[Libs-Or] Poetry 150 list now online

Katie Anderson anderson_katie at oslmac.osl.state.or.us
Fri Oct 2 09:12:09 PDT 2009

Katie Andersen                        Caitlin Dwyer                           Sandra Williams                        
Oregon State Library                Poetry Northwest                    Mountain Writers Series
katie.anderson at state.or.us       Caitlin at poetrynw.org               pdxmws at aol.com
            Portland, Oregon - September 2009:  In celebration of Oregon's Sesquicentennial Anniversary, esteemed literary journal Poetry Northwest and the Oregon State Library have released a list of 150 outstanding poetry books - one for each year of our statehood.  These books range in style and subject matter, and poets both well-beloved and newly emerging are represented, from William Stafford to Michael McGriff.  Each nominee has a connection to Oregon, whether the poet grew up in Madras or writes about the rain.  The list will be published online as a service to libraries, schools, and citizens.  Oregonians can access it online at Poetry Northwest (www.poetrynw.org).
Poets from the list will honor the Sesquicentennial with readings at the 2009 Wordstock, the annual literary festival in Portland, on October 10 and 11, 2009, on the Mountain Writers Stage.  The Mountain Writers Series sponsors readings, workshops, and seminars with local as well as national and international writers, and serves as a hub in the Oregon poetry community.  Among the Wordstock readers will be Lex Runciman, Donna Henderson, Carlos Reyes, Mary Szybist, Matthew Dickman, Jessica Lamb, and Maxine Scates.  A full schedule of Wordstock readings, including the Poetry 150 List, can be found at www.wordstockfestival.com.
To create the list, Jim Scheppke, State Librarian, and David Biespiel, editor of Poetry Northwest, solicited nominations from Oregon authors, as well as from the general public.  The response was overwhelming.  Oregonians wrote in large numbers with lists of their favorite books, and their nominations created a diverse list of Oregon's best poetry.  The State Library had previously released the Oregon 150 Booklist, which included works in children's literature, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as poetry.  Mr. Biespiel recognized that poetry had a strong community in Oregon and merited its own list, and so Poetry Northwest spearheaded the collaborative effort.
            While the list cannot possibly include every poetry book published in or about our state, it provides a foundation for reading and a valuable resource for Oregonians.  Because citizens and readers made the nominations, the list is unique from scholarly anthologies.  Its creators believe that public engagement has shown the importance of poetry in the lives of citizens.  According to Mr. Biespiel, the community has come together in support of the state and of literature.  The result, he says, is "a spectacular civic achievement."
Poetry Northwest: 4232 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland  97215. 503-236-0615 poetrynw.org
The Oregon State Library: 250 Winter St. NE, Salem  97301-3950. 503-378-4243 oregon.gov/OSL
Mountain Writers Series: 2804 SE 27th Avenue, #2, Portland  97202. 503.232.4517 mountainwriters.org
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