Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rhyming with Salem

Hey, everyone, check out all the poetry-related business in Salem, where the capitol's cherry trees are a-bloomin', where the lilacs are being bred from the not-so-dead ground, and where verse (and a fair amount of drizzle) is in the spring air.

From bilingual English/ Spanish readings at the Public Library, to Emily Dickinson set to music, an open-mic night of peace poetry, a couple of fisher poets reading at Willamette University, and contest and publication opportunities, the second half of this month is full of regular and not so regular poetry-related events. Do your soul—and your city—a favor by checking 'em out.

Crowned in Song
Sunday, April 17, 3-4:30 pm
Loucks Auditorium, Salem Public Library—Free to the Public

Willamette University professor of music and women's studies, Marva Duerksen, brings musical settings of poems by Emily Dickinson to the stage.

Poems for Peace
Sunday, April 17, 7-9 pm
Clockworks Cafe & Cultural Center—Free

Bring your own poem about peace to read, or come to hear others at this all-ages, open-mic event in downtown Salem.

Monthly Meeting of the Third Thursday Poets
Thursday, April 21, 5:30 pm
Gallery 205, Reed Opera House, Downtown Salem

For the past seven years, the Third Thursday Poets have been meeting to hear and share poetry by Oregon and non-Oregon poets alike. With plans for 501c(3) designation in the works and the creation of Brigadoon Books in the Opera House, TTP is setting the groundwork for another seven years.

High Seas in the Valley: A Reading by Fisher Poets Moe Bowstern & Geno Leech
Thursday, April 21, 7 pm
Eaton Hall, Room 209
Willamette University—Free to the Public

For the past twenty years Moe Bowstern has been known to fish for shad on New York's Hudson River, shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, and salmon in Kodiak, Alaska. Geno Leech started fishing for crabs, shrimp, and albacore off the coast of Washington in 1979, but most of his ocean experience comes from working on merchant and salvage ships pulling other boats and barges out of wrecks off the beach. Both participate in the annual Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon, and both appear in the award-winning 2005 documentary Fisher Poets.

La Voz de la Poesia/The Voice of Poetry Bilingual Poetry Reading
Thursday, April 21, 7 pm
Salem Public Library—Free to the Public

Efrain Diaz-Horna and Juan Marcos Cervantes will each do a 20-minute bilingual poetry reading followed by a Q&A and reception. Diaz-Horna, a native of Talara, Peru, has published poetry in Expreso, the Oregonian, the Hispanic News, the National Catholic Reporter, and in the book The Many Faces of Love. Morales, from Oaxaca, Mexico, was awarded the 2010 Proyeccion Latina for first place in poetry; he has recently published El Jardin del Eden.

Poetry Potluck
Saturday, April 23, 6 pm
Undisclosed location that changes month to month

Every month, a group of poetry-lovin' organic farmers and their patrons and fans gather to read poetry and eat good food.

The 5th Annual National Poetry Month Contest for Children & Adults
Deadline: 5:00 pm, Friday, April 29th,
Sponsored by the Willamette Store & the Salem Public Library

In celebration of National Poetry Month, celebrity judges will give awards in three categories (Best Rhymed Poem, Best Unrhymed Poem, Haiku) for four different age groups (grades 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, adult). For complete contest guidelines as well as information on the May 14th awards ceremony and reading at the Salem Public Library, go here.

New Salem-Based Literary Journal—the Gold Man Review

Named after the pioneer statue on top of the Oregon capitol building in Salem—not for the investor who teamed with Mr. Sachs—the Gold Man Review is accepting email submissions of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, art, and photography until May 1. Dedicated to featuring work by Salem-area residents, Gold Man pitches itself as, ahem, a pioneer in promoting the local arts.

The Blood Orange Review

One third of the editorial board for this online lit mag is located in Salem—poet Stephanie Lenox who recently received a grant from the Oregon Art Commission and who is looking forward to the issue of her first full-length book with the Willamette Valley's poetry publisher, Airlie Press. Blood Orange Review has just come out with its new number.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why the United States is Destroying its Education System

Check out "Why the United States is Destroying its Education System" by Chris Hedges. Here's the beginning of his essay:

A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.

Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point.