October Happenings

Here are several events you will surely want to check out! Seems there is always space for poetry here in our valley. Are you inspired by this beautiful weather to write something yourself?

Thursday, Oct 8 OPEN MIC
If you do have something to share, why not read to your friends at this month’s Downtowners Open Mic at the Downtowne Coffee House in Talent. Sign-ups begin at 6:30 and readings start at 7. Bring a friend and enjoy the company!

Saturday, Oct 10 FREE Workshop with Carol Brockfield

The “How to Start a Poem” Workshop with Carol Brockfield will help you to identify the subject of your writing and turn it into a poem. This workshop is free and open to poets at all levels of experience.  It will be especially helpful for anyone who has difficulty finding a place to begin, which really includes any of us from time to time. And Carol is masterful at turning daily life and unlikely subjects into poetry. She’s taken part in the NaPoWriMo April 30-day writing challenge, and the August Poetry Fest for several years. A former professional editor, Carol headed the local chapter of the Oregon Poetry Association (OPA) for 5 years and she has just concluded a 3-year term on the statewide OPA board. She is also the author of 3 poetry chapbooks and 1 book of poetry.

This event will be held from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Medford Public Library Adams Room. Pre-registration is requested to facilitate room set up. Contact marisahp9@gmail.com by Thursday, October 8th to participate.

Sunday, Oct 11, Joyce Epstein Reads

Come hear Joyce and enjoy other local performers at Ashland Sketches, Second Sunday Showcase at 7:00 pm. Sketches is held at the Dancing People Company / 310 Oak Street, Ashland (in the former Cantwell Building that faces A Street). Seating is limited, so come early!

Lawson Inada performs Saturday, Oct 17

Studio A.B Presents “TRANSMISSIONS II”    An Interdisciplinary Concert on Saturday, October 17, 8:00 pm at The DanceSpace, 280 East Hersey #10, in Ashland

This multimedia, interdisciplinary performance features guest artists Lawson Inada, Christine Williams, and Damon Honeycutt. They join Todd Barton and Bruce Bayard to create an abstract narrative that is improvisational in its format using music, voice, words, movement, and video. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for students and seniors at Studio A.B: 621 A Street, Ashland, or online brucebayard.com/tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the door but due to limited seating, advance tickets are advised.

Peter Sears in Ashland, October 30-31

Oregon Poet Laureate Peter Sears will be visiting us again. Don’t miss his free public reading on Friday, October 30, from 7:30-9:00 in the basement of the Ashland Public Library.

And on Saturday, October 31, 9:30-11:30 am, Peter Sears will lead a free workshop on Poetry Triggers in the basement of the Ashland Public Library. Registration is required for the workshop due to limited class size. Sign up at the library reference desk, or call 774-6996. Then have a safe and celebratory Halloween, about which you will certainly want to write yet more poetry!


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Real Live Writers! See Them FREE!

Remember to stop round the Ashland Book & Author Fest on Saturday, 3 October at the Southern Oregon University campus in Ashland. Between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm you can browse book tables, speak with publishers, and see live authors up close!

Readings and workshops will be offered throughout the day. Please support your favorite local writers and meet somebody new at this family-friendly event.

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Please join Patricia Wixon & Sandra Scofield
for their Poetry Reading
at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland
Tuesday, September 29th @ 7:00 pm

Patricia Wixon reads from her book of poetry Dear Spoon. Patricia Wixon’s Dear Spoon features poems that focus on people and food: how food brings people and cultures together. She explores the pleasures of cooking, baking and preserving food, food for ceremonies and holidays, and the supremacy of chocolate. The second half of the book gathers recipes from five generations of Wixon’s extended family from the early 1900’s to the present.

Sandra Scofield reads from Mysteries of Love and Grief: Reflections on a Plainswoman’s Life. Retelling the story of her grandmother, Sandra Scofield examines the life of a plainswoman during the twentieth-century. Frieda Harms was born into a farming family in Indian Territory in 1906. Widowed at thirty and left with three children in the midst of the Great Depression, she worked as a farmer, a railroad cook, a mill worker, and a nurse in four states. She died in 1983.

Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels, including Beyond Deserving, a National Book Award finalist. Ms Scofield is a former resident of Ashland and sales associate at Bloomsbury Books.

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Poet Kwame Dawes to speak October 19!

The fall Chautauqua Poets & Writers group presents Kwame Dawes, on Monday, October 19 at 7:30, at the Mt Avenue Theatre at Ashland High School. Buy your tickets online now through chautauquawriters.org (Reserved, $20), or at Bloomsbury Books and Bookwagon in Ashland (General Admission, $15). Students with ID can purchase tickets for $12 at Ashland High School. Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the event.

Chautauqua speakers are eagerly awaited and celebrated. Find out more about Kwame Dawes here, before the event:  http://www.kwamedawes.com/wp/

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The Ashland Book and Author Fest will be held on Saturday, October 3, from 10:00 to 4:00 at the Hannon Library on the SOU campus. Enjoy readings, workshops, and panel discussions, and two floors of booths featuring regional writers, publishers, and writing organizations. FREE to all! Support your favorite writers and meet new ones at this friendly opportunity to mix, mingle, and of course, purchase books you’re sure you “can’t live without!”

Attend discussions on small press and self-publishing, and connect with other writers. Maybe you’ll be inspired to put together your own chapbook of poems to offer next year.

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Local poet and icon Patty Wixon, has just debuted a new book of poems. “Dear Spoon,” now available at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland or on line from the publisher, Wellstone Press, is sure to please.

Patty is well known for her delicious poems about food, and in this new volume she sings praises to a favorite utensil. I’ve heard some of these poems in early form, and can’t wait to get my hands on this beautiful book, brought out by Jonah Bornstein’s local and celebrated press.

Wellstone produces high-quality books and a new title is always exciting. Check out their other titles at their website www.wellstonepress.com

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Pack Even Sooner!

Local poet and perpetual friend of the written word Patty Wixon will be giving a reading on Wednesday, September 9th by invitation of the Milwaukie Poetry Series in Milwaukie, Oregon. Wixon will be inaugurating the 9th season of the Series. The reading begins at 7 p.m.

Local poetry supporters know Patty and her husband, Vince Wixon, for their decades of work on behalf of the William Stafford Literary Archives and as long-time poetry editors for Jefferson Monthly. In 2014, Vince and Patty received the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award.

The reading will be held at The Pond House, located at 2215 S.E Harrison in Milwaukie. (Turn at the light on SE Harrison and McLoughlin and go four blocks east past the Ledding library to the Pond House.)

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Get Ready to Pack Your Bags!

Plan now to attend the Florence Book Festival, to be held in Florence, Oregon on September 25 & 26th. What better time to head to the coast than at the start of autumn?

On Friday the 25th, a free Publisher’s Panel will focus on navigating the world of publishing. Come to the Florence Events Center from 3 to 4:30 p.m. for this special event. Panelists include:
Ellen Traylor––Port Hole Publishing
Patricia Marshall––Luminaire Press
Veronica Esagui––Papyrus Press and CEO/Founder NW Writers & Publishers Association
Karen D. Nichols––Author, self published through CreateSpace.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Bestselling author, Jane Kirkpatrick, will be this year’s keynoter – Friday, 7 pm, Florence Events Center – tickets available at the FEC, $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

The BOOK FESTIVAL will be open Saturday from 10am – 4pm, Florence Events Center. Over 80 authors and publishers will be represented. Hear authors read from their current work and mingle among the tables of books, books, books!

Be sure to send a postcard to a friend from the beautiful Oregon coast, and make a purchase to support a fellow writer.

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Send Your Work! Subscribe and Support!

The Timberline Review is a new literary journal, published by Willamette Writers, the first issue of which debuted on August 1st. It contains short fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, and poetry. The Rogue Valley’s own Marisa Petersen was featured in this issue, along with former Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen.

Timberline Review editors Peter R Field and Pam Wells seek “work that has the power to inspire a conversation with the times we live in. We’re searching for bold new work from writers everywhere. Our mission is to find these voices, to listen, and to let them resound from the treetops. Our mission is to support literary freedom.”

Consider submitting, but first subscribe and read the new Timberline Review here: http://timberlinereview.com/subscribe/

Message in a Bottle?

A few of us in the Rogue Valley have been participating all month in the August Postcard Fest, but its not too late for everyone to send a “message in a bottle” into the world. Oregon Humanities invites you to participate in a program called “Dear Stranger,” a letter-exchange program now in its second year. Ben Waterhouse, the creative mind behind the project, explained to me that it is an attempt to increase Oregonians’ contact with one another by writing letters on a pre-selected topic, which coincides with the theme of each quarterly magazine OH publishes.

Find out more about the program on the Oregon Humanities website, including address and permission release form (www.oregonhumanities.org) and join me at a letter writing workshop this Friday, August 28, at the Medford branch of the Jackson County Library 1-2:30 in the Adams Room.


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Poet on the Road

I’ve been in Colorado visiting friends and family since early June, and I admit to being a bit homesick by now.

This week, I’ll be co-facilitating a poetry therapy Intensive Training with my friend and mentor, Kay Adams, founder of the Center for Journal Therapy and the Therapeutic Writing Institute, where I’m currently teaching an on line class called Mary Oliver at the Beach. The other facilitator working with us is my friend Susan de Wardt, artist, coach, poetry/journal facilitator, and past president of the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy.

This summer I have met a man who told me quietly that he has written 500 limericks; a woman who said she just might be able to write a poem now that I’ve assured her that it doesn’t have to rhyme; and a group of women from around the country who sat in circle to write memories of landscape with the talented and insightful Kate Thompson and Mary Reynolds-Thompson.

Closer to Home
Until I’m back in the warm embrace of the Rogue Valley (did I say “warm?” Maybe I mean HOT!), I’ll enjoy sharing with you a poem by Medford poet Carol Brockfield.

Carol is past president of the Rogue Valley Unit of the Oregon Poetry Association, and currently serves on the OPA Board. She’s a former editor and in any crit group can be counted on to suggest improvements in stanza shape, punctuation, and other vital components of poetic craft.

Here is Carol’s poem, and her answers to The Big Three:

Things in Jars

rubber bands

I might keep them in jars
if I kept things in jars


Lining the windowsills
tops firmly affixed
contents imprisoned there

naked behind glass walls
staring out at the world
mute with resignation

ready to be put to use

pencil stubs

I put them in boxes
give them some privacy

Carol’s Big Three

1. I really can’t think of anything more interesting (or satisfying) than writing poetry.  When I see a poem it nags at me to write it until I drop whatever else I am doing and comply.

I’ve been doing this since I first could write/print, on old greeting cards, bills, receipts, ledgers–what paper happened to be at hand for me to deface. Let me repeat what I’ve been told: The writing gets easier and better the longer you do it!

2. I absolutely love Billy Collins. Humor has it’s place in poetry, and is much neglected as weightier and more philosophical styles abound. I admire Collins’ quirky viewpoints and confess to being influenced by him. Also, how could any poet in Oregon not say how much they have read and reread William Stafford’s work? (Quite the opposite to Collins!)

3. One of my favorite topics is encouraging beginning writers. (It makes no difference how old you are!) The habit of responding to your feelings and to the world around you in writing rewards and strengthens you. And see the last sentence in my answer to question one: Your writing will become more fulfilling with practice; Just do it! Learn as you go!

Carol added: I understandably enjoy hearing the best local poets read their work. I also attend the Downtowne Coffee House open mic  (second Thursday evenings) to identify new fledgling poets and witness brand-new poets reading for perhaps their first time! I have recently read from my own work to young people (NW Poetics, in Corvallis) and to seniors (Skylark retirement home in Ashland) and find both audiences enthusiastic and receptive.

 More About Carol:

I have contributed to a number of literary journals and anthologies (including Cimarron Review, Chicago Cram, Lavender Review, and Generations of Poetry) and  self-published three themed chapbooks: “She Walks,” about the sudden death of my mother, “Knife in Hand,” about raising meal worms for wild birds, and “At Leaf’s Edge,” the year’s go-around in the garden.  A longer work, “Waiting for the Dark,” is comprised of other poems, older and more recent, written in different locales. I have a much neglected website–leafsedge.wordpress.com–and would be very happy to receive any comments about almost anything: carol.bfield@gmail.com.

Let Me Hear From You!

If you’ve been on the road this summer, send me a note about your travels, especially if you’ve written a poem about it all. I love hearing from you.










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