We were very honored to receive this tribute painting from our dear friend and Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic regular Scott Carstensen. Scott explained that he was inspired by “magic taken seriously,” a poem which appears in reading series founder Christopher Luna’s Message from the Vessel in a Dream (Flowstone Press, 2018). The painting features a few lines from the poem as well as meanings Scott found for “Luna.” It also pays tribute to Angst Gallery, Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, co-host Toni Lumbrazo Luna, and the downtown Vancouver arts scene. Scott even threw in a nod to Christopher’s love for the Wu-Tang Clan.
Thank you, Scott.
Printed Matter Vancouver would also like to thank everyone who attended the event, those who shared their beautiful poems with us, and especially featured reader Nastashia Minto, who blew us away with her powerful set featuring poems from her brand new book, Naked: The Rhythm and Groove of It. The Depth and Length to It..
Flowstone Press announces the release of Message from the Vessel in a Dream, the first full-length volume of poetry by Christopher Luna, Clark County, WA’s first poet laureate (2013-2017) and the founder of Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic. The book contains work spanning 20 years, and favors prose poetry and collage poems assembled and arranged using found material. The book is dedicated to Carlos Santana, the guitar virtuoso and eponymous “vessel” who gifted Luna with the only line of poetry he has ever received from a dream.
How many Christopher Lunas are there? The bard, the community dynamo, the scholar, the compassionate one, the jazz quartet, the father & lover, the world of a man: all and more are speaking in this book. So many perspectives to experience here, so much to learn about literature, attitude, action and beauty. The maestro of Ghost Town has created a bustling, radiant and necessary environment. — Dan Raphael
Christopher Luna served as Clark County, WA’s first Poet Laureate from 2013-2017. He has an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and is the co-founder, with Toni Lumbrazo Luna, of Printed Matter Vancouver, an editing service and small press for Northwest writers. He and Lumbrazo Luna co-host Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, the popular Vancouver, WA reading series he founded in 2004. Luna’s books include Brutal Glints of Moonlight, GHOST TOWN, USA and The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of Stan Brakhage and Michael McClure 1961-1978.
message from the vessel in a dream
less yet blowing
notes to charm
it matters little
whether one studies
flow or counterpoint
so long as eventually
the instrument is raised to the lips
you make your appearance
known through some creator
neither Duke nor Trane
ever revealed the source
a wisdom too precious
to put a name to
something not unlike the sound of the heart
beating in the chest of your firstborn
listen to the wind
remember how his hips’
involuntary Poughkeepsie shimmy
show’d you how it was done
never forget promises made
in the quiet of the early morning
priorities set straight
a brick wall stared down till dawn
experience cool breeze adrenaline release
and never forget you learned to listen
don’t forget to breathe
LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY, ALL AGES, AND UNCENSORED SINCE 2004
A Georgia native who currently lives in Portland, OR, Nastashia Minto has performed at the Unchaste Readers Series, Neon Dream, Incite and various other reading series in the metro area. She has also appeared on KBOO Radio’s Talking Earth. Her writing has been published in SUSAN and in the forthcoming Unchaste Anthology Volume III. Nastashia’s first book, Naked, was published by Eldredge Books in February 2019.
Note: Nastashia and Eldredge Books will launch Naked with a reading at Another Read Through (3932 N Mississippi Ave. Portland, OR 97227) on February 28.
Ask Me …
Ask me of the mistakes I’ve made, and let me pull back the layers to my truth. Many false narratives, but I’m the original carbon proof. DNA soaked in cocaine and booze — don’t know how my genes survived, but ask me of the mistakes I’ve made. I still hold her truths, although she tells many lies. I cry, we cry, she cried, but she said we were all a mistake. Maybe after one, but after three, take responsibility for their place, your place, our place in this world. Forgiveness seems to fall off trees like leaves in the fall, but even in some regions the leaves will stay on the trees, so I guess forgiveness will never fall. Ask me of the mistakes I’ve made. I’ll be the first in line, raised hands to account for all the shit I’ve put you through. Ask me of the mistakes I’ve made. You preached forgiveness but forgot I came from you
Christopher would like to thank Steve and Emily for this wonderful video. He is also grateful to Leah Jackson for her many years of support for The Work and Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic. Finally, a hearty shout out to those who attended the workshop at Niche that afternoon (and appear briefly in the video): Stella Guillory, Diane Corson, Denise Campbell, Suzanne LaGrande, Robert Syverson, Paula John, Cathie Padgett, Sonja Gellerson, and Bruce Hall.
Christopher Luna is a poet, teacher, editor and was the first Poet Laureate for Clark County. He has been hosting Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, since 2004, and we caught up with him at his writing workshop, also known as The Work, which is held on the second Saturday of every month at Niche Wine Bar on Main St.
“The name for the workshop comes from a couple of lines in a poem by Allen Ginsberg called Memory Gardens, where he says ‘What is the work? To ease the pain of living. Everything else, drunken dumbshow.’ I interpret that as let’s, as poets, in a culture where our work is not always completely understood or respected, let’s take it seriously enough to look at it as work. I think there are some people, even other writers, who don’t see poetry as work because they tend to be shorter than novels. I want to encourage poets in the workshop to own being a poet. To have fun, but to take the work seriously.”
Ginsberg himself co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, where Luna earned an MFA in Writing and Poetics. It was there that Luna learned about outreach, developing writing workshops and going out into the community to teach. After becoming Clark County’s first Poet Laureate, he launched the Poets in the Schools Program, which continues sends writers into local educational settings to lead poetry workshops to this day.
Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic Hosted by Christopher Luna and Toni Lumbrazo Luna of Printed Matter Vancouver Featuring Tim Whitsel
7 pm Thursday, January 10, 2019 Open mic sign up begins at 6:30 and closes at 7 FREE
Angst Gallery 1015 Main Street Vancouver, WA 98660 angstgallery.com
Food and libation provided by Niche Wine Bar, 1013 Main Street Sound provided by Briz Loan & Guitar: http://briz.us/ LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY, ALL AGES, AND UNCENSORED SINCE 2004
Tim Whitsel believes in the power of dogwood blossoms. He may have migrated west on a solitary bicycle at the age of nineteen. He remembers the cheekbones of the first girl he kissed. He studied with David Waggoner, James Welch and Stanley Plumly at the University of Washington. For six years he curated the Windfall Reading Series at the Eugene Public Library. His poem “Mudflat Allure” won first prize at the 2013 Northwest Poets’ Concord. We Say Ourselves appeared in 2012 from Traprock Books and Airlie Press published his full-length collection Wish Meal in 2016.
A cabin on a snowy river made
lonelier by threadbare conifers.
French doors, three glass teeth
facing the direction of the storm.
Everyone is away for the day.
Cinching their ballcaps snug
for a comfort they don’t feel.
Blowing on their hands one at a
time so their placards don’t fall.
Follow the Money, Hear ME
unwilling to be fenced like cattle
or fly south like trumpeter swans.
May 10, 2018
Claudia F. Saleeby Savage is part of the performance duo Thick in the Throat, Honey and co-runs a parent-artist podcast of the same name. Her most recent book of poetry is Bruising Continents. Other recent work appears in BOMB, Denver Quarterly, Columbia, Nimrod, Water-Stone Review, and Anomaly (the interview series “Witness the Hour: Arab American Poets Across the Diaspora”). She is a 2018-2021 Black Earth Institute Fellow, a progressive think tank. Her collaboration, reductions, about motherhood and ephemerality with visual artist Jacklyn Brickman, is forthcoming in 2020. She teaches privately and as a Writer in the Schools and lives with her husband and daughter in Portland.
My Daughter Discovers Synchronicity
Claudia F. Saleeby Savage
If you cannot keep that smell of rosemary on your palms, tea warm in your
morning mug, or stop your daughter’s howl when the soup bowl tips, swallow
this sorrow and spit out birds. My daughter gulps air to better voice her throat’s
vibration. Her belly’s taut drum. The contours of my face mountain under
her gaze. Outside a woodpecker searches for rot in a telephone pole. Her
fingers enter the belly button. A world tucked in worlds tucked in worlds.
In mine there are borders of guns. Refusals. A veil could mean your children
Deborah Brink Wöhrmann marvels at the body’s way of responding to thought and word and the mind’s way of speaking what the body feels and says. After years of teaching writing and such, she now weaves bodywork, nutritional studies and small-group creative workshops into her North Portland life. She loves to wander in the woods and along beaches, to garden, cook and to explore.
Excerpt from “Sunset” for M.E.W.
You taught me the art
of opening windows
at just the right hour
closing them again
Follow your bliss in the new year. Take a writing workshop with Christopher Luna.
Christopher has an MFA in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, where he received training in literary community outreach from Jack Collom, and two decades of teaching experience. He served as the Poet Laureate of Clark County, WA from 2013-2017. In 2004 he founded the popular Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, which he co-hosts with his wife Toni Partington. Christopher and Toni co-founded Printed Matter Vancouver, which publishes local poetry and provides coaching and editing services to Northwest writers.
Darlene Zimbardi had the following comments about her experience in Christopher’s poetry and memoir writing classes: “I love taking classes with Christopher. From the moment you walk into the room, you see and feel his passion for literature. His zest transfers to his students. It doesn’t matter where you are on your writing path, he encourages and challenges you. Christopher holds a safe space for writers to share their work.”
Rae Latham, a writer in Christopher’s Monday morning workshop at Multnomah Arts Center, comments: “Christopher is the poetry alchemist who helps us discover gold.”
Below you will find several creative writing workshops throughout the region sponsored by Multnomah Arts Center, Clark College, Niche Wine Bar, and Angst Gallery. Hope you can join us.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
Explore poetry as a means of expression, discovery, and generating compassion. Write poetry in response to prompts and read a variety of published poems that you can use as
inspiration. Read and respond to one another’s work in this supportive setting, paying close attention to revision.
M 10:00am-12:30pm 1/7-3/11
$200 [8 Classes] 1095189 Christopher Luna
M 1:00-3:30pm 1/7-3/11
$200 [8 Classes] 1100629 Christopher Luna
Everyone has a story to tell. Each person’s life is filled with adventure, mystery, trouble, and triumph. Memoir is a powerful way to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all human beings. See yourself as a part of history, documenting the story of your life.
“Well, while I’m here I’ll do the work — and what’s the work?
To ease the pain of living. Everything else, drunken dumbshow.”
― Allen Ginsberg, from “Memory Gardens” (Fall of America, City Lights)
The Work is a drop-in poetry writing workshop for beginners as well as more experienced writers. Beginning in January 2019, we will meet three times per month: on the second Saturday afternoon of each month at Niche Wine Bar, and the second and fourth Monday evening at Angst Gallery, unless otherwise noted. Please check Facebook for more frequent updates.
Join us on Saturday, January 12 for The Work, a monthly poetry writing workshop at Niche Wine Bar led by Christopher Luna.
Poetry encourages empathy and compassion, and sparks the shifts in consciousness which can lead to healing, personal growth, and an interest in fighting for progressive social change. I look forward to sharing my passion for poetry with you.
We will read and discuss poetry, and write several new poems together from 11:30 until 2:30.
Niche is located at 1013 Main Street, right next door to The Kiggins Theatre, Vancouver’s landmark movie house in the Vancouver Arts District.
$20 suggested donation; no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Bring a poem to share as a way of saying hello.
Shareable snacks are also welcome and very much appreciated.
Upcoming Saturday afternoon workshops will take place on February 9, March 2, April 13, and May 11.
Second and Fourth Monday Evenings (beginning in January 2019)
The Work will also take place at Angst Gallery (1015 Main Street) from 6 – 8:30 on the second and fourth Monday of each month, unless otherwise noted.
Upcoming 2019 Monday evening workshops will take place on January 14 & 28, February 11 & 25, March 11 & 25, April 15 & 29, May 13, June 10 & 24.