Author: EC

Review // Sierra Nelson’s I Take Back the Sponge Cake

  Reviewed By Kristen Steenbeeke, Contributing Writer I grew up on choose-your-own-adventure books, and now that I’m older, it seems poetry has always been a choose-your-own-adventure lying in wait. You know: the wordplay inviting one to interpret the work how they wish, then that interpretation branching off into some other dimly-lit pathway, which branches to another, and sooner or later one ends up out of the forest altogether and at some dark-blue lake, teeming with fish. This is why Sierra Nelson and Loren Erdrich’s poetry/art collaboration book “I Take Back the Sponge Cake” is so enticing: The poems are like tiny jigsaws in themselves, connected by choose-your-own-adventure snippets, such as “____ the night from day, O dreamers,” with the option to choose “Rest: to repose” or “Wrest: to take by force.” Depending on the reader’s choice of homonym, they are led to another page, another poem, another of Erdrich’s whimsically sad watercolors. The poems are small and concise but chock-full of their own wordplay and tricks. One highlight was “Pseudomorph,” a word which means “a cloud …

The Big Bang: Poetry & Science

Poetry Northwest presents The Science Issue The editors of Poetry Northwest are pleased to present the Spring-Summer 2012 edition of the magazine, a special theme issue exploring the intersections of poetry and science. As languages approaching the mysteries of existence and advancing the limits of human understanding, poetry and science have more in common than is commonly believed.The Science Issue presents a variety of poets who engage directly and indirectly with the sciences—from astrophysics and quantum mechanics to geology, botany, ornithology, and marine biology. It includes poets who are also scientists, like Katherine Larson (a molecular biologist, and recent Yale Younger Poets Prize and Kate Tufts Discovery award winner) and Amit Majmudar (who serves in the honorable tradition of the poet-physicians). It also includes a meditation on poetry by historian of science and University of Puget Sound professor Mott Greene. Featured writers include: Linda Bierds, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Timothy Donnelly, Forest Gander, Amy Greacen, Bob Hicok, Richard Kenney, Katherine Larson, Sarah Lindsay, and many more. “I’ve always taken a deep interest in the sciences—biology, astronomy, and physics in particular,” says editor Kevin Craft. “And I’m fascinated by the representational overlap between poetry …

Afterwords // The Falconer-Poet

Andrew Feld’s new book of poems, Raptors, revolves around his time working in a bird rehabilitation center in Oregon, where he learned to do things like “trim a golden eagle.” Last night at Open Books he explained that what drew him to write poems about raptors is that it’s such a rich metaphor, such a “flexible and generative emblem,” whether for the beloved, for the wilderness, or for the unknowable. “You have them, they’re domesticated, but you never have the slightest indication that they love you.” Feld read mostly out of the new book, but also shared one brand new, birdless poem, which he described as an obituary from the future: “Unsurprisingly, I’m writing a whole new series. I never seem to be capable of writing just one poem.”  

Afterwords // Jeanine Walker Takes on the Thirsty Masses at Cheap Wine & Poetry

     Last night at the always packed CW&P reading series we pushed our way up to the front row and chatted with writer Jeanine Walker before she took the stage. Tara Hardy, Kristen McHenry and Kathleen Flenniken followed.  PoNW: How did you decide what you were going to read here tonight? Jeanine Walker: Well, I went through the 100 poems that I thought I could potentially read without being super embarrassed and then revised the order over and over and over again. I only planned one joke, but it’s towards the beginning of the set, so the whole rest of it might not be funny. PoNW: One joke. So, do you feel like you need to tell jokes here? JW: I do feel like I need to tell jokes here. PoNW: How come? JW: Because it’s a crowd that wants to laugh. It’s like half stand-up comedian/half poet here tonight. But that’s good because I always wanted to be a stand-up comedian. It works for me. PoNW: Perfect. JW: I hope it works for me, …