Today, MoonPath Press is announcing the publication of my new book: Why Horses. A few days ago, two boxes, filled to brim with books, were sitting in the shade on the front deck. Woohoo!! This book is exciting for me, not just because it found its way to my porch. But because there are a lot of poems in this book, over 200 pages of them, and many years of work, writing, editing, revising. Also because Lana Ayers of MoonPath Press, publisher of Pacific Northwest poets, has truly honored my work, and I will always feel awed by this gesture. Sorry the photos are a little blurry. I was so excited, I couldn’t focus. Neither could the camera in my phone.

The title, Why Horses, is a good one for this collection. Not because the poems are all about horses, because they aren’t, though a number of them are. The title asks a question as a statement, and there isn’t a single answer for it. Instead there are hundreds of answers. Some of them are direct, and some more abstract, but always the poems are a horse: the real, the surreal, the metaphorical; the unspoken, those in spirit only, those in absentia; the humor, the trickery, and the innocence, and those that may replace a horse, if that’s even possible. That’s why.

This collection of poems is dedicated to the two horses who shared their lives with mine for more than 20 years—Flicka and Moby. It’s kind of funny that they both came here with literary names—Flicka, whose name I always wanted to change, but never did because she was so full of spirit there wasn’t a name in the world that would fit her right; and Moby, named after Moby Dick by a prior owner because she was wildly unbroke when I got her, and was really freaked out by things like a loose cinch as it barely touched her belly, and even by my chickens. You could say she was chickener than chickens, but you’d be wrong. She was wary and smart. I took my time training her, and she turned out to be a very steady horse with a good sense of humor.

For most authors, the arrival of books on the porch is cause for celebration, and I am no exception in this. Fortunately, Jim was willing to celebrate, too, so we had this colorful salad along with a glass of wine.

I won’t be doing a regular book opening reading for awhile, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. But the book is currently available on the MoonPath Press website. In the near future, I will try to record a few poems aloud and post them in video form. I’m also thinking of doing small readings for six or less people here at Egress Studio. I hope to start during late August or September. If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll see if I can set something up that is both safe and comfortable.

Here is a photo of the cover…. The saddle is one of my old ones. It’s heavy. Like a Cadillac. Usually, I like to use a light one, one that is the next best thing to bareback, because you can ever only go as far as the horse will take you, so it’s good to give them any breaks possible.

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.

The first copy of The Moon’s Answer, hand-sewn on June 9, 2016.

I’m proud to announce a new limited edition, illustrated book from Egress Studio Press featuring a single love poem: The Moon’s Answer by Lana Ayers.

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The drawing table, with pen, nib, ink, and mess.

I decided to illustrate The Moon’s Answer so the the poem’s presentation would be on a darkened moonlit page. The double-page spreads were drawn with a nib on a dip pen, and one and a half bottles of waterproof India ink. After many hours of drawing the illustrations, this book is finally in production mode! I’ve been working on finishing up the double-page spread pen & ink illustrations for quite a while. So many interruptions(!), but the drawings are now completed, photographed, and reproduced in the layout. The book idea started out as being printed in black only, but as I began looking at what I could actually do with it, I decided to add a bit of color throughout. I don’t want to go into many details about the poem itself, except that it is a poem I enjoyed working with very much.

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Title page detail.

As many of you know, Lana Ayers is a poet, a fiction writer, a teacher, and a publisher, among other things, such as mathematician and lover of strange flavors of ice cream. She has supported the poetry community in Western Washington for over a decade, and has provided substantial encouragement for many individual writers.

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The illustrations are drawn so the tree-line runs from one page to the next, making an accordion-bound book possible.

The final book will be published in two limited-editions, both handmade. There will be one hundred copies in a square-spined soft cover, and a dozen hard covers. Some of the hard covers will be more art-book-like than others. Each copy of both the hard and soft covers will be signed by the poet, Lana Ayers, and the illustrator, Anita K. Boyle (me). Almost all of them will be offered for sale soon. I plan to have them ready to go out the door by the end of July.

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The center spread, hand-sewn.

The first to be published will be the soft cover edition, which will include handmade endpapers. The binding will be hand-sewn with linen threads. There will be a wrap-around cover. The handmade paper uses cotton linters, recycled papers from Egress Studio, and contains lavender fibers (from the plants at the south side of the studio). Naturally dyed with buttercups, the endpapers are a color that is suggestive of the yellow moon. The book size is nine inches tall and six and a half inches wide, and has thirty-two pages.

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The title page on the right, handmade paper on the left.

To finish all the hard covers may take a little longer than late July, but I’ll try my best. Some of them will use the same papers as the soft cover edition. But others from the hard cover edition might be made entirely of handmade papers. I say “might” because I need to make at least one book in order to see if it can be done. I’m planning, too, that some of the hard covers would use an accordion fold, so that the illustrations can be unfolded in such a way that the poem could run continuously in a straight line (or in a circle). I’ll attempt to get one of those ready by the beginning of June. Wish me luck! As soon as they are ready for sale, I’ll put them on my website, egressstudio.com, and make an announcement.

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The timer is there because I work in sixty minute increments, so I remember to stand up and move around.