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Coaster Poetry Contest Reading at Niche Wine and Art Bar 7pm
Wednesday, January 18

Christopher Luna

Coaster Poetry Contest Reading
January 18, 2012
Niche Wine and Art Bar
1013 Main Street Vancouver

Leah Jackson and Christopher Luna are proud to announce the winners of
Niche Wine and Art Bar’s Coaster Poetry Contest. Each of the ten
winning poems will be published on a set of limited edition coasters
to be used in the bar and available for purchase now. You can buy a
complete set for only two dollars.

At 7pm on Wednesday, January 18 we will gather at Niche for a special
reading featuring the winning poets. The winners are:

Anni Becker, "a copy of me"
April Bullard, "Ever searching clouds of wispy gray"
Ed Coletti, "haiku"
Carole Doane, "Middle child"
Dene Grigar, "I could cry"
Anne McQuary, "Botanical Suicide"
Daniel Nelson, "Crows"
Jessica Samuelsen, "An Adult Wish"
Erma Schmeckpepper, "the rain falls steadily from grey woolen skies"
Mary L. Slocum, "A Function of Sitting"

Congratulations to our winning coaster poets.

Leah Jackson is a visual artist and the proprietor of both Angst
Gallery and Niche Wine and Art Bar. In late 2010, Jackson named
Christopher Luna poet laureate for Niche and Angst. Along with the
poetry contest, he has organized a series of bilingual readings at
Niche which have featured poets reading in Spanish, Chinese, French,
Vietnamese, Romanian, and Russian. In early 2012 Luna and Niche will
host readings in Czech and Japanese.

Christopher Luna
Poet, Editor, Teacher

Editor, The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of Stan Brakhage and Michael
McClure 1961-1978, published by Big Bridge:

Co-editor (with Toni Partington)
of "Ghost Town Poetry: Poems from Cover to Cover Books 2004-2011"
Available at Cover to Cover Books, Powell's, and

Co-author (with David Madgalene and Toni Partington)
of "To Be Named and Other Works of Poetic License," a limited edition
art book and 200+ page poem available now: Cover to Cover Books
6300 NE St. James Rd, Suite 104B
Vancouver, WA

Tsunami Books
2585 Williamette St
Eugene, OR

Three Friends Coffee House
201 SE 12th Ave
Portland, OR
JUDITH ARCANA lives in an apartment upstairs of her neighborhood
library. She writes poems, stories, and essays, publishing online and
on paper; her books include Grace Paley’s Life Stories: A Literary
Biography, and the poetry collection What if your mother. The newest
is a fiction collection about abortion & tattoos, now seeking a
publisher. For a good time, visit

Writer, musician, photographer, painter, and model, BRAD GARBER has
published poetry and erotica in Cream City Review, Oysters &
Chocolate, Clean Sheets, and MindFuckFiction. He is the proud father
of a top scholarship winner at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
The river flows.

ELIEL LUCERO is a native New Yorker poet and DJ who has performed all
over NYC, the west coast, Baltimore, D.C., Honolulu, and more than a
few other places. His work appears in International Poetry Review and
the anthology Barber Shop Chronicles (Penmanship Books). Eliel has
served as co-editor of Acentos Review, been an Urban Word Mentor, a
facilitator with the Alzheimer's Project, and Production Manager of
the Bowery Poetry Club.

CHRISTOPHER LUNA is a poet, visual artist, and the editor of The Work,
a monthly email newsletter featuring poetry events in the Portland OR
and Vancouver WA areas. He is also host of a popular open mic poetry
series in Vancouver. To Be Named and Other Works of Poetic License,
Christopher’s latest volume, is a poetic travelogue and art book
created in collaboration with David Madgalene and Toni Partington .
Christopher is also the editor of The Flame Is Ours: The Letters of
Stan Brakhage and Michael McClure 1961-1978 (Big Bridge, 2011). Learn
more at

One of four poets in Gaston, Oregon (population 625), MARY L. SLOCUM
worked as shipyard electrician for seventeen years. Her poetry appears
in Stanza, NW Literary Review, Upper Left Edge, Tradeswomen's Network
Newsletter, Black Cat, and Carcinogenic. She describes herself as a
“semi-retired activist.”

Sample poems from the anthology:



You read the tiny cardboard book before
you scratch the strip under Augie’s New Pizza
on the back of MIA: We still don’t know
(and isn’t that the truth?). Earn college
credit at home, taking tests on a screen
being screened. Bad credit? We can help.
Remember to close cover before striking
or go out on strike /// three strikes: you’re out
of the fire into a plastic frying pan, teflon
on electric glowing rings—not like when
your phone rings and someone tells you
what you know you don’t want to know.



The brains sat in the circle, surrounded by string. I can’t tell you
what they were thinking, being one of them. But, it had to be
something like, “Can you smell that?” How many times does a small ball
in the big court think about larger issues? In Mumbai, people spend
their entire existence whipping shirts against rocks. In the Brazilian
rain forest, I once knew a naked man who ate the leeches that attacked
him. And why not, I say! If a bigger ball hits you, you’ll react;
that’s what they all do. But, this has nothing to do with taxes or the
failure of tulip bulbs to reach their full potential in the spring.
It’s more about bringing things into the cave, where they can be
examined and either kept or discarded, as expediency dictates. The
French man sings about love, out on the desert sands of the Sahara.
How did he know? Penguins live in a forbidding patch of water; there
is a crumbling piece of architecture in downtown Portland that ought
to be demolished; a small car in Jamaica is an invitation to malicious
intent; a knot is a measure of speed unless it ties; these things.
When I was able to walk, I never closed my mouth, thinking that all
the colors would swirl into the vortex of my sinking heart. And now,
as any art major could tell you, I am gray inside until the light goes
away. When the brains are scattered by the steely, some win and some
lose. We all get picked and arranged and gathered. Then, it’s time to
move on.


after Charles Mingus

It begins with the fingers stroking their way through the strings
the way the blind discover new countries.

The left hand making creases on its fingers     
holding the strings tight on the neck.

The right hand fondling the strings below the chest,
each stroke fingered pluck, a new reason to resist.

The player’s eyes are closed but the bass is wide alert.
Now the overture is done.

The strings begin to wrap around the fingers.
The neck becomes a wooden handle with two rusty nails.

The chest begins in a narrow expanding
into the navel breaking ground for the authority of the hips.

Steal now.
Cold hungry steal, with an edge sharp enough to cut shackles in one slice.

Its music is still low, pounding and heavy.
The bass-man is upset,

Pounds harder
Now he’s angry

Pound pound pound
His face is red

Pound pound pound
His veins hard like sugar cane

Pound pound pound
His bare feet are swollen but he feels no ground

Pound Pound Pound
He runs with fury lifting up his bass

Slice.  The first cut head rolls on a grass field.
Dead eyes search for some foreign sky.    

Now there are trumpets screaming with him.
There is a drum, a piano and even a tambourine,

all sharp and furious.
The bass man cuts through another neck.

The trumpet blows head off shoulders, spine attached,
dragging a green heart,  leaving torso standing in terror.

Now the keys are stomping craters
the drummer is crushing heads

With each crush another machete is raised
for every plantation new machetes are forged.

Tested on skulls holding receipts,
as if paper can guarantee ownership over flesh and fury.

The band is in full massacre.
When asking for freedom does not work,

the blade negotiates.
From the North the machetes made bloody of Saint-Domingue,

bare feet march south as new blades point to some heaven
and catch the sun before staining the ground crimson.

Fight. Pound.
Slice. Blood.

fight, pound, slice, blood,

Faster and faster as the horn fills the island with rage and hope.
The song repeats and goes on for thirteen years

The Bass-man is pensive, low
never quiet, as if retelling the story to a new nation

He plucks and digs.
Washes blood and digs.


This is where he begins to play again.
The same pound he played in the beginning

A little happier now.
In celebration now.

The same notes and chords as a reminder.
Horns, keys and drums are louder.

With no fury but louder.
In jubilee and louder.

Retelling the story with the bass-man.
Making sure no one forgets.

Although they’ve stopped
I can never get over the thump slice pound and blood.

I never forget how revolution began with a blade,
how Mingus tells the story of the upright bass that became a machete.



Believe it or not, it began with the scream of a tiny man who lived
inside my pillow, shouting messages my young ears may not have been
ready to hear. At first it frightened me, but as I grew, it left me
and was replaced with a softer, interior suggestion. A whisper so
quiet that it was often overwhelmed by the yelping machinery of my
monkey mind.

Later still I discovered that one ignores this whisper at one’s peril.
Missing it, or worse, disregarding it, could send you careening wildly
off the path. Your heart could break. You might lose everything.

You might even find yourself on the other side of the world, cut off
from family, friends, and any sense of who you are, and what it means.

After completion, begin again.

I have always found it difficult to stop myself from picking at the
scab, peeling it away. I want to understand where it came from, want
to enter the wound, swim around in the pool of new cells forming.
Easier to pick at it than to forgive. Easier than taking
responsibility. Anger becomes an old friend. Self-pity flattens me,
turns me into That Guy, the one who bores the shit out of everyone,
cornering unsuspecting partygoers to rant about some ancient slight.

There are more and less accurate descriptions of the veins on the back
of her hand, the contours of each chamber of her heart. All inadequate
to describe what emanates forth through the breastbone, skin, and hair
to press against the chest of her lover. Pulls him close, all too
aware that this warmth is fleeting, that this moment is eager to
flutter away, that soon enough he and she and you and we will all be

Not enough. Love renders us childlike, beseeching: “Stay!” Wailing for
more: “Please. I’ll do anything!”

“Everything grows by rubbing together”
Michael McClure

My hunger cannot be satiated. I might eat everything, so it is
definitely better that this is not socially acceptable. She opens her
eyes and I fall in.

my self.
Drink it in.
Could mean trouble.
Trouble all around.
fiery reflection.
You are right.
So right.

Unspooling forth from the heart which stubbornly regenerates despite
innumerable scorching incidents. We are all ash, but we are also the
seed which takes root, the shoot that stretches green tendrils toward
the sky, unafraid of black clouds heavy with foreboding regret.
Unleash your worst. Drench me in it. Left my skin behind long ago.
Exposed myself to the flame of indiscretion, torture, and betrayal.
The endless searing of your fear passed on no—no, jammed down my
throat. Keep your wounds to yourself. I can only take so much before I
will need to cloak myself in that thin layer of protection once again.
Before I will rise to speak in my own voice. Before I will let it go,
shut the door.

I used to train caterpillars, coach them through every moment of their
pupal journey. Self-righteous. Justified in resenting them for
spreading their wings and flying away from me. Spent years struggling
to figure out where I went wrong, how I could guarantee a different

Now I just give.
Now I just watch, listen, try to learn what I can.



Transfer of image to bolt
Transfer of image to fingers, to ratchet, to bolt
Beckoning image through liquid to muscle, to fingers, to ratchet, to bolt
Transfer of image of things to come
Through liquid to muscle, to fingers, to ratchet, to bolt
Transfer of image through solid, through you
From the sweat and the transfer of image
Confirming connection to future
Image transferred from brain, to metal, to bolt.

Fill holes that are threaded, turn image and mind
With socket and ratchet, you tighten and tighten the muscle
That brings you to singing, the singing of ratchet on bolt.

Christopher Luna
Poet, Editor, Teacher

Co-editor (with Toni Partington)
of "Ghost Town Poetry: Poems from Cover to Cover Books 2004-2011"
Available at Cover to Cover Books, Powell's, and

Co-author (with David Madgalene and Toni Partington)
of "To Be Named and Other Works of Poetic License," a limited edition
art book and 200+ page poem available now:

  • This is an evening group of poetry and wine enthusiasts. It is also a follow up to Poems and Coffee for those who can't make Sunday morning, but still love poetry and would like to discuss poetry over a glass of wine. This will be a group for writers and readers of the literary art form. This first meeting will be designed around what people bring to the group. I'd like to discuss the idea of creating a forum of reading poetry by members or others and those who enjoy writing poetry. Part of the

  • For Immediate Release
    100 Thousand Poets for Change in Vancouver, Portland, and around the
    world Saturday, September 24

    Niche/Angst poet laureate and Ghost Town Poetry founder Christopher
    Luna invites Vancouver and Portland writers and artists to participate
    in the largest poetry reading in history on Saturday, September 24.
    100 Thousand Poets for Change, a global event uniting writers who
    believe in the power of language to create social and political
    positive change, is a grassroots effort in which anyone can
    participate. The intention is to find ways to bring your message to
    the larger community through outdoor events and readings in
    non-traditional places. This is why I did not plan an open mic at a
    bookstore or coffee shop. Each of you can create your own event or get
    together with a few friends. Starting at 1pm I will be reading and
    writing poems outside Niche Wine and Art Bar, interacting with
    passerby and providing help and advice to poets who would like to
    participate. However, in the spirit of the event, please feel free to
    initiate and execute your own activities. Then send all poems and
    photographs to me at or post them as a
    reply on our 100 Thousand Poets for Change blog:

    Please read the press release below for more information about this
    historic event.

    Contact: Michael Rothenberg
    100 Thousand Poets for Change
    P.O. Box 870
    Guerneville, Ca 95446
    Phone: 305-753-4569

    100 Thousand Poets for Change Organizes Largest Poetry Event in History

    Number of Participants Worldwide Growing Daily

    650 events in 450 cities and 95 countries will take place on September
    24 to promote environmental, social, and political change. Poets,
    writers, artists will create, perform and demonstrate in their
    communities, and decide their own specific area of focus for change
    within the framework of peace and sustainability, which founder
    Rothenberg stated, “…is a major concern worldwide and the guiding
    principle for this global event.”

    Bob Holman and Margery Snyder, in a recent article on said,
    “the beauty of the concept of 100 Thousand Poets for Change is that it
    is completely decentralized and completely inclusive.” All those
    involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and
    redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the
    narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

    Poetry demonstrations are being organized in political hotspots such
    as Madison, Wisconsin and Cairo, Egypt. Poetry and peace gatherings
    are planned in strife-torn Kabul and Jalalabad.

    In Mexico there are over 30 events, with 18 poetic actions in Mexico
    City, where poets as well as environmental and political activists are
    hoping to encourage reflection and creative responses against systemic
    violence through the written and the spoken word with day long street
    events, readings and workshops. More than a third
    of these events are organized by collectives actively working towards
    a non-violent approach to solve the country's most pressing problems.

    To date there are over 260 events in the United States. There are 20
    events statewide in North Carolina where teacher/poets have mobilized
    to protest cuts in education funding. And along the Platte River near
    Omaha, Nebraska, poets will be demonstrating against TransCanada’s
    planned Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. More examples of events can be
    found at the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Each event
    organizer has an Event Location blog page on the website for posting,
    poetry, artwork, photos, and video to document this global mega-event
    across national borders.

    Immediately following September 24th all documentation on the website will be preserved by Stanford University in
    California, which has recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change as an
    historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will
    archive the complete contents of the website,, as part
    of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.

    Founder Michael Rothenberg is a widely known poet, editor of the
    online literary magazine and an environmental activist
    based in Northern California.
    For information contact:
    Contact:   /   Phone: 305-753-4569

  • 6.2 miles away in Portland, OR
    209 Poetry enthusiasts

    Meet other folks who love poetry or write poems. Each time we meet, at a local coffee house, we'll share poems that we love. Either from our favorite poets or from our own collection that we've written.

  • Time:  Monday, September 26 · 6:00pm - 9:00pm / Location:  Friends-Multnomah Meeting at 4312 SE Stark in Portland, OR
    More Info:  This is a workshop for beginning poets or for secret poets who want to learn more about poet techniques/craft. All that is required is a passion for reading and playing with poetry. A helpful group of twelve poets will meet weekly to discuss assigned readings on various aspects of poetic craft such as form, rhythm, imagery, as well as offer feedback on class members' work-in-progress. Assignments will be given as a way to gen...erate new work. Students will leave the class with a greater understanding of how to grow a poem, how to revise poems, and how to work within a community of writers. 

    Kathleen Halme is the author of three books of poetry, Every Substance Clothed, which won the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series competition and the 1995 Balcones Poetry Prize; Equipoise (Sarabande Books, 1998); and, most recently, Drift and Pulse (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2007). An earlier chapbook, The Everlasting Universe of Things, was selected as winner of the Harperprints Poetry Chapbook Competition by Edward Hirsch. Kathleen Halme grew up in Wakefield, a post-mining town in Michigan's upper peninsula. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, where her work was awarded the Hopwood Creative Writing Award. Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry and a National Endowment for the Humanities summer fellowship in anthropology. She lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon.

    (8 Mondays, 6-9 pm, ends November 14, 2011) -- $290   
    Registration required: http://www.mountainwriters .org/events/register.html