Tag Archives: Write Around Portland

SR director writes forward for new Write Around Portland book

Write Around Portland is set to release its 35th anthology titled Still the Days Grow Longer. The anthology includes writings from the 2011 writing workshop participants along with introductions from Jeana Eldelman, co-owner of HOTLIPS Pizza, and Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer.

“I’m a proud supporter of Write Around Portland, and honored to be able to write the forward to the new book Still the Days Grow Longer,” says Bayer. “The organization is an essential voice in our community that brings people together to write, and be published. The new book is beautiful.”

Write Around Portland runs community-building writing workshops for people who are living in poverty, dealing with illness, facing isolation or experiencing other barriers.

Portlanders can attend the up and coming reading from people published in the new book on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 6:30pm at Collins Hall in the back of the First United Methodist Church at 1838 SW Jefferson St. (Goose Hollow TriMet MAX stop).

Admission to the reading is free, but donations of any amount are accepted to support the work of Write Around Portland. ADA-accessible. Childcare available – please call ahead if you need it (503-796-9224). Anthologies will be available for purchase for $12.

You can also purchase the new book later in the week at Reading Frenzy and Powell’s downtown.

For more information about Write Around Portland, please visit us at www.writearound.org.

Poetic Justice: Street poets break down stereotypes and prejudice with the power of words

By Devan Schwartz, Contributing Writer

The audience is quiet. Lights rise slowly, backlighting the stage. There are silhouettes of men and women seated there. A woman steps to a stage-right podium, a man to another.

She recites a poem, the proscenium illumined by a burnt orange filter; he begins to read his own. One after another, like a revolving door, the poets share original work. Their words puncture the audience’s egos, drawing us into their worlds.  Some are nervous reading aloud. Others are seasoned performers who wait for laughter, the sinking in of emotion.

We are occupying the Sellwood Masonic Temple in Southeast Portland. The event, co-produced by Lunacy Stageworks and Street Roots, brings to life some of the most affecting voices of local homeless and street writers.

In a way it’s an awakening to hear the poetry, which transcends the basic needs of food, shelter and employment so often paramount to survival. The poets’ desires for basic needs certainly come out in the writing, though an array of content inhabits the event’s atmosphere: from salient political issues (sit-lie ordinance, City of Portland’s camping ban), to drug addiction and love affairs that withered on the vine. There’s desperation to the words, resigned humor, an overt hopefulness. Their poems are as simple and complex as the human spirit itself.

“Poetry breaks through classes,” says Ann Singer, fundraiser and special events coordinator for Lunacy Stageworks. “It can come from anywhere. And if you have that talent you can break through class boundaries. Audiences say ‘that’s a great poet; that’s a great writer.’” Continue reading