkwardly in my mouth
without the palate to translate a tongue i never learned
i butcher a short phrase with my serrated attempt
knowing nothing of your lullabies or bedtime stories
my sweet whispers are coated in the syntax of our oppression
semantics of thieves who hijack history

how different it must feel to say “i love you” in Shona

 
*While Cover to Cover Books (http://covertocoverbooks.net/) rebuildsafter a recent fire, Christopher Luna is taking the open mic series he founded in 2004 on tour to various poetry-friendly locations in or near downtown Vancouver