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Today the river
runs wild with glee.
It’s the last bright day
in November and
the sun skips cross gray-green
water, lightening the landscape.

A pair of trail runners
crunch burgundy-hued leaves,
sending duff flying past their heels.
The banks have yet to turn
to silt-clay stew.

Today the Bigleaf maple’s
yellow ochre dominates the landscape,
making evergreens jealous.

Autumn magnifies
the call of the crow
and deepens the texture of tree bark.
Today you can hear the scratch
of parched leaves meeting mid-air.

The river roars
joy unadulterated, leaping
past large woody habitat, and
charging forth toward the Columbia.


An old woman sits dead-eyed
near an upturned cardboard box,
rosary beads clicking through her fingers.
The cardboard covers the corpse
of an infant. There’s not enough fabric
to shroud the body.

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, lost
children tremble as if aftershocks originate
from their broken bodies. Men dig
through remnants of home
for fathers and daughters and strangers.
The crevices of their hands

crack like fault lines.


I’ll be tweeting live from Wordstock this weekend.

I’ve just discovered a new form of poetry: the poetic soundscape.

This weekend, I attended a gathering hosted by the Marys Peak Poets, a chapter of the Oregon State Poetry Association. There were two fantastic soundscapes written by Joanna Rosinska and performed by several local poets.

Soundscape is a sound or combination of sounds that forms or arises from an immersive environment. The poetic soundscape takes layering to a new level. There’s linguistic and sound layering in addition to thematic layering. Think two-dimensional versus four-dimensional.

This form is really exciting to me. I can’t wait to try it out.


My first poetry workshop with MFA students left the awful impression that good poetry and obtuse poetry were synonymous. This was devastating. Luckily, that experience was the result of a compression exercise gone haywire.

Matthew Dickman’s All American Poem is the poetry collection I’ve been waiting for. It’s straight-forward without insulting my intelligence. It’s aware of the world. It’s accessable.  It’s brilliantly written and boldly executed.

Dickman writes poetry that’s unpretentious and engaging. Place, pop-culture, lust, and love are just a few of the subjects taken on in this collection. Surprisingly, I was able to read several of Dickman’s multi-page poems back to back. The masters have yet to achieve this kind of harmony with my brain. Matthew Dickman writes the way I aspire to write.

This is contemporary poetry at it’s best. Read it.

Related links:

Fishouse Poems-Matthew Dickman
Northwest Writers At Work-The Poetry Posse

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