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Livestream Reading: Kim Stafford
Annie Bloom's welcomes back Portland poet Kim Stafford for the livestream launch of his new collection, Singer Come from Afar. Kim will be joined by Sisters singer-songwriter and poet Beth Wood, whose latest book of poems is Believe The Bird.
About Singer Come from Afar:
This book considers war and peace, pandemic struggles, Earth imperatives, a seeker’s spirit, and forging kinship. The former poet laureate of Oregon, Stafford has shared poems from this book in libraries, prisons, on reservations, with veterans, immigrants, homeless families, legislators, and students in schools. He writes for hidden heroes, resonant places, and for our chance to converge in spite of differences. Poems like "Practicing the Complex Yes" and "The Fact of Forgiveness" offer tools for connection with the self, the community, and the Earth: "It is a given you have failed . . . [but] the world can’t keep its treasures from you." For the early months of the pandemic, Stafford wrote and posted a poem for challenge and comfort each day on Instagram and published a series of chapbooks that traveled hand to hand to far places—to Norway, Egypt, and India. He views the writing and sharing of poetry as an essential act of testimony to sustain tikkun olam, the healing of the world. May this book be the hidden spring you seek.
About Kim Stafford:
Kim Stafford is a writer and teacher in Oregon, and founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College. His poetry titles include A Gypsy’s History of the World (Copper Canyon Press), and Wild Honey, Tough Salt (Red Hen Press). He has published a biography, Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford (Graywolf Press), We Got Here Together (a children’s book from Harcourt-Brace), and a book about writing and teaching: The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft (University of Georgia Press). Poems in this book have appeared in The Orion, Pilgrimage, Terrain, World Literature Today, and featured on The Writer’s Almanac. His books have received Pacific Northwest Booksellers awards, and a Citation for Excellence from the Western States Book Awards. Stafford has received two NEA Creative Writing Fellowships in poetry and has taught writing in Scotland, Italy, Mexico, and Bhutan. He co-founded the annual Fishtrap Writers Gathering in Oregon and teaches regularly at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle.
About Believe The Bird:
Poet and singer-songwriter Beth Wood follows up her award-winning poetry book Ladder To The Light with Believe The Bird, a collection of forthright, shimmering poems that examine the stories we tell ourselves. Some stories are true, some may no longer be true. Some are based on history, cultural messages, direct experience. What if we examine the stories we tell ourselves to see if they resonate with who we are now? What if we allow our inherent wisdom to override messages that no longer serve us? When is a story good and when is it harmful? What if we get to decide what narratives work for us? Believe The Bird is a book full of questions in the form of poems, pointing to the wisdom of the bird in hand.
"Aim high, this book says—look up, go to the water when you are broken, bob to the surface, bury your demons, cherish your oddness, sing out some things utterly, but keep others in reserve. Be invisible, this book says—so you can keep the riffraff in the dark while you lead your electric life. Deft lines and crisp silences make these poems almost become songs—almost, but then they keep their reticence. Like spells, they make things happen you didn’t know they could. How did that open me up like that? Well—though prone to bruising, this book says, the heart has “always a tiny rustle of / something living within.” These poems will wake you to knowing like a headline only you can decipher, survival news from your fierce interior life." ––Kim Stafford
About Beth Wood:
Beth Wood is a modern-day troubadour, poet, and believer in the power of word and song. Beth has been writing, creating, recording, and touring full-time twenty-three years––delighting and inspiring audiences with her exceptional musicianship, intelligent songwriting, powerhouse voice, and warm and commanding stage presence. In addition to her eleven solo albums, one duo album, and one collaboration live album, Beth has released three books of poetry: Kazoo Symphonies (2015), Ladder To The Light (2019), and Believe The Bird (2020), a collection of forthright, shimmering poems that examine the stories we tell ourselves. Beth also released Facepalm (2019), a whimsical collection of stories recounting some of the most awkward conversations she has experienced on the road. Beth lives in Sisters, Oregon, with her loyal dog Bailey and is continuously writing and rewriting her artist's manifesto.