In honor of David Ossman’s new book, The Old Man’s Poems, the Band of Poets is coming up from Seattle for the book launch party, and will provide musically poetic entertainment. This band is unique in its makeup of poets and instruments, and is a visiting gem full of sparkle.

Band of Poets celebrates the interplay of poetry and music. Their performances weave original compositions with those of other artists, both past and present. Musical offerings range from traditional to jazz; their choice of poetry spans from classics to Beat. As published poets and eclectic musicians, they join forces to share their unique amalgam of song and spoken word.
—Rosanne Olson

BAND OF POETS, from left to right:
John Burgess, Ted McMahon, Jed Myers, Rosanne Olson and Anna Jenkins

Band of Poets will be sharing ballads and hymns, the ghosts of the Beats, and evocations of Whitman, political outrage, edginess, and, yes, even love. Band of Poets features the original music and poetry of John Burgess, Anna Jenkins, Ted McMahon, Jed Myers, and Rosanne Olson. You might hear a guitar or harmonica or maybe even an angel. You can dance if you feel like it. Who knows what would happen next?

Let’s begin the introductions to each of these musically inclined poets with Jed Myers, since his book—Between Dream and Flesh—was published by Egress Studio Press just last year, and I just can’t resist mentioning that.

Jed Myers

Jed Myers has been weaving music and poetry together in various ways for many years, believing the arts can help us remember our oneness across all the apparent differences. Jed is a widely published and award-winning poet, who’s hosted countless open mics, plays guitar and sings with The 52nd Street Band, and he loves being in Band of Poets. Read more about Jed on his website at https://www.jedmyers.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Burgess

John Burgess grew up in upstate New York, worked on a survey crew in Montana, taught English in Japan, and since 1985 has lived in Seattle where he works for an insurance company. Past glories include: 2006 Jack Straw writer; co-founder of the original Burning Word Festival; 2008 Words’ Worth curator for the Seattle City Council; 2-time runner-up for Seattle Poet Populist; and past Board president at Hugo House, Seattle’s creative writing center. He has five books of poetry, some with maps, charts and drawings, from Ravenna Press: Punk Poems (2005), A History of Guns in the Family (2008), Graffito (2011), “by Land…” (2015), and 1977 (2018). Look out, though. John Burgess has a contagious smile. More about John can be had at https://punkpoet.net.

 

 

 

 

Rosanne Olson

Rosanne Olson has spent a lifetime in the arts as an award-winning photographer, author, educator and musician. Her passion for words and poetry, which began in college, evolved into a love of songwriting. She plays harmonica with the 52nd Street Band, and sings some of her songs with the Band of Poets and at local venues. Her first album, Love in Your Country was released in 2018. View more of her work at  http://www.rosanneolson.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ted McMahon

Ted McMahon is a Seattle poet and percussionist. A long-time contributor to Easy Speak Seattle, he is happy to be a collaborator with Band of Poets.

You can see more of his poetry at http://www.innerjourney.info/books.htm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Jenkins

Anna Jenkins is a music teacher, composer, arranger, and therapeutic musician. She performs with the girl band Nasty Woman, Resonance Harp Duo, and leads the Eastside Harp Circle. Anna enjoys adding Celtic harp to the spoken word with Band of Poets! She has to leave our celebration by 8pm, so be sure to be here early. A harp with a harpist is more than a wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This, to me, sounds like a one-of-a-kind sort of event, one that I’m glad I won’t be missing. We will request donations for the musicians’ expenses, since they are traveling all the way from Seattle (plus you don’t want to forget how much time and expense it takes to create such talent). But, as always, I want everyone who would like to hear the poems and music during this event to please come. Your presence is a delight, and our wish is to share a few of the wonderful things in the world.

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Last Friday, which was a beautifully breezy sunny day, David Ossman and Judith Walcutt visited Egress Studio. The main purpose for this visit was for David to sign and number 150 copies of the latest poetry book published by Egress Studio Press.

OssmanBooksigning-1

David Ossman gets ready to sign his new books in Egress Studio. Beside him are 150 books in stacks of fifteen. On the couch, Judith Walcutt converses with Jim Bertolino.

David was excited to see the book, and to get busy signing them. They were waiting for him in stacks of fifteen on a table in the studio. He sat down and took a little time to look at the book. I am so glad he likes what the book looks like and how it feels in the hands. He began signing shortly thereafter. First, he tried the pen out on the paper of the book’s interior: French Paper Company’s Speckletone Starch Mint, a lightly speckled, lightly green smooth paper. Good idea to try out the pen on the paper first, which worked just fine. And then he began to sign.

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The signing and numbering of a limited edition is easier than signing books for people, and goes a lot faster. No need to ask who to sign the book for, or how to spell a name. The hardest parts are keeping the signature similar start to finish, and remembering what number you are on.  David didn’t run into any trouble.

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Here, David has signed several books, but the stacks to his right are still high. In this photo, you can see the hand-scored and folded square spine, and the cotton rug yarn endpaper.

In the meantime, I mentioned to Judith that, if she happened to like raspberries, she was welcome to pick as many as she wanted just outside the door where I’ve grown two rows of raspberries for several years, though I don’t like berries. Well, I found out she likes raspberries. I think they smell as delightful as roses.

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Jim Bertolino likes every part of poetry, from the inkling of an idea to the oral presentation of each poem. He couldn’t help but sit there in the chair watching someone signing every single poetry book of a limited edition.

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It was not long before David had finished signing and numbering the books. Here he is signing the last one.

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After this, we opened a bottle of wine and toasted to the signing and the numbering of the book, to the book, to David Ossman, to poets, to poetry, and all things poetic. It must have been a very large bottle of wine because we had to finish it at dinner. Oh, dinner. The dinner was appetizers (olives, raspberries, artichoke/parmesan dip with rosemary crackers) first, then, out at the pond, there was a salad with lettuce varieties from the garden, beet-pickled eggs from the Sicilian Buttercup hens, pasties, hearty bread with sunflower seeds, and sparkling water. We went back to the studio for dessert: Peach Kuchen. By then, the sun was beginning to set. “Good timing, sun!” as we were exhausted. What a wonderful day!

Many people know David Ossman as one of the main characters of the infamous Firesign Theatre, since its beginnings back in the amazing ’60’s. A precursor to Saturday Night Live, Firesign Theatre was like a godfather to SNL, Frank Zappa, and others.

But this post is about David Ossman as poet. His new book, titled The Old Man’s Poems, is inspired by morning coffee, an artful cat, and the mysterious majesty of Mount Baker. Ossman is agile and savvy when it comes to writing from the heart—his poems share the honest experience of someone who’s been around the block a couple million times. He’s trustworthy, and has a beautiful mind.

Ossman

David Ossman in his study

Ah, but I mentioned a Book Launch Party in the headline of this post.

David Ossmans’ Book Launch Party: The Old Man’s Poems

with David Ossman reading from his book, and hopefully talking about things. In celebration of Ossman’s new book, The Band of Poets from Seattle, a music and poetry group— with John Burgess, Anna Jenkins, Jed Myers, Ted McMahon, and Rosanne Olson—will also be performing.

Saturday, August 17: Program begins at 6pm
(I know I said 7pm in earlier promotion, but I’ve changed my mind. It’ll be 6pm. The harpist has to leave by 8.)

Potluck at 5pm. If you can’t decide what to bring, here’s a suggestion: A-D, please bring a dessert; E-L bring a salad or vegetable dish; M-T side dishes or an entrée even; U-Z appetizers might be nice.

David_Ossman

David Ossman during a performance.

The process of publishing this book was much slower than I had hoped, but the soft covers are all but finished, with only fifteen outer covers to score, trim, fold and wrap around the interior book. David will come up to the studio tomorrow to sign and number all 150 copies. Then they will be done.

Table

This photo shows a few unscored, untrimmed, wraparound covers at the far end of the table (hope you don’t get dizzy looking at it), beside the tools I use to score and trim the books, and then there are 135 books with their outer covers on ready for signing tomorrow, and the final stack of fifteen books in the box (with the red interior cover), which I’ll finish up as soon as I’m done writing this post.

Please notice that this is a limited edition, handmade book. It is like an artwork, because I consider poetry not only an oral art, but a visual art as well, once it’s on the page. I enjoy designing poetry books, and attempt to reflect the poems in the typography, layout, and cover designs. For this book, I also prepared six linoleum blocks to make the interior and cover illustrations.

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The price for the book ($27) does reflect the artistry of David Ossman and the work that went into making the book. Handmade books cannot compete with mass-produced books, except in artistry of production. In the future, the soft covers will be joined by several hardcover artbooks as well. These are not made just yet. But you might want to know that the poems in these hardcover books will printed on my handmade papers, and illustrated with each of the six linoleum blocks tipped in. Those will take a while longer to make, but I’ll certainly announce when they are finished.

I will post more about David Ossman, the Band of Poets, the book, and this event as we get closer to the August 17 celebration. Come and help us celebrate.

—Anita K. Boyle, publisher, Egress Studio Press

My studio rarely looks like it does during the studio tour, workshops, meetings, or salons. It’s a mess, albeit a coordinated one. Here’s what it looks like a couple weeks before two workshops and a salon are happening. It’ll be nice and clean in a couple weeks, but I’m sure it’ll become far more chaotic before then.

This is what the studio looked like yesterday afternoon. It is an organized disorganization of neat project areas.

This is the area where I’m inking the linoleum blocks on my small etching press.

This is where I cut the linoleum blocks. It is a very safe way for holding the blocks still, which reduces the number of injuries. It is still out because I occasionally need to recut a line or two while I’m inking.

Right after I took this photo, I took these dry prints off the clothesline.

Here is another area, where I am making paper. The brown liquid contains the rest of the hosta pulp from paper I made earlier. I plan to add cotton linters to it, and it will make an entirely other type of paper from what 100% hosta pulp has made, which is a little brittle and hard to work with.

Here is the hosta paper dripping on the studio’s cement floor. Towels come in handy during the paper making process. The intention for this paper is for artworks, not books.

These papers were printed in my toner printer, and then I wrote quotes on them from The Big Burn book. I do not know if this artwork will be finished in time for the Allied Arts show. I have a plan, but we’ll have to see.

This is the newest project. It will be an assemblage when it’s done. It uses wood from old buildings and furniture around Bellingham. So far, I’ve cut, glued and nailed in the framing. The glass piece is just sitting there.

Back to the linoleum blocks, here is how I set up making prints: roller, glass plate for ink, linoleum block, ruler, and paper.

This is what it looks like when the ink has just been rolled on… a little shiny and opposite of the print.

Here are eighteen of the prints hanging near the heater to dry for a day or two. No need to rush, which helps the prints from smudging.


Well, now I better get back to work. Lots to do before I’m done.
—Anita K. Boyle

Writing poems about current political events and ideas is one of the important responsibilities that fall to the poet, and it is not an easy task, and is the reason why I decided to host a couple workshops on this topic. Seattle poets Raúl Sanchez and Jed Myers are scheduled to teach workshops on how to create political poems that welcome your ideas­—and the crucial details of today’s prevalent events. The task is complex and sometimes dreadful, but is clearly a crucial element of being a serious poet. The goal of each of these workshops is to write relevant political poems people will actually want to hear and read. That this is possible is represented in many poets work! Think of Walt Whitman, Valzhyna Mort, Ilya Kaminsky, Allen Ginsberg, Sharon Olds…. Participants will learn from these two dynamic Seattle poets as they discuss methods to clearly portray your point of view in poetry. Jed Myers says, “If it’s true that the personal is political, then poetry must be able to capture the political in the personal facts of experience.”

Date: Saturday, March 9, 2019

Location: Egress Studio, 5581 Noon Road, Bellingham, WA

Workshops #1: Raúl Sanchez­—1:00–3:00pm

Workshops #2: Jed Myers—3:30–5:30pm

Registration: one workshop $25, both workshops $40

Please call Anita K. Boyle at 360-398-7870 or email her at akboyle@egressstudio.com

Registration Deadline: March 6, 2019.

The workshops will be held inside the creatively inspiring Egress Studio. Participants are welcome to walk around the five acres to clear their heads between workshops or even just to take a little break, if necessary, since sometimes politics can be a bit much.

Raúl Sanchez

 

 

 

Raúl Sanchez’s workshop participants will look at poems from two anthologies: Poetry of Resistance and Poets Against the War, as well as specific poems like Martin Espada’s “The Republic of Poetry,” Pablo Neruda’s poem “Anguish of Death,” Cesar Vallejo’s “The Black Riders,” and a bonus poem by Gloria Anzaldúa “To live in the Borderlands means you.”  During the workshop, attendees will point out issues mentioned in the poems that affect us and the people from other countries. From this information, poems will be created that reflect current political issues affecting our country and the world.

About the instructor: Raúl Sanchez was selected to be the Inaugural Poet in Residence for the City of Burien 2018. He is also a translator currently working on the Spanish version of his poetry collection All Our Brown-Skinned Angels (MoonPath Press) nominated for the 2013 Washington State Book Award in Poetry. Raúl’s focus is immigration, discrimination, profiling, racism and social injustice, among other issues. He is a member of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program. Currently, Raúl volunteers as a Poetry Mentor for the Pongo Teen Writing Project in the King County Juvenile Detention Center and a member of the Seattle Arts and Lectures Writers in the schools (WITS) program.

Jed Myers

 

 

 

 

Jed Myers’ workshop:

Jed Myers says, “If it’s true that the personal is political, then poetry must be able to capture the political in the personal facts of experience. We must be able to channel the currents of our culture’s disturbances and possibilities through our intuitive apparatus and create embodiments of our struggles that invite strongly felt resonances.” In this workshop Myers hopes to facilitate such a process—by offering some experiential exercises, by encouraging the psychic shift from concept and category to perception and sensation, and by tapping the group’s power to support its members in writing openheartedly through the self rather than from the self. Some worthwhile writing is bound to come of it!

About the instructor: Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press, forthcoming), and three chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels (Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award). Recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, and Southern Poetry Review.

About this project: Anita K. Boyle creates art and poetry at Egress Studio. This poetry writing workshop event is in support of the larger Whatcom County poetry community. A minimum of 30% of all workshop proceeds will go directly to the migrants at the Mexican/US border as they continue their journey into the United States. The donation from will most likely be for non-profit group Angry Tias & Abuelas who are doing very valuable work right now at the Mexican/American border, work that reminds me of these lines: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” —Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “New Colossus”. There is a link on Facebook, if you’re interested in learning about the some of the work they are doing.

Over the weekend, I put together another book. This one is titled “Journal of Bone Grit.” It has a coptic binding using an orange-colored thin-gauge electric wire. It’s the first one that I made using this wire, and it turned out pretty good. The binding allows the book to open flat (which makes it easy to write in), and shows the roughness of the handmade paper’s deckle edges on all sides. Along the spine are the vertical folds of the seven signatures of five sheets of paper each. That’s a total of 140 pages: 7 sigs. x 5 sheets x 4 pages. That’s the sort of math a book-maker does. I certainly hope I right.BoneGrit-7522

All of the pages are empty except for where I’ve inked in the title on the second page, so it’s ready for a writer willing to write on the handmade papers of a handmade book. BoneGrit-7523Making a book like this begins with making the natural dye for the paper. The interior papers were dyed with lichen, which turns an orange-ish color. You can see small bits of lichen and the bark it grew on in the paper. There is just enough to make it look interesting without drawing too much attention from whatever the writer will write. Instead, it may help to punctuate the writing. The end result will be a handwritten book, which makes the journal even more of an artwork than it already was. The finished journal would become a collaborative artwork between artist and author.BoneGrit-7524The cover papers include the grit left behind on a windowsill under a deer skull, hence the name “Journal of Bone Grit.” The deep brown dye used for the cover papers is not a natural dye, but an “upcycled” dye. I had a box of Ritz dye sitting around for over 25 years, no, probably more like over 35 years. The box was corroded and puffy, and in such bad condition that I had to use it or toss it. Over the years, I kept looking at the box, thinking I would use it for something. So I finally did! I left the paper pulp soaking in the dye long enough that the color came out surprisingly dark and rich.BoneGrit-7527

The photo above shows the skull, the bone dust on the cover, and the wire used to bind it together. I am a poet, an artist, a designer and a publisher. This book is made in my “artist mode,” and is a work of art that can be used by whoever becomes its owner. Let’s change “can be used” to “should be used” or “needs to be used.” I have discovered that most writers would love to write in a book like this, but making that first mark is so difficult, even frightening, that many writers keep this sort of journal blank forever. If you accept the challenge of owning a art-book journal like this, you can consider yourself courageous writer and my hero.

In the last two posts, I shared images of the cabin and of Summer Lake, Oregon, from my Playa residency in August 2017. In this post, I’ll share photos from my walks up the hill across the road from Playa.

The hill is a foothill on the edge of the Fremont National Forest. You walk through Playa’s wooden gate, cross Highway 31 (a fairly quiet road), go through the metal gate, and then walk up and up the hill along a steep gravel road. The first thing I noticed was being greeted by a variety of butterflies.

A bright orange and black Thistle Crescent (Mylitta Crescentspot) can brighten even the sunniest day.

I am not an expert on any insect, but I would guess that this one is a ratty example of a Thistle Crescent. I like the striped antennae.

I’d guess this little flitter is a Checkered White. It flutters around tiny pink flowers, and others, too.

Here’s a Slivery Blue butterfly with its white-rimmed wings.

If I’m good at guessing, this butterfly might be a West Coast Lady.

I can’t even guess at the name of this butterfly, but I like the colors and lines in this photo, and how the butterfly is hanging tight in a light breeze, antennae on alert.

This is another blue butterfly showing the underside of its wings. Beautiful patterns.

My best guess here is that this butterfly may be a Great Basin Wood Nymph. I love the filigreed pattern and the dark eyes on the wings.

If you can take your eyes off the butterflies, the view of Playa from the hill is spectacular.

From here, Playa looks like an oasis with its green trees and red-roofed cabins. There were forest fires in Idaho and Montana, as well as Oregon, Washington and British Colombia this year, so the sky was sometimes a dull gray, and you could smell wood burning far off.

Here are a couple of Playa’s cabins, and my VW Beetle in the parking lot. This view includes the boundary fence and several shade trees who welcome visitors.

Further up, there is a small group of evergreens shading a picnic table, and an astounding view of the broad flatness of Summer Lake and beyond.

This is a row of Elderberry trees shading the tall grasses, and sometimes deer.

 

Large clusters of blue berries droop like grapes from the small orchard.

Elton John drank and then sang about these berries. Later in the summer, they’ll all turn to an almost black purple.

Short sunflowers will feed the birds a few weeks after this photo was taken.

I’m pretty sure this is goldenrod, which lives up to its name. The butterflies love it.

Obviously, goldenrod attracts more than just butterflies.

Yellow flowers are the rule on this hill, though there are plenty of white, blue and pink to play backup.

The roadway is jumping with Pallid-winged Grasshoppers. Their coloring makes them all but disappear in the rocks.

Dragonflies enjoy resting on the tips of grasses.

Mammals on the hill include deer. I woke this trio from an afternoon nap. The buck was still napping. As soon as the does roused him, they headed up the hill across the way.

Even though I felt a little guilty, I decided to take their photograph anyway, after they ran a safe distance up the hill.

This is a very large buck. I could say I shot a ten-point buck—with my camera. He was magnificent. So were the does.

There are reptiles, too. This Western Fence Lizard enjoyed getting his photo taken. He posed here and there and over there. I finally had to walk away, I had so many photos of this creature.

This lizard has a beautiful scale pattern. I especially like the blue spots on the back, and the teal belly.

These grasses were everywhere. And like the lizard, kept wanting their picture taken.

A bird. I have no idea what kind this is, but may be some sort of a flycatcher. Other than the hawks racing back and forth, there were only a few birds on the hill. The bird sanctuary up the road has some stunning birds. But that will be in another post.

This close-up of the ridge shows that once the hill had many more evergreens, and that they were taken by fire. Still, it is a lush hillside.

There are some flat areas between the rolling hills. The tree growth is sparse, and the grasses are tall.

Returning from a walk near dusk, I “ran” across this long reptile, a bull snake. Harmless, but alarming, until you can see there are no rattles on the end of its almost four foot long tail.

This very handsome snake was laying straight across the road, and I was lucky not to step on it. Since it was cool enough that it didn’t run off right away, I took a few more photos before heading down the hill.

The path is road-wide and easy to follow, even on a very hot afternoon. Bring water, a camera and a journal. You’ll be inspired and thirsty.

Playa is inspiring for many reasons. The landscape is a big part of that, as well as the residents who live on that landscape—the fauna and the flora. And the calm quietness. As an artist and a poet, I came away filled to the brim.