Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Jim Bodeen

Jim Bodeen is a literature and writing teacher of Latino students at Davis High School in Yakima, Washington, the publisher and editor of Blue Begonia Press, and the author of several books of poetry including Whole Houses Shaking, Impulses to Love (poems set in North Dakota, Chile and Vietnam), and most recently, This House: A Poem in Seven Books. His plan with This House was to write a single poem about a single morning spent in his garden, listening to "In This House, On This Morning" by the Wynton Marsalis Septet. The poem, an epic narrative, is based on dreams, interactions with his wife, his children, his students, his friends–- but it evolved into a book that took ten months to write.

Jim, who writes in both English and Spanish, edited the book, With My Hands Full, a bilingual anthology of transformational poems by thirty-five young Latino writers. These pieces are witness to loss, migration and arrival. They explore border crossings that are geographical, political and personal. Jim calls these writers abrecaminos–-those who make a way where there is no way.

Jim received a BA in Education and a BA in History, plus a Masters in English from Central Washington University and a Master of Religious Education from Seattle University. As part of the Lincoln County School District Goals 2000 grant, Jim taught a workshop yesterday at Waldport High School.

Bodeen says of his work --
Being called to poetry is being called to listen. It is listening to the deepest sounds. The principles are basic–-extreme sobriety, practicality and courage.
Jim Bodeen and his wife Karen, his book designer and typesetter, have devoted their lives to poetry and poets.

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