Reading in Portland

I’ll be reading with a whole host of great writers this Saturday in Portland as part of the Oregon Writer’s Collective (info through the link and below). Love to see you there!


On August 2nd the Oregon Writer’s Collective arrives in the NE Portland backyard of poet Elyse Fenton for our second annual Portland reading of poetry, fiction, memoir, and musical genre-bending.

Drinks and mingling begin at 7:30 pm. We’ll have Laurelwood beer available for a suggested $3 donation (to offset costs). Please bring snacks if you’d like as well!

Leo London—the best singer and songwriter you’ve never heard of, whose current project is with the Portland rock and roll band The Domestics—will play a few songs to get our night started. We’ll follow with this star-studded cast, broken by an intermission:

Carl Adamshick’s first book, Curses and Wishes, won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Oregon Book Award. His second collection, Saint Friend, is published with McSweeney’s. He lives here in Portland and is a co-founder of Tavern Books, a non-profit publisher of poetry.

Elyse Fenton is the author of Clamor (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2010), winner of a number of prizes. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in American Poetry Review, Pleiades, Best New Poets, Prairie Schooner and The New York Times. In 2013, her manuscript-in-progress for a second book received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award. She teaches at Portland Community College and has an Icarus complex regarding her tomato plants.

Samiya Bashir’s books—Gospel, Where the Apple Falls, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art, and Best Black Women’s Erotica 2—have brought some people joy, according to them. Her poetry has recently appeared in Poetry Magazine, World Literature Today, Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Rumpus, and more. Samiya teaches creative writing at Reed College, where she sometimes takes her magic cat, who shares her obsession with trees, blackbirds, and hobo signs, to class. Find out more @ samiya bashir dot com.

Joe Wilkins is the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers, winner of the 2014 GLCA New Writers Award and a finalist for the 2013 Orion Book Award, and two collections of poems, Notes from the Journey Westward and Killing the Murnion Dogs. He lives with his family in McMinnville, Oregon, where he teaches writing at Linfield College.

John Brehm is the author of Sea of Faith, winner of the Brittingham Prize, and Help Is on the Way, winner of the Four Lakes Prize, both from the University of Wisconsin Press. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Sun, New Ohio Review, The Gettysburg Review, and many other journals and anthologies. He teaches at Mountain Writers Workshop in Portland and The Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.

Colie Hoffman is a poet, essayist, and recent transplant to Portland, OR from New York. She spends many days of the week working at a travel research firm, where she translates English into different English. Colie has been a writer in residence at Writers Omi in upstate New York and at Sangam House in South India, for which she won the M Literary Residency. Her poems have appeared in Sixth Finch, TYPO, Blood Orange Review, and elsewhere.

Molly Reid’s stories have appeared on NPR and in the journals Triquarterly, Redivider, Indiana Review, Pear Noir, The Literary Review, and others. She has received fellowship support from the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ucross Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she is at work on a novel.

Michael Copperman’s prose has appeared in The Oxford-American, The Sun, Creative Nonfiction, Gulf Coast, Guernica, Triquarterly Online, The Rumpus, UNSAID and Copper Nickel, among others, and has won awards and fellowships from the Munster Literature Center, Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, Oregon Literary Arts, and the Oregon Arts Commission. He currently is waiting on word from New York about a memoir he fears will never find a home, and finishing a novel-in-stories even less commercially viable than the memoir in question.

James Yu is from Beaverton, where last year he finally saw a beaver.

Thomas Dietzel is the creator of the musical art project, EURHAPSODOI, which performs short excerpts of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey – in the original Greek and with musical accompaniment – to allow audiences to make the connection between ancient oral formulaic methods of composition and the use of the freestyle technique in hip hop. It is not hyperbolic to suggest that ten minutes of listening to EURHAPSODOI perform will communicate more about the shared aspects of these two cultures than twenty written volumes ever could. EURHAPSODOI has performed at the Portland Art Museum as part of The Body Beautiful Exhibit as well as part of Leo Daedalus’ Portland avant-garde variety show, The Late Now.

2014 Terroir Creative Writing Festival

Terroir 2014 PosterBeen a real joy to join, and be so embraced by, the writing community here at Linfield, in McMinnville, and across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. And I’m really delighted to be part of the 5th Annual Terroir Creative Writing Festival this year. I’ll be teaching a craft class, Notes Toward Evocative Prose: What We Really Mean to Say, and doing a poetry reading with Maggie Chula, Paulann Petersen, and my wonderful colleague Lex Runciman.


Get Lit!

Get Lit TreeNext week I’m headed to what I’ve always thought of as one of the best literary events around, Get Lit! Loads of amazing writers this year–Joyce Carol Oates, Jess Walter, Kim Barnes, David Shields, Major Jackson, Robert Wrigley, Emily Danforth, and so many more–and lots of great panels, readings, and workshops. If you happen to be in Spokane, I’d love to see you! Here’s my schedule of events:

Event: Panel Discussion: Your Truth, My Truth, Their Truths: The Modern Memoir
Date: Friday, April 12
Time: 12 p.m.
Venue: North Idaho College, Molstead Library, Todd Lecture Hall
Description: Memoir is more popular than ever. Contemporary writers are taking risks of
storytelling technique and subject matter that continue to redefine the genre. Joe Wilkins’ memoir,
The Mountain and the Father, is a collection of stories about the men and boys he knew growing

up in the harsh landscape of northern Montana. Anna Vodicka’s essays have appeared in Brevity,
Ninth Letter, The Iowa Review, and other outstanding journals, and she is currently finishing her
first full-length memoir. Moderated by writer and NIC faculty member Jonathan Frey.

Event: Workshop: Crafting Evocative Prose
Date: Saturday, April 13
Time: 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Venue: Red Lion Hotel, Riverside Board Room 1
Description: The poet Richard Hugo claimed “all truth must conform to music,” for in music we
find a fuller, stronger truth. As a prose writer, especially as a creative nonfiction prose writer, I’m
not sure I buy that 100% of the time, but, nonetheless, I think Hugo’s on to something. In attending
to language, we not only say what it is we’re after in more effective, vivid ways, but we very often
find ways to say that which we didn’t even know we could say. We discover what it is we really
mean to say. In this craft lesson we will discuss four techniques for attending to language and
crafting evocative prose. Participants are asked to bring an essay-in-progress, as we will have some
time to apply these techniques in revision and share revised work at the end of the lesson.

Event: A Reading with Jim Lynch and Joe Wilkins
Date: Saturday, April 13
Time: 2 p.m.
Venue: Red Lion Hotel, Audubon/Manito room, lobby level
Description: From urban underbellies to Big Sky dreaming, writers have always sought to capture
the true essence of the Northwest. Olympia writer Jim Lynch dives into Seattle’s sordid past with
his latest novel, Truth Like the Sun. A tenacious newspaper reporter sets out to unmask corrupt local
politics and gets swept up in a story that goes all the way back to the famous (and infamous) 1962
World’s Fair. Joe Wilkins chooses farmland over skyscrapers in his memoir, The Mountain and
the Fathers. Set in the drought-afflicted area of northern Montana known as the Big Dry, his stories
reexamine masculinity and the American mythos of the West, all while set in a land that “chews
up young and old alike.” Both authors take us on a journey through the Northwest with humor and
heart, through familiar landscapes that local readers will particularly appreciate.
Details: Each author will have 15-20 minutes of reading time, followed by a joint Q&A after the
readings. Book signing to follow in the adjoining ballroom.

AWP in Boston

I’ll be headed to the 2013 AWP Conference and Bookfair in Boston here in a few days for four days of book signings, readings, listening to panel presentations, catching up with friends, and wandering in and out of various pubs. If you’re in town, and you’re interested, here’s my event schedule:

Thursday, March 7, 2-3 pm, Bookfair, White Pine Press Table
Author Signing, Notes From the Journey Westward, Joe Wilkins

Thursday, March 7, 7 pm, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, 125 The Fenway
Wild Lives / Raucous Pens: Readings from Ecotone, Hawk & Handsaw, and
Hosted by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and located at the
Conservancy’s historic Shattuck Visitor’s Center on the Fenway, just a
15-minute walk from the Hynes Convention Center. Emceed by Kathryn
Miles and Simmons Buntin and featuring literary readings by David
Gessner, Sheryl St. Germain, Derek Sheffield, Cynthia Huntington, Joe
Wilkins, Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Hannah Kreitzer, and Bill Roorbach. Beer
and wine will be served in this cozy (you might say, intimate) cottage

Friday, March 8 3-4:15, Room 208, Level 2
F238. New Writing from Orion. (Jennifer Sahn, Pam Houston, Chris
Dombrowski, Joe Wilkins, Tania James) The Orion editors believe that
people are a part of nature and that the environment is everything
that is—which translates into a broad mandate for a literary magazine,
allowing Orion to publish the best writing at the intersection of
ecology and culture. Join us as four recent contributors read and
discuss their essays and short stories from Orion.

Saturday, March 9, 4:30-5:45 pm, Room 309, Level 3
S260. Counterpoint Press Reading. (Dan Smetanka, David McGlynn, Dana
Johnson, Susan Sherman, and Joe Wilkins) A reading by prose writers
who have had books published in 2012 by Counterpoint Press. Two
memoirists and two novelists read work spanning a range of landscapes,
time periods, and subjects. The editor who acquired the books
moderates and discusses what drew him to each title, while the authors
themselves read and reflect on their experience of working with one of
the nation’s largest and most respected independent literary

Reading with David Gessner, Kathryn Miles, and Many Others

Bill and Dave


This week you can check out David Gessner’s recently imagined sit-down with the Washington Post over at the always-entertaining Bill and Dave’s Cocktail Hour. And I’m very excited to be reading with Dave, one of my environmental writing heroes, as well as Kathryn Miles, Simmons Buntin,  Cheryl St. GermainDerek SheffieldCynthia HuntingtonLauren Eggert-Crowe, and Bill Roorbach on March 7th at  Shattuck Visitor’s Center on the Fenway in Boston, MA!