Mid-Valley Poetry Society’s Poetry in Performance, July 25

The Mid-Valley Poetry Society’s second Poetry in Performance event of 2021, to be held via Zoom in just over a month, will focus on poetry that gives voice to our ancestors. Join event organizer Franca Hernandez and featured performers Marilyn Johnston and Francis Opila for this mid-summer program, and bring ancestor-inspired poems of your own to share.

Ancestral Voices in Poetry, the second MVPS Poetry in Performance event for 2021, is inspired by the ancient Japanese Obon mid-summer festival, designed to honor one’s ancestors through song and dance. For this event, poets will be invited to present their original poem(s) inspired by their ancestor(s) or special people in their family’s history—up to three poems or five minutes, if time permits.

Our featured poet, Marilyn Johnston, is a recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship for Writers and a Fishtrap Fellowship, and the winner of the Salmon Creek Journal Flash Fiction Contest and the Donna J. Stone National Literary Award for Poetry. Her work is published widely in literary journals and anthologies. She is the author of a chapbook, Red Dust Rising (2004, the habit of rainy nights Press), and a full collection, Before Igniting (2020, Rippling Brook Press). For decades, Marilyn has looked for the threads connecting the diaspora of her family as a result of the Holocaust, and to give voice to the roots that connect us all.

Francis Opila, a poet who enjoys performing, combining recitation and playing North American wooden flutes, will honor us with a musical interlude. Francis has lived in the Pacific Northwest most of his adult life; he currently resides in Portland, OR. His work, recreation, and spirit have taken him out into the woods, wetlands, rivers, mountains, and deserts. He can be reached at [email protected]

Event coordinator Franca Hernandez, a published writer and poet, has lived in Oregon for nearly 40 years. She writes non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Her first novel, Venezia~The Talisman, was published this year:. Her poem ”Pangram: A sentence which uses all the letters of the alphabet at least once” is featured in /pãn| dé| mïk/ 2020, an anthology of pandemic poems published by the Oregon Poetry Association.

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C-Tran buses seek poems

Fresh crop of poems sought for C-Tran buses
Artstra is accepting submissions for Season 11 of Poetry Moves, for a new group of poems to be showcased on C-Tran buses. The program welcomes poets of any age living in the Portland-Vancouver regional area served by C-Tran.
A maximum of two poems may be submitted, each of which must not exceed seven lines and must be the poet’s original work. Ten poems will be selected and displayed in C-Tran buses beginning September 2021.
Jurying of poems for this season will be generously provided by Thabiti Lewis, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English at Washington State University Vancouver.
More information including detailed guidelines and submission form can be found at.org/subhttps://artstramit-poetry/
The deadline for submitting poems is July 31.

MVPS Poetry in Performance Event

Healing Fractures
A Mid-Valley Poetry Society Poetry in Performance Event
2-4 p.m., Sunday, April 25, via Zoom
Painter & Writer Cynthia Herron & Singer-Songwriter Kristen Grainger
Free ● Open Mic between Sets by Featured Presenters

This Poetry in Performance event will be a program of art, music, and poetry for “Healing Fractures.” Painter and writer Cynthia Herron will present her art, and Singer-songwriter Kristen Grainger will perform with Dan Wetzel, her partner in the True North duo.

Enter the link above into your browser to attend the free Zoom event. Meanwhile, you are invited to write poems in response to a visual work, “Low Field with Mended Oak Leaf,” by Cynthia Herron and/or a song, “The Ghost of Abuelito,” by Kristen Grainger—and then to perform the poems during the open mic segment of the April 25th program.

Grainger’s “The Ghost of Abuelito,” in a performance with the True North band, can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awdcRGNcOzA,and a purely audio version can be heard at https://youtu.be/3HACGF-UY00. (Abuelito is Spanish for grandpa or granddad—an affectionate variant of abuelo/grandfather.)

Cynthia Herron’s paintings reflect an interest in nature and the outdoors that began at the age of six when she experienced thunderstorms from her Ohio backyard. She has painted landscapes in Alaska, New Mexico, Arizona, eastern Canada, and Oregon, often hiking for long stretches to take in nature’s wild places. She wanders forest, field, and coast, sketching with watercolor crayons and ink. Later in the studio, she refers to color sketches made in the field. She works with oil and cold wax on wood panels, building layers of color and texture, alternately drawing with thick paint sticks and thin grease pencils, sometimes scraping away, sometimes building up the paint. Her abstract images bring the wildness, color, and poetry of nature to viewers.
Cynthia lived in the southwest for 25 years, then moved to Oregon in 2004. She received her BFA in painting from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, a Teaching Certification in 1994 from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, and her MFA in painting from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2003. Since 1995 she has taught painting and drawing at the university level and currently teaches foundation classes at Chemeketa Community College. Her paintings and collages have won awards in regional juried shows and can be seen at Freed Gallery in Lincoln City and Fog Forest Gallery in New Brunswick, Canada.

Singer-songwriters Kristen Grainger and Dan Wetzel have been performing music together for live audiences for more than a decade.
A songwriter whose star is rising, Kristen was named, alongside Brandi Carlile and Dolly Parton, one of the Women Who Wrote Our 2020 Soundtrack by The Bluegrass Situation. She won the 2020 USA Songwriting Competition (folk) and the 2019 Local Roots Music NW songwriting contest. She has won or been a finalist in some of the nation’s most prestigious festival songwriting contests, including Telluride Bluegrass Festival (CO), Wildflower Festival (TX), Merlefest (NC), and Kerrville Folk Festival (TX).

An accomplished singer-songwriter who toured nationally as a solo artist, Dan is also a luthier, handcrafting musical instruments, including most of the ones he and Kristen perform with, which look and sound beautiful. His superb skills, particularly on guitar, both flatpick and finger style, give True North’s songs their driving groove.

The duo co-founded bluegrass-infused folk quartet Kristen Grainger & True North. Their 2020 release, Ghost Tattoo, was named one of the Top 20 Albums of 2020 by Folk Alley’s Listeners Choice, hitting #1 on folk radio charts for both albums and singles. According to Folk Alliance International, Ghost Tattoo was the second most-aired album on folk radio in 2020. With deep roots in Oregon and Washington, they tour nationally and internationally — when not curtailed by a global pandemic. Learn more at www.truenorthband.com.

Before deciding to play music full time, Dan was a professional builder of custom homes. For many years, Kristen was a vice president at Willamette University and also worked in strategic communications for three Oregon statewide-elected officials, most recently, Governor Kate Brown.