Jonathan Oak is the author of two poetry books, Sutly fucked ↑ and Things I Forgot To Say, as well as the upcoming novel Jerry. He has lived and performed in Portland for the last six years. He was part of the VAMP reading series in San Diego and a fixture in the Phoenix poetry and music scene. He was on three Slam Nationals teams, hosted a poetry radio show, worked underground theater in San Francisco, and ran writing workshops for 15 years.
Drawing from a deep well of autobiographical and cross-cultural experience, Everywhere I Find Myself is a wide-ranging narrative journey of the heart.
“Leah Stenson’s Everywhere I Find Myself traverses the full range of human experience–what she calls the ‘terrible exquisiteness of being’–from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima to a friendly encounter with a cow; from the distractions of our devices to moments of deep tranquility; from a grandfather’s suicide to a daughter’s gift of a pair of pillowcases made from fine Egyptian cotton. By turns witty, playful, and deadly serious, these poems give readers one woman’s unflinchingly honest take on life’s beautiful, painful vicissitudes.”—John Brehm, author of Help Is on the Way and Sea of Faith
“In this engaging and satisfying first full-length collection of poems, Leah Stenson explores the tensions between mystery and understanding, and between estrangement and belonging. The world of these poems–our world–is simultaneously expansive and confining, and Stenson travels through it seeking connection. ‘Home / wasn’t far away,’ she tells us, ‘but the road never ended’.”—Andrea Hollander, author of Landscape with Female Figure, Woman in the Painting, The Other Life, and House Without a Dreamer
“’Eternity can be heard in the stir of the breeze, in the vineyards, the whisper of prayer,’ the poet writes in Everywhere I Find Myself. The poems explore love, memory and deep loss with equal verve. With an artist’s sharp eye for detail and a philosophical world view Leah Stenson is a savvy traveler. Her wry wit, compassionate heart and spirit infuse this vivid, engaging collection.”—Marilyn Stablein, author of Climate of Extremes, Splitting Hard Ground, and Sleeping in Caves
Flying to Ohio
by Leah Stenson
After a soporific of red wine and potato chips,
I drifted off over the Great Plains at midnight,
the cabin darkened, my heart and the heartland lit.
Now the sky is reddening in the east, and
in the west lights are clumped like islands
glimmering through velum.
On that solo adventure four decades ago, knapsack
on my back, I wandered from the foot of the Acropolis
to Delphi and Santorini, channeling light.
Returning home a prodigal wanderer, I never stopped.
Sometimes at high altitudes, I still find shards
of former selves, a polished stone, a sun-bleached shell.
LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY, ALL AGES, AND UNCENSORED SINCE 2004
Judith Arcana writes poems, stories, essays and books, publishing online and on paper. Her work has, naturally, been influenced by the times and places of her life: A high school English teacher in the 1960’s, Judith was fired, as many were in those years, considered dangerously radical by the school board. She’s written poems and stories rooted in her commitment to reproductive justice, which began with her work in the pre-Roe abortion underground in Chicago.
Judith’s new poetry collection, Announcements from the Planetarium, was published by Flowstone Press in 2017; its poems examine memory, consider the nature of wisdom, and reflect on the experience of aging into new consciousness. Judith hosts a poetry show on KBOO community radio in Oregon and online.
The Woman Who Hands You A Gun
Don’t think because I’m old
I’m not learning anymore. No.
That’s not how it goes. Right
now I’m on my way, leaving
town to be a carny, a barker
at the tattooed lady’s tent flap
or the woman who hands you a gun
at the shooting gallery or hoops
to toss over baby dolls. It’s got
to be something I don’t have
to study or practice, something
I can slip right into, on-the-job
training. Because I don’t have
that kind of time anymore.
I’m saying I’ll be an intern
an apprentice – not a student.
I don’t have time for that.
…….. Judith Arcana (First published in CIRQUE – Winter Solstice issue, 2012)
Printed Matter Vancouver would like to thank producer Aaron Scott, intern Elayna Yussen, and everyone at OPB Radio’s State of Wonder for featuring the Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic community on their program. I founded the reading series in 2004, and Toni Partington, my wife and co-host, came on board in 2007. It was a very moving experience to hear what the series has meant to Toni and series regulars April Bullard, Eileen Elliott, and Erin Iwata. I found myself in tears as my friends spoke about their personal journey, and how Ghost Town Poetry has contributed to both their personal growth and their development as writers. We hope that you will agree that Aaron and his crew perfectly captured what makes the reading series so unique.
Toni and I were also pleased to find that the producers acknowledged Angst Gallery’s role in the community as “de facto arts center.” Angst Gallery owner Leah Jackson has been one of the driving forces in the Vancouver Arts District for many years. Since 2005, she has provided me with a venue in which to present local and national poets, poetry & music collaborations, coaster poetry, and bilingual poetry readings. I would not have been named the first Poet Laureate of Clark County without her unfailing support. In fact, Leah Jackson was the first to acknowledge my service to the poetry community when she named me the poet laureate of her two businesses, Angst Gallery and Niche Wine Bar. This great honor allowed me to have two years of practice as her laureate (2011-2012) before being called upon by the Clark County Arts Commission to serve the poets of Clark County as their poet laureate.
We’d like to thank Judith for her hospitality and her thoughtful questions. We are also grateful to our friend and fellow poet, Patrick Bocarde, for engineering the program.
Poetry And Everything Air date: Mon, 04/24/2017 -10:00pm to 11:00pm
Interview with Toni Partington and Christopher Luna
Chris and Toni co-host Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, the series he established in 2004. Together they founded Printed Matter Vancouver, a small press and editing service. Not only are there two of them, working together on those projects, but each of them does (notably) more than two things.