[Local events] Sunday, 7/18: John and Roberta Olson reading at the Mountain Writers Center

Spare Room spareroom at flim.com
Thu Jul 15 12:31:55 PDT 2004

Spare Room presents...

John Olson &
Roberta Olson

Sunday, July 18th
Mountain Writers Center
3624 SE Milwaukie Ave.
7:30pm. $5 suggested donation.


The next installment in Spare Room's ongoing reading series features 
John and Roberta Olson from Seattle. Sample poems appear below.

John Olson is the author of Echo Regime and Free Stream Velocity. His 
poetry and prose poems have appeared in many journals, including 
First Intensity, Volt, Sulfur, New American Poetry, Experimental 
Theology and Talisman. His essays and literary criticism have 
appeared in the American Book Review, Denver Quarterly, Sulfur, The 
Stranger, and Rain Taxi.

Roberta Olson lives in Seattle with her husband John Olson and cat Toby
Olson. Her work most recently has appeared in the Seattle journals "Monkey
Puzzle" and "Bird Dog".  Working mainly in collage, she tries to transform the
prosaic into encounters with the unknown.

For over two years, Spare Room has held readings, festivals, 
benefits, and other events celebrating several traditions of 
experimental and avant-garde poetry. Readings have featured poets 
from Portland as well as from around the world. For more information 
about Spare Room, e-mail spareroom at flim.com, call our dial-a-poem 
service at 503-236-0867, or visit our website at 

Upcoming Spare Room events include a reading by a reading by 
Nathaniel Tarn and Janet Rodney (both from New Mexico) on August 8th, 
and our second Sound Poetry Festival on August 28th.


Clam Chowder

Clam chowder petitions the mouth with reportorial pith. It is like a 
postcard for the palate, a succinct extract of the sea. The essence 
of the ocean is sampled in a spoon: fecundity, acerbity, agitation. 
Viscera, friction, froth. One thinks of Nantucket and Melville, heavy 
frigates with complicated rigging. It is not the weight of packed wet 
sand that comes to mind because I never went digging for clams. It is 
always something more indeterminate than that, something phenomenal 
and huge, like a postulate, or flavor. It is always the sea. It is 
always the pageantry of the sea. Terns reflected on the glistening 
sand of the beach. Snow accumulating in caps and paragraphs on 
coastal rocks. Rejuvenating winds. Debris in the bottom of a boat. 
Rags of meat in a locket of pearl. This is the journalism of the sea. 
What, why, and where in a bowl of onions, potatoes, and clams.

[John Olson]

Melon Collie

A watermelon is a sea of sweet sunsets with geographical ambitions. A
few years previous, a simple and poignant Russian in America was
looking for signs and - unfortunately - finding them. All the energy
dormant in a bulb blew sand into the city. A violent gale drifted,
unraveling the truth. Without an accurate map, my perceptions are my
greatest weakness. Hire a chimney sweeper now, and make sure the chain is
oiled. It is a bold and brutal history and the only cookbook you need.
In the West Indies, I found three nieces opposed to my being there. The
photos you swiped were a study of a brother and sister building radios
that double as birdhouses. Oslo, for instance, is a wedding cake of
ice. You can stand on a chair to put away the cake stand with eagles
portrayed in low relief. This action is either brief or indulgent. The
chemistry of white depends on symmetry. Peroxide is a symmetrical
molecule, useful if you can't stand eyebrows. The watermelon splits on
summer ice; it is a study of a brother and sister who meander like Montana
cottonwoods behind their father's death.

[Roberta Olson]

Spare Room
dial-a-poem: 503-236-0867
spareroom at flim.com

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