Saturday, November 20, 2004

Lucius Shepard

Lucius Shepard was born in August of 1947 in Lynchburg, Virginia, and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. He escaped home at the age of fifteen and began a lifetime of wandering. His first adventure was to Ireland aboard a freighter followed by several years in Europe, North Africa, and Asia, working in a cigarette factory in Germany, in the black market of a Cairo bazaar, as a night club bouncer in Spain, and in numerous other countries at numerous other occupations. On returning to the United States, Shepard entered the University of North Carolina. He dropped out several times and traveled to Spain, Southeast Asia (at a time when tourism there was generally discouraged), and South and Central America. He says he ended his academic career as a tenth-semester sophomore with a heightened political sensibility, a fairly extensive knowledge of Latin American culture and some pleasant memories.

Lucius says that while on the road to California, his car broke down in Detroit so he joined a band there and passed the better part of the 1970s playing rock and roll in the Midwest. Then (I know I'm making this seem simpler than it was), in 1980 Lucius attended the Clarion Writers' Workshop at Michigan State University and began his writing career. He sold his first story, "Black Coral," in 1981 to New Dimensions.

So far Lucius has written eighteen novels (I may have missed some here or there), seven short story collections, and one non-fiction book,"Sports and Music." In the past year alone, he has published A Handbook of American Prayer, Liar's House, Viator, Trujillo, Two Trains Running, Colonel Rutherford's Colt, Floater, and Louisiana Breakdown. Some of those books are available for at the back table courtesy of Black Swan Bookstore.

Lucius received the John W. Campbell Best New Author award in 1985, the Nebula Best Novella, World Fantasy Best Collection, and Hugo Best Novella awards. His fiction, journalism and commentary appear frequently in Playboy, Spin, Omni, Asimov's Fantasy and Science Fiction, and online.

Far from being a writer of mere genre-based, escapist adventure, Lucius uses the fantastic in his stories to ramp up cultural perspectives and psychological relationships.

Lucius lives in Vancouver, WA. His website is: .

Please welcome.... Lucius Shepard!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Dick Bakken

Dick Bakken began performing his poetry without a manuscript in 1972 and within a year was collaborating with dancers at innovative performance and spoken word poetry events. From 1975 to 1980 he crisscrossed the country giving readings and performances until, during a tour of the Southwest, he settled in Bisbee, Arizona where he still lives. Dick Bakken was the director of Heart of Carlos Spoken Arts, Jump the Border! and the Bisbee Poetry Festival. He was also poetry editor at The Bisbee News.

Dick Bakken's poetry has been published in over 200 periodicals and anthologies, eight books, on two audio cassettes, and two video cassettes. He has won numerous awards and grants, and continues to tour, working with musicians, mimes, painters, sculptors, photographers, and filmmakers.

Dick Bakken is one of the few poets in America whose reputation, a substantial one, rests almost solely on his public readings which are lyrical, dramatic, liturgical and celebratory all at once.
-- wrote Christopher Howell, owner of Lynx House Press.

Dick is on a two-month tour of the Pacific Northwest. His stop in Newport is his only appearance on Oregon's coast

Leonard Cirino

Leonard Cirino is a prolific, opinionated, outspoken poet and essayist with twenty-four poetry books and chapbooks produced by a dozen publishers since 1987. He has devoted over three decades of his life to reading, writing, editing and publishing poetry. His book, The Terrible Wilderness of Self, published by Cedar Hill Publications, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1998. He was nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in 2003.

He is the past editor of Pygmy Forest Press and Semi-Dwarf Review. His poems and essays about literature are widely published on Internet sites and in literary journals and anthologies.

His two most recent books are Poems of the Royal Concubine Li Xi, which won Lummox of the Year Award in 2002, and Everything Is Small From a Distance, published by Pygmy Forest Press in 2004. His books, chapbooks and broadsides are available for sale at the back table.
My poems are the way I express myself spiritually, I go deep into the dark side and the unconscious. I believe in the power of rituals, chanting, contemplation and prayer. I consider myself a mystical anarchist.
-- Leonard Cirino
Please welcome to Newport, Leonard Cirino

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Barbara Coombs Lee

Barbara Coombs Lee is the President of Compassion in Dying Federation and was one of the three Chief Petitioners for Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. Compassion in Dying is a nonprofit that provides legal activism, public education, and client services to expand and protect the rights of the terminally ill. For over ten years, Compassion in Dying Federation has been advocating for more humane and caring options for dying individuals.

Barbara is also the editor of the book Compassion in Dying: Stories of Dignity and Choice. The book is a compilation of the stories told by people in the process of dying, by their family members, friends and by spiritual leaders who respect and support choices of dying individuals. The stories are about people who chose to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act to control how they died.

Oregon's law has been in place since 1994 and during that time Oregon citizens have used the law sparingly. The many safeguards and guidelines established by the state have allowed its implementation without complications. As a result, and primarily under the leadership of Barbara Coombs Lee, Oregon has become a national model for end-of-life care.

Barbara received her undergraduate and nursing educations at Vassar College and Cornell University. She obtained training in medicine at the University of Washington and a law degree from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar.

She has appeared on NBC News, CNN Crossfire, 60 Minutes, McNeil Lehrer News Hour, NPR Morning Edition, The Today Show, has testified before Congress on end-of-life issues, and was interviewed by Bill Moyers for his four-part television documentary ''Our Own Terms,'' which looked at death and dying in America. She has personally battled US Attorney General John Ashcroft regarding his vendetta against Oregon’s law, and won. No easy task. She continually presents programs on end-of-life choices throughout the US and abroad. And has won too many awards to mention.

Please welcome the amazing Barbara Coombs Lee.

Barbara Roberts

by Carla Perry, founder/director Writers On The Edge.

I met Barbara Roberts two years ago when she was a featured author of the Nye Beach Writers' Series in July 2002. I was amazed at her frankness, her compassion and the urgency of her message about coping with the death of love ones and the necessity of allowing for individual responses to grief.

I knew she was a brave woman because I lived in Oregon during her reign as Governor. I have always been impressed with her courage to stand up and demand constitutional rights for the handicapped, seniors, children who are victims of abuse and neglect, and low-income families.

Barbara Roberts is a fourth-generation Oregonian; a descendant of Oregon Trail pioneers raised to believe that girls could do anything. She began her public service as a volunteer advocate for handicapped children. From 1981 to 1984 she served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives and was elected Oregon's first woman House majority leader during her second term. In 1984, she was elected Oregon's Secretary of State, and reelected in 1988. In 1991, she was elected Oregon's first (and only) female Governor. During her four-year term, Oregon was recognized by Financial World Magazine as the seventh best-managed state in the nation. Her administration was known for its strong gay rights advocacy and its appointment of women and minorities to positions in state government.

After leaving public office, she had a five-year association with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and taught at Portland University as an Associate Director of Leadership Development. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Oregon Hospice Association and the Human Rights Campaign. She is a member of the Advisory Councils for Compassion in Dying in Oregon and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. She is involved in the new Relief Nursery in Portland, serving small children who are victims of abuse and neglect.

Her book, Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology, first published in 2002 is already in its fourth printing and is available for sale and autographing today.

Barbara Roberts is a brave, clear-spoken woman of indefatigable energy. She is the least pretentious governor Oregon has ever had. It is an honor to host her in Newport.

Please welcome Barbara Roberts.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Marilyn Johnston

Wars don't end when the shooting stops. Poet Marilyn Johnston's husband Carroll served as a soldier in Vietnam and like many of the men and women who lived to return to their families, he brought the war home with him. Carroll's memories so intensely permeated their lives that Marilyn finally suggested that their entire family travel to Carroll's old war zone in Southeast Asia. Their journey in March 2002 provided relief and the poems that resulted helped them heal from the trauma of the barbarism Carroll witnessed and participated in. They heard stories of how Vietnamese families coped with death and destruction year upon year in a cruel succession of wars and of the unexpected kindnesses of strangers who were once mortal enemies. Marilyn's poems are collected in the award-winning book, Red Dust Rising published this year by The Habit of Rainy Nights Press of Portland, Oregon.

Marilyn Johnston has received national and regional awards for writing, including the Donna J. Stone Literary Award for Poetry, a Robert Penn Warren Award from the New England Writers, several first place prizes in the Oregon State Poetry Association competitions, and a Fellowship for Writers from Oregon Literary Arts. Her poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals and six anthologies. She is Human Rights and Relations Specialist for the city of Salem and formerly Director of the Oregon Governor's School.

Red Dust Rising, which the Salem Statesman Journal included in its list of the Best Oregon Books for 2003, is hand-sown on natural and handmade papers. The book received an award from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women, and the poems in this collection have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Proceeds from the sale of the book are used to encourage writing projects for veterans and their families.

Please welcome Marilyn Johnston.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Robyn Hercey

The Lonesomes are a trio made up of songwriter, guitarist and lead singer PHIL FAVORITE , bassist MARK ZEHR , and drummer ROBYN HERCEY on backing vocals. For this special Newport performance, the trio will be joined by ADAM ELLIOTT of Smidgen on lead guitar.

The Lonesomes are three Illinois transplants, all graduates of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Phil Favorite works as a newspaper editor and designer for special sections at The Oregonian, and is editor of New Home Monthly. He lives in Portland with his wife Anne and their two young boys Bobby and Dylan.

Mark Zehr is a stay-at-home dad who lives in Forest Grove with his wife Laura and son River.

Robyn Hercey is a senior systems engineer with Corillian Corporation who lives in Portland with is wife Keri and daughter Amalia.

Most, if not all, these children are here tonight.

In 2002 THE LONESOMES released their promo/demo "Summer Friend," a five-song collection that runs that gamut from sunny pop to twangy country to heavy rumble rock. In 2003, The Lonesomes began work with producer Brian Berg on "Circling The Sun," a thirteen-song CD due to be released in two weeks.

The Lonesomes have a website where you can find more info:

please welcome.... THE LONESOMES.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Marisa Anderson

(featured with The Dolly Ranchers on April 20, 2002 and solo on June 26, 2004)

MARISA ANDERSON plays an intricate flatpick guitar, mandolin and banjo and writes the lyrics to most of songs performed by The Dolly Ranchers, an alt-country, all-girl band based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Inspired by the oral traditions of travelers, tramps, and hobos, Anderson's lyrics create a raw, dynamic and gritty old-time country sound with edgy, original tunes about train hopping, hitchhiking, the travels and travails of whisky singin' women. She cites being influenced by such disparate sources as Tom Waits, the Velvet Underground, Lucinda Williams, Patti Smith, Freakwater, Utah Phillips, and Loretta Lynn.

As part of The Dolly Ranchers, Anderson has shared the stage with such notables as Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jenny Bird, Junior Brown, Odetta, Otis Taylor Band, Queen Ida and her Zydeco Band, Spider John Koerner, U. Utah Phillips, and the Yonder Mountain String Band.

She is also a circus performer with the One Railroad Circus of New Mexico.

Anderson, with The Dolly Ranchers, has produced two outstanding CDs: Ten O'Clock Bird and Escape Artist . She has also contributed to the soundtrack for the upcoming documentary "For The Love of Dolly," about fans of Dolly Parton. Anderson is at work on her first solo record.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Judith Barrington

Our first writer this evening is such a literary icon in the Northwest and Portland in particular, it should come as no surprise that she is also well recognized internationally. One of her recent triumphs was taking Third at the 2003 Bridport Prize in her native Britain for the poem "After D-Day," in competition with over 5000 entries in what has been called one of the toughest open writing competitions in the English language. Only the best of 26 poems and short stories from that contest are anthologized in the Bridport Prize 2003.

Recipient of numerous awards and honors, Judith Barrington has taught writing classes at various universities and workshops including the Port Townsend Writer's Conference, Haystack, Fishtrap, Ashland Writing Conference, Flight of the Mind, which she founded, and the Hassayampa Writers' Conference in Prescott, Arizona.

In addition to having work published in several anthologies she has published three collections of poetry, Trying to Be an Honest Woman (1985), History and Geography (1989), and Horses and the Human Soul (2004). Lifesaving, A Memoir (2000), won the Lambda Literary Award. Her textbook Writing the Memoir, from Truth to Art , is widely used in writing classes and workshops.

As the titles of her poetry books suggest, her work is both introspective and accessible, characterized by a bald simplicity and relentless intent.

Please welcome Judith Barrington...

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Bette Lynch Husted

BETTE LYNCH HUSTED's memoir, Above The Clearwater: Living on Stolen Land, chronicles the history of Husted's family which settled near the Clearwater River in northern Idaho.

The benchland above the Clearwater River in north-central Idaho had been the home to the Nez Perce Indians until the Dawes Act opened their reservation to settlement in 1895. As a child on the family homestead, Husted says she grew up feeling the presence of the long-displaced Nez Perce.

Husted received a BA in English from the University of Idaho and an MA in English from the University of Colorado. She spent 19 years teaching high school English in White Swan, Washington, Polson, Montana, and in Hermiston and Joseph, Oregon. She then spent 13 years teaching American Literature, Native Literature, Northwest Literature, and Writing at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton.

Her essays, short stories and poems have appeared in a broad selection of anthologies, literary journals and magazines. Her essay, Salmon Run, was selected as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2000. She lives in Pendleton with her husband Dean, and for those who have already read the book in anticipation of tonight's event, she still watches birds and foxes and practices early morning T'ai Chi.

Copies of Bette Husted's memoir, Above The Clearwater published by Oregon State University Press, and her poetry chapbook, After Fire, are available at the back table.

Please welcome.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Roy Parvin

There is a paragraph in Northern California author Roy Parvin's novella Betty Hutton that may just sum up thematically the intent of his work thus far. The protagonist, Gibbs, is a troubled man with a history of finding trouble:

But it was what stood at his back, the ocean of land behind Gibbs, that pulled at him like a tide. He'd never been farther west than the eastern fringe of Pennsylvania, had never been anywhere. He'd heard about Montana, though, a place that sounded like everything hadn't yet been decided, where there still might be some time left. A cellmate had told him of the chinooks, the southerly winds capable of turning winter into spring in a matter of hours, sometimes a ninety-degree temperature swing, and it had seemed to Gibbs lying in their dank cement crib, it seemed as if such a thing as the chinooks was possible, anything was.

One has to wonder whether if, in the crucible of our current troubled times, the threadbare cliché of personal redemption in literature, let alone in real life, has become almost meaningless. Roy Parvin's well-drawn characters and elegant prose seem to hold out the promise that there are possibilities, at the very least.

Roy's name may not yet be a household name, but he seems to be moving in that direction. His work is receiving numerous prestigious awards and he was granted a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in December 2003. He splits his time between households in the Bay Area and the Trinity Alps, which provide many of the settings for his work. His book of short stories, the Loneliest Road in America, came out in 1997, and his three novellas "In The Snow Forest" was published in 2000. He is currently writing a novel.

Please welcome Roy Parvin...

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Steve Sander

STEVE SANDER has appeared in various shows put on by Writers On The Edge. He was a featured author more than once and appeared in Vaudvillaineous Poets, and "The Memory Place."

STEVE SANDER'S interest in acting and performance was nurtured at the Portland Civic Theatre and as a founding member of the Columbia Theater Company in Portland. He served as the Poetry Editor for Spectrum Magazine of the Arts while making his living in a natural foods bakery, a men's clothing store, as a job counselor with the City of Portland, and as a small business owner. Sander is a poet, songwriter, guitar player and ex-New Yorker who settled in Oregon in 1971. On the closing of Cafe Lena, he said, "The past ten years have been the best twenty of our lives!"

Steve Sander is married to Leanne Grabel and they have two lovely and talented daughters.

Leanne Grabel

LEANNE GRABEL has appeared in various shows put on by Writers On The Edge. She was a featured author at the very first Yachats Writers' Series, held June 20, 1997 and has returned to the stage here as part of her writing critique group, Vaudvillaineous Poets, and "The Memory Place."

Leanne was co-founder and co-owner of Cafe Lena, the infamous literary cafe in Portland. She is the author of the books Lonesome and Very Quarrelsome Heroes , and The Family Fate Ate , and is the editor of Prison Poetry Project , a compilation of writing and photography by incarcerated violent offenders in MacLaren Youth Correction Facility. Her chapbooks include There's a Pig Running Free , Anne Sexton Was a Sexpot, The Last Weekend of Sylvia Plath, Short Poems by a Short Person, Flirtations, and The Heart .

Her poetry-based theatrical shows include One Woman Shoe, The Lighter Side of Chronic Depression, The Circus of Anguish & Mirth, and most recently, Anger: The Musical all of which have been produced on various Portland stages. She teaches poetry to at-risk teenagers in summer camps, Portland public schools and juvenile prisons.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Elizabeth McLagan

ELIZABETH McLAGAN was a founding member of CALYX. She has also been a bookkeeper, gardener, housecleaner, writer and high school English teacher. After her son graduated from high school, Ms. McLagan returned to graduate studies and earned an MFA in Poetry from Eastern Washington University. Since then she has taught composition, creative writing and literature at Portland Community College, Cascade Campus. Ms. McLagan has also pursued research and writing in the area of minority history in Oregon. Her nonfiction publications include A Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon, Women and Minorities in the Construction Industry, and Notes Toward a Biography: The Papers of John Hiram Jackson. Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals, and in 1990 a chapbook of poetry was published by Howlet Press. She has won poetry awards from the Oregon State Poetry Society, Clark College, and Cream City Review, as well as the 2001 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Introjournals Award. Her full-length manuscript, Visitation in the Form of a Blue Feather, is currently in search of a publisher.

Margarita Donnelly

MARGARITA DONNELLY, one of the founding authors of CALYX is currently its Director. She is the recipient of the American Book Award, Literary Arts Stewart H. Holbrook Award, two CCLM Editors Awards, and a Fishtrap Gathering Fellowship for her short fiction. Her work has appeared in The American Book Awards Poetry Anthology, Small Press Magazine, Women and Aging, the Feminist Bookstore Newsletter, and Women's Press, for which she was a founding editor. She writes book reviews for the Oregonian and Women's Review of Books. She received the 1994 inaugural Distinguished Achievement Award from the Oregon State University Friends of the Library, as well as the 1990 Women of Achievement Award from the OSU Women's Studies Center. She has lectured widely, including at the 6th International Feminist Publishers Conference in Melbourne, Australia, and the Hawaii Literary Council in Honolulu. Ms. Donnelly has taught at the Centrum Writers Workshop, Bay Area Writers Conference, and at the American Library Association Conference. She served on the selection panels for the Washington State Arts Commission, Idaho Arts Commission, Oregon Arts Commission, Seattle Arts Commission, and the Cottages at Hedgebrook Women's Writing Retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington. She has also edited six anthologies at CALYX Books including their newest, A Fierce Brightness. She was born and raised in Venezuela and Spanish is her first language.

Donna Henderson

DONNA HENDERSON chapbook, Transparent Woman, produced on a letterpress from handset type, printed on fine paper and bound with string, was a finalist for the 1997 Oregon Book Award for Poetry. The title poem of this collection was first published in Calyx Journal and subsequently included in A Fierce Brightness." Her most recent chapbook, Gazpacho, contains a sequence of poems on the final illness and death of her mother, together with watercolors by her sister Darcy V. Henderson. In the past few years, Donna Henderson's poems have appeared in Fireweed, First Things, Room of One's Own, and other magazines. Her reviews and articles have been published in journals of spirituality, literary scholarship and social work. Her poem Dawn is included on the CD Alive at Dawn by pianist Diane Baxter, principal keyboard artist for Yaquina Orchestra and the Bloch Music Festival. She has received various state, national and international recognitions, including a Pushcart Prize nomination. Ms. Henderson recently completed her first full-length collection of poems, Are You With Me Here? Her photography and mixed media artwork is regularly exhibited at the River Gallery in Independence as well as in one-woman shows around the Willamette Valley. Ms. Henderson is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in pyschotherapy in Monmouth, teaches counseling at Western Oregon University and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at Warren Wilson College.

Janice Gould

JANICE GOULD is a Native American poet of Koyangk'auwi/Maidu descent. She has published three books of poetry, Beneath My Heart, Earthquake Weather, and Alphabet. Her newest book, Speak to My Words: Essays on American Indian Poetry, was co-edited with Dean Rader and published by the University of Arizona Press. Her poetry and essays have been appeared in numerous journals, reviews, and anthologies. She was awarded grants for her writing from the National Endowment for the Arts and from the Astraea Foundation. She earned a Ph.D in English at the University of New Mexico and currently teaches Imaginative Writing and Native American literature at Willamette University in Salem where she is an assistant professor and serves as the Hallie Ford Chair in Creative Writing.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Cole Robinson

COLE ROBINSON performs solo acoustic guitar. "Robinson's improvisational style is a fusion between organic acoustic precision and raw electric power, with overtones of American string band and East Indian raga."

COLE ROBINSON states that he has been greatly influenced by the music of Jimmy Hendrix, Miles Davis, Dave Matthews, and the Smashing Pumpkins. "I appreciate all forms of music but lately I've taken a particular interest in American string band music and East Indian raga."

Robinson studied with such notables as Dan Balmer, Tony Kaltenberg, Jeff Peretz, and Mel Brown. He has performed in numerous and varied venues including the E.M.U. Ballroom at the University of Oregon.

"I am capable of delivering a hard driving beat as well as employing the use of free time to create ambient modal soundscapes."

Sunday, April 4, 2004

Lorrie Haight



A demonstration by Lorrie Haight of Long Beach, Washington.

Lorrie Haight began creating hardcover books by hand for her husband, Smitty, a fisher poet and storyteller. Ten years later, after producing hundreds of hardcover books, she began teaching the craft of bookmaking to others who were interested in both the process and self-publishing. She now gives bookmaking demonstrations at craft shows.

Lorrie has been a featured workshop instructor at the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria for the past few years. She is also the author of her own book of stories based on her days as an Alaska fisherwoman.

During the presentation, participants learn how to lay out written material, then fold, gather and sew the pages into sections of the book called "signatures." She demonstrates how to bind the book, measure material for the book cover, cut and glue the covers together and ultimately glue the finished books into the finished covers using starch in the hinge crease.

Handouts available at the demonstration include contact information for all book publication requirements such as ISBN and Library of Congress numbers, bar codes and copyright forms.

Lorrie Haight's video, "Lorrie's Book Making Demonstration," is available for purchase, through email: or call Lorrie directly at 360-642-8090.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Charles Goodrich

As creator of introductions for guests of the Nye Beach Writers Series I spend a short, intense bit of time with their work, looking for things to say that illuminate their style or personality or career for an engaged and intelligent audience. Most of the time I don't meet the writers until shortly before show time. Sometimes I'm surprised how different they are than I expected, sometimes not. Occasionally, I'm just surprised, period.

My taste in poetry is simple and straightforward. I don't care for work that depends on obscure and mysterious personal references that are meaningless to the reader. I think poetry is a window to the mind of the poet. A clear window works better than a muddy one. Frankly, some poetry makes a better door than a window.

I've learned to be cautious when I see a new title. Some have been apt, but some I still haven't figured out. Here's a sampling of titles by writers I've introduced: In the Margins of the World, A Small Song Called Ash from the Fire, The Mad Painter Poems, Summer Mystagogia, Pink Menace, and Come Over Here and Leave Me Alone.

So you can see, the title of a work can sometimes be a prelude to obfuscation. Some of the writers couldn't tell me what the titles meant. I admit I felt my neck-hairs tense up a little when I picked up Charles Goodrich's collection, entitled Insects of South Corvallis. But that tension just melted away when I began to read, quickly realizing the poems were not only very well-written, but actually about bugs.

The guy writes about what he knows. He was a career gardener for twenty-five years. He's been published widely and Garrison Keillor has read his work on National Public Radio. He is presently an instructor for the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word at Oregon State, a program that brings together creative writers, philosophers and environmental scientists.

Please welcome Charles Goodrich . . .

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Rick Bartow and Bill Stiffler

Original songs and stories by Rick Bartow highlight a concert by guitarist Bartow and bassist Bill Stiffler. Dubbed "Songs from a lifetime of living," the evening's concert spans the thirty years since Bartow introduced live music to Lincoln county at the Uptown tavern in Newport.

Rick Bartow is a world-renown artist in addition to being a Newport musical treasure. His paintings, prints, masks and sculptures are shown in Oregon, Chicago, San Francisco, Arizona, British Columbia, Germany, Japan and New Zealand. "The Cedar Mill Pole" is on display in the First Ladies Sculpture Garden at the White House. Rick, park Yurok Indian, was born and raised in Newport.

Bill Stiffler has been involved in the Newport theatre, music and art scene for over thirty years. He has been a wanderer, fish merchant, musician in many local historic bands, and a teacher in Lincoln County schools. But it was music that brought Stiffler to Newport from Seattle. Stiffler performed with a string of pioneer bands here in Lincoln County, including Mushin, Bones, The Sons of the Beaches, Original Face, and Cyrano the Snub-Nosed Dullards. He currently performs with Rick Bartow and Friends every Thursday night at Mo's Annex on the Newport bayfront.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Jerry Martien

Poets have a lot of latitude when it comes to the role they play in a culture. They can chronicle or comment, entertain or enlighten or simply bear witness to the slice of time they occupy. Jerry Martien does all these things. An environmental and political activist in the Humboldt Region of Northern California for thirty years, he has labored as a carpenter, editor, teacher and board member of several organizations. He has taught creative writing and nature writing for the past seven years at Humboldt State University. His published work includes Shell Game, described as A True Account of Beads and Money in North America, and a collection of poetry, Pieces in Place.

Pieces in Place is a collection of poems that are best described in the opening lines of Martien's essay, "A Defense of Poetry (Is a Defense of Place:)"

"The poem arises from the ground of its making. By way of a human attention, deliberately placed there-- held there, till it is shaped by the rule of that ground. ... The poem surrounds us. The poet loiters deliberately in the dooryard, maintaining cultural access to that nourishing circumstance. Speaks on behalf of the still-living, still sacred grove, and labors to restore the springs to which we all go when thirsty."

Please welcome Jerry Martien

Jennie Shortridge

JENNIE SHORTRIDGE was a plumber, cook, rock-and-roll singer, corporate marketing executive and freelance writer before tackling the project that has sent her back on the road in 2003--writing the slightly autobiographical adventure novel Riding With The Queen.

"I wanted to write about my beautiful hometown of Denver, and I wanted to write about a musician coming home from the road," explains Shortridge. "I've been a working musician since age 16 and I thought it would be an interesting lifestyle to explore."

Riding With The Queen is about Tallie Beck, a hard-luck gal in her mid-thirties who has made many bad decisions about men and has finally hit the wall in her chosen profession of bar singer. In disgrace, she returns home to Denver, the place she escaped from at age 17. Talli has a bad attitude and continues making bad decisions, but at least she wishes she wouldn't. Out of character, she falls in love with Perry, a man who runs a homeless shelter, and somehow life begins to change for Tallie. Not improve, but change.

With a deft and touching hand, Shortridge creates a funny, sexy, smart and heartbreakingly real protagonist. Talli's relationships rise and fall in response to lies, deceptions and omissions, much the way real life gets in the way of denial. Talli eventually admits she is an alcoholic, commits to a relationship with Perry, is offered a recording contract, and becomes a bar manager. It looks like a happy ending.

Jennie Shortridge now lives in Portland, Oregon and is working on her second novel. "This one is about a freelance food writer with big-time food issues," says Shortridge. "She's losing someone she dearly loves to cancer, dealing with an emotionally distant mother, and trying to unravel the mysteries of her family's secrets while at the same time trying not to eat herself into blimplike proportions. Like Tallie in 'Riding With The Queen,' like many of us, she's on a mission to understand her past so she can move on with her life." Shortridge promises to accompany herself on guitar and sing on February 21, besides reading from her novel.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Whitney Otto

Since the usual format of a Nye Beach Writer¹s presentation characteristically includes two writers, there is always the question of whether they will be disparate or similar, or in any way complement one other. Although we have presented fiction and nonfiction writers together before, an interesting aspect of tonight¹s guests is that their work neatly dovetails in a very odd way.

Tonight¹s fiction writer¹s style is emphatic and declaratory, a plainspoken rendering of rich detail about her character¹s lives that seems to imply fact rather than fiction. Their fictional personality traits and peculiarities are presented from a distance, as if the story was a product of research rather than imagination. Yet the nonfiction writer with us tonight has chosen to research and write about historical figures both outrageous and unconventional, and brought them to life in such an intimate way that their stories border on the unbelievable, the stuff of modern myth.

Whitney Otto has written four novels, her first the wildly successful 1991 How to make an American Quilt, made into a film by Steven Spielberg. Her subsequent works include Now You See Her, The Passion Dream Book and in 2003, A Collection of Beauties at the Height of Their Popularity.

Whitney Otto writes shrewdly and incisively about a certain kind of modern women, and as I mentioned, from a distance. There is a feeling of the expatriate about her characters, as if upon dismissing the mainstream life of American consumerism and embracing a certain consciousness regarding artistic sensibility, they neglect to adequately substitute a clearly defined course leading elsewhere. They inhabit a floating world of their own devising, oddly elitist and nearly invisible to the rest of society, but somewhat unsatisfying to occupy.

Please welcome Whitney Otto.

Lauren Kessler

Lauren Kessler’s newest book, Dancing With Rose: Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimers, is an intimate, first-hand account of what it means to live with Alzheimers. For five months Kessler immersed herself in an alien landscape just a few miles from her home. She took a minimum-wage job as caregiver in an Alzheimers facility to better understand and write about the disease that claimed her mother's life.

“I am a writer of what is called literary nonfiction," says Kessler. “I tell true stories, factual stories based on extensive research, but I tell them as much as I can, as much as the material will allow me, the way a novelist would -- with scenes and characters and dialog, with an eye for the telling detail and an attention to the larger narrative.”

A special honor has been bestowed on Lauren Kessler -- her book, “Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of A Japanese American Family,” was chosen the one book people all over the state will read for Oregon's first state-wide "Oregon Reads" in 2009, part of the state's 150th birthday celebration. All 130 of Oregon's public libraries will receive copies of this book.

Kessler is the author of nine other excellent narrative nonfiction books including: “Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley: The Spy Who Ushered In The McCarthy Era”; Los Angeles Times best-seller and Oregon Book Award finalist “The Happy Bottom Riding Club,” a biography of the pioneering aviatrix, Hollywood stunt pilot and bordello Madame, Pancho Barnes; “Full Court Press,” a season-in-the-life narrative about women's sports; and “After All These Years,” portraits of 1960s radicals.

Kessler’s journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O magazine, salon and The Nation. She is the founder and editor of Etude, an online magazine devoted to new and emerging voices in literary nonfiction.

Photo by Carla Perry