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.

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