May 2022

Gathering News from Oregon Poetry Groups

While Oregon Poetry Association represents poets throughout the state and beyond, we know numerous other groups in Oregon and southwest Washington offer workshops, write-ins, readings, inspiration, and companionship for poets. Over the past few years, between the pandemic and multiple changes of volunteers, we have lost track of some of our official “units,” along with …

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Dervish Lions, by Tiel Aisha Ansari, reviewed by Betsy Fogelman Tighe

Dervish Lions is divided into three sections: “Kingdom of Wind,” “Countries of Origin,” and “Province of Saints.” The first two sections land themselves more firmly in the environment: the first section mostly in Oregon and the second section in ancestral lands which include the more exotic locales in which Ansari spent much of her youth.  These sections employ many of Ansari’s regular devices, including simple narrative, mostly declarative sentences, and a flatter diction; for example, For some time I’ve wanted to climb the Marquam Trail/to the top of Council Crest (“Death on the Marquam Trail”). The third section contains most of the more spiritually yearning poems and lifts the book to another level.

Each Leaf Singing, by Caroline Boutard, reviewed by Melody Wilson

Caroline Boutard’s Each Leaf Singing is a feast for the senses. The cover feels good in your hand, the paper has high rag content, the print is elegant and light. It’s a collection to envy, from the woodcuts on the cover—contributed by the poet’s husband––to her calls back to him from within the poems. This little book is bursting with beauty, love, and first-rate poetry, all without excess. Spare, lean, filled with heartbreak and delight, Boutard’s poems introduce a world we come to know and love.

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