Posted June 26, 2021.

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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