Saturday, February 6, 2016

Capsule Movie Reviews by Bill Johnson for 2016

These capsule reviews of current movies offer a basic overview of what these stories did (or didn't do) to engage an audience. They are not meant to convey a full review of the movie, or a scene by scene breakdown. All reviews by Bill Johnson, copyright 2016.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

posted 2/6/16

The conceit in this movie is that it's the same characters from Jane Austen's novel, with the addition of a zombie plague. That's a conceit. What makes for a great horror film, however, is that it says something about the human condition. Alien with its issue of male rape and the corporation being the real alien killing the crew. Zombies in this film are just a plot device, and could have been changed to a different plot device (alien invasion, demons rising, birds attacking humans) without changing anything. Which means half the movie carries no dramatic weight connected to what the story is about and what the characters are reacting to.

Early in the film, a character encounters a young mother and baby zombie. The moment seems about to suggest something deeper about life in that situation, but the moment is just another plot device conveying nothing more than a plot question, how will this play out?

The mixture of horror and literary fiction is amusing, but not really that amusing until Parson Collins shows up.

In the end, there are no universal truths in this movie, although for a moment it seemed someone had an idea about zombie servants rising up against their masters, and another scene tosses in the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but to what story purpose, who knows.

The Fifth Wave

posted 1/30/16

The Fifth Wave begins with waves of exposition that explain the first four waves. The underlying problem with the movie is that its impulses all seem to come from TV production, so it looks like a pilot for a tv series created about 2008. So it doesn't look as good as what's on tv now. It's not bad, so much as it's like watching an episode from an old tv series. This is movie studios pushing product through metro plexes to fill screen slots.


posted 1/3/16

This film demonstrates the problems with being realistic. Joy the main character is a single mother in a dysfunctional environment. It takes a good twenty five minutes to set out all those characters and their many issues and get to a significant turning point, Joy inventing a mop and then getting onto one of the early cable TV sales channels to promote it into a huge success. By the end of the film, still surrounded by dysfuctional family members trying to sabotage her, Joy has created and manages a business empire.

That's all plot, but what's the story about? That remains buried under the ruble composed of all those dysfuctional relationships and events. It's probably something to do with Joy overcoming all her disadvantages to make something of herself, encouraged by her grandmother. But I'm not sure. And, based on the reviews and audience reactions, I don't think others were sure, either.

There's not enough else going on to make up for that.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Writing Critiques Offered at Write on the River Conference

Bill Johnson will be offering manuscript critiques as part of the Write on the River conference. Bob Dugoni is the featured speaker and Rachel Letofsky is a featured Literary Agent.

Write On The River is North Central Washington’s only writing conference. Two days of content-packed workshops with professional editors, successful agents, bestselling authors and nationally-acclaimed speakers, Write On The River is the best way to hone your craft, build your dream and move your writing forward. Whether your goal is to be a published author, write articles for a local magazine, develop your poetry, or simply write for your own enjoyment, Write On The River has something for you. Held every May on the beautiful Wenatchee Valley College in Wenatchee, Washington, Write On The River is a writing conference not to be missed!

The conference gives you a unique opportunity to learn from the best in a casual, intimate atmosphere. There are plenty of opportunities to rub elbows with publishing professionals, get one-on-one writing advice from successful authors, bond with fellow writers, and pitch your project to a literary agent or publishing editor. Write On The River can really move your writing life forward in an inspiring way!

The 2016 Conference is May 13, 14 & 15. With a world-class faculty and renowned writing instructors from all over the world, it promises to be a highlight of your writing year. Attendees will also have the opportunity to pitch their projects to a literary agent and a book publisher. Click HERE to learn about 2016’s exciting line-up of workshops, and HERE to meet our esteemed 2016 Conference faculty.


For reviews of popular novels that explore principles of storytelling, check out A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon's Kindle and available on Barnes and Noble's Nook and on Apple via Smashwords.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Soapstone Literary Announcements for January 11th 2016

These announcements of events and opportunities of interest to the writing community have been sent to you by Soapstone. Feel free to send them on to your friends and colleagues or to invite them to join the list by signing up at: For more information about receiving the announcements or sending your own announcement to this list, go to

We never lend or sell our mailing list. If you no longer wish to be on this list, you can unsubscribe by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the end.



Soapstone: Celebrating Women Writers

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering two new opportunities for readers and writers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Small Grants to an Individual Woman or an Ad Hoc Group of Women These funds are to support events and study groups celebrating the work of women writers. The application process is simple and the time between applying and notification short. For the first year, Soapstone board members will serve as the grant review committee. We’ve made some changes to the guidelines for study group grants.

Go to our website for more details and to see a list of programs funded thus far: The next deadline for applications is March 15, 2016.


Being Your Own Publisher 

Date: Saturday, January 30, 2016 Time: 1-2:30 p.m. Location: 4620 N.E. Sandy Blvd., Room 1, Portland, OR 97213 Cost: $50 To register: Mail a check for $50 to Nancy Woods, P.O. Box 18032, Portland, OR 97218. Make the check out to Nancy Woods. To pay by credit card, call 503-288-2469.

The tools of publishing have changed, and authors have taken note. Print-on-demand technology, ebooks, and the prominence of online bookstores have made self-publishing an alluring process to many. But is it right for you? In this 90-minute class, Vinnie Kinsella offers authors insight into the risks and rewards of self-publishing. The class is specifically designed to give authors a clear picture of what the process involves. It will answer the following questions, plus several more: -- What are the costs of self-publishing? -- How do I avoid getting scammed? -- How do I choose the best approach for my book? -- How much work is really involved?

Vinnie Kinsella has worn many hats: writer, editor, book designer, project manager, publisher, and college instructor. He currently works with independent authors to produce commercially viable print books and ebooks. He is also in the process of publishing his own project, Fashionably Late: Gay, Bi, and Trans Men Who Came Out Later in Life.

For more information, contact Nancy Woods at


Waterston Desert Writing Prize Is Open for Submissions
Annual Prize Honors Nonfiction and Contribution to Desert Literacy

The Waterston Desert Writing Prize 2016 is now open for submissions. Applicants can submit online through April 1, 2016. The Prize honors creative nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy, with the desert as both subject and setting. Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the high desert of Central Oregon, a region that has been her muse for over 30 years, the Prize recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and the human narrative. Submission guidelines are available at the Writing Ranch website. The Prize winner will receive a $1,500 cash award, a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, and a four-week residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake, Oregon.

 Rebecca Lawton, winner of the 2015 Prize, said, "The honor of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and the time at Playa are both strong medicine for a writer’s soul. I feel forever changed by my time, both with the supporters of the prize and in the high desert that inspires it. I encourage desert writers to study up on the roots of the prize, apply for it, and give back to it—large in its impact, it has deep ties to community and place.”

For more information about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize, visit the Writing Ranch website, email or call 541.480.3933.


William Stafford Birthday Celebration 2-4 PM, Saturday, January 9, 2016
 The Pond House in Milwaukie, 2215 SE Harrison
 Adjacent to the Ledding Library

Hosted by Greg Chaimov and Tom Hogan. Featured readers will be Brett Kelver,Susanna Lundgren, Ron Rasch, Penelope Scambly Schott, Daniel Skach-Mills, Joe Soldati, Emmett Wheatfall and FWS Board member Tim Barnes.

We will be reading our favorite poems by William Stafford as well as our own work written in his spirit. Please join the event and bring a poem honoring William Stafford! It's open to all and there is an opportunity after the featured readers for everyone who wants to share a poem. You can sign up ahead of time or just come along to the event. There will be poems available to read and light refreshments.


Patricia Kullberg reads from her new novel, Girl in the River, on Friday, January 22, 6-8 pm at In Other Words bookstore, in celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Girl in the River is an intimate portrait of women’s lives during mid twentieth century Portland, an unflinching look at the power dynamics of sex, a glimpse into the work life of a call girl, the tale of post-war assaults on women’s rights, and a tribute to Portland’s most famous abortionist, Dr. Ruth Barnett. In the novel ...the nuanced characterizations and social message serve each other, reaffirming the idea that the personal is indeed political. —Kirkus Reviews

$5-10 donation at the door to benefit NARAL Wine and appetizers available by donation For more info see In Other Words Calendar of Events and


Ghost Town Poetry and Music Jam At Niche Hosted by Christopher Luna and Jim Templeton Every fourth Saturday of the month beginning in January 3-5pm January 23 Niche Wine Bar 1013 Main St. Vancouver, WA 98660 Musicians who are interested in participating in the jam or collaborating with Christopher Luna elsewhere may contact him at 


Oregon Poetry Association Spring 2016 Poetry Contest

Deadline: March 1, 2016 Limit: one entry per category. Spaces between stanzas do not count as lines. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be published in OPA’s annual anthology, Verseweavers Categories

1) Poet's Choice, limit 80 lines, any subject, any form. Judge: Vince Wixon 2) Members Only, 6-12 lines, any subject, any form. Judge: Don Colburn 3) Dueling Judges, free verse, any subject, limit 40 lines. Judges: Jeff Whitney, Bette Husted 4) Traditional Form, Haiku, Judge: Margaret Chula 5) New Poets, any form, any subject, limit 30 lines. Judge: Emily Pittman Newberry  6) Themed: Ancestry, limit 40 lines. Judge: Elizabeth Woody 7) Experimental Poetry, limit 40 lines. Judge: Lisa Ciccarello


Heather Borbeau kindly agreed to be the featured poet on January 26, 2016, in the friendly open mic held 7-8.30pm on each month's final Tuesday at Barnes & Noble Vancouver (7700 NE Fourth Plain). Her collection "Daily Palm Castings" profiles people in often overlooked professions and broadens our understanding of our neighbors, our communities and our work. 


2016 Oregon Book Awards Finalists and Fellowship Recipients Announced 

Literary Arts is pleased to announce the 2016 Oregon Book Awards finalists and Literary Fellowship recipients. The Oregon Book Award winners will be announced at the 29th annual Oregon Book Awards ceremony on April 11, 2016 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory. Heidi Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, will host the ceremony. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.Com The Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships honor the state's finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers.

Literary Arts is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowships to writers and to publishers. The judges named eight writers and two publishers to receive grants of $3000.

This year Literary Arts awarded the Writer of Color Fellowship for the first time.


Join Write Around Portland and Powell’s Books to experience the transformative power of writing in community. These 2-hour workshops are perfect for the new and seasoned writer. Workshops are $30 per session and will take place every Tuesday in January. Attend one, attend them all. For more information or to register, visit


Based on Write Around's acclaimed community writing model, "Prompt" is a generative workshop that offers exercises to inspire the writing life. Workshop fee ($300) includes free parking and snacks and helps to fund workshops for low-income youth and adults. This workshop takes place on Wednesdays, January 27 to March 30. To register or for more information, visit


Community Announcements from Soapstone by soapstone 622 SE 29th Avenue Portland, OR 97214 USA

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bill Johnson's charming All Engines Great and Small is available on Amazon for .99 Inspired by All Creatures Great and Small, the science fiction novel is about a mechanic working on mechanical animals that ingest ore and smelt metal in the asteroid belt. Available on Amazon

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Secret In Their Eyes Review

The Secret in Their Eyes is a film with a dual time line and some powerful acting, but it never quite becomes fully compelling. Why this happens speaks to the difficulty of telling a story with a dual time line.

The film starts with the murder of a teenage girl, who is the daughter of counter-terrorism officer in LA just after 9/11 working with a partner. Both are devastated by the murder. 13 years later, he feels he's tracked down the main suspect.

The story issue for having a dual time line is there needs to be dramatic tension and a clarity of purpose combining story and plot on both time lines. There needs to be an underlying, single story line.

The plot line and plot question is always clear, will the main character track down the murderer after 13 years. But the story is more complicated and that underlying story question that connects both plot line and both story lines felt diffuse. The film is about loss and obsession and not being able to let go of the 'what if' moments in life that define the characters. But the issue of 'what if' moment around a romantic attraction never quite connects to a story line.

A complicated plot like this creates what I call a traffic cop effect, with scenes organized around what needs to happen for the plots on both time lines to work and build to that big reveal. The director and actors pull off the plot and I admire how the characters are portrayed, but a deeper level of psychological depth never developed on the story line. Without that, scenes felt superficial, typical Hollywood-thriller scenes.

Interesting film, an attempt to get at something deeper. That requires a clear vision of the story and a sense of purpose from everyone involved.


To read some of my longer reviews of popular movies, check out my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Story Line/Plot Line

The basic idea of a story line is that it sets out a story's core issue of human need, speaks to that issues advancing toward fulfillment, and speaks of what that fulfillment creates. For example, a simple story line for Romeo and Juliet would be that...

Romeo and Juliet begins by introducing a young man and woman who are in love with the idea of love. When they fall in love, to be together these young characters must act in spite of the escalating mutual hatred of their families. By being willing to die to prove their love, they act out the power of great -- if tragic -- love.

Beginning, middle, end.

The plot line of Romeo and Juliet could be described as follows...

A young man falls in love with a girl who belongs to a clan his family has been feuding with for generations. They both must resort to increasing acts of defiance to be together in spite of the hatred of their families. In the end, each chooses death rather than to be apart from their beloved, acting out that great love cannot be denied.

Beginning, middle, end.

I came onto the idea of story line/plot line while teaching an on-line class. The structure of the class was that I would meet 3-4 people as a group in a chat-type environment, then the following week I would meet with people individually.

During a private session, I described to each writer a story line for his story. I then asked each writer to repeat back that simple story line. Each repeated back to me a plot line, even though the description of a story line was still on the screen.

I then asked each writer to send me the first page of their novels.

Not one of them wrote anything that suggested in the slightest the beginning of a story. It was all plot details and descriptions of things.

That was a great AHA! moment for me. This is the most common failure in weak writing, no clear sense of purpose or drama from the beginning of a story.

To understand the connection between story line/plot line is to see into the foundation of a story, to see whether every element is advancing the story in a purposeful way. If you understand story line/plot line, you can tell a story with multiple time lines or multiple narrators.

For more reviews, visit

To order a copy of A Story is a Promise & Spirit of Storytelling.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Soapstone Literary Anouncements 10/31/2015

These announcements of events and opportunities of interest to the writing community have been sent to you by Soapstone. Feel free to send them on to your friends and colleagues or to invite them to join the list by signing up at: For more information about receiving the announcements or sending your own announcement to this list, go to We never lend or sell our mailing list. If you no longer wish to be on this list, you can unsubscribe by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the end. ANNOUNCEMENTS ARE ON AN EVERY OTHER WEEK SCHEDULE.


Reading the Poetry of Maxine Kumin A Study Group led by Andrea Hollander and Judith Barrington

Maxine Kumin (1925 - 2014) is one of the great poets of our time. Winner of the Pulitzer and Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes among many others, and Poet Laureate of the United States, she produced a large body of work which was very important to both Andrea Hollander and Judith Barrington, both of whom also knew her personally.

Each session will focus on a few poems, all of which can be found in Where I Live: New and Selected Poems. You will be expected to read the poems ahead of time and participate in discussion about them. It will be a relaxed atmosphere, with participants encouraged to bring their lunch, to make it easier to fit in on a Saturday.

The study group welcomes both readers and writers, those who already know Kumin’s work well, those who would like to become better acquainted with it, and those for whom the study group will be an introduction to her work. It is not a writing workshop.

The study group will meet for four Saturdays in January of 2016: January 9, 16, 23 and 30, from 10 to 1 at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont. Participants are limited to 15. There will be a $40 fee for the series, payable in advance to secure a place. To register or for scholarship information contact

This study group is full but we are taking names for the waiting list.


Authors Bruce Barton, David D. Levine, Alicia Jo Rabins, Willa Schneberg, Amy Schutzer and Debra Zaslow will read for the 16th Annual Reading of Oregon Jewish Writers. It usually sells out, so please purchase tickets early.

Nov. 3 Jewish Voices Oregon Jewish Museum & Center for Holocaust Education 1953 NW Kearney, Portland Tues., 7:30PM

Ticket info: General Public: $10; OJMCHE Members: $8; Students: $5


Soapstone: Celebrating Women Writers 

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering two new opportunities for readers and writers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Small Grants to an Individual Woman or an Ad Hoc Group of Women

These funds are to support events and study groups celebrating the work of women writers. The application process is simple and the time between applying and notification short. For the first year, Soapstone board members will serve as the grant review committee.

We’ve made some changes to the guidelines for study group grants. Go to our website for more details:

The next deadline for applications is December 15, 2016.


Readings from Of Course, I’m A Feminist! and Open Mic

On March 8, 2015 – International Women’s Day – eighteen sister poets gathered in Portland, OR to share their voices and celebrate their foremothers. Led by Ellen Goldberg, these voices ranged in age from 15 to 73. Shawn Aveningo lent her talents and her publishing company, The Poetry Box, to preserve these voices in print. On November 4, 2015, the Milwaukie Poetry Series is privileged to sponsor a sampling of these voices and offer Of Course, I’m A Feminist for purchase. An Open Mic extending the feminist theme will follow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 7-8:30 PM

2215 SE Harrison The Pond House in Milwaukie, Adjacent to the Ledding Library

Contact: Tom Hogan Poetry Series Coordinator 503-819-8367

Sign-up ahead with Tom Hogan or add you name to the sign-up sheet there. Plan on 5-7 minutes to share your own or other people’s poems. If time allows, we’ll welcome more. Refreshments provided.


The Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop ( is now accepting registrations for its next conference, July 11 - 15, 2016. The course is held directly beside the ocean in the exquisite town of Oceanside, Oregon. There will be eight instructors total, five experienced authors (YA, MG, nonfiction, picture book, poetry), two children's book editors (from major NY houses), and one children's book agent (from Writers House, NYC). A number of our students have been published. We'd like you to be the next.

Please go to our website -- -- for much more information. Or contact us at


VoiceCatcher is accepting submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and art for the Winter 2016 journal. DEADLINE: November 15

Available now for pre-sale: She Holds the Face of the World: Ten Years of VoiceCatcher Tenth anniversary anthology featuring 80+ women from the Portland metro region.

Upcoming events with VoiceCatcher

November 6, 2015 6-7 p.m. Bread and Roses radio program Tune into KBOO radio (90.7) for an interview with the editors and authors of She Holds the Face of the World: Ten Years of VoiceCatcher

November 8, 2015 7 p.m. Studio Series reading at Stonehenge Studios Featuring Cathy Cain, Juleen Johnson, Darla Mottram, Jennifer Kemnitz and Tricia Knoll

December 1, 2015 7-10 p.m. (readings begin at 7:30 p.m.) Anniversary celebration and book launch Disjecta Contemporary Art Center



The Studio Series: Poetry Reading and Open Mic will feature readers from VoiceCatcher—Cathy Cain, Juleen Johnson, Darla Mottram, Jennifer Kemnitz and Tisha Knoll--on November 8, 2015 at Stonehenge Studios, 3508 SW Corbett Avenue, Portland 97239 from 7:00 p.m. Free and open to the public, the Studio Series is held monthly on second Sundays. For additional information please contact host Leah Stenson at

Cathy Cain is a writer, painter and printmaker whose work appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She was a 2014-15 Atheneum Fellow in Poetry at the Attic Institute, as well as a Poet’s Studio member there from 2012-14. She has also benefited from numerous Mountain Writers’ workshops. Her work has appeared in VoiceCatcher and Poeming Pigeons. Cathy is finalizing her book-length poetry collection tentatively titled Alive All At Once and is a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher. She has enjoyed being part of Portland’s writing community.

Juleen Johnson was published in the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. She is also a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher. She is co-founder of Soundings: An Evening of Word and Sound. She is in the critique group The Moonlit Poetry Caravan. Juleen has been invited to read at BuzzPoems, Ink Noise Review, Open Door Enjambment and Cirque in Portland, Oregon. In California, she has read at the Steinbeck Museum, Hartnell College, Steinbeck Library and CSU Monterey Bay. Juleen attended the Wassaic Residency in Wassaic, New York. Her poems have appeared in print publications, including Cirque: A Literary Journal, Ink Noise Review, Symmetry, Nervous Breakdown, The Rio Grand Review and Buried Letter Press. Juleen currently writes and creates art in Portland.

Darla Mottram’s work appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher. She is a soon-to-be graduate of Marylhurst University. Her work has recently been featured in NAILED Magazine, among others, and is forthcoming at The Birds We Piled Loosely. She is a co-founder of the social practice project Put-Pockets (, a blog that documents creative ways of putting poetry into the world.

Jennifer Kemnitz lives and writes in Portland. She is a great defender of plant life and can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Her work has appeared in the Kerf, VoiceCatcher and We’Moon, and has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and The Poetry Box. She is a reader for We’Moon, and is proud to serve as a poetry co-editor for the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. Jennifer’s work appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland poet. Her work appears in numerous journals. A chapbook Urban Wild is out from Finishing Line Press. Ocean's Laughter, poetry about Manzanita, Oregon, will be published by Aldrich Press in early 2016. Her work is forthcoming in the Winter 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher.


Come celebrate the publication of great weather for MEDIA’s latest anthology "Before Passing" with an amazing lineup of Oregon poets and spoken word artists.


"Before Passing" is an exhilarating collection of contemporary poetry and short fiction by established and emerging writers from across the United States and beyond. The anthology also contains an interview with the legendary Anne Waldman.

Submisssions for our next collection open October 15 so this a terrific opportunity to meet editors and learn more about great weather for MEDIA.

Free admission


Joseph Green is the featured poet on November 24, 2015, in the friendly open mic held 7-8.30pm on each month's final Tuesday at Barnes & Noble Vancouver (7700 NE Fourth Plain).

He will read from his collection What Water Does at a Time Like This. "If Green does anything better than making routine seem magical, it is making the extraordinary appear commonplace ... a wise and beautiful book."-- Knute Skinner


Thursday, November 5, 7:30 pm T. Geronimo Johnson, OSU Visiting Writer series OSU Valley Library

T. Geronimo Johnson’s first novel, Hold it ‘til it Hurts, was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award. Welcome to Braggsville, his second novel, follows four UC Berkeley students who stage a protest during a Civil War reenactment in the heart of Georgia. Welcome to Braggsville was long-listed for the National Book Award, long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, named one of the ten books all Georgians should read by the Georgia Center for the Book, and recommended by UC Berkeley as summer reading for incoming undergraduates. Johnson teaches for the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing at OSU-Cascades. FMI: Visiting Writers Series _


Mountain Writers Series at Vie de Bohème presents a reading featuring Joe Wilkins

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 7:30 PM

Vie de Bohème SE 7th & Clay on Portland's Distillery Row 1530 SE 7th Avenue, Portland 97214

Suggested donation $5

Joe Wilkins is the author of the memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers (2012), which was named a 2012 Montana Book Award Honor Book, as well as a 2013 Orion Book Award finalist. He has also published two poetry books: Killing the Murnion Dogs (2011), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the High Plains Book Award, and Notes from the Journey Westward (2012), winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and the High Plains Book Award. His essays, poems, and stories have appeared in many magazines, journals and anthologies. Wilkins was born and raised in eastern Montana, graduated from Gonzaga University and earned an MFA from the University of Idaho, where he worked with the poet Robert Wrigley and memoirist Kim Barnes. He lives with his wife, son, and daughter in Oregon, where he teaches writing at Linfield College.

Mountain Writers Series at Concordia University Concordia University Libraries' Arts & Culture Program and Mountain Writers Series present a reading featuring Joe Wilkins

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 12:00 PM George R. White Library & Learning Center - GRW 108 Concordia Univeristy, 2800 NE Liberty Street, Portland OR 97211

Free and open to the public.


Spare Room presents Peter O'Leary & Valerie Wernet

Sunday, November 8 7:00 pm

Independent Publishing Resource Center 1001 SE Division

Valerie Wernet is a Portland poet, originally from Portland. She writes about color & vision. Valerie is currently at work on her first book, which is composed and executed on a typewriter. Her work has been published in Small Po[r]tions Journal, and is part of the holdings of the Joan Flasch Artists Book Collection. She holds an MFA in Writing from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago & an interdisciplinary BA from the Evergreen State College. More at her web site.

Peter O'Leary has written four books of poetry, most recently Phosphorescence of Thought (Cultural Society, 2013). In 2016, the Cultural Society will publish The Sampo, a book-length fantasy drawn from the Finnish national epic. Among other things, he is the literary executor of the Ronald Johnson estate, he edits Verge Books, and he teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the University of Chicago. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois.


FREE RANGE POETRY presents Gail Barker, Bill Denham, Tim Hicks

Monday, November 5th Northwest Branch Library 2300 NW Thurman Street Portland

An open mic will precede featured poets Sign up at 6:15 pm. Reading 6:30 pm – 7:45 pm.

For more info or questions email: Please like Free Range Poetry on Facebook

GAIL BARKER left her native New York arms flailing with youth, spent time in San Francisco, British Columbia, Bend, Eugene, and landed in Portland thirty years ago. Today she lives in Milwaukie and serves on the Milwaukie Poetry Series Committee. Her poems have been published in Faultlines, VoiceCatcher, and The William Stafford Newsletter. She drinks from the deep well of poetry and sometimes adds her own.

BILL DENHAM is a Southern boy. Growing up in the middle of the last century, he learned to love the soft sounds and rhythms of the words he heard around him. A poet, spoken word artist and letterpress printer he was educated at Davidson College and at the University of California. Denham’s Looking for Matthew is a collection of poems that explore the grief and responsibility he has experienced following the 2008 street slaying of his step-son in San Francisco. Of Gossamers and Grace is to be published by Finishing Line Press in November 2015.

TIM HICKS is a writer by night and day and a mediator/facilitator by day. He is the author of Last Stop Before Tomorrow, his first novel, to be published this fall and is the co-author of the nonfiction book The Process of Business/Environmental Collaborations: Partnering for Sustainability. He is the father of two, step-father of one, passionate about living and dying, and passionately interested, as observer and participant, in the unfolding story of humanity.


On Tuesday, November 3rd, Portland author and musician Willy Vlautin joins the Willamette Writers meeting to talk about the relationship of music and writing, the writing life according to WV, the struggles of working and trying to write, songwriting… and any other topics that come up. The doors open at 6:30 and the meeting begins at 7:00 pm.

For more meeting info visit or call 503-305-6729. The meeting is held at at the Old Church in downtown Portland on the corner of SW 11th and Clay. Cost, $10, free to full time students under 25.


GHOST TOWN POETRY OPEN MIC Hosted by Christopher Luna and Toni Partington

7pm Thursday, November 12 Angst Gallery 1015 Main Street Vancouver, WA 98660

Food and libation provided by Niche Wine Bar, 1013 Main Street

With our featured reader, Kristin Roedell

Kristin Roedell is a Northwest poet and retired attorney. Her work has appeared in over 50 journals and anthologies, including The Journal of the American Medical Association, Switched on Gutenberg, and CHEST. She is the author of Girls with Gardenias (Flutter Press) and Down River (Aldrich Press), a finalist for the Quercus Review Press poetry prize. She has twice been nominated for Best of the Web and once for the Pushcart Prize. She was the 2013 winner of NISA’s 11th Annual Brainstorm Poetry Contest and a finalist in the 2013 Crab Creek Review poetry contest.


Three poets: Klipschutz Intisar Abioto James Yeary

Tuesday November 10 7:00 pm

Mother Foucault's Bookshop 523 SE Morrison Street

Poet, songwriter, and occasional journalist Klipschutz (pen name of Kurt Lipschutz) was born in Indio, California and raised in Palm Springs. Books include This Drawn & Quartered Moon (Anvil, 2013), Twilight of the Male Ego, and The Erection of Scaffolding for the Re-Painting of Heaven by the Lowest Bidder. Selected journalism: a two-part interview with Carl Rakosi and a monograph on Bill Knott. In 2006 his Luddite Kingdom Press imprint issued ALL ROADS . . . But This One. He and Jeremy Gaulke launched the handmade quarterly Four by Two in 2014.

Intisar Abioto is a writer, dancer, photographer, and explorer. She is always working with dance, word, self-mythos, and magic to merge internal and external Intisars from past, present, future, and fantasy occasions of time. Intisar studied English and Dance at Wesleyan University, where she danced/studied about the human genome with The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and wrote about the movement poetics in Chaucer. She is the founder of The People Could Fly Project (where she turned a children’s book, The People Could Fly, into an international 200,000-mile flying dance-media-performance expedition), The Black Portlanders, and The Black. Find her at

James Yeary has written more than a dozen books of poetry in collaboration with other writers and artists. These include Folding Calendar, with collages by Fredrik Averin; the my day series of chapbooks (with Chris Ashby and Nate Orton); and the full-length The Do How (with Kyle Schlesinger). His visual work has appeared in the publications Picture Sentence, The Last Vispo anthology: visual poetry 1998-2008 (Fantagraphics Books), and Eights.


ARTISTS' TALK: Saturday, October 31, 2 pm. writer Merridawn Duckler and painter Christopher Shotola-Hardt will give an Artists' Talk at Blackfish Gallery. This event is open to the public and free of charge

"Poem, Object, Objection"


Reading (Free and open to the public) Thursday, November 5th, 2015 Eliot Chapel, Reed College

Lucy Corin is the author of the short story collections One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses(McSweeney's Books), and The Entire Predicament (Tin House Books) and the novel Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls (FC2). Stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, Conjunctions, Bomb, Tin House Magazine,and elsewhere, and her work is included in the forthcoming New American Stories anthology from Vintage. She was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize and currently directs the Program in Creative Writing at the University of California, Davis.


Reed College Visiting Writers Series Reading (Free and open to the public) Thursday, November 12th, 2015 Eliot Chapel, Reed College

Mary Jo Bang is the author of seven books of poems: Apology for Want, Louise in Love, The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon, The Bride of E, and Elegy, which received the National Book Critics Circle award. Her most recent collection is The Last Two Seconds. She has also published a translation of Dante's Inferno, with illustrations by Henrik Drescher. She's been the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin. She is a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, where she teaches in the Creative Writing Program.


Wednesday, November 4

Karen Russell will read from her most recent short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove(Knopf), in the Old Library at Marylhurst University at 3:30 pm. Karen Russell is an American novelist and short story writer. Her debut novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She was also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant in 2013. Her first story collection isSt. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.


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