Saturday, January 15, 2000

Verlena Orr

Why would a lawyer's wife work as a social worker in an inner city? Why would she stay married for nineteen years and do dinner parties on demand, but then walk away leaving behind affluence and comfort? Why is the ex-wife of a Court of Appeals judge spending her life writing poetry? Of what benefit is knowing how to ride horses, to shoot and to square dance? The answers to these and other questions will be found in the work of Verlena Orr.

Verlena is the author of two chapbooks, I Dance September Naked in a Dream (1988) and Woman Who Hears Voices (1998). Her poems appeared in a number of national literary journals, in Graining The Mare: An Anthology of Ranch Women Poems, and From Here We Speak, an anthology of Oregon authors. She received a BA from Albertson College in Idaho in 1961, a BA from Portland State, and an MFA from the University of Montana in 1984.

She has worked as a hired girl on a farm, as a secretary, social worker, landlord, and teacher for Portland Public School Talented and Gifted Program, Poetry in the Schools, and at Portland Community College.

An orphaned adult and Idaho farm and pasture owner, she prefers dancing in sleazy bars to gardening and reading, and spends most of her time smoking and writing poems. She cooks one day per year — Idaho-style fried chicken for Ann and Rick’s annual garden party potluck.

Carlos Reyes

Carlos Reyes is an Irish-American poet and translator. His books of poetry include The Shingle Weaver’s Journal, a finalist for the Elliston Prize; Nightmarks, and A Suitcase Full of Crows. He has also published nine chapbooks including The Windows, The Prisoner, The Orange Letters, At Doolin Quay, Open Doors, and most recently a translation of Edwin Madrid’s Puertas abiertas.

Hundreds of his poems appeared in national and international literary journals and anthologies including most recently, Let Us Drink To the River, an anthology of river poems, and O Poetry! Oh Poesía! Poems of Oregon and Perú. His poem, "Bridge of the World," appears along with other poetry on Max Cars and Tri-Met buses through Portland’s Poetry in Motion program sponsored by Literary Arts, Tri-Met and the Poetry Society of America.

Carlos recently completed a translation of José Martí’s Escenas norteamericanas (North American Scenes), a book which will be published in Havana, Cuba. And he has translated Poemas de la isla (Island Poems) by Canary Island poet Josephina de la Torre, scheduled for publication by Eastern Washington University Press.

Reyes has been a Yaddo Fellow, a fellow at the Fundación Valparaíso (Mojácar, Spain), and received an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship for poetry. Since 1964, he has been the editor and publisher of Trash House Books, Inc. He is a founding editor of Hubbub: A Magazine of Poetry, and is currently on the editorial board of Ar Mhuin na Muice (On A Pig’s Back), a journal of Irish news, music and culture.