Saturday, June 17, 2000

Charles Potts

Charles Potts is the founder and president of Tsunami, Inc., publisher of The Temple, a quarterly of contemporary poetry in Chinese, Spanish and English. He is the author of twenty-two books, and his work has been included in dozens of anthologies. He is a frequent guest on radio and TV, and is heavily involved in business, politics and volunteer work in his hometown of Walla Walla, Washington. Charles has also been chair of numerous poetry festivals for over least three decades, an instructor in computer processing of Chinese and Oriental languages in China, and part-time instructor at Walla Walla Community College. He is also an interim instructor at Whitman College and the Free University of Seattle.

Yesterday we received a copy of his newest book Nature Lovers. On the back cover is a quote from Ronald Koertge, which I will read to you. "When my conscience goes south for the winter, I turn to the fearless Charles Potts, a moralist with a sense of humor. If he had an 800 number I’d call him every day!"

Charles was born in Idaho Falls in 1943 and raised on a ranch east of Mackay, Idaho. He graduated from Idaho State University in Pocatello in 1965 with a BA in English has been writing poetry ever since. Three books were published last year: Little Lord Shiva: The Berkeley Poems, Lost River Mountain, and Fascist Hiakus.

Charles founded Litmus Inc., which published eighteen books in Salt Lake City including Charles Bukowski’s Poems Written Before Jumping Out Of An 8-Story Window in 1968. He was the Northwest representative to Chinese Computer Communications, Inc., and to the Pinxxiee Corporation from 1988 to 1993 in Beijing and Changsha, China. In 1994, Charles received the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Sciences of Idaho State University. From 1995 to 1997, he lived in Japan where he wrote a newspaper column, "Japan’s Political Choices" for the Kyushu Gleaner.

Charles is also an Accomplished Toastmaster, an investment real estate broker, and a Master Practitioner in the Society of Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Copies of SOME of Charles’ books are available at the back table. He will be glad to autograph and sell copies during intermission.

Zoa Smith

ZOA SMITH (September 19, 1997 AND June 17, 2000)

Zoa Smith is best known for her experimentations in word and sound. Her talent for compiling macabre details of city living is calculated to startle, amuse and shock. Drawing on the conventions of storytelling, performance poetry and dark humor, Zoa's unusual show holds her audiences twitchlessly transfixed. Zoa Smith was a featured author early on, when the Writer's Series was held in Yachats. She had the town chirping about her spoken word and musical accompaniment for days afterward as people gathered at the town's post office to express their delight and fascination with such a startling personality.

Zoa was awarded the 1994 Lilla Jewel Award for Oregon Women Artists by The McKenzie River Foundation for her multi-arts achievements and for the creation of a spoken word form called "Talkapella" which merges storytelling, lyrical poetry and sound performance. Talkapella literally means "talking musically" words are chosen because of how they sound and are arranged with attention to spoken rhythm. Zoa's stylized delivery is riddled with alliteration, puns, irony and humor. She creates her own "impure" poetic diction, combining scientific terminology with street slang, wordplay, strong rhythmic patterns, and post-modern philosophy. Her mesmerizing style, mind-bending content and innovative sound/music creations have earned her the reputation of a performance icon in the local arts community.

Zoa says "For twenty years I've been trying to write the perfect poem. Wouldn't it be cool to change the world as we know it, alter history or put a ripple in the cosmic consciousness through a single poem? My goal is to achieve this in time for the Writers' Series show. Newport would have to change her name to Newportico."