“A Welcoming and Unfettered Place for All:” Sharon Wood Wortman on Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic

Sharon Wood Wortman, who appeared as our featured reader in November 2007, shared the following observations about what she witnessed at Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic on April 12, 2018:

“The Oregonian published a story yesterday about a new 100-bed shelter proposed for under the west end of the Broadway Bridge. Housing is at a crisis, don’t we know? Wouldn’t it be something if the sponsors knew that in addition to the foundation-building of keeping people out of the elements, equally humane would be to help them express themselves, also in a safe and warm a place?

“What if when everyone is thinking of ways to help others redirect, they would consider poetry an essential—as surely as access to a bed, soap, and a toothbrush to call one’s own? Cuisine for the heart made right there at the shelter and then read before a microphone as part of the redistribution of the self? In a better manufactured world, someone would hire you two to implement such mending/remaking of humanity.

“From where I sat in the audience last night, it looked to me that you two offer, among all the things you offer, your talent for luxurious attention and high-end listening. I once thought of you as ministers of poetry, but you are something better, more practical. More tangible than any church, you run the HUD of poetry—providing a welcoming and unfettered place for people of all shapes, sizes, hues, abilities, genders, and clothing preferences, and you do all this on a cotton-thin budget. Amazing.”

Thank you, Sharon!

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Christopher Luna is featured in Sharon Wood Wortman’s book The Big & Awesome Bridges of Portland & Vancouver.

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Sharon Wood Wortman’s poems “Underpinnings” and “Slippage” appear in Printed Matter Vancouver’s Ghost Town Poetry Volume One (Cover to Cover Books 2004-2010), available at Angst Gallery and Another Read Through.

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You can learn more about Sharon at Bridge Stories.